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Altrincham 4 Stourbridge 1 - Report

By Nigel Gregg

The Glassboys suffered a first-half mauling at league leaders Altrincham before a Luke Shearer goal restored some pride after the break.

Stourbridge finally returned to action after an enforced two-and-a-half week break with a first ever visit to Altrincham in a hurriedly re-arranged fixture after the previous Tuesday's planned visit fell foul of the 'Beast from the East' and Gary Hackett's men were blown away by a confident home team in a one-sided first-half as for the second time in just under six weeks Stourbridge conceded four times in the opening 45 minutes.

The Glassboys starting eleven showed three changes from the previous match at home to Buxton with Chris Lait returning to Solihull at the end of his month's loan and Darryl Westlake and Leon Broadhurst unavailable.

Loanee Aaron Hayden made his debut for Stourbridge at right-back with Aaron Forde and Luke Shearer also stepping up from the bench.

Altrincham, looking to strengthen their position at the head of the table, were on the front foot from the start and soon had the visitors pinned back in their own half. James Poole and Max Harrop fired over before Matt Gould was called into action on 7 minutes as Josh Hancock cut inside from the left before striking a firm low drive that the Stour custodian saved well.

As the pressure mounted, John Johnston miscued a chance from Poole's cross before Altrincham opened the scoring in curious fashion on 13 minutes. Hancock laid the ball back for Connor Hampson to swing over a cross from the left that carried beyond Gould and went in off the far post.

Matters got worse for the Glassboys two minutes later when Hancock burst forward into the left hand side of the box before supplying a low centre and Aris Christophorou only half cleared the ball to the feet of Johnston who was able to lay a short pass square for Poole to clip a shot past Gould.

A first Stourbridge attack of note in the 19th minute saw Aaron Forde find Luke Benbow who embarked on a dribble before lashing a 25-yard effort well off-target.

Altrincham were soon controlling matters again though with Andy White hitting a shot that Pierpoint sliced clear for a corner as the visitors back four continued to receive little protection.

With 24 minutes gone Altrincham added a third with a fine goal that began on the edge of their own 18-yard box and they played their way through the Glassboys with some neat interchanging passes between Harrop and Johnston before Jordan Hulme sent in a teasing low cross from the right that evaded players from both sides in the middle before being turned home by James Poole at the far post.

There was then some respite for the visitors although Altrincham continued to hold the ascendancy with Harrop having a shot on the volley blocked after 32 minutes before Johnston grabbed a fourth goal on 37 minutes. He initially took on Christophorou before laying the ball off to Poole who in turn fed White. He passed the ball forward to Hulme on the right who picked out Johnston in space just outside the box and Johnston produced a tidy finish to give Gould no chance.

There was some drama at the interval when some of the floodlight bulbs went off, however the playing surface remained adequately lit for the match to continue, but the home side's second half display - thankfully for the visitors - dimmed like the lighting as they took their foot off the pedal somewhat after the resumption, although they might have added to their tally later in the contest.

Louis Hall replaced Christophorou at the break and within two minutes of the re-start Stourbridge had a goal back. A miscued clearance from James Jones was collected by Benbow and he sent a raking ball out to the left channel area where Luke Shearer gathered the ball and drove inside past White before tucking the ball past the previously untroubled Anthony Thompson.

Jake Evans replaced Tonks with 56 minutes played before Altrincham regained some momentum to apply some more pressure with Hancock going closest with a flashing shot that was narrowly off-target.

The Glassboys last change came on 74 minutes with Antonio replacing Shearer.

Four minutes later Johnston beat McCone before seeing his low shot saved by Gould down to his right and he was again thwarted in the closing stages as Gould was equal to his side-foot finish.

Whilst Altrincham look a cut above the other sides in the division, Stourbridge continue to fall short of expectations and an improvement is needed if a finish inside the top ten is to be achieved.

Stourbridge - Gould, Hayden, Christophorou, McCone, Pierpoint, Forde, Tonks, Gater, Benbow, Anderson, Shearer

Subs: Hall (for Christophorou HT), Evans (for Tonks 56 mins), Antonio (for Shearer 74 mins), Cooke, Gomes (not used)

Bookings - Pierpoint, McCone, Hayden

Stourbridge Motm (voted by supporters) - Louis Hall

Updated 23:03 - 14 Mar 2018 by Nigel Gregg

Where next?

Altrincham 4 Stourbridge 1 - Goals highlights The goals highlights from our 4 - 1 defeat at Altrincham are now available to view courtesy of AltyTV. (Read on)
Stourbridge 4 Redditch United 1 - Match Highlights Some highlights from Saturday's 4 - 1 home victory over Redditch are now available to view courtesy of REDS TV. (READ ON)

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