Remembering where we once were.
Over the course of the next five weeks, www.doncasterroversfc.co.uk will take a look back in time at the five year spell we had in the Conference during the late nineties and early two thousands and each of the teams we played in the fifth tier of English football.
First up is Altrincham.
The Robins have bobbed throughout non-league during their 113 year history without ever making it to the promised land of the Football League.
An 81st minute own goal by Rovers centre back Dean Walling ensured that the first ever meeting between ourselves and the Greater Manchester outfit in September 1999 resulted in a slightly embarrassing 1-0 defeat for Ian Snodin’s side.
Having only just cleared another relegation the previous season, it was no surprise to the Belle Vue faithful that a trip to the 'Old Girl' was considered a big day out for aspiring Conference teams.
Altrincham fitted that bill, having claimed 16 league scalps during their FA Cup escapades and so dismissing Rovers was probably not such a shock after all.
Having sacked Snodin over the Easter period (following a 1-0 home defeat to Dover), Dave Penney and Mark Atkins took charge for the return fixture on Bank Holiday Monday at Moss Lane.
Penney and Atkins anchored the midfield on the day as Rovers emerged victorious over ten men courtesy of strikes from Neil Campbell and Lee Warren, either side of Kevin Ellison’s goal for the hosts.
The visitors went on to finish in a comfortable, yet transitional, 12th position, while Altrincham were relegated.
Since then, they’ve flitted between the two divisions – avoiding relegation on a couple of occasions through other side’s financial circumstances. They will return to the Conference National after defeating Guiseley in the Conference North play-off final through a 120th minute winner.
*Photo of Kevin McIntyre in action v Altrincham, 7th September 1999, Belle Vue - courtesy of P. Gilligan.