ALTRINCHAM’S miserable season continued at Moss Lane on Saturday as play-off chasing Brackley Town eased to 3-1 victory.
The hosts had relegation from the Vanarama National League North confirmed last weekend following their defeat away to Salford City and there was to be no improvement in result a week on.
Brackley forward Steve Diggin converted from five yards in the first half before substitute Jordan Hempenstall doubled the lead with a chip in the second half.
Liam Love made it three from distance for Brackley in stoppage time before Altrincham’s Micah Evans grabbed a consolation goal, unmarked at the back-post to score, with the last kick of the game.
With the second lowest crowd of the season turning out at Moss Lane, the club have a real task on their hands getting people to return next season after such a disappointing 24 months.
On what was a glorious day weather wise across the country with temperatures peaking at 20 degrees, it was not enough to convince locals to take to the terraces.
Unfortunate with penalty decisions away to Salford, a handful of disgruntled fans had planned a protest against club chairman Graham Rowley, before an emergency meeting between the chairman and supporters on Tuesday saw further protests cancelled.
But that did not stop some outspoken fans claiming the successive relegations have left the club in the worst position they can remember in Altrincham’s 114-year history.
With just three wins all season, two of which arrived in their last 10 games, suggested there is plenty of work to do in order to turn the club’s fortunes around and their fragility was exposed by Brackley midway through the first half.
Man of the match winger, Glen Walker, drove down the right wing before sweeping a low ball into the area, finding the feet of striker Diggin, who had the simple task of turning the ball home from five yards out.
Having been the brighter of the two sides in the opening 20 minutes, the Robins found themselves disappointed to fall behind but it was all too familiar territory.
But five minutes later the big chance to level arrived as midfielder Simon Richman – who was making his 200th start for the club – picked the lock to the visiting defence as his pinpoint pass set Damian Reeves through on goal.
It took a smart right hand save from Brackley’s goalkeeper to keep his clean sheet in-tact; had that goal gone in before the interval the complexion of the game would have changed massively.
At the break there were moans and groans that Altrincham found themselves behind having shown promising signs at stages in the first 45.
Brackley, a side chasing down the play-off pack, flattered to deceive yet still went into the dressing rooms ahead which demonstrated the contrasting fortunes.
While the tempo dropped significantly for a large period after the restart, Brackley ensured the three points with 12 minutes to go when Altrincham’s Stuart Tomlinson was chipped majestically by substitute Hempenstall.
A defensive lapse from the Robins saw him beat the offside trap and Tomlinson could only watch as the ball hit the back of the net.
Any chance of a revival was quashed in stoppage time when a second Brackley substitute got his name on the score-sheet as Love hammered home from 25 yards out.
As fans got up to head towards the exit, Altrincham grabbed a mere consolation goal when the ball ricocheted to an unmarked Evans who had the simple task of converting from two-yards out.
The visitors may just miss out on the play-offs but there are a mountain more problems at Moss Lane as fans and the board prepare for life in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.