02:55PM, Thursday 14 October 2021
Sam Barratt.Photo: George Tewkesbury
Altrincham 2, Maidenhead United 0
Maidenhead United have slipped to 18th in the National League after losing 2-0 at Altrincham on Saturday, a sixth defeat in eight winless matches for the Magpies.
There could be few complaints from the loyal band of Magpies supporters who followed their team to the North West and, but for the performance of man-of-the-match Rhys Lovett in goal, the margin of defeat would have been greater.
Off the back of a well-deserved draw at Yeovil Town in mid-week, United were resilient and difficult to break down in the first half on Saturday but striking that balance between defence and attack has been elusive for the side this season and they posed the Robins relatively few problems going forward.
Devonshire would have hoped to see the players apply more pressure in the second half but instead the opposite was true and goals from Matty Kosylo and Tom Peers handed the hosts a relatively routine home win, their fourth in five matches at the J Davidson Stadium.
The Magpies also struggled against Alty last season, losing both of their league matches, but unlike last season the Maidenhead management team have issues to sort out at both ends of the field.
Devonshire will have been satisfied with the side’s defensive efforts in the first half, but little else with neither keeper forced into making any meaningful saves. Tony Thompson was alert to tip an early Reece Smith effort around the post, but Rhys Lovett was certainly the busier of the two custodians. He produced a smothering save from Joel Senior’s mishit shot in the 13th minute after Kosylo cleverly dummied the ball into Senior’s path. Dan Mooney came close in the 37th minute after being teed up by Ben Pringle, and the Magpies were thankful for the instincts and bravery of captain Alan Massey as he threw himself in front of Josh Hancock’s shot to keep the scoreline goalless at the break.
However, instead of imposing themselves on the game in the second period the Magpies became more passive.
Josh Kelly almost stole in after a misunderstanding between Thompson and Tom Hannigan, but the keeper got back to save at the feet of the Maidenhead striker. After this United were virtually non-existent as an attacking threat. Their defences were breached when Mooney motored towards the byline and swept in a cross that Kosylo forced home in the 56th minute. Hannigan’s header in the 71st minute was blocked on the goalline and Mooney fired over after being sent through on goal by Brad Jackson. Lovett also made brilliant saves to keep out Marcus Dinanga and Jackson, but a second goal deservedly arrived in second half stoppage time.
Substitute Dean Furman started the move, winning the ball back and playing in Jackson who crossed from the right for Peers to score and rubber-stamp victory. There are now 10 places between Altrincham in eighth and Maidenhead in 18 and, on the evidence of this, the two teams will have different ambitions this season.