Non-league Matters: Lee Sinnott issues rallying cry for Altrincham ahead of play-offs

By Matt Davies

Altrincham boss Lee Sinnott has rallied his troops ahead of the Robins’ pivotal semi-final play-off clash with Brackley Town.

A much-changed Alty, without star frontmen Damian Reeves and Duncan Watmore, picked up a 6-0 win against relegated Droylsden to keep up their promotion charge.

Now, with the first leg of the play-off at Moss Lane on Tuesday looming, Sinnott insisted his players must approach the game in exactly the same way as in recent weeks.

“It’s like another two league games in a way,” he explained.

“You can do yourself a little bit of damage in the first one but you won’t be out of the tie, whatever result turns up.

“As before Christmas, we’ll use the same message as we did in the FA Cup – just get the job done.

“That’s the best way to approach it, the players have the tools to do the job and we have to make sure we do it.”

The Robins have lost just once in their last 17 league outings and Sinnott knows it is vital to keep the momentum going.

“We’ve had good form,” he explained. “It’s good that we go in with momentum and good results behind us.

“I’ve just explained to the players that all the other play-off managers will be telling their players they can go all the way and we are no different.

“There’s a good mood in the camp but we’ve got 180 minutes and we have to negotiate that to take it to the next level.”

Altrincham led 4-0 at the break against Droylsden following strikes from Nicky Clee and Jake Moult and a double from forward Ryan Brooke.

Moult added his second after the break before James Lawrie sprinted clear and rounded Dale Lathom to pile more misery onto the already relegated Bloods.

Sinnott made several changes to the side and was pleased with the way his players went about securing the result.

“Sometimes when you make changes the fluidity can come off a little bit,” he explained.

“We did explain to the team before to keep the momentum and the tempo up – we did that really well in the first half, got a good strangle hold on the game.

“That’s the kind of game today where we showed we are right mentally and prepared to do a good job.”

Carl Rodgers and Danny Boshell missed the Droylsden victory with hamstring issues, while Watmore was rested to enable him to recover from a groin injury.

Sinnott expects to have a full squad to choose from for Tuesday night, although Rodgers and Boshell will be assessed before the game.

Elsewhere, Stalybridge Celtic won 1-0 against play-off contenders Halifax Town thanks to Mitchell Austin’s first-half finish despite playing with ten men for 70 minutes.

Callum Warburton saw a straight red card for a rash tackle, but Celtic held on to finish 13th in the Blue Square Bet North.

In the Evo-Stik Premier Division, FC United of Manchester strengthened their grip on third-place with a narrow 1-0 victory at Rushall Olympic.

Ashton United were denied victory by a late Whitby Town equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Hurst Cross.

Ramsbottom United took a big step to securing an Evo-Stik League Division One North play-off place with a crucial 2-1 victory over fellow promotion contenders Trafford.

Mossley’s last-gasp winner over Harrogate Railway Athletic means the Lilywhites are level on points with Trafford – who occupy the final play-off spot – with one game to play.

Last season’s beaten play-off finalists Curzon Ashton look set for an eighth-placed finish after a goalless draw at Burscough.

New Mills – already assured of a shot at promotion via the play-offs – played out a goalless draw at Clitheroe.

Salford City went down 3-2 at Ossett Town while Radcliffe Borough were beaten 2-0 by champions Skelmersdale United at Stainton Park.

Picture courtesy of Altrincham FC, with thanks

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