09:18PM, Saturday 27 March 2021
Photo: Darren Woolley
Maidenhead United 0, Altrincham 1
Ryan Colclough scored directly from a second half corner to boost Altrincham’s play-off chances at the expense of hosts Maidenhead United in front of the BT Sport cameras.
The victory, Altrincham’s second on the spin following Tuesday’s comfortable 3-0 success against King’s Lynn Town, was hard-earned, but lifted Phil Parkinson’s side to within a point of the top seven.
The Magpies, who hadn’t played since their thumping 4-1 victory over Torquay United 10 days ago, looked like they were missing James Comley and Rohan Ince – away on international duty – as well as the injured Dan Sparkes.
A game of fine margins was settled midway through the second period when the visitors forced a corner from the left. Colclough’s ball into the box looked a poor one as it scuttled across the turf, but it was missed by everyone in black and white and yellow and nestled in the bottom corner of Taye Ashby-Hammond’s net.
Prior to that there was little to separate the sides in what was poor fare for those watching on BT Sport.
Altrincham began the brighter, buoyed by their mid-week win and should really have scored in the 20th minute when Josh Hancock was played in by a little flick but shot straight at Ashby-Hammond. The follow up fell kindly to Colclough but he could only half volley the ball against the crossbar.
United gradually played their way back into contention, with Ryan Upward scooping a presentable chance over the bar from the edge of the box on the half-hour and Manny Parry coming within inches of turning home George Wells’ excellent corner just before half-time.
It felt at the break like one goal would settle the game and that’s how it proved. Alan Massey fervently appealed for a penalty when his header from Wells’ free kick appeared to strike an Altrincham arm close to the goaline in the 50th minute.
Altrincham’s goal in the 65th minute then spurred the hosts into their best play of the match. Upward drifted a header wide after Nathan Blissett had seen his shot blocked in the 75th minute, before Upward tested Anthony Thompson in the Altrincham goal with a stinging volley two minutes later after the ball had pinballed around in the visitors’ penalty area. It wasn’t to be.
Danilo Orsi-Dadomo had a low cross deflected behind in the 89th minute, while substitute Tom Peers should really have killed the game off for the visitors when he went close twice in injury-time, first with a shot that flew just over and then, as the seconds ticked away, after dancing into the Maidenhead area and pulling his shot just wide of Ashby-Hammond’s post.
Altrincham boss Parkinson reflected afterwards: “It feels great. Any win at this level feels fantastic. As I said earlier in the day, we’re a match with anyone if you take your chances and that’s what has happened. To keep a clean sheet away from home and take that chance. First half, I thought we were superb. Second half, they really came at us and we had to weather that which I think we did that really well.”
Maidenhead boss Devonshire said: “We deserved it really. We were poor, very poor. I think it’s the worst we’ve played since the start of the season. There are no excuses for it. We only started playing in the last 15/20 minutes and that ain’t good enough. They were better than us all over the park today. I’ve got no complaints – we go onto the next one.”