Match Report


Pre-Season Friendly Match,
played on Sunday, 20 July, 2003 at 2p.m.

  • 12 mins: Andy TUNNICLIFFE (West Didsbury & Chorlton 0 Altrincham 1)

    REFEREE: ?
    ATTENDANCE: c.100

    This was Altrincham's third pre-season game of the summer and was their first ever visit to the West Didsbury & Chorlton club, at Brookburn Road, Chorlton. The hosts have a history going back to 1908 but this was their first game under their new name of West Didsbury & Chorlton, having previously been just West Didsbury. Alty manager Graham Heathcote was back from holiday to take charge of the Altrincham team.


    Alty blooded a few more members of last season's Youth team but half a dozen of the more senior squad members started the game as well. Into the squad which had been involved the previous day against Manchester United came goalkeeper Richard Harrison, left-back Mark Griffiths, centre-back Greg Byrne and midfielder Jon McEvoy. On the bench was another of last year's youth team, Josh Collins. The spectators included Gary Scott, Barry Shuttleworth, Mark Maddox and Richard Acton.


    WEST DIDSBURY & CHORLTON (White & blue shirts, blue shorts and socks): Those listed in the informative matchday programme were: GK: Matt RUANE. Defenders: Jem HINES, Paul ROWELL, Chris SPURLING, Andy HALL, John COOPER, Seki ISTANBUL. Midfield/Forwards: Jez PETTY, Kenny LAMBERT, Danny IREDALE, Azuka OTUTU, Pa MANGA, Michael EKPO, Stuart COOK, Faz BIGDOLI, Luke MORLEY, Mark TURLEY, Gabriel CALWELL.

    ALTRINCHAM (Pale blue shirts, white shorts, black socks): 1. Richard HARRISON, 2. Neil RYAN (capt.), 3. Mark GRIFFITHS, 4. Stephen ROSE, 5. Greg BYRNE, 6. Steve ASPINALL, 7. Andy TUNNICLIFFE, 8. Jon McEVOY, 9. Mattie HUGHES, 10. Steve LUNT, 11.Rob MATTHEWS. Subs: 12. Josh COLLINS.


    The game started fairly evenly. After nine minutes Alty won their first corner, taken on the right by Aspinall, but Hughes was unable to capitalise on it. The WD&C no.10 almost scored an own goal when he intercepted Ryan's well-flighted cross from the right, which followed good work by the energetic Tunnicliffe. Alty took the lead after 12 minutes when Rose's good ball out of defence found Lunt, whose cross from the right was met by Andy Tunnicliffe, who recorded his first goal in an Altrincham shirt. Lunt and McEvoy soon combined well in the box but the ball came out to Griffiths and his shot from the left brought a save from the home keeper (16 mins). Soon, Tunnicliffe advanced on the right but his shot rose over the bar. Next, McEvoy and Hughes combined and the latter's shot provoked a good save from the WD&C keeper (21 mins). Alty won another corner before Aspinall got in a shot, wide of the target. Griffiths was getting forward on the left whilst Tunnicliffe was also busy. From a Griffiths cross, Lunt's header went over the bar (27 mins). Jon McEvoy, too, was showing some good touches but Altrincham were not testing the home keeper very much, despite Tunnicliffe and Aspinall switching wings in an attempt to break down the home defence.

    Though Alty were now on top, any thoughts that this would be an easy ride for the visitors were dispelled by a good team display from the hosts. However, both Rose and Byrne at the heart of the Alty defence hardly put a foot wrong all afternoon and with their colleagues kept WD&C at bay. WD&C made two substitutions (37 mins) and almost immediately an inadvertent back-pass was picked up by Harrison and a free-kick was awarded in the Alty box. The WD&C no.8's free-kick took a deflection which sent it past Harrison, but Griffiths had been well placed by the keeper's left post and made a crucial clearance off the line (40 mins).

    Above, a WD&C freekick is deflected past Alty keeper Harrison and Mark Griffiths prepares to clear off the line. The other Alty men are - from left- Rose, McEvoy, Byrne, Ryan, Lunt, Tunnicliffe, Aspinall and Matthews.

    Play immediately switched to the other end where Hughes did well but was eventually dispossessed before he could shoot. The half ended when the ball went out of the ground and after some delay, the referee tactfully blew for half-time.


    WD&C had the first attack of the second period but Alty soon won a corner after Hughes had fed Aspinall. Rose saw off an attack by the nos. 10 and 16 and then Ryan swept up from no.14, after nos. 7 and 8 had done well. A shot from Hughes on the hour was as near as Alty got to extending their lead at this stage and the home side now made two more changes of personnel (61 mins) followed by two more four minutes later. Sub no.15 committed two fouls in as many minutes on Ryan and Aspinall, the latter giving Griffiths a chance to drive a freekick which the keeper held comfortably (67 mins). From an Aspinall pass Hughes had a shot deflected for a corner (68 mins). Alty now brought on Josh Collins for Griffiths at left-back and Mattie Hughes left the fray soon afterwards (73 mins).

    WD&C's no.17 (Gardner?) made space and from 20 yards drove a testing shot at Harrison which he did well to tip over the bar for a corner (74 mins). At the other end Matthews shot just over the bar before Collins got in a fine tackle to stop a home advance up their right. The home no.12 (Spurling?) then fired in a good shot which went narrowly wide from 20 yards as the substitutions pepped up the home side's attacking movements. However, Tunnicliffe appeared to be pushed over in the box at the other end but the referee waved play on (81 mins). WD&C continued to press and won a corner as two matches in 24 hours seemed to take their toll on some of the Alty players. However, Ryan marshalled his troops well at the back and it was Alty who finished with a 25 yarder from Aspinall which cleared the bar comfortably and a good advance up the left by Collins which Matthews was unable to convert at the back post (89 mins).

    Alty maintained their unbeaten pre-season record but the most pleasing aspect was the emergence of more of last season's youth players who looked far from out of place alongside their more senior colleagues. It was a pleasure to visit this friendly club and all at Altrincham wish West Didsbury and Chorlton a good season in the Lancashire and Cheshire League.