Altrincham and Gateshead made it through to the National League North play-off semi-final on Sunday.

Altrincham overcame North West rivals Chester 3-2 at home, with Phil Parkinson’s side enjoying a 3-0 lead at one point. Alty went ahead through Josh Hancock, doubling their advantage through an Elliott Durrell penalty after a sending off for John Johnston.

The decision to penalise Johnston, who left Alty for Chester earlier this year, was a controversial one. Durrell made it 3-0 but Chester came back into contention with goals from George Glendon and Matty Hughes.

Altrincham held on and will be joined in the semis by Gateshead, who beat Brackley Town on penalties in the later game. With Gateshead 1-0 up through Jake Cooper in first-half stoppage time, Brackley’s Shane Byrne scored a sensational equaliser from his own half immediately after play restarted.

The game went the distance, with Mike Williamson’s Tynesiders ultimately winning 6-5 in the shootout. Gateshead will now take on Boston United away in the semis, with Altrincham travelling to York City.

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