DESPITE having much the better of the first half Altrincham failed to progress to a potentially lucrative FA Cup first round tie against a league club and also missed out on the £25,000 prize money at stake for this game after a 2-0 defeat at Stockport County.

Altrincham's fluent first-half play was not matched by the creation of clear chances in front of goal and Stockport's defence held firm throughout the game.

County went ahead, against the run of play, four minutes before half time.

Alty had half-cleared a corner but the ball came back into the box from the right, Ash Palmer rose at the back post to direct the ball goalwards and Frank Mulhern was on hand to poke it over the line.

Alty suffered a further blow before half time as tenacious midfielder Sean Williams limped off.

The second half witnessed a stronger performance from County but it needed the gift of a goal by the Altrincham defence to settle the outcome.

The Robins' back line got in a muddle on the left and Matty Warburton was allowed to get free.

He drew goalkeeper Tony Thompson and slipped the ball past him into the net with 22 minutes remaining.

Alty resorted to several long-range shots, which failed to trouble the Stockport keeper unduly, as they found there was no way back into the game.

The Robins return to league action on Saturday when local rivals Ashton United are the opposition at the J. Davidson Stadium.

ALTRINCHAM: Thompson, White, Hampson, Jones, Hannigan, Moult, Johnston, Williams, Hulme, Harrop, Dale. Subs: Poole, Hancock, Peers, Richman, Densmore, Goulding, Wynneg.