Altrincham on the edge of precipice

Non-League notebook
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While Macclesfield Town prepare for the last push towards promotion to the Football League, their Cheshire rivals Altrincham can only look on in envy for the Moss Lane club are on the brink of relegation from the GM Vauxhall Conference.

Altrincham were founder members of the Conference (then called the Alliance Premier League) in 1979 and have not been relegated since then. They won the first two titles in 1980 and '81 and, in the era before promotion and relegation, were desperately unlucky not to be voted in to the Football League.

Altrincham's manager, John King, and his assistant, Graham Heathcote, were both members of the team in those glory years, so they are suffering more than most people at the club now that the cheers have turned to tears. At the start of 1997 Altrincham were in what seemed a comfortable mid- table position, but their form since then has been dreadful. They have not won for 15 games and are now bottom of the table, with just three games left to play.

After last weekend's 2-1 home defeat to Dover, who scored twice in the last seven minutes to seize the points, King said that all his players were "so down, so heartbroken". They will not be feeling much better if they lose to Kettering at Moss Lane tomorrow - such a result would confirm relegation if Welling get at least a point at home to Gateshead and/or Bath win at Hayes.

Bromsgrove Rovers will also be relegated if they lose at Macclesfield, who will secure the title if they win tomorrow and on Wednesday at Halifax in their penultimate fixture. Sammy McIlroy's side beat Woking 5-0 at Moss Rose on Tuesday, scoring four goals in four second-half minutes, to put promotion within their grasp.

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