Non-league Matters: Altrincham and Stockport County hunt league scalps in FA Cup first round

By Matt Davies

Stockport County and Altrincham are both aiming for FA Cup upsets this weekend when they visit Football League opposition.

Burton Albion v Altrincham

Altrincham, from the Blue Square Bet North, make the journey to Burton Albion on Sunday looking to turn around their fortunes after three defeats on the bounce.

Alty beat Boston United in the last round but a 3-1 home league defeat to Guiseley on Tuesday capped off a miserable week for the club.

They went down 2-1 at Solihull Moors last Saturday and star striker Damian Reeves has failed to score in his last two games.

The lethal marksman, who has 19 goals in just 16 starts this season, will be hoping to utilize his previous FA Cup experience with Farsley Celtic and Histon this weekend.

Burton Albion are currently eighth in League Two, with 23 points from 15 games played, including six wins and four defeats.

The Albion have only lost once at home all season – a 1-0 defeat against Fleetwood Town in late August.

The club finished 17th last season and six-goal forward Calvin Zola and midfielder Jacques Maghoma provide Burton’s main attacking threat this term.

Meanwhile, Altrincham have also recalled 18 year-old goalkeeper Adam Reid from his loan spell at Evo-stik Division One North side Goole AFC.

Southend United v Stockport County

Stockport County travel to Southend United on the back of last weekend’s 3-3 draw with Lincoln at Sincil Bank.

Jordan Fagbola, Craig Hobson and Paul Turnbull were all on target for Jim Gannon’s men who dispatched Stalybridge Celtic 5-3 in the last round two weeks ago.

Paul Sturrock’s Southend finished fourth in League Two last season and currently sit in 13th this season, while the Shrimpers boss is keen to avoid a potential upset.

“They have scored eight goals in their last two games so if you don’t give them the respect they deserve then this game could bite you on the bum,” he told Southend’s official website.

Southend have won two of the last four encounters between the sides, and Sturrock’s first game in charge of the Shrimpers ended in a 1-1 home draw against County in 2010.

They needed a stoppage time equaliser to salvage a point on that occasion and Southend are without on-loan top scorer Britt Assombalonga who has not been given permission to play by parent club Watford.

Fellow loanees Marc Laird and Jonson Clarke Harris are both in contention after being made available by Leyton Orient and Peterborough respectively.

Hyde are without a game this weekend after a goal four minutes from the end of extra-time condemned them to defeat in their rearranged replay against Harrogate in midweek.

The game took place at Harrogate Railway after Harrogate Town’s ground was water-logged for the second consecutive week.

Droylsden lifted themselves out of the bottom three last weekend thanks to a 2-0 win over Colwyn Bay but succumbed to a 2-1 midweek defeat in Workington this week.

The Bloods join fellow Mancunian club Stalybridge Celtic in being without a game this weekend.

Celtic lost 1-0 at home to Boston in midweek and failed to score for a second consecutive game after drawing 0-0 last weekend.

The best of the rest

Ashton United slipped to seventh in the Evo-Stik Premier Division after losing at home to FC United of Manchester on Wednesday night.

Matthew Wolfenden was the hero for the Red Rebels, netting twice before Aaron Burns halved the deficit with an early second-half penalty.

Both sides entertain lowly opposition this weekend as the Robins travel to second-bottom Stocksbridge Park Steels while FC United play Eastwood Town on Sunday.

Mossley top the pile in Evo-Stik Division One North by six points and entertain mid-table Burscough at Seel Park on Saturday.

Tommy Lawson’s Skelmersdale United sit second with four games in hand and demonstrated their title credentials in midweek by thrashing Clitheroe 7-1 at Shawbridge.

Curzon Ashton are in the chasing pack and host Benny Phillips’ Radcliffe Borough at the Tameside Stadium.

The Blues had to come from behind twice in midweek to secure a home draw against Prescot Cables, with Tony Evans bagging both goals.

Ramsbottom United travel to Lancaster City after playing out a goalless draw at home to Warrington Town on Tuesday.

The Dolly Blues may fear a backlash from goal-twins Lee Gaskell and Jon Robinson as the prolific pair have gone two games without finding the net.

Salford City, who drew 2-2 at Burscough in midweek, welcome bottom of the table Garforth Town to Moor Lane.

Trafford play Goole at Shawe View, after recovering from two early goals to win 4-3 at Farsley in midweek.

Picture credit: SKKits

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