Moss Lane

Ground No. 165
Visited - Sunday 12th October 2008
Result - Altrincham 1-0 Oxford United
Competition - Blue Square Premier
Attendance - 1806

There are a lot of fans, particularly those in the Conference/Blue Square who precede the name Setanta with a swearword muttered under their breath, but for the second time this season I was quite happy with them, on this occasion thanks to Altrincham’s home game against Oxford being moved back 24 hours due to their visitors having played on the Thursday prior to it in a televised game against Torquay. This gave me the opportunity to get another ground in, making the most of a free weekend thanks to the international break.

With it being a Sunday, then I didn’t have plans to do anything beforehand, leaving it late before catching the train up to Manchester just before midday, arriving in on time after a smooth journey. From there it was a change of transport to the tram, having to catch it from Market Square due to maintenance works at Piccadilly, but despite this, there wasn’t any delay in my plans, and after a half an hour ride I got off at the end of the line at Altrincham, walking down to the ground in time for the turnstiles to just be opening.

From the outside, there isn’t a great deal to see. The Main Stand sits right against the road and looks fairly imposing, and with some new cladding and a smart perimeter wall, a lot more modern than I’d been led to expect. It’s the same from the inside, sitting on the halfway line the seating is raised from pitch level with the clubhouse underneath, but the floorboards of the stand are actually wooden, something you wouldn’t guess until going up there. To the left of it is a small family stand, four rows high and quite definitely modern, whilst to its right is an area of terracing, or more accurately several steps of paving slabs, which the clubshop sits behind. The Golf Road End is a covered terrace that stops just short of the width of the pitch near the turnstiles, and is notable for a curve that arcs slightly away from the goal. Next to it, the Popular side is terracing that runs for the full length of the pitch, although it’s split into three sections with fences. The central section is covered by a higher roof than those flanking it, something which seems to have been done recently. Finally is the Hale End, which is an uncovered terrace that stretches for just over half the width of the pitch, with hard standing/turnstiles nearest to the Main Stand side and segregation in place for the away fans to stand in, who with no cover, were presumably thankful that it was a bright sunny afternoon!

Having taken some pictures, then I found a space to stand before the game eventually got underway. Altrincham had been on a bit of a run of late, whilst Oxford were at the wrong end of the table, with a return to the league not looking likely any time soon, but in the first half it was more the other way round with the visitors doing most of the early pressing, although wayward shooting didn’t help their cause. Indeed it was that bad that it looked like the U’s players were having a competition between themselves to see how far they could kick the ball out of the ground, several making the roof of the houses behind the away end! (the big three storey ones!) With Oxford having left their scoring boots at home, then it was up to the home side to entertain but other than a long range shot halfway through, the first half was mostly lifeless with little to report. Unfortunately after the break it was much the same in the second half, neither side really getting a hold on the game. Despite having more possession, Oxford were struggling to trouble Stuart Coburn in the home goal, and they were made to pay just after the hour mark when Alty took the lead, Colin Little making the most of space in the box to open the scoring. The rest of the half was a bit more open, with the hosts looking more confident in themselves, but they nearly lost it with five minutes left, having their goalkeeper Coburn to thank for tipping away a Matt Taylor effort, but that was the best of Oxford's chances, and with little stoppage time to play, the ref blew his whistle to indicate Altrincham’s run would continue, with another three points to send them into the top half of the table.

After leaving, then I made my way home without any problems, glad to have made the trip, especially as it featured a bumper crowd with nearly twice their average turning up, helped by a healthy turnout from Oxford.

Overall, it had been a good day. The ground is very traditional, if slightly lacking something, what I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but compared to many new ones then it is good to visit, and a ground I’d be happy to return to.

Welcome to Altrincham
The Hale End Turnstiles

Rear of the Main Stand

Rear of the Golf Road End

Rear of the Popular Side

The Clubhouse

The Golf Road End

The Popular Side

The Hale End

The Main Stand

The Main Stand

The Hale End

The Popular Side

Moss Lane Panoramic 1

Moss Lane Panoramic 2


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