LEE Sinnott hailed a dramatic 2-1 win over promotion rivals Stalybridge Celtic on Tuesday night as ‘our best result of the season’ and urged his players to continue their pursuit of a play-off place against Bishop’s Stortford at Moss Lane on Saturday.
A double half-time substitution helped Altrincham turn round 1-0 arrears against 10-man Stalybridge and close in on the top five with a Damian Reeves equaliser and 88th-minute winner from defender Matt Flynn.
Stalybridge had Kristian Platt sent off for a second-minute foul on new signing Leighton McGivern and were finally undone after the half-time introduction of fellow-newcomer Scott Phelan and Nicky Clee gave Alty extra impetus.
‘Leighton is lively and will always cause defenders problems,’ said Alty boss Sinnott. ‘He is a nuisance – a bit like Craig Bellamy and Andy Johnson rolled into one – and he has a history of finishing, so it was a positive debut all round from him.
"I just thought we moved the ball ponderously in the first half and needed to test their back four, rather than middle four. I sensed the full-back area was going to be key against 10 men. We needed quality there, and I thought Shaun Densmore moving to right-back and Nicky coming on at left-back gave us that.
"I told the players at half-time they were going to have to pick the tempo up, or Stalybridge would see the game out, and that’s exactly what they did.
"When you think of the enormity of the game and the pressure on us to win it, I thought it was our best result so far this season.
"If Stalybridge had won, it might have been too big a gap to bridge, with the time left.
"Now that second-half performance has to be replicated over 90 minutes against Bishop’s Stortford. I don’t want any after the Lord Mayor’s Show scenario. You don’t reach the play-offs by not being at your best and throwing away points, so we have to be on our mettle and make sure we avenge our defeat against them a couple of weeks ago."
Marlon Broomes picked up a hamstring injury, but Keiran Walmsley is expected to be fit.