FIELDING a much-changed starting XI, Altrincham exited the FA Trophy after a 1-0 defeat to Stockport County in a match in which the questionable dismissal of top scorer Jordan Hulme was the big talking point.

Alty's leading scorer was sent off after being harshly judged to have fouled County's Jamie Stott when contesting the ball.

That incident occurred in first-half added time, with Alty a goal down to Ash Palmer's deflected shot which had wrong-footed keeper Elliot Wynne in the 22nd minute.

Although County had enjoyed the better of the first half in the first-round tie Altrincham had gone close to scoring themselves four minutes before the interval when Hulme's flick, following a Simon Richman cross, had brought out a fine save from County's otherwise jittery keeper, Ben Hinchliffe.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Altrincham enjoyed the upper hand for much of the second half.

The introduction of substitutes John Johnston and Connor Hampson improved the performance of the home team and it was not until the closing stages that County again asserted themselves.

A 75th-minute Frank Mulhern header brushed the outside of the post before three hurried goalmouth clearances in succession by Altrincham, in the 87th minute, kept the County lead to just one goal.

The full-time whistle meant Stockport had completed a double of knocking the Robins out of both the FA Trophy and the FA Cup.

There are now five league fixtures for Altrincham in a fortnight over the festive period which include two more clashes with their Cheshire neighbours.

On Boxing Day, Alty are away to Stockport and on New Year's Day the reverse fixture takes place at Moss Lane.

ALTRINCHAM: Wynne, Richman, Densmore, Harrison, Langley, Moult, Mantack, Williams, Hulme, Hancock, Hemmings. Subs: Gabidon, Johnston, Jones, Hampson, Thompson.