Altrincham make most of financial windfall

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The Independent Football

Altrincham are looking forward to a financial windfall after their 4-1 win at Lancaster City in a dramatic FA Cup first-round replay on Tuesday earned them a home second-round tie against Darlington.

Altrincham are looking forward to a financial windfall after their 4-1 win at Lancaster City in a dramatic FA Cup first-round replay on Tuesday earned them a home second-round tie against Darlington.

A hat-trick from a first-half substitute, Lee Poland, allowed Altrincham to battle their way past their UniBond League Premier Division rivals on a stormy night night at the Giant Axe ground, where two Lancaster players were sent off in extra time. The victory earned the Cheshire club £20,000 in Football Association prize-money.

If Altrincham see off Third Division Darlington, who lost 7-1 at Scunthorpe United last Saturday and also had two men dismissed, they will pick up another £30,000 in prize-money for reaching the third round. Whatever the result, they will also receive a television fee of £40,000, as the tie has been selected for extended highlights on the BBC's Match of the Day programme. The kick-off at Moss Lane tomorrow week has thus been brought forward to 1pm.

The unexpected income will be of great benefit to Altrincham, who have been grappling with financial problems in recent seasons. "We are not out of the woods yet in a financial sense and we are still working under a sensible budget as far as wages and recruitment are concerned," their chairman, Mark Harris, said. "The FA Cup monies, which we obviously have not budgeted for, will be used to continue the reduction of the liabilities of the club."

Altrincham can boast a proud history of FA Cup triumphs in the 1970s and 80s, when they were one of the best non-League clubs in the country. In 1986 they won 2-1 at Birmingham City, then in the old First Division. Draws were achieved at both Everton and Tottenham Hotspur. Crewe Alexandra, Scunthorpe United, Sheffield United, York City, Rochdale, Blackpool, Hartlepool United, Lincoln City and Halifax Town were all beaten in FA Cup ties at Moss Lane in those two decades.

Tomorrow, though, Altrincham must turn their attention to a competition in which they have twice been victorious in Wembley finals. They are away to another UniBond Premier side, Accrington Stanley, in the second round of the FA Umbro Trophy. The prize-money for victory will be only £900 but, given Alty's recent history, every pound helps.

Elsewhere in the Trophy, Whitby Town, who went down to a brave 3-2 defeat in their FA Cup replay at Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday, entertain Blyth Spartans at the Turnbull Ground. Whitby's former England schoolboy striker Jamie Burt, a native of Blyth, has been linked with both Carlisle United and Plymouth following good displays against the Pilgrims in the two Cup games.

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