AFTER a pulsating 2-2 draw, last Wednesday, in the First Leg of the semi-final play-offs for a place in the national division of the Football Conference, Hednesford Town and Altrincham fought out another evenly-contested match at the J. Davidson Stadium in the Second Leg on Saturday.
With away goals not counting double, the tie continued to be in the balance as the Second Leg score remained locked at 0-0 in the first half. Altrincham had started brightly with Scott Leather forcing a good save and Damian Reeves being denied what looked a clear penalty when he was brought down.
But Hednesford almost snatched an interval lead when, from an injury-time corner, they struck the woodwork of the Altrincham goal.
The game remained deadlocked as the final ten minutes approached. But then, Hednesford broke up the left and the unmarked Tom Thorley headed the Midlanders into the lead.
Altrincham immediately switched to a 3-5-2 formation and turned the tie around in a remarkable two minutes. First of all, James Walshaw's cross from the left of the box was headed home from close range by Damian Reeves in the 84th minute. Then, Nicky Clee's cross, also from the left, was nodded back by Reeves and Simon Richman managed to get the ball back to James Lawrie who scored with a firm, low shot.
Spurred on by most of the crowd of almost 2,000, Altrincham came through the closing stages and five added minutes to secure a home Play-Off Final against Yorkshire club, Guiseley, who had finished fifth in the league at the conclusion of the season. The game will be at the J. Davidson Stadium, kick off 3pm.
Altrincham: Coburn, Densmore (capt), Griffin, Moult, Havern, Leather, Lawrie, Richman, Walshaw, Reeves, Clee. Subs: Marshall, Doughty, Wilkinson, Perry and Saunders.