ALTRINCHAM'S four match winning streak in Blue Square Bet North came to a frightening halt as Stalybridge Celtic ascended to the league summit, with a clinical display of finishing that left the large travelling contingent of Altrincham fans ruefully reflecting on further evidence of major defensive frailties away from Moss Lane.

A 5-1 defeat may have been a little harsh on the Robins, but manager, Lee Sinnott, felt that it was a similar scenario to the FA Cup reverse against Witton Albion at the beginning of the month.

”The mood was good leading up to the game & we had worked hard on our defensive play during training, but we looked clumsy in the opening ten or fifteen minutes and without wishing to take anything away from Stalybridge, we contributed heavily to our own downfall. I felt that we had individual players that could hurt them, but it didn’t work out that way, at all, as they finished their chances very well & we fell short in their penalty area & you can’t afford to defend like we did & expect to get away with it”.

Whilst ‘Bridge leapfrogged Hyde to go top, Altrincham’s initial stay in a play-off position lasted just seven days and with no competitive game until November 5th, Sinnott will hope that Saturday’s friendly against a Manchester United XI, will be a useful opportunity for a few of his players.” Brian Summerskill, Simon Richman & Robbie Lawton are all in need of match minutes & Saturday’s game gives us the opportunity to give them that, ahead of what is quite a busy November schedule”.

At the request of Manchester United, Saturday’s game at Moss Lane will have a 1.00pm kick off. For Altrincham FC season ticket holders, entry is free; for all other spectators, admission is £7 for adults and £4 for concessionaries, including 12-16 year olds. Under-12s pay just £2.