Altrincham 3-4 Colwyn Bay
Saturday, 7 January 2012
Moss Lane, Altrincham
Despite a wonderful team performance from Colwyn Bay, it was veteran debutant Frank Sinclair who grabbed all the headlines at Moss Lane on Saturday afternoon after netting an injury time winner that brought to an end a run of three successive league defeats and ensured that Bay remained in a comfortable mid table position.
The former Chelsea, Leicester and Burnley man, who turned 40 last month, might even prove to be one of the best acquisitions Jon Newby makes all season, given that Sinclair was still playing on a regular basis in a Wrexham side that reached the Conference Premier play offs last season. With only 13 goals in a career spanning 20 years and nearly 550 appearances, Newby hardly signed the defender for his goal scoring prowess though. However, with the manager opting for a 4-4-2 formation that was indicative of a more attacking mindset, despite the absences of Lee McEvilly through suspension and Danny Lloyd, who has signed a full time contract with Lincoln City, Sinclair was given the opportunity to venture forward at corners and it was from one of these that he grabbed the 91st minute winner. Mike Lea put the ball into the danger area and, in the goalmouth melee that ensued after the Altrincham keeper had fumbled the ball, Sinclair was on hand to coolly rifle home the winner.
The three points were sweet revenge for Colwyn Bay, who had suffered the ignominy of a 6-1 home reverse to Altrincham back in September that was at least partially to blame for the downturn of form since then. In the opening 9 games of the season prior to that 6-1 defeat, Bay had kept 4 clean sheets and only conceded 7 goals, whereas in the 13 games since then they have conceded 26 goals and only kept 2 clean sheets as a loss of confidence clearly seeped into the team. In terms of the defence, there is still a lot of work for Newby to do, though it is always easier to address issues after a victory. Despite the win, however, Newby will have noted that his side conceded three goals in an away game for the fourth time in eight matches and they have now failed to keep a clean sheet away from Llanelian Road since the 1-0 victory at Gloucester on 17 September.
With Sinclair suspended for the away trip to Eastwood Town next Saturday, further changes will have to be made to a defensive line up that is already missing Danny Meadowcroft. The captain, who was unavailable for the Altrincham game due to the illness of his newly born daughter, is unlikely to be available for either the Eastwood or Vauxhall Motors games, given that his daughter must still undergo further surgery. It may well therefore be that the player with ‘Conference experience’ that Jon Newby is hoping to bring into the club later this week will be a defender.
The three points came at a critical time for Colwyn Bay, given the recent form of the teams in and around the bottom three. Bishop Stortford’s victory over promotion hopefuls Guiseley, coupled with a 4-0 victory for Hinckley United over Eastwood meant that a Bay defeat would have left the club only three points off the relegation zone. However with the six point buffer still in place, an installation of confidence throughout the team and games against Eastwood and Vauxhall Motors coming up, Colwyn Bay now have the opportunity to more or less secure their Conference North status for another season – at least from a playing perspective.
Survival in the Conference North would be a fantastic achievement for a side that has won back-to-back promotions in the last two seasons. However, this is still not guaranteed, even if Colwyn Bay gain the 16 or so points required to ensure that they do not finish in the bottom 3. This is because the Llanelian Road ground requires four rows of seating in order to comply with Conference standards, rather than the three that it currently has. Whilst plans have been drawn up to comply with the requirements, the cost of the project will be approximate £71,000 with building work needing to be started by March 31st.
This represents a substantial cost for a club playing at this level of football and supporters have recognised that they will need to contribute if the club are to raise the required amount. With this in mind, various events such as the recent Christmas party are being organised to try and raise around £30,000, with the club hopeful that they can secure an interest free loan to cover the remaining amount. All associated with the club will hope that the success that has been achieved on the pitch can be matched by the same success of it.
Prediction: Eastwood Town 0 Colwyn Bay 2
Agree with the prediction? Why not vote yourself in the poll to the left. Which Welsh teams do you think will win this week? Will Colwyn Bay be amongst them?