All you need to know about tomorrow's opponentsThis weekend Bristol Rovers will take a trip for the very first time to The J Davidson Stadium at Moss Lane, Altrincham. This will be the first of many firsts this season!
Alty are finding their latest season in the Vanarama Conference every bit as tough as expected, following their promotion last season. After an opening-day 3-1 setback at Aldershot they suffered a narrow 2-1 loss to Lincoln City at home on Tuesday night.
Lincoln scored their first goal of the season when a corner was taken short by Sean Newton to Jon Nolan who gave him it back. Newton curled in a deep centre which was met by Jordan Burrow whose powerful header beat Stuart Coburn in the home team’s goal.
The home side went close early in the second half when Steven Gillespie cut in from the left and his shot rapped Nick Townsend’s bar. As the game reached its final 10 minutes City pieced together a great move down the left and after the neat passage of play opened up the home defence, Newton fizzed in a cross and Substitute Conner Robinson headed the ball into the net from six yards to make it 2-0.
Atly’s substitute Damien Reeves scored a late consolation goal after capitalising on a rare moment of hesitation between Tony Diagne and Townsend.
Despite failing to collect a single point from the opening two games, the Cheshire team’s Boss Lee Sinnott remains upbeat, “We’ll be OK. It’s fine lines at the moment, I thought the performance against Lincoln was better than on Saturday. There were positives at Aldershot but more in this second game.
“We have played four halves now and conceded in the first 10 minutes in three of them. I mentioned that at half-time and told the players “that stops now”, and thankfully it did. We didn’t concede in the opening minutes of the second half against Lincoln, so that is a little box ticked.
“It’s just as well, because you can’t keep shooting yourself in the foot by not starting a half correctly. It’s how things manifest themselves, and if you switch off and allow someone to go for a short corner, particularly someone with a wonderful delivery like their left- back Sean Newton, you are asking for trouble.
“We switched off for a second, and, bang, it’s at our far post and into the net for 1-0. That’s what happens at this level. Then Steven Gillespie produces a bit of brilliance and it hits the bar. Fine lines again, when it could so easily have been 1-1.
"The way we went at it in the second half, I thought it might have been us who scored the goals, but their second left us too much to do.
“There is a case for saying the step-up we’ve made is as difficult and challenging as any in the game, because we’ve left behind a part-time league for one that is packed with full-time professional outfits. If we expected to come into this division and immediately start creating as much as we did in the Conference North, we’d be in cuckoo land.”
“It’s just being realistic and logical to say we can’t just assume we are going to walk into the Conference and swat everyone aside. You’ve got to work at it. It is a work in progress, and that’s what we are.
"There were positives at Aldershot and even more in the performance against Lincoln. All round, we were better on Tuesday night, but I don’t want to be saying that all the time and not seeing points on the board.
“We need to learn the lessons quickly, and take them on board. I just thought we were a better physical presence in the second half against Lincoln than early in the first half. There are promising signs there. You can see them.
"But you have to deal with what this league is about, because it can find you out if you don’t step up to the plate physically, probably more so than technically.
“I thought, in the second half, some of our passing was as good as anything I saw from Lincoln, but the difference was the bit of quality they showed when it came to delivering balls into the box. That’s something we should have done better, but there were positive signs, and we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact we are only two games into the season.
“I dare say there will be some doom-mongers saying we are not good enough, but that is not the case. Give these lads a chance to become accustomed to the level they are playing at. You can tell them all about it, but they need to experience it for themselves to realise what it is about.
“We do need to cut the players some slack, because it is a real jump from the Conference North to this division. You just don’t have as much time on the ball, for one thing, because the players we are up against are so sharp mentally and physically and are pacey when the ball is in the opposition zone.
“You have to recognise when you’ve got time and when you haven’t. I’ve always said you can’t play in third gear if you are being closed down in fifth gear. If you are being closed down quickly, you’ve got to execute quickly.
"We are learning that aspect, but it is a question of coming to terms with the new surroundings we find ourselves in. By that, I mean grasping the fact that we won’t get the sort of chances we got in the Conference North and we will get punished if we give the ball away needlessly, especially in dangerous areas but even when there might not be any apparent sign of immediate danger.”
Altricham has a long history as a club, but when they were actually founded remains a queston. The Altrincham AFC came into place in 1903.
In 1891 Rigby Memorial Club, formed from a local Sunday school. They went on to merge with another local club know as the "Grapplers" to form Broadheath F.C. and become founder members of the Manchester League in 1893.
Prior to 1903 the club played on a variety of fields in Broadheath, West Timperley and Altrincham before acquiring a new home at Pollitt's Field and, at the same time, changing their name to Altrincham AFC
In 1968–69 Altrincham joined The Northern Premier League (NPL) as founder members and remained there for 11 seasons until they joined the Alliance Premier League (now the Football Conference) as founder members at the beginning of the 1979–80 season, going on to win the league in its first two seasons.
Despite their success Altrincham failed to gain election to the Football League on both occasions due to the voting system in place at the time. In 1980, Altrincham fell short of election to the Football League by the narrowest of margins.
It wasn't until 1987 that automatic promotion was awarded to the league; since then Altrincham have only challenged for promotion in the 1990–91 season, eventually finishing 3rd behind Barnet and Colchester United.
Altrincham never regained their success of the 1970s and 1980s and in 1997 they were relegated from the top flight of non-league football to the Northern Premier League for the first time in their history.
They won that the NPL title two years later, only to go back down again after just one season in the Conference. It was five years before they gained promotion again, in 2005 as winners of the Conference North/Conference South playoffs beating Eastbourne Borough of Conference South at The Britannia Stadium in the final match.
Altrincham were uniquely reprieved from relegation for three successive seasons (2005–06, 2006–07 and 2007–08) as a result of other clubs' issues.
The 2008–09 season proved to be a much better campaign for Altrincham, with the club spending much of the season in mid-table, and they eventually achieved safety from relegation with two games to spare.
Altrincham did even better in 2009–10, challenging for a play-off spot early in the campaign and finishing in a relatively safe 14th place.
The club had a poor start to the 2010–11 season, earning only one point from their first eight games, which resulted in the sacking of long-time manager Graham Heathcoate in September.
Ken McKenna replaced Heathcoate and the team's form gradually improved as the season went on, but their awful start cost them in the end and they were relegated in 22nd place on the final day of the season.
Former Farsley Celtic and Port Vale manager Lee Sinnott became the club's new manager for the Conference North Campaign and guided them to promotion last season.