New Year's Day Premier Division review

3 months ago By David Watters

When Altrincham’s sixteen-game unbeaten run in the EVO-STIK League Premier came to an end on New Year`s Day the Robins would have expected to have had their lead at the top cut, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.

However, second-placed Workington AFC were also beaten, so the gap is still seven points. Despite the atrocious weather, a good crowd of 1,013 attended the J Davidson Stadium for the Cheshire derby with Witton Albion.

Altrincham took a sixth minute lead when the visitors’ keeper was unable to hold a James Poole shot and Jordan Hulme netted the loose ball. However, Albion levelled just three minutes later when Tom Owens scored a fine goal with a rising shot which went in off the post.

Witton then took the lead after 24 minutes as James Foley slotted home from close range before Alty levelled after 54 minutes when Poole poked the ball home after good work in the box from Hulme. Next, debutant Andy White’s low 25-yarder gave Altrincham a 3-2 lead after 67 minutes.

But 8 minutes from time a good Witton move up the right allowed Owens to net his second and Albion’s third goal. The outcome was decided when an uncharacteristic mistake by Ben Harrison fell to Will Jones who volleyed home to clinch the game for the visitors in the 88th minute.

Workington were surprisingly beaten 3-1 at Borough Park by lowly Whitby Town.

Nathan Waterson had the Reds in front from the 26th minute and it wasn`t until the hour-mark that the Seasiders levelled through new signing James Fairley. Then, 11 minutes from time, Junior Mondal put the visitors ahead and a third from Lewis Maloney in stoppage time killed any hopes of a home comeback.

Grantham Town are now third, just a point behind Workington, after they beat Matlock Town 2-1 at The Meres.

Lee Shaw was the Gingerbreads hero, bagging both goals in the 13th and 20th minutes – the second from the penalty spot – with Jamie Jackson replying for the Gladiators just past the hour-mark.

And Grantham moved above Shaw Lane AFC, who were beaten 4-2 at Throstle Nest by sixth-placed Farsley Celtic.

The visitors had a great start when Damian Reeves scored inside the opening minute. And when Paul Clayton made it 2-0 with only 12 minutes gone on the clock, it looked ominous for the home side.

But Farsley produced a stunning comeback. Danny Ellis reduced the deficit in the 21st minute and then Nathan Cartman equalised 11 minutes into the second half. Dan Cockerline out the home side in front for the first time with 20 minutes to go, and a second for Cartman four minutes into stoppage time saw Farsley complete the turnaround.

Farsley pulled two points back on fifth-placed Warrington Town after they were held to a 0-0 draw at Cantilever Park by fourth-bottom Marine AFC.

Ashton United`s hopes of getting into the top five were halted by damaged floodlights at Buxton after the match at Silverlands was abandoned with less than 20 minutes played.

Hednesford Town are eighth but only three points behind Warrington after they beat neighbours Stafford Rangers 2-1 at Keys Park.

A crowd of 892 saw the Pitmen complete a holiday double over Rangers, thanks to Joey Butlin after 29 minutes and Charlie Gatter right on half-time. A 74th minute Callum Mendez-Jones own goal was all the visitors could muster in response.

At the other end of the table, Sutton Coldfield Town are three points adrift of second-bottom Stalybridge Celtic after the Royals lost 1-0 at Coles Lane to third-bottom Halesowen Town, while Celtic hammered Lancaster City 5-2 at Bower Fold.

A goal from Jordan Goddard 10 minutes into the second half earned Halesowen their vital win while Lancaster were beaten 5-2 at Stalybridge Celtic.

Lancaster took a 12th minute lead through Richard Mercer and went into the break 2-1 ahead after Sam Bailey cancelled out Jordan Chapell`s 43rd minute equaliser right on the whistle for half-time. But Celtic blew the Dolly Blues away in the second half, Chapell going on to complete his hat-trick, topped and tailed by Luke Ashworth and Theo Bailey-Jones.

Kaiman Anderson, Leon Broadhurst, Tom Tonks, Matt Dodd and Luke Shearer all got on the scoresheet as Stourbridge made it back-to-back wins.

Anderson and Broadhurst scored in the first half against Rushall Olympic and Tonks, Dodd and Shearer in the second in a 5-0 success.

Nantwich Town gained a much-needed 2-0 win at Kirkby Road against Barwell.

A first-minute Harry Clayton effort gave the Dabbers a great start and Sean Cooke eventually made the points safe with a second 20 minutes from time.

The day's other game saw Mickleover Sports and Coalville Town share a 2-2 draw in which Nathan Watson gave the visitors a 13th minute lead.

It wasn`t until the 70th minute that boss John McGrath equalised and five minutes later, Andy Dales had the home side in front. But just three minutes later, Blair Anderson pulled the Ravens back on terms.

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Where next?

New Year's Day North Division review There are new leaders of the EVO-STIK League North, Prescot Cables starting 2018 on top after they hammered Skelmersdale and long-time leaders South Shields were beaten by Scarborough Athletic in the game of the day, writes Pitchero's Steve Whitney.
Star recovering after head injury EVO-STIK League leaders Basford United are hoping midfielder Matt Thornhill will make a speedy recovery after he suffered a serious head injury in their New Year's Day win at Loughborough Dynamo.

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