Ruthless Robins end FA Trophy dream

Bradford (Park Avenue) crashed out of the Buildbase FA Trophy following a 4-0 defeat to league rivals Altrincham.

In a first-half that yielded little quality from either side, Altrincham provided the cutting edge that separated them from the visitors.

Robins defender Connor Hampson surged forward before forcing Steven Drench to produce and impressive save in the opening five minutes and it wasn’t long until the hosts were ahead.

Danny Lowe bundled Jordan Hulme to the ground, handing John Johnston the opportunity to step up and send Drench the wrong way with a penalty.

Bradford looked to respond swiftly but after Nicky Clee found Jake Beesley with a free-kick delivery, the forward poked into a sea of bodies before the ball was cleared.

Clee, a familiar face at the J. Davidson Stadium, then embarked on a mazy run that saw him skip past three players, but his drilled cross was intercepted by Tom Hannigan.

The Robins continued to look most likely to score and went close through Andrew White, who saw his low drive pushed wide by the outstretched right glove of Drench.

A lapse in concentration from Lowe enabled Johnston to shoot from close-range but Drench was on-hand to spare the defender’s blushes and beat away the winger’s effort.

Altrincham’s lead was then doubled when Josh Hancock rolled into the path of Hulme, who tucked away in the bottom corner in a composed manner.

The visitors did register a shot on target before the half-time whistle blew, but McKenna’s thunderous volley was palmed away from danger by Robins stopper Andrew Thompson.

HALF-TIME: Altrincham 2-0 Bradford (Park Avenue)

Altrincham added to their advantage shortly after the restart when Johnston teed up Josh Hancock and the midfielder curled past Drench from the edge of the 18-yard box.

Johnston then came very close to adding a fourth in similar fashion to how Hancock netted the third, but his curling effort was held by Drench.

A golden opportunity fell Jake Beesley’s way after Oli Johnson darted to the byline and squared, but the forward poked wide from 5-yards out.

Johnson was the provider again when he cut back to an on-rushing Alex Hurst from the left, but the midfielder blasted over the crossbar from just inside the box.

Despite having a comfortable lead, the Robins continued to threaten and almost added a fourth through Owen Dale. He latched on to a punt from Jake Moult before making an incisive dart into the box but dragged wide under pressure from Gianluca Havern.

They carved Bradford open again with twelve minutes remaining on the clock and substitute Kallum Mantack become the fourth Robins player to etch his name on the scoresheet. He arrived at the back post to meet Hulme’s delivery before miscuing his first attempt at a shot but made amends by retaining possession and steering past Drench.

In the final ten minutes, the Robins sat deep within their own half and sprayed the ball around with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they had a comfortable lead. Mark Bower’s side chased relentlessly but failed to cause the hosts any problem in the latter stages.

Altrincham: Thompson, White, Hampson (Densmore 75’), Jones, Hannigan, Moult, Johnston (Mantack 75’), Richman, Hulme, Hancock (Harrop 80’), Dale.

Unused substitutes: Langley, Wynne.

Bradford (Park Avenue): Drench, Ross, Lowe (Johnson 58’), Spencer (Wroe 58’), Killock (c), Havern, McKenna, Branson, Beesley (Nowakowski 71’), Hurst, Clee.

Unused substitutes: Toulson, Atkinson.

Referee: Richard Aspinall

HT: 2-0

Attendance: 570