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Match Reports

Notts 3-0 Altrincham

Play-offs secured in style

7 May 2022

Second-half goals from Cal Roberts, Kyle Wootton and Ruben Rodrigues secured a convincing win over Altrincham.

Roberts netted from the spot and both Wootton and Rodrigues converted crosses from the right as our place in the play-offs was confirmed in style.

With Richard Brindley back at his disposal, Ian Burchnall reverted to a back three with the former Rotherham man lining up alongside Alex Lacey and Adam Chicksen in central defence.

Sam Slocombe kept his place in goal, with Dion Kelly-Evans and Jayden Richardson at wing-back, while Jim O’Brien made it back-to-back starts in midfield with Matt Palmer and Roberts.

Up front, Wootton was partnered by Rodrigues and the Portuguese had the game’s first chance in the second minute when he latched on to Roberts’ low cross only for a defender to divert his shot behind.

Kelly-Evans had our next opportunity, cutting in from the left and flashing a shot across goal and wide from the edge of the area.

And Kelly-Evans was involved in a big penalty appeal moments later when he played Chicksen towards the byline, where he appeared to be shoved over by a defender only for the referee to give a goal kick.

We were enjoying a totally dominant spell and, after Rodrigues’ cross-shot had nearly beaten Tony Thompson in the visitors’ net, Richardson crashed a half-volley off the bar following the resultant corner.

O’Brien followed up with a speculative effort which flew well wide, only to squander a much better chance moments later when he scuffed his shot from Roberts’ cut-back at Thompson, who was able to make the save.

The visitors had rarely threatened but could have hit us with a sucker-punch shortly before half-time when Isaac Marriott fired wide after receiving a cut-back in space near the penalty spot.

It would have been incredibly harsh had the Alty man taken that chance – particularly as we had the crossbar rattling again on the brink of half-time when Roberts’ brilliant cross was met well by Wootton, who could only watch on as his header crashed off the underside of the bar before being cleared away to safety.

It only took us seconds to turn the screw after the break, however, as within two minutes of the restart Roberts was hauled back in the box before dispatching the resultant spotkick expertly.

We continued to dominate as the second period progressed and had another big penalty shout turned down when Roberts appeared to by scythed down in the area.

But it wasn’t to matter as, 11 minutes later, we doubled our lead when Roberts scampered to the byline and stood up a cross for Wootton to lash home acrobatically.

Deserved gloss was then added to the scoreline as we scored the best goal of the day on 84 minutes. Eli Sam, on for Roberts, held off his man in midfield before spraying the ball out to Richardson. The wing back nudged the ball in front of himself with his head and rinsed his marker for pace before crossing into the middle, where Rodrigues met the ball with an emphatic diving header in front of the Kop.

STARTING XI: Slocombe; Chicksen, Lacey, Brindley; Kelly-Evans (Cameron 64'), Richardson; Palmer, O'Brien (Francis 77'), Roberts (Sam 81); Rodrigues, Wootton

UNUSED SUBS: Rawlinson, Brunt

BOOKINGS: Richardson 34', Palmer 60'

ATTENDANCE: 6,581 (225)


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