ALTRINCHAM booked their spot in the fourth qualifying round of the 2016-17 Emirates FA Cup after a dominant 3-0 win over Morpeth Town at Moss Lane.

Damien Reeves opened the scoring on his 300th appearance for the club before Sean Miller and Simon Richman added goals to ensure progression.

The hosts, who are currently struggling in the Vanarama National League North, now await the draw for the final qualifying round which takes place on October 15.

Despite their struggles, in the early embers of the game it was clear to see that any cup nerves were dispelled, as it was an open affair, with both teams demonstrating their fluidity in attack.

Although Alty were comfortable in possession, it was the visitors who had the first real opportunities of the game, with top scorer Paul Robinson hitting the side netting from close range.

Following this chance, Morpeth threatened again on the break, with keeper Andrew Dawber saving well from Liam Henderson.

Despite enjoying this early spell, the hosts responded well, enjoying complete domination until half-time.

This pressure was duly rewarded five minutes before half-time as Altrincham broke the deadlock through cult hero Reeves, as he guided a superb header into the net, following a lovely cross from Greg Wilkinson.

Reeves would have been delighted to mark his 300th appearance with a goal, following spurned opportunities earlier in the game, the goal now marks as Reeves 164th for the club, a landmark achievement.

Sam Patterson later received treatment shortly after, coming off the back of a heavy challenge just before half-time but was well enough to continue.

Following this stoppage in play, referee David McNamara blew for the half-time whistle.

The second half started where the first left off, with Altrincham applying pressure which saw Wilkinson blaze over after some neat build-up play.

Yet the Robins were forced into a substitution in the early stages of the half as Tom Hannigan, who had just returned from injury, was forced off and was replaced by Leyton Orient loanee Josh Doherty.

Altrincham were still enjoying the majority of the chances, with midfielder Charlie Joyce trying his luck from long range, with his effort just whistling past the post.

The hosts thought they had a penalty on 58 minutes, but winger Sean Miller’s effort to win a spot-kick was denied and he was subsequently booked for simulation, causing outrange among both players and fans.

Anxiety was beginning to set in around Moss Lane as Altrincham failed to capitalise in front of goal, and the anxious feeling was almost punished by the away side as Dawber produced a magnificent save to deny Morpeth skipper, Sean Taylor, after his curling effort seemed destined for the top corner.

However, upon soaking up the pressure well, with centre-back John Cyrus producing a stellar display, Altrincham rallied.

Firstly, James Lawrie cleverly danced his way through the Morpeth defence, with keeper Karl Dryden saving well.

Then continuing their efforts, Altrincham grabbed their second, thanks to a cleverly guided effort from Miller, who grabbed his fourth of the season, due to a superb assist from debutant Phil Marsh.

Seven minutes were added on for what seems to have been a significant injury sustained to Morpeth striker Michael Chilton, and following a string of late opportunities, Altrincham secured their passage into the next round after substitute Simon Richman concluded proceedings and made it three for the Robins.

Passage into the next round will see Alty gain a significant amount of prize money with an additional hope it will improve confidence, that should hopefully see their league form improve.

Altrincham boss Jim Harvey spoke to Quays News reporter Matt Bullin post match:

“Going forward we have a lot of good footballers in the team who will create chances. but defensively I’d like us to be a lot tighter.

“It’s always nice to win and it does help with confidence and get the belief back in the side.

“If we go to Stalybridge Celtic and get a win that would be brilliant but while we’re waiting for the wins to come in I’ve got a lot of work to do with the players.”

Quays News MOTM: Greg Wilkinson.


Altrincham FC: Dawber (GK); Patterson, Goodall (c), Hannigan (47′ Doherty), Cyrus; Lawrie, Joyce (62′ Richman), Moult, Wilkinson; Reeves (75′ Marsh), Miller.

Morpeth Town: Dryden (GK); Mullen, Novak, Sayer (81′ Grieve), Swailes; Reid, Taylor (c), Fry, Henderson (45′ Anderson); Chilton, Robinson (75′ Carr).

By Ryan Dobney

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