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View from the Dugout: We go to the leaders with confidence after getting back to winning ways

Altrincham FC assistant manager Neil Sorvel with this week’s column.

Altrincham FC assistant manager Neil Sorvel with this week’s column…

It was great to get back to winning ways at Boston last Saturday… three points that meant that we only dropped out of the play-off positions for four days. The Pilgrims played a similar pressing game that they had adopted, when beating us at our place in August but we got our passing game right on the day and were able to access their back four quite easily.

The only negative was that it really should have been all over by half-time… we were two goals up but even their manager, Craig Elliott, said that it probably should have been four or five.

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We expected a reaction from them and in the second half we showed a different side to our game… we were solid defensively and a threat on the counter attack, whilst Boston didn’t really threaten us, despite having more of the territorial advantage.

We conceded a very soft penalty with 10 minutes to go. There was a tug of Gavin Allott’s shirt by Jake Moult but he’s a 6 foot 4 inches striker who has gone down very easily… he bought the penalty!

That left us with 15 minutes (including five minutes of added time) to hold on to a one-goal lead and by and large we did that fairly comfortably. There was just one ball beyond the far post which caused us a bit of difficulty, otherwise we saw the game out well.

After the disappointment of taking just two points from 12 over the Christmas and New Year period, it was a great way to get back on track. Reflecting on those four games, I was more disappointed with the draws with Darlington and Guiseley  than the two defeats against Stockport, who are going through a very good period and haven’t conceded a goal from open play in about 10 games now.

Overall, this is a very tough league, but we are doing OK and we head to top of the league Chorley today with confidence high. The Magpies play with both Newby brothers (Alex and Elliot) in a number 10 role and whilst none of their players have reached double figures in terms of league goals this season (both Josh Hancock and Jordan Hulme scored their 11th league goals of the season at Boston) they have a number of players who have chipped in with a decent haul, including former Altrincham player, Josh O’Keefe, who has scored a number of important goals from his defensive midfield role.

Injury wise we are in good shape. After a tough Christmas and New Year schedule, we gave the lads the night off on Tuesday… we also had a bit of a virus around the squad from Saturday, so that made sense to do that. They were all fit and raring to go at training on Thursday and we go into today’s game in good shape.

James Poole has joined Hyde United on a month’s loan. He’s not played much football at all this season and needs games to get his match fitness levels up to a level where he can come back and play a positive role in the final two to three months of the season.

‘BT Sport Score’ are covering today’s game as part of their programme that is broadcast on ‘BT Sport 1’ from 2.45-5.00pm. Connie Mclaughlin will be doing live single camera, in vision reports, interviews and behind the scenes pieces.
It’s a big game… we will be up for it!