ALTRINCHAM face an anxious wait over the fitness of Duncan Watmore after he hobbled off with an ankle injury in the 2-1 New Year’s Day win over Stalybridge Celtic at Moss Lane.

Watmore’s first-half withdrawal cast a cloud over a successful conclusion to the festive programme, as Alty made it four points out of six from their double-header with Stalybridge.

The hugely-talented Alty forward is thought to have suffered slight ligament damage to his left ankle, but, after having it strapped up, he will be assessed on Thursday night and has not yet been ruled out of Saturday’s home game with Harrogate.

Alty led 2-1 at Stalybridge on Boxing Day, with a Watmore double, before being pegged back by a 61st-minute equaliser. There were no slip-ups on Tuesday, even if they made hard work of beating a team reduced to 10 men following keeper Alex Cairns’ first-half dismissal for a foul on James Lawrie.

Damian Reeves equalised from the resulting penalty, against an outfield player in goal in the absence of a reserve keeper, and when Jake Moult fired Alty in front soon after, an emphatic victory looked assured.

Instead, a hesitant, unconvincing second-half performance encouraged Stalybridge to push forward in search of an unlikely equaliser and left Alty hanging on for the points towards the end.

‘The players are capable of a lot better, but, when you’re not at your best, it’s vital you try and get over the line,’ said manager Lee Sinnott. ‘It’s called winning ugly, and it is something successful sides have to have in their armoury. I’m quite sure the likes of Guiseley, Chester and Halifax have all played ugly and won, but we haven’t really done it before.

‘If you were doing it week-in, week-out, there would be a problem, but that’s certainly not the case. It can’t be free-flowing football all the time, but you have to grind out a result when it’s not going your way. Let’s be fair, which is preferable – three points like this or what happened in our previous home game, when we laid siege to Gainsborough’s goal and had chances galore but lost 1-0?

‘Our forward play was nowhere near our true level, but the positive thing was three points and something to build on in terms of our home form.’ Nicky Clee should be fit for Saturday.