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Altrincham 1 Leek Town 2
FA Trophy AFTER the great team spirit shown recently in going twice to Colwyn Bay to progress to the First Round Proper of the FA Trophy on Saturday Altrincham disappointingly exited the competition in the next round, losing to a Leek team which plays two rungs lower in the non-League football pyramid.
Having gone out of the FA Cup to another team from a lower league, this was the second major disappointment for The Robins this season in a national cup competition.
It might have been different had a 29th minute "goal" by Damian Reeves been allowed to stand by referee David Richardson. But he disallowed the goal for an alleged push, as Gianluca Havern rose to head Jake Moult's freekick down to Reeves.
And Alty also felt that the penalty awarded against them in the 67th minute was a very harsh decision. Defender Scott Leather was judged to have brought down Jordan Johnson, who got up to beat Stuart COburn from the resulting spot-kick.
When Johnson added a second goal for Leek, in the first minute of added time, it seemed to be all over. But Alty gave themselves brief hope of an unlikely escape when Greg Wilkinson pulled a goal back a minute later, with an impressive shot. However, they could not get an equalizer in the remaining minute or so of added time, allowing the Staffordshire side to claim their first ever win at Moss Lane.
Whilst the referee's decisions upset Altrincham, they did not play nearly well enough to overcome these setbacks. Without the trickery of the injured Nicky Clee they lacked the guile to break down a resolute defence and, too often, their passes went astray.
The league tells a happier story as Alty lie joint top of the Skrill North. And it's a return to league action next Saturday, as Altrincham travel to Harrogate Town, followed by a visit to Cheltenham to meet Gloucester City, the following Tuesday (10th). TASC, the supporters' club, is running transport to these games, which can be booked by ringing the club on (0161) 928- 1045.
Altrincham: Coburn, Densmore (capt), Havern, Leather, Doughty, Wilkinson, Moult, Richman, Lawrie, Reeves and Walshaw. Subs: Reid, Rodgers, Perry, Smikle, Pouncey.