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View from the Dugout: A great week spoilt by a poor refereeing decision

Manager Phil Parkinson with his latest column for Altrincham Today…

Manager Phil Parkinson with his latest column for Altrincham Today…

A really good week has been spoilt by a poor refereeing decision that saw us reduced to 10 men for the last quarter of the game at Telford on Tuesday night.

We were leading through a terrific goal set up in the 11th minute by John Johnston and Yusifu Ceesay and despatched clinically by Jordan Hulme, when the referee was clearly influenced by a combination of a baying crowd, Telford’s players and their backroom staff to show Andy White a second yellow card, following a really innocuous challenge on the Shropshire side’s very impressive winger, Ryan Barnett.

Yusifu Ceesay scored a brace on Saturday

From that moment it was an heroic backs-to-the-wall performance that saw us hold on to to our advantage until just after the 90th minute when Shaun Densmore slipped unfortunately to concede a penalty. We had no problem with that decision but Tony Thompson was desperately unlucky to see Andre Brown’s penalty ricochet off his arm and leg to squirm underneath his body and roll agonisingly over the line.

We felt that we had a great case for appealing the decision to send Andy White off but apparently you can’t appeal a red card that has been issued for two bookable offences, so Andy will miss our home game against Brackley on Tuesday night.

Goalmouth action at Alfreton

The point won at Telford still made it a decent result for us and keeps us three points ahead of Gavin Cowan’s side with a game more to play. On the back of the magnificent 7-0 win at Alfreton last week, we are going into the last five games of the season in great form and with a really good chance of making it into the play-offs, which remains our prime objective.

Watch highlights of the 7-0 win at Alfreton here

We are back at home on Saturday against Chorley, who have just slipped into second place after Stockport County won 6-0 at Chester on Tuesday night to move a point ahead of Jamie Vermiglio’s side.

Unfortunately, Billy Sass-Davies has been recalled by Crewe Alexandra from his loan spell as they are planning to utilise him in their first team squad for the remaining games this season. That leaves us a little short of central defensive cover for the Chorley game but Ben Harrison completes his loan at Witton Albion tomorrow and will be back in the fold for our final four games, starting next Tuesday when we entertain Brackley Town, which is also the target for Connor Hampson returning from the groin injury sustained at Alfreton.

Players celebrate after Jordan Hulme opens the scoring for Alty on Tuesday night

These next two games are massive against teams that are higher than us in the league but teams that we are capable of beating. We will need all the support that we can get from our fans who have been remarkable in our last two away games and between the players and the fans we can make the J Davidson Stadium a very difficult place for any team to visit.

It’s exciting times at Altrincham as the season draws to its finale.