ALTRINCHAM temporarily dropped back into the National League relegation zone after being leapfrogged by FC Halifax Town, who won 1-0 despite being reduced to 10 men.

Substitute Connor Hughes scored the only goal midway through the second half, slotting home after a quick counter attack for his second of the season.

The hosts had to play most of the second period a man light after James Bolton saw red for a last-man foul on 53 minutes.

Josh Ginnelly had an effort cleared off the line and a free-kick well saved by Halifax keeper Sam Johnson but Alty could not make their numerical advantage count late on.

The Robins returned to the bottom four on goal difference after a third defeat in four games since Neil Tolson replaced Lee Sinnott as manager earlier this month but they were later replaced by Torquay United – who lost 5-0 at promotion-chasing Dover.

Alty had won on their previous two visits to the Shay and made the early running in the televised lunchtime kick-off in west Yorkshire.

Ginnelly – who scored a stunning solo goal in last weekend’s 4-0 win over Aldershot – struck the crossbar in the fourth minute, albeit from an offside position.

Jordan Sinnott then tested Halifax’s on-loan Port Vale stopper Johnson from 20 yards before Simon Richman had a penalty appeal turned down after going to ground in the box.

Halifax were forced into a change on 26 minutes when the injured Matty Brown was replaced by Jake Hibbs, as Bolton moved to centre-back and Kevin Roberts out to right-back.

But the defensive reshuffle did not deter the hosts as Kingsley James called Alty keeper Tim Deasy into action from the edge of the box – their first threatening moment in a poor first-half.

Josh MacDonald’s 25-yard drive tested Deasy soon after the break but Jim Harvey’s side soon had reduced numbers when Bolton was sent off by referee Michael Salisbury for pulling down Damien Reeves just outside the penalty area as the last defender.

Alty looked to be in the ascendancy from that point but struggled to carve out clear-cut opportunities, despite the introduction of top scorer Michael Rankine from the bench.

Ginnelly thought he had scored when his low effort trickled towards goal but Hibbs made a dramatic clearance off the line before the visitors were immediately caught cold defensively for the game’s decisive moment.

Within 18 seconds, Hughes was played through by James after a blistering break and the former Hyde United winger calmly stroked the ball past Deasy.

Despite being on the back foot in the closing stages, Halifax remained well-organised to deal with anything that Alty threw at them.

Ginnelly provided the main attacking threat for the Robins, with the on-loan Burnley midfielder seeing a well-struck free-kick kept out before being denied one-on-one by Johnson.

But the FA Trophy finalists held on to climb up two places to 19th and complete a league double over Alty, who now have little time to prepare for the visit of Southport to Moss Lane on Easter Monday.


FC Halifax Town:  Johnson, Bolton, Brown (Hibbs 26′), Bencherif, McManus, Roberts, MacDonald (McDonald 67′), James, Wroe (c), Burrows, Fairhurst (Hughes 55′).
Subs not used:  Porter (GK), Peniket.
Sent-off:  Bolton (53′)
Goals:  Hughes (68′)

Altrincham:  Deasy, Leather, Havern, Moult (c), Griffin, Sinnott, Lawrie (Phillips 73′), Heathcote (Rankine 60′), Ginnelly, Reeves, Richman (O’Keefe 86′).
Subs not used:  Davis, Williams.
Booked:  Griffin (43′)

Referee:  Michael Salisbury (Lancashire)
Attendance:  1,747

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