Altrincham FC 4-1 Bradford (Park Avenue)

The Avenue’s impressive four match unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end as Altrincham FC boosted their play-off hopes with a 4-1 victory at the J. Davidson Stadium.

Two goals either side of the half proved enough to give the hosts a comprehensive victory over John Deacey’s men. James Walshaw rushed in to capitalise on a fine John Lamb save for the first before Damian Reeves converted an inch perfect James Lawrie cross to double their tally. The Avenue pulled one back through Jordan Deacey but, after being reduced to ten-men following the dismissal of Ryan Qualter, couldn’t add a second, as Walshaw struck again before Kyle Perry fired in the fourth.

It was the visitors that came out the blocks on top as they enjoyed the plenty of possession in the opening stages of the game. However, the Avenue failed to capitalise on their impressive start as they struggled to create a clear-cut chance.

Lee Sinnott’s men created the first real chance of the game as the towering Carl Rodgers slipped a neat pass through to Reeves, who released an early shot straight at goalkeeper John Lamb.

The Avenue responded quickly as Deacey broke down the left wing with pace, muscling his way through two challenges before offloading to Chib Chilaka. The striker collected the ball before powering a right-footed effort that sent Stuart Coburn scrambling to his top right corner to save.

Alty took the lead as Nicky Clee dispossessed Nathan Hotte in the middle of the park before playing an inch perfect pass releasing Simon Richman one-on-one. The Avenue number one rushed out quickly to block, but was unable to recover to deny the opening goal as Walshaw smashed home the rebound.

Rallied by their opener, Altrincham FC went close to doubling their lead after Clee’s curling cross from the left narrowly avoided the outstretched leg of Reeves.

The Robins’ relentless search for the second goal continued. Their efforts were rewarded as James Knowles mistimed Gianluca Havern’s long ball forward, which fell into the path of Lawrie. The winger brought the ball under control before whipping in a sensational cross to find Reeves who fired past Lamb from close range.

Moments before the half-time whistle, John Deacey made a surprise double substitution replacing Hotte and Richard Marshall with Scott Maxfield and Nicky Boshell.

The Avenue pulled one back before the break as Deacey picked up the ball on left before driving inside and releasing a 20 yard shot that looped over the goalkeeper following a deflection.

The interval seemed to benefit the Avenue as they entered the second half with intent creating numerous chances. The best of which falling to Chilaka who went agonisingly close to converting Walker’s low cross.

But, the home side displayed why they are in such fine form this season as they instantly responded with a chance of their own through Walshaw, who went close after receiving a pass from Richman, but his shot rippled the side netting.

The away side were reduced to ten-men as Qualter was shown a red card after bringing down Walshaw, denying the striker a goalscoring opportunity.

But, despite the loss of Qualter, John Deacey’s men showed spirit and quickly created a chance to equalise. The in-form Chilaka brought the ball down well before charging into box past a wall of defenders, but Rodgers tracked back to make crucial tackle before the striker could fire an effort on goal.

The Avenue’s hopes of clinching the equaliser were dashed as Clee’s out swinging corner found the head of Scott Leather, who flicked the ball towards goal finding the unmarked Walshaw, and the striker tapped in for his second from close range.

Substitute Perry sealed victory for the home side minutes from time as he received the ball from an intelligent Reeves flick, before breezing past Maxfield and firing a 25 yard strike with his left foot into the bottom corner.

The Avenue striker Chib Chilaka spoke to the official website after the game:

“Even with ten-men the lads dug in. We should be proud and take the positives out of the game because we regrouped, got solid again and did well. It could have been a lot worse. There’s definitely positives to take.”

Altrincham FC: Coburn, Densmore, Griffin, Rodgers, Havern, Leather, Lawrie, Richman, Walshaw (Perry 84), Reeves, Clee (Doughty 89)

Subs not used: Marshall, Moult, Samberg.

Scorer: Walshaw (10), (74); Reeves (26), Perry (89)

Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Black, Drury, Marshall (Boshell 31), Knowles, Qualter, Deacey, Hotte (Maxfield 31), Chilaka, Beesley (Howarth 65), Walker

Subs not used: Harris, Clayton.

Scorer: Deacey (43)

Sent Off: Qualter

Attendance: 582