FC Halifax Town 5 Altrincham 2

AFTER putting eight past Hinckley United last week, Altrincham fans again had plenty of goals to enjoy as seven shots flew into the net at a sodden Shay Stadium.

But, sadly, the vast majority went into Altrincham's net - and a combination of the woodwork, goal-line clearances and poor Halifax finishing prevented an even heavier defeat as the Robins bowed out of non- league's Road to Wembley in the first round of the FA Trophy on Saturday.

It started well for Alty as Nicky Clee fired in a strong shot which keeper Glennon could only parry to Damian Reeves, who scored in the fifth minute.

But Altrincham rarely threatened for the rest of the half as Halifax forced them onto the defensive. Town deservedly equalised after 31 minutes when Lee Gregory fired home from right of goal but the visitors seemed to be reaching half-time on equal terms when they suffered a catastrophic three minutes in which Gareth Seddon hit a hat-trick for the Yorkshiremen.

The mayhem started two minutes before the interval from a Halifax corner, when Jake Moult did well to clear a shot off the Alty line but the ball fell to Seddon, who netted. A couple of minutes later, with Alty appealing for offside, Gregory nodded a ball down for Seddon to score again.

And the Halifax striker completed his hat-trick in just three minutes and seventeen seconds when a misplaced pass by Moult allowed him to advance and beat Coburn, just before the half-time whistle.

In a second half played in heavy rain, Altrincham were reduced to 10 men in the 47th minute when Danny Hall was sent off for pulling back Gregory as he advanced towards the box. And four minutes after that, former Altrincham striker Dale Johnson made it 5-1 from a left wing cross.

To their credit, Alty responded with a goal, as Nicky Clee drove home a 25 yard freekick after Reeves had been fouled in the 53rd minute.

Though Johnson hit the bar and Leather had to clear off the Altrincham goal line, there were no more goals. Alty withdrew their three experienced front men, Lawrie, Reeves and Clee well before the end as the management focus switched to the remainder of the league campaign.

With just two wins in their past nine league and cup games, Alty will be looking for an improvement in form to propel them into play-off contention. Next Saturday sees yet another away match as they travel to Boston United, scene of a fine FA Trophy win for the Robins, just five weeks ago.

ALTRINCHAM: Coburn, Leather, Havern, Hall, Doughty, Densmore (capt), Moult, Richman, Clee, Lawrie, Reeves. Subs: Reid, Lacey, Mitchley, Brooke, Watmore

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