“Rabbit in the headlights” Robins look to get back to winning ways

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Altrincham were subjected to a decisive 2-0 defeat at the J Davidson Stadium on Wednesday by an aggressive Solihull Moors outfit.

Solihull were instilled with confidence having beaten League Two side Scunthorpe United in the 1st Round of the FA Cup last weekend. For large parts of the first-half Altrincham were lethargic and lacked the energy of the visitors.

“They [Solihull] pressed us very aggressively at the start of the game, we didn’t quite get our game right,” said assistant manager Neil Sorvel. 

Altrincham were punished for their poor opening when on 17 minutes Osborne expertly serviced Sbarra in the box, who finished from close range.

The goal came from an individual error by Joel Senior. The inexperienced youngster unnecessarily prevented Tony Thompson’s wayward pass from going out of play. 

Tom Peers on the ball against Solihull

As a result, the right-back unintentionally gifted possession back to the away side deep in Altrincham’s half. “[There were] too many errors, [we were a] rabbit in the headlights in the first 30 minutes,” said Sorvel.

Four minutes later Osborne grabbed his first and Solihull’s second. The midfielder picked up the ball from another individual mishap – this time from Tom Hannigan.

Osborne’s deft finish from outside the box found the bottom right-hand corner of the goal to make it 2-0. “They’re a good side and it was a long way back from there,” added Sorvel.

There was a fear around the ground that at 22 minutes things could get much worse for Altrincham. But to their credit, the part-timers refused to succumb to a drubbing.

“At 2-0 I thought we acquitted ourselves really well and for the remainder of the game stuck at it. I’ll give the lads credit for that but we need to start games better,” said Sorvel.

Billy Sass-Davies heads the ball in a crowded goalmouth

Although Altrincham grew into the game they once again failed to score. The only significant opportunity came from an attempted lob by Tom Peers in the second half, who saw his effort cleared from the goalmouth. 

Sorvel was clear in his post-match interview that if the part-timers are to reverse this recent drop in form, his side are going to have to rekindle the same venom and aggression going forward as they did last season. 

“At the minute we’re struggling to create chances. We had enough moments in the game where we had the ball in good areas, some half-chances again just similar to Saturday,” said Sorvel.

To make matters worse, Altrincham’s problems on the pitch have been intensified with a cascade of injuries off it. “[Andy] White and Fizz [Adarabioyo] will be a couple of weeks but the others are going to be more long-term which is disappointing,” added Sorvel. 

Dan Mooney was the latest name to be put on the Robins’ growing list of injuries; the winger pulled his hamstring after just six minutes.

Altrincham cannot afford to dwell on their misfortunes. Sorvel and Parkinson will turn their attention to Saturday, where they will take on 12th-placed Aldershot. 

“They’re all going to be difficult. They’re (Aldershot) coming off the back of a 1-0 win against Notts County so they’re going to be buoyed by that,” said Sorvel.

Nonetheless, a good performance can hopefully throw Aldershot off the rails whilst getting Altrincham’s season back on track. 

Photos: Michael Ripley

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