Tag Archives: Altrincham

The Unadventurously Titled Alty Review

Continuing our game of leapfrog with Crawley, the Dons beat Altrincham 2-0 to go top of the league once more. The win was mainly thanks to a brace from Danny Kedwell, finding his scoring boots just when I was starting to worry his gran might have thrown them out with the rubbish. Just reward indeed after a tough start to the week for Dons fans.

Of course I wasn’t at the game, Altrincham have been poor this season and a win was expected, but I’m sure all Dons fans will be hoping we have turned the corner after what has seemed like months of dire performances – in fact before last nights game our winless run in the BSP stretched back all of, erm, one game. Yet amid FA Cup scraps we haven’t been playing well at all of late, and its only natural as supporters we look for any tenuous sign that the corner might have been turned.

For obvious and unavoidable reasons the FA Cup is going to be a much bigger distraction than we would have liked, at least for the next week or so. But Saturdays game at Barrow gives us another chance to visit a side struggling at the bottom – you sense Barrow will be a different proposition, but three points are still there for the taking, a victory will be huge before we face the cameras once more at Ebbsfleet.

For now though, I want to talk about news from last nights game – Kedwells return to scoring form is obviously a major boost, but equally so was Jon Main’s return to the first team. The forward line has looked a little tired of late, Jackson and Jolley have done nothing wrong but we seem to be a little over reliant on them, which causes problems when Jolley isn’t on the pitch and Jackson isn’t performing – as per Saturday.

You wonder how Brown will line them up at Barrow, will Main continue to hold his place while Jolley kicks his heels in the stands? It’s a cliché that’s easy to trot out on demand when a forward isn’t playing well, but he just needs a goal to get the confidence flowing, then we’ll see him running past men and raining shots in, operating down the channel just off Kedwell as opposed to Jolley’s naturally wide position. It for this reason that Kedwell was pleased Main returned last night, or as he says in the local Guardian “When you have another striker up there with you it makes a massive difference.”

Plus if Brown is going to revert to 442 at any stage this season, Main is the obvious choice to partner the skipper. Don’t get me wrong, the 433 has been by and large a massive success, and I’m still not sure we’ve really been ‘found out’ beyond those who have stuck five in midfield with fingers crossed. Because of this it seems unlikely we will return to 442 on a permanent basis, particularly when this will involve removing a man from midfield at a time when the midfield already looks a little lightweight. It relies on the wide players, previously let off the leash, having to tuck in from time to time, or even worse removing them from the equation completely and playing orthodox midfielders in the wide positions. Yet 442 will mean a return to Jon Main playing in his favoured position, with his prefered strike partner, so in certain circumstances it might help break down what has previously appeared to be a resolutely locked door late in games.

It was also great to hear Lee Minshull returned last night. While not an obvious starter, Minshull at least gives us the option of literally bulking up the midfield, a different sort of midfielder coming back just when it appears we need less snap, more bite. Plus Minshull is the sort of midfielder you feel you can rely on to hit the back of the net. We seem to create an awful lot of chances for our midfielders, chances that we really need to take. Before last nights game, we had notched only two in four… we need to be scoring more as a team when Kedwell isn’t weighing in, as we seem to be relying on him to do it all himself.

There just seems to have been too many efforts like Sammy Moore against Ebbsfleet, when he put his head down and scuffed the ball, straight at a goalkeeper who found himself on his backside before the ball had even been struck. Its infuriating, as it must be for Terry, but not nearly as bad as watching them pass across the edge of the box. It almost got to the stage you were glad to see Blackman blaze well over, because at least it meant someone was prepared to take responsibility, albeit the wrong man at the wrong time.

Anyway, I seem to have gone off on a bit of a tangent… I’m getting a few things off my chest I was planning on doing for the Ebbsfleet report until events took a turn for the worse and I put it on hold. Plus now I have fulfilled my contractual obligations by mentioning Andre Blackman it might be time to put this post to bed. Can I just say what a pleasure it has been to simply concentrate on the football for an hour while writing this? I’m looking forward to when the circus leaves town and we can concentrate on whats important once more…

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Wimbledon 3 Altrincham 1 – Match Report 19/1/10

A much changed Dons line-up went through to the Third Round of the FA Trophy after a disjointed performance that was just about good enough to see off a battling Altrincham side. Lining up in a formation that owed more to ensuring as experienced a side as possible took the field, and with a non-existant bench, it could be argued this Wimbledon side just don’t know how to lose at the moment, despite making things hard for themselves at times played in front of a disappointing crowd of just 1450.

In fact it was Altrincham who had the first real effort of the game after two minutes, an outswinging corner firmly headed towards the left side of Sebb Brown’s goal, fortunately Jay Conroy had taken up a position on the post and was able to nod clear. Conroy found himself caught out of position frequently later in the game, but the tie would have followed a different course had he allowed this effort to creep past him. It was also pretty much the only effort Alty managed on goal before the break.

Not that Wimbledon dominated, at least not to start with. It took a while for the game to settle into any kind of pattern, as players fought to cut a niche for themselves while occupying slightly unfamiliar positions. For Danny Kedwell this seemed more of a problem than most, trying to play the Moore/Hendry role he constantly found himself sucked back deeper into midfield to win the ball, to the extent it almost seemed as if he was trying to play the holding role rather than the point of a diamond. Whatever his tactical instructions may have been, it left him far less effective than normal.

His battling qualities were still there, and he drew the foul that led to the Dons first chance just after the ten minute mark. Just right of centre, it seemed ideally positioned for Ricky Wellard’s left foot, but instead Hatton tried to whip it over right footed, the ball clearing the bar with ease. Next up Kedwell almost got on the end of a Main pullback after he had been set free down the left by a Hatton flick, sadly he was just beaten to the ball by a defender and the chance was gone.

Still the Dons now had Alty on the back foot. Despite not yet creating anything, and giving the ball away with worrying ease, the home side were getting the ball back thanks to some increasingly panicky clearances that allowed the Dons to build from the back once more. All of a sudden Wimbledon started to test Altrincham keeper Saunders. First, a Johnson cross found Kedwell whose looping header caused Saunders to stretch in order to collect. Then a Sam Hatton volley from the right edge of the penalty area caused the visitors custodian to drop smartly to his right to gather.

Finally, with five minutes of the half remaining Wimbledon found the breakthrough. Kennedy Adjei was given time to compose himself on the half way line before launching a rampaging surge into the visitors half, leaving two opponents for dead in the process. The ball found its way to Ricky Wellard loitering on the right edge of the area, a drop of the shoulder saw him past the opponent that blocked his path as he cut back inside, and rifled a left foot effort into the bottom right corner of the goal.

There then followed a bizarre piece of refereeing that infuriated the Dons fans and left both sides feeling a little hard done by. A through ball found Altrincham’s Chris Senior through on goal, and despite being a clear two yards offside the linesman’s flag stayed down. This threw Sebb Brown’s concentration, and he spied the danger too late before rushing out to clear. Senior’s balance had gone by the time the two came together, and after prodding the ball past the keeper the Alty man decided to take the easy option and tumble over the goalkeepers leg. Finally a whistle came, too late for Dons fans liking, awarding the free kick in Altrincham’s direction. A yellow card for Brown, but no more on account that Senior’s trajectory was sending him closer to the corner flag than the Dons goal, and at least two covering players were protecting the goal.

Not that the Altrincham bench were happy with the free kick, and kicked off into one of the biggest strops seen at Kingsmeadow this season, which included an always enjoyable spot of crowd interaction. Perhaps Alty manager Graham Heathcote should have read Terry Brown’s Mansfield programme notes, as there was little Respect shown by him towards the match officials. Ultimately you could say the men in black came up with the correct result, the referee seemed to notice something was up and took leniency on young Brown when I suppose a red card was a possibility – we have seen those given in the past. But ultimately the only losers in the incident were the Dons… if the referee had managed to make the correct decision to start with, I wouldn’t be writing this now!

[Edit – I’ve actually seen the video now and in particular the image reproduced here, and I’m ready to accept that it might have been a closer offside call than I suggested – which of course doesn’t excuse Senior’s extravagant tumble, which you don’t quite get the full benefit of on the video. For the avoidance of any doubt though, you can see the direction he was heading (Berrylands) and the number of covering players (plenty)]

Presumably Heathcote used this mock sense of injustice to his advantage during the half time break, not that it did him much good as his side found themselves two goals down less than five minutes into the second period. Adjei controlled a fierce low clearance, and slid the ball into Ross Montague, who had his back to goal on the edge of the area. Montague quickly laid off to Jon Main, who took a touch before drilling the ball into the bottom right hand corner.

For the next few minutes it looked as though the Dons would put the game well beyond their visitors. Main forced a corner on the right, and Wellard’s delivery was flicked on at the near post by Brett Johnson, only to be deflected behind. Wimbledon then threatened though a number of succesive corners, ended when Jon Main found himself brushed off the ball in the area, with the referee and his assistants being in no place to make a decision.

It was a that point that Heathcote decided to make changes, bringing on the more offensively minded Clee and Little. The switch had an immediate effect, with Altrincham now able to hold the ball in the Dons half more effectively and build attacks. Minutes later they forced the first real moment of danger in the Dons box, with Shaun Densmore’s precise volleyed cross from the right finding Senior in space, only for the Alty man to rush his headed finish when he could have taken the ball down. It was only a short respite for Wimbledon, as the visitors pulled themselves right back into the game.

As another Alty forage forward looked to have been repelled, a half-clearance found Anthony Danylyk in space twenty-five yards out, and he took his chance really well, returning the ball into the bottom left corner of Sebb Brown’s goal at such pace it gave the young keeper no chance.

Adjei immediately picked up a head injury that required a BIG bandage, however it was just coincidence that following this the Dons overworked midfield seemed to break down temporarily. Unable to pass the half way line, their balls forward were either over hit and poorly placed, or didn’t make it past the first man. Fortunately the back line was battling bravely against a barrage of crosses during a spell when it seemed a matter of when Altrincham would equalise rather than if.

But the storm had been weathered, and the Dons finally found their feet again in midfield. This culminated in a gradual spell of pressure that saw the hosts extend their lead and put the game beyond doubt. Following a bit of head tennis in the area a Ricky Wellard shotwas deflected into the air, looping perfectly for Jon Main to bury his header… Instead he just about did enough despite putting the ball too close to a defender for anyones liking. It seemed to have crossed the line before said unidentified Alty player fisted it away from goal, but Ben Judge was on hand to blast into the roof of the net and end the arguments.

Except the arguments between Main and Judge of course! To be honest it all happened to quickly to tell whether the linesman was flagging for Judge or for Main’s original effort, the two of them still trying to work it out long after the final whistle [Late edit – you can’t tell from the video either!]. To be fair Main gets more than his fair share, and Judge is a warhorse, reliable and loyal with it… Judge deserves the goal. If Jon Main has a problem with that, my only advice to him would be to make sure the ball hits the net in future – then no-one can take it away from you!

Five minutes later Altrincham had the ball in the net once more, this time ruled out due to a rather obvious handball by Colin Little, still it ensured a few Dons hearts leapt into mouths at a key moment. Despite the shaky performances from both sides, or rather because of the shaky performances, the game was reasonably exciting throughout. Although the Dons created more chances, including a self-made chance from a surprisingly lively Ross Montague that ended with a twenty yard shot that was slightly scuffed and comfortably saved by Saunders, it would have been slightly rough on Altrincham who deserve credit for their gutsy performance.

And those stay-away supporters ultimately missed out. Wimbledon now face the other unfortunate team that lost out to the 1977 Dons 4 Div 4 campaign – Workington of the Blue Square North. Without wanting to tempt fate, the Third Round draw has presented a series of fixtures that mean a winnable quarter-final would be just as likely as a difficult one – should we get that far… And to paraphrase Sam Allardyce (sort of…), those that weren’t there last night will be the first ones to complain when they can’t get tickets for the later rounds…

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‘We’ll Never Make It Back To Wembley’, Part Two (or Altrincham Match Preview 19.1.10)

After our return to League action, we immediately switch our attention to the Trophy and welcome Altrincham down to the ‘Meadow. While not exactly the Magic of the Cup, the Temptation of the Trophy will be enough to drag 1732 hardy souls down to Kingsmeadow to see this vital Second Round tie. In fact I’d almost rather have half of those there than the bland atmosphere we witnessed for most of Saturday, when my concentration had been broken on several occasions by the dropping of knitting needles in the Strank Stand…

I love midweek cup action at Kingsmeadow; that it’s normally just the hardcore who turn out for this type of game means perversely there is more concrete and steel for the atmosphere to bounce off, and not absorbed into static flesh like it was on Saturday. Plus where do these extra supporters disappear to for these midweek cup ties? We are always going to lose a few due to kids not coming, distant Dons being unable to travel, late shift workers not being able to get there in time… but that can’t account for half our regular fanbase, surely?

I think its down to our modern Sky-assisted idea (yup, it’s always Sky’s fault…) that there is nothing like the League, and all other tournaments are little more than a meaningless distraction… which as we all know is horsecrap of the highest order. The cup is where it’s at, and if you think back to some of the greatest games you’ve seen, I guarantee at least half of them would be cup ties – which those of you working out the ratio of League games played to Cup games would already have worked out, doesn’t quite add up…

To borrow a Football Managers Cliche, ‘The League is our bread and butter’… which probably explains why managers are more likely to suffer heart problems. Stop moaning about stress, try using low-fat spread for a while, that’ll sort it out. Plus you can’t eat bread and butter all the time, which is effectively what these stay-away fans are doing… How do they avoid the boredom of Conference fixture after Conference fixture? You need the curry of an FA Cup run, or the microwave Spag Bol of the Trophy from time to time… even the Curly Wurly of the Surrey Senior Cup is enough to sort me out good and proper…

As for the game itself, lets not kid ourselves that we are going to overwhelm Altrincham. If they won their three games in hand they would only be a win away from us (not that they will necessarily win those games, it’s just a way of saying ‘careful now..’), and have shown some pretty decent form away from home. Their supporters are confident – not just for this tie but for them to go on and win the thing – which is a great attitude to have (and I mean that not in a patronising way, football gods…).

Having said that, I think we would have been more likely to throw this one away if we’d played the game on its original date. Ever since we lost 1-5 at home to Southall in the Combined Counties Premier Challenge Cup we have looked shaky at the ‘Meadow in cup competitions played on a Saturday. I’m still waking up in the middle of the night sweating while having nightmares about Walton & Hersham. Even right up to Boreham Wood, when we could easily have ended by shuffling out of the ground wondering what just happened.

Team news now, and as the O/S conveniently managed to point out just before I had the chance to, John McAliskey is Cup Tied and won’t be featuring for the visitors. There, thats it, my one and only insight into the Altrincham lineup and they go and ruin it… ahem, although my sources close to the Moss Lane outfit suggest apart from that the lineup will be pretty similar to the side that picked up three points at Ebbsfleet on Saturday (which is more than we did…).

Dons news, and the list of those available would probably be easier to write than those that are out, but as far as I’m aware those Cup Tied are Hendry, Poole and Garrard, with the beast that is Elder unavailable due to not being signed in time for the original tie (one of those weird rules that you only find out about when it affects you…). With Saturday’s Man of the Match out, we will have to make do with top scorer Danny Kedwell starting, and with a point to prove.

In reality our best forward line will probably turn out to be Kedwell alongside Elder, despite Jon Main’s best attempts to put himself about Keds style on Saturday. Main can put an end to that type of talk tomorrow however, and I’m sure he’ll be desperate to avoid slipping out of the starting XI altogether no matter how effective most of us think he can be as an impact substitute.

So in my opinion, we will line up something like this;












Ricky Wellard’s fifteen minutes against Mansfield has shown his desire is there, even if we may have to make do with the negatives as well as the positives he brings to the side – although like Sam Hatton I’m one of those who firmly believes those positives far outweigh any mistakes he might make. Plus he seems to have discovered his eye for goal, so keep an eye out for any screamers he might let loose from distance… one day one of them is going to end up in the top corner and we’ll be talking about it for months…

Apart from that, the side pretty much picks itself at the moment, mainly due to those unavailable. With Lorraine out the centre half pairing looks assured, I think if Blanchett can walk he’ll be asked to play over a virus-ridden Derek Duncan, and continuity will be good enough reason to keep Sebb Brown between the sticks despite what must be a strong urge to give returning senior goalkeeper Jamie Pullen a Cup run-out. The only thing I’m not quite sure of is formation, so we could see something interesting happen involving Ross Montague should Terry decide to leave a midfielder on what I would imagine could be a fairly lightweight bench.

I spent most of today thinking about this game; I’ve been looking forward to it since the draw was made. We could be in for a difficult but watchable game, I would expect the home team to have 60-70% of possession, but it certainly won’t be enough to make sure of a victory on its own – its making use of the ball that is going to ensure whether we win through, or watch Altrincham continue on their way and wonder what might have been.

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Belated Happy New Year

So I’m back in the country… or to be more accurate I’ve been back in the country for ten days, I’ve only just gotten around to writing something, but for the purposes of this post… I’ve just arrived back. So what did I miss?

Well a lot of inclement weather apparently (although Xmas in New Hampshire meant I was in the midst of PLENTY of inclement weather…) which has caused the cancellation of Crawley (a), Tooting (a), Hayes (a), Wrecsam (h), Altrincham (h). Oh, and Tooting (a)… again. Hang on, did I say Hayes away? We wish… I wasn’t even able to attend (thanks to a young ‘un screaming his head off for most of my seven hour flight, or more accurately the young ‘un’s parents complete lack of control of their child, causing me to collapse into sleep on arrival back at Anonymous Mansions), which is probably a bonus, but great way to start the year, eh?

I’m not going to write any more about the negatives. I’m already having panic attacks having completed my annual New Year audit of finances, the result of which was ohmygodImfuckedImfuckedImgoingtojailImfucked not pleasing… Precisely how many away games I can get to this year remains to be seen, I may have to sell that pristine 1993 FA Cup Final Replay programme to finance my way through February’s away games…

So you may have to put up with reduced content from AFC Wimbledon’s Premier blog (no change there then) unless someone wants to sponsor me? For the small sum of, say £50 a month you could take advantage of The Anonymous Don Brought To You By [YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE]’s literally* hundreds of visitors a day… just throwing it out there…

(*  read ‘imaginary’…)

While the weather has been rough of late (still not rough enough for your Anonymous Don to bag any time off work… grrr….), its showing some signs of improvement, perhaps just in time for Tuesdays FA Trophy game with Altrincham to go ahead. While I’m not confident enough to go ahead and write a match preview just yet, perhaps if we all cross our fingers and wish hard enough we might just see some football in a couple of days!

The Dons have leapt into the transfer market and snaffled Peterborough fullback Danny Blanchett on loan until the end of the season. This is the sort of signing we’ve been waiting for since Chris Hussey left, he sounds like a proper replacement and although he hasn’t quite made it at Peterborough he seems to have had a decent spell on loan to Hereford in League Two, and his non-League upbringing is impressive. Plus that trial he had at Liverpool where apparently he made a real impression on their coaching staff. The fact that he can play as a centre half always makes me feel quite comfortable… we know Jay Conroy can do it and when we had Brett Johnson lining up on the other side we seemed a lot more comfortable at the defending side of things, hopefully Danny will be able to add the offensive aspect of the job more than Brett could, for all his efforts.

And will we add another newcomer shortly? My only hope is yes, as although the whole goalscoring midfielder problem seems to have been solved by the arrival of Will Hendry, we still need someone who can put the ball in the box accurately on a regular basis. For all I know they could have shown signs of doing this in recent weeks, it seems like years since that Boreham Wood game in December, the last time I saw any live football. I mean seriously, its been like those few weeks before pre-season… what was that famous quote again? Oh yeah, I just want to watch football…

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Conference Score and Match Reaction Altrincham 23.8.09

Firstly, and just in case anyone has tuned in late not knowing the score…

Altrincham    (0) 0

AFC Wimbledon    (0) 1    Kedwell (82)

And that, if you didn’t know, has taken AFC Wimbledon into 4th place. True, only five games have been played, but for the young Wimbledon side this is more experience. Perhaps next year, we may be in fourth place preparing to face the league leaders with five games to go?

In truth, we probably don’t have the experience, as well as a lack of depth among our striking options, to hold up a serious playoff challenge over the course of this season. Look at how Kettering tailed off last year when they became preoccupied with the FA Cup. I expect a decent run in the FA Cup this year, and perhaps a huge push to get to Wembley in the Trophy.

I expect this season to be exciting. I also think we will win more games than we lose. Yet for every battling away win at places like Altrincham we are going to trip up in the manner we did at Eastbourne… especially in situations where the pressure is on. Plus although Salisbury rolled over for us last Tuesday, we are going to come across opponents hanging around the bottom half who will all of a sudden become very hard to break down.

I expect us to give Oxford a really good game on Saturday. Yet it’s how we perform in the following two games against Grays and Tamworth that will decide whether we are still in the playoff places come 5pm on the first Saturday of September. Looking further ahead, at some point Danny Kedwell’s rich goalscoring form will come to an end. He’s never been prolific anywhere he has been – even last year it was more about the goals he created than the many he scored.

Plus Terry has already spoken about his desire for Luke Moore to chip in with a few goals this term. If Moore can hit twenty this season, as he has the tallent to achieve, perhaps that will take the pressure off Jon Main a little. The fact that no league sides came in for Main last summer probably has more to do with the fact he was under contract, and we would have asked for silly money. Yet even if he was a free agent, I can’t believe clubs would have been falling overthemselves to sign him. Perhaps he would have got a trial here or there, I don’t think anything would have come from it.

As I have said previously though, Main is still getting chances. Perhaps against Oxford or Grays he will race clear of the defence and stick it away this time, then chances are he will start chipping in goals. My biggest problem at the moment is we haven’t seen any goals from midfield. With players like Hatton and Taylor, even Duncan, shouldn’t we have seen a goal from one of them in the last five games?

Like the league table however, the goalscoring charts are normally skewed by early season form that cannot be kept up over the course of the season. I’m sure by the end of September we will be in a position to judge our strengths and weaknesses a little better. Until then, and looking at some of the fixtures we have coming up, my only recommendation to you all is just to enjoy it!

Finally, I heard a supporter of ours collapsed at the game yesterday, apparently the Altrincham stewards dealt with it very efficiently. I don’t know the fan in question, but needless to say my thoughts, and those of all Dons fans, are with them now.

PS In case you missed the earlier news, I wasn’t at the game so there will be NO MATCH REPORT from me. Never mind, to make up here are some offerings from the media, and some of my fellow fan sites;

Local Guardian/Surrey Comet –http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/sport/football/4561030.Still_so_much_to_come_purrs_Dons_boss_Brown/

BBC Sport (for a laugh more than anything, see the description for the Alty chance…) – http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_conf/8207946.stm

BBC Sport text commentary – http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/w/afc_wimbledon/live_text/default.stm

Altrincham O/S report ***Excellent*** – http://www.altrinchamfc.co.uk/090822an.htm

It Must Be Dons – http://imbd.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/long-journey-for-3-lovely-points/

SW19s – http://sw19s-army.derrymeeleen.com/wp/?p=3904

AFC WimbledonMAD – http://www.afcwimbledon-mad.co.uk/news/loadroll.asp?cid=ED81&id=459412

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Altrincham v AFC Wimbledon – A Match Preview

altySo to avoid any repeat of last weeks catastrophe, where an unfinished match preview on The Anony Don lead to fear, confusion and panic amongst the Dons fanbase, I am starting the Altrincham match preview extra early… sacrificing my all important Second Thoughts on Salisbury. Don’t worry though! You will get a chance to email me in disgust as I only give Luke Moore an 8… in fact the ratings were just about the only thing I haven’t covered after my exhaustive match report…

Its now that I have to drop the bombshell… I won’t be travelling to Altrincham on Saturday. Yes, after bigging them up in pre-season, I will now have to wait until next season to visit. Surely all those Alty fans who inundated me with messages of gratitude after I wrote a nice article about them back in June time will be crying into their beers that they won’t get to reward me with beer and women… not this time lads (the magic of the cup perhaps?).

Plus what a nice bunch they seem to be too. After I inadvertently identified the name of their ground as that of their local rivals and all… After all, those beers I mentioned earlier would have been bought in their bar. Finally a club that isn’t afraid to let the rampaging hordes of violent Wombles into their clubhouse.

Why am I missing the game I don’t hear you ask, but will answer anyway? Well, there’s a family reunion going on at my Aunt and Uncles house, the sort of thing I would normally blow out in a second. The thing is, I hear rumours they’ve got a bit of money my Aunt & Uncle, and as my poor nan used to say to me before she passed on last year – ‘Don’t let them give it all to the church!’. Plus by attending it will buy my wife’s loyalty, at least for long enough to cover the September aways – I even remembered it was my mums birthday today (Old Ma’ Anonymous is a regular reader of this blog, so can I just say now – Happy Birthday!).

After Tuesdays win there is a fair amount of confidence flooding around Kingsmeadow at the moment. Probably only tempered by a quick glance at the league table, which shows our opponents lie in second. Added to the fact it is a ‘£15 coach’ game, suggests we could be in for a tricky trip. Yet early tables are deceiving after all, Alty fans are probably over the moon they are well clear of the relegation zone right now (which in the real world, is what we should be thinking… don’t let me join the real world just yet though, where I’m at right now is fine enough…).

Added to the fact that had ‘The Siege of Langney’ actually resulted in some goals, and their full back not knocked one in the top corner from Pevensey Bay, we would actually be above them right now. In fact we would be above everyone. Also, while we have played leaders Luton and a supposedly improving Kettering, Altrincham have been fortunate enough to have kicked off against teams who haven’t really clicked yet. However, they won three of those games, and no-one is taking that away from them… they are second on merit.

Can they keep their form going though? By all means Saturday is perfectly winnable, yet I suppose a lot of it rests on whether Kedwell is fit, and Main finally brings his shooting boots. Plus whichever of the dozens of midfielders we seem to be storing starts the game need to actually hold possession for a change, otherwise we will be inviting trouble.

Looking at the next couple of away games however, as a side that is always going to attract a strong away following wherever we go we should be looking at four points as a target, especially as they are sandwiching a much trickier home game with Oxford (more on that next week of course…). Luke Moore has been in the local paper saying it’s the fear he will lose his place that is pushing him on to play so well, which sounds strange especially as most predicted a lack of fear the young players have would be a reason we are successful. Perhaps hiking up the pressure in terms of a starting place was part of Terry’s plan all along, to see who sinks and who swims…

Perhaps it is time for me to reveal my predicted lineup…












I feel if Kedwell’s injury had been serious enough to rule him out of Saturdays game, we would have heard about it by now… not that Terry would have allowed the news to leak out of course. So basically, its guesswork! Just hope Terry doesn’t feel the same way… I feel after the rough time Jon Main has had recently he will benefit from the opportunity he had against Luton, of coming on late against a tiring defence, to build up his confidence if anything.

If Terry goes for this it should be an interesting game… and it is a shame to miss it. I will also miss out on the delights of Radio WDON… and the Dons fanbase will miss out on my match reports… Oh well, you only have a few sources to fall back on; the OS, the NLP, BBC Sport website, The Kingston Guardian, the SLP, The Surrey Comet, Radio Jackie, BBC Southern Counties Radio, the local Altrincham press, It Must Be Dons, SW19’s, Silverbugle Womble, AFC WimbledonMAD, AFC Wimbledon TV…. you should get some kind of idea how it went from those?

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The Conference Files – Altrincham FC

I’ve never been to Altrincham, the closest I’ve been was Sale to visit a friend. So my primary opinion of Altrincham has been of a kind of Mancunian Kingston, at the end of the tram network, where the bus terminates, the last stop, as far as the suburbs go. Its their position that means they have no real local rivals anymore despite playing on the outskirts of one of the famous football cities in the world. Everyone around them seems either a bit too big, or a bit small, or in Macclesfields case always a step ahead. You could imagine an alternate reality, where the transition between Football League and Non-League had been fluid from the start. Perhaps Altrincham would have gone on to have a meaningful rivalry with the likes of Stockport?


altyFormed back in 1903, they actually have an Old Centrals-esque history dating back as far as 1891, when the club played on park pitches under a variety of different names. The Robins are possibly unique in being founder members of just about every league they’ve ever played in; the Manchester League (1893), the Cheshire League (1919), the Northern Premier League (1968), the Alliance Premier League (Conference, 1979), Conference North (ok, I know its a division of the Conference, but they were in it from the start, 2004).

The club are probably most famous for their FA Cup runs in the 70’s and 80’s, including joining Wimbledon as one of the few Non-League clubs to knock out a First Division team on their own ground, beating Birmingham City 2-1 in 1986, as well as hugely creditable draws away at Everton (1975) and Spurs (1979).

Recently Altrincham achieved the feat of finishing in the Conference relegation places in 2006, ’07 and ’08, gaining a reprieve thanks to clubs accepting voluntary demotion or being forced out of business. While its never good to see clubs suffer financially, Altrincham must have felt disappointed having to face clubs who were spending beyond their means on playing budgets, and must be congratulated for putting the long term security of their club ahead of short term gambles to ensure divisional status.

What must have seen even more galling to Robins fans was they would have remained out of the relegation zone in 2006 had they not been punished by a whopping 18 point deduction for their version of Darlo-gate, in their case midfielder James Robinson. With Alty not fortunate enough to have a high profile QC supporter willing to give his time for free, they copped the entire punishment. However justice was ultimately served as the club remained in non-league footballs top flight.


 After the fortunate relegation battles of previous years, Altrincham seem to have turned a corner in 2008/09. Despite a disappointing September that saw them plunge towards the relegation zone, they picked up by October and were briefly in the top half of the table. The Robins hung around midtable for the rest of the season, never looking entirely safe, and a run of eleven games featuring just one win was ended with a fine victory over Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground which hauled their slide towards the relegation zone.

Inconsistency was a major problem – they managed to slump to a 0-2 defeat to Lewes, and ultimately were probably thankful for the poor form shown by sorry Weymouth, and our Surrey neighbours Woking (who didn’t have the excuse of playing youth players) prevented them becoming involved in a relegation dogfight. But for long suffering Alty fans, I’m sure last season was a blessing compared with what has gone before.


Altrincham are perhaps the best example of what could have happened to WFC had the ‘Dons 4 Div 4’ campaign failed. With league clubs surrounding them within easy reach, including the North West Premier League giants, you’re probably more likely to see a range of Premier League shirts in Altrincham than the home clubs (like Kingston town centre on a matchday…). However crowds of just under a thousand are decent for a club battling against clubs with league history, and the larger fanbase that goes with that.

Also, its seems Altrinchams Official website is a real labour of love. Updated daily, the news includes breaking news from around the Conference as well as club news. I had a quick look a couple of days ago and ended up losing a whole lunch hour reading it. It can be found here – http://www.altrinchamfc.co.uk/alty1.htm


 A half hour train or tram ride from Manchester Piccadilly, there’s no doubt some fans will be using this game as an excuse for a weekend in Manchester (should the fixture fall on a Saturday). Moss Road isn’t that far from the station, and is an old style non-league ground that looks as though it’s seen a facelift relatively recently, without losing any character. Dons fans should primarily find themselves located on the open Hale End, however it looks a little small, if we find ourselves playing there on a Saturday near the start or end of the season, or have the immense good fortune to be visiting on a day when FC United haven’t got a game (thus earning ourselves a few extra fans for the day!), it might turn out to be a bit cramped!

The more and more you look into Altrincham, the more certain aspects ring a bell – they have a pylon right next to the ground that overshadows the floodlights. Where have we seen that before?!

(NB – Before I started writing this section, I wrote on my notepad ‘Do not call their ground Moss Rose, thats Macclesfield, they’ll get offended…’. Spot the deliberate mistake above. Clearly several people were watching, I apologise, I’ve amended the tag but I’m keeping the error in as a slap on the wrist and a warning to any other Dons fan reading not to make the same mistake… I’ll spend the rest of the day writing ‘MOSS LANE’ 1000 times as punishment…)



(Dons home admission in brackets for comparison)

TERRACE – £13 (£12) Conc £8 (£6) 12-16 £5 (£2) U12 £2 (£2)

SEATS – £15 (£14-16) Conc £9 (£7-8) 12-16 £5 (£3-4) U12 £2 (£3-4)

Altrincham have upped their prices this season – not by a lot mind, and they are among the cheapest in the division. I would imagine that we would have wanted the £13 terrace prices too, but a 30% rise would have been too much for some fans to take in these tough economic times. It’s likely that our prices were largely based on clubs like Altrincham


 AFC Era – None

All time Wimbledon – None

In other words we will be facing Altrincham for the first time this coming season! However we have faced them in competition to be elected to the Football League in the past…