Altrincham 6-1 Fleet

Altrincham took their chances in a first-half display that left the Fleet with far too much to do in the second period and while the visitors were the dominant team in that final 45 minutes, the home side managed two more clinical efforts to make it six on the scoreline.

Nathan Odokonyero scored his first goal for the club to make it 3-1 and both Shaq Coulthirst and Craig Tanner (with a penalty) had chances to reduce the arrears further still but nothing came off for the visitors in Manchester this afternoon.

There were three changes for this visit north as Omari Sterling-James, Craig Tanner and Shaq Coulthirst came in for Ben Chapman, Billy Clifford and the injured Dominic Poleon. And Ouss Cissé kept the same defensive place he occupied for the first time at Woking.

An energetic Altrincham got things started rapidly as Chris Conn-Clarke carved out a chance in the first minute, firing just too high.

But they did register on goal on four minutes, Conn-Clarke again the man to watch, getting away down the right and his cross took a touch off Chris Solly to be met by the head of Colchester loanee Alex Newby at the back post on his first start for the Robins.

The hosts were bright and after Justin Amaluzor’s pace took a yellow card from Cissé, the ex-Maidstone forward then smacked a shot from distance that Mark Cousins pushed behind.

It was 2-0 on the quarter-hour as Altrincham won a corner that was swung over at pace for Lewis Baines and his glanced header propelled the ball to the other side of the goal, away from Cousins and in.

Cousins saved from Dior Angus on 22 minutes and again a minute later with an even better leap to deny Conn-Clarke whose delivery from a free-kick was heading towards the top right corner. And when Newby battled through the middle in space, Cousins was again on hand to thwart him.

But a third goal came Altrincham’s away on half an hour. Elliot Osborne found Justin Donawa in acres of space and he was one-on-one with Cousins and drove his shot wide of the keeper and into the bottom corner.

Fleet tried to muster a response before the break and Tanner made a purposeful run to play in Couthirst who turned well but sent his shot just wide.

Tanner grasped the nettle again four minutes before the break and he provided the ammunition for Nathan Odokonyero to climb ahead of his marker and head home for his first Fleet goal.

That had the tails up heading into the break and the visitors kept Altrincham quiet for a spell but 3-1 became four right on 45 minutes. It came from a long goal-kick touched into the path of the dangerous Conn-Clarke and he rode one challenge before advancing and stroking the ball home.

Chapman was introduced at half-time and he almost made his presence felt within five minutes, swinging a shot goalwards from the edge of the box that clipped the crossbar. With Toby Edser introduced as well, the Fleet were more positive and Tanner floated a free-kick into the arms of goalkeeper Ethan Ross.

The two subs combined well on 62 minutes and Edser pinged a low cross along the six-yard box. It skipped through to Coulthirst but he fired it wide from eight yards out. Ross made a good save to keep Coulthirst out again as the Fleet attempted to get a foothold in the game.

Josh Wright was looking for a penalty on 68 minutes after great skill from Chapman won a free-kick on the edge of the box and Tanner floated it into the danger area.

Fleet were so unfortunate on 72 minutes when Darren McQueen ate up the ground down the right. He made it to the byline and delivered low for Edser whose shot was heading in but Ross got a hand to parry that one away.

In contrast to their first-half dominance, Altrincham were very much second fiddle after the break but they had a chance for a fifth on the counterattack, Donawa eventually getting sight of goal but finding Chapman in his way and the Fleet sub deflected it behind.

Tanner was the architect of much of Fleet’s play and he hit a dipping shot from distance into Ross’s arms on 77 minutes before the visitors earned a penalty 10 minutes from time. Chapman fed Domi, who was upended on the byline by Eddy Jones but Ross saved Tanner’s spot-kick at his right-hand post.

There were suggestions of another penalty when Edser went down under a challenge five minutes later but as the game headed towards the 90th minute, Altrincham got an undeserved fifth on the basis of the second-half performance. Away on the break, some neat skill in midfield allowed for a diagonal ball to the far post. Angus, only eight yards out, might have tried a shot but he waited for Conn-Clarke to make up ground into the middle and find the space to deliver into the net.

Cousins kept out Conn-Clarke again at his near post but the subsequent corner was only half-cleared, allowing Altrincham to fire in another deep cross where Baines met it to head home his second of the game.

EUFC: Cousins, White, Solly, Cissé (Edser 54), Wright, Domi, Sterling-James (Chapman 46), McQueen, Tanner, Odokonyero, Coulthirst (Amoo 72). Subs: Clifford, Hollis
AFC: Ross, E.Jones, Baines, Osborne (J.Jones 66), Marriott, Conn-Clarke, Amaluzor (Banks 46), Angus, Cooper, Donawa, Newby (Roscoe). Subs: Sithole, Burroughs
Attendance: 1,683

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