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Altrincham 2 Bristol Rovers 1

ALTRINCHAM continued their acclimatisation to football back at the national level as they secured their first win of the Vanarama Conference season with an impressive showing against former Football League club, Bristol Rovers.

Manager Lee Sinnott made four changes to the home side that had lost in midweek to Lincoln City.

With captain Shaun Densmore out for six weeks with a broken toe, Scott Leather made his first start of the season at right-back. In addition, Simon Richman, Nicky Clee and Damian Reeves returned to the starting line-up.

Rovers started the game quite brightly but, once Altrincham had taken a 19th minute lead, the West Countrymen were generally second best to a hardworking home side, which is improving with every game.

Damian Reeves struck the opener from 20 yards, while at the back, Tom Marshall had an outstanding game.

Benefitting from their half-time 'talk', Rovers began the second half brightly but did not seriously threaten a goal of their own.

However, they did find the net at the wrong end, in the 65th minute. Following a corner, Luca Havern had a shot blocked and the ball ran towards Nicky Clee.

From wide on the left, his threat induced Rovers' defender McChrystal to divert the ball into his own net.

Rovers got back into the match with a headed goal from Lee Mansell, 14 minutes from time but Altrincham, led by stand-in captain Peter Cavanagh, prevented the visitors from mounting a late recovery.

And, when Alty substitute Ryan Crowther was hauled down by Sinclair, the swashbuckling Rovers midfielder was sent off, in the closing minutes, to compound Bristol's wretched afternoon.

Alty face two more testing games over the Bank Holiday; away to Southport on Saturday and at home to many people's title favourites, Gateshead, on Monday afternoon, 3pm.

ALTRINCHAM: Coburn, Leather, Marshall, Havern, Griffin, Richman, Cavanagh (capt), Williams, Clee, Gillespie, Reeves. Subs: Crowther, Moult, Perry, Lawrie, M. Williams.