CHORLEY (0) 1
ALTRINCHAM (2) 3
Pre-Season Friendly Match,
played on Saturday, 24 July, 2004
Above, Peter Wright nets the second goal.
Altrincham made it three pre-season wins out of three with this win at Victory Park. Colin Little opened the scoring after good work from Hallows (9 mins) before a defensive error let in Peter Wright for number two (30 mins). It was Little's fourth goal in his three matches to date for Alty. Chorley made it a more even contest in the second half and pulled back a goal when Gray got past Talbot and laid on a goal for Heslop (51 mins). The game went through a rather scrappy phase before a free-kick from Aspinall found Talbot outjumping the keeper and Hardy reacted well to plant the loose ball into the back of the net (86 mins). A surprise substitute today for Alty was Jamie Baguley, who spent part of last season on loan at Moss Lane from Stockport County but who had recently been linked with Rochdale. Injuries to Chris Adams and Stephen Rose during the match will hopefully prove not to be too serious, especially as Gary Scott again had to sit out this match with a neck/back problem.
This was Alty' third friendly of the summer but their first visit to Victory Park since spring 1998 when they contested a UniBond Challenge Cup semi-final second leg match here. Your correspondent invested a hard-earned ten pence in a copy of the programme from that game which was on sale in the clubhouse. Underlining how short a period six years is in Alty's history is this quote from an article on Keith Russell, who had just been signed for £15,000, in that programme: "Ebullient Robins' chairman Gerry Berman regards the Russell deal as a 'massive signing' for the club and 'the biggest non-league transfer I know of in the last couple of years'. Berman reckons Altrincham have the highest wage-bill in the UniBond League and he is prepared to find the money to bring in more quality players for next season".
Alty fans were surprised to see Jamie Baguley back with their club after his loan spell from Stockport County had ended last season. Indeed, only recently Baguley had been linked with a move from County to Rochdale. Whilst Baguley was on the bench, his fellow loan player from County, David Holt, started the game on the Alty right flank. Gary Talbot returned to the side as captain with Maddox on the bench. Peter Band was Talbot's partner, with Aspinall and Adams at full-back. Kielty and Rose patrolled central midfield, with Little on the left and Hallows and Peter Wright up front. Acton continued in goal.
With Chorley's goalkeeper Lee Bracey apparently leaving for Mossley, new Chorley manager John Hughes used two ex-Bamber Bridge keepers, Graham Bennett and Cyril Sharrock today. New signing David Gray, a striker from Salford City, played.
CHORLEY (Black & white striped shirts, black shorts & socks): 1. Graham BENNETT, 2. Steve PERKIN, 3. Lee PRYERS, 4. Mark FLETCHER, 5. Matty WOODS, 6. Fraser THOMAS, 7. Andy HOWARTH, 8. Jamie VERMIGLIO, 9. Dave GRAY, 10. Lee CLITHEROE, 11. Danny QUEELEY. Subs: 12. Neil SMITH, 14. Chris BARLOW, 15. Chris HESLOP, 16. James DEAN, 17. Cyril SHARROCK (gk) (wore no.1).
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, white shorts and red socks): 1. Richard ACTON, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Peter BAND, 5. Gary TALBOT (capt.), 6. Stephen ROSE, 7. David HOLT, 8. Ged KIELTY, 9. Marcus HALLOWS, 10. Peter WRIGHT, 11. Colin LITTLE. Subs: 6* Kieran LUGSDEN, 12. Mark MADDOX (wore no.3), 14. Jamie BAGULEY, 15. Stuart WRIGHT, 16. Barry SHUTTLEWORTH, 17. Niell HARDY
An aerial clash saw Hallows needing treatment to his head in the first minute but he recovered to have a lively first half. After a slowish start to the game, Alty took an early lead when a pressure from Hallows resulted in Little getting clear to fire home the opener (9 mins). It was his third goal in three games for his new club.
Alty had much the better of the opening half hour with Acton having little to do. A vain penalty appeal from Vermiglio was their only real threat in the opening 20 minutes. For Alty, Holt shot over the bar from Band and Hallows's feed (17 mins), before a neat layoff from Wright gave Hallows a shot which just cleared the bar from the edge of the box (21 mins).
Talbot was commanding in the air at the back whilst Rose made a couple of good tackles in midfield to keep Chorley at bay. Talbot also went close at the Chorley end when he nodded just over the bar from a Rose freekick. Aspinall then played in Hallows, who joined Alty from Chorley last season, behind the defence but he shot over the bar. A good ball from Kielty found Little on the left and his cross was met on the volley by Holt at the back post but his effort just cleared the bar (29 mins)
A defensive error then let in Peter Wright and despite claims for offside he went on to plant the ball past Bennett to make it 2-0 on the half-hour mark. After the restart Holt put in a good cross from the right which Bennett missed, but so too did Peter Wright. A great 60 yard pass from Kielty found Little but this time the ex-Crewe man could make no impression. Acton remained an observer but Alty suffered a setback when Rose injured himself stretching for a ball. Though he continued he was not fully mobile. Wright then shot over the bar (36 mins) and the Alty man was soon involved in a spat with Woods, after the Chorley man had nearly removed Wright's shirt in attempting to stop him moving past him. Little's curling freekick was well saved by Bennett.
After an error by Aspinall, Gray had a shot well saved by Acton but was given offside. Then a Band header came to Vermiglio who sliced wide from 20 yards (41 mins). Chorley were now getting more possession in the Altrincham half but their next effort, from Queeley was too high (42 mins). Band and Aspinall then combined to stop Gray before Acton did well to punch clear a cross. Talbot then covered well at the cost of a corner after Queeley and Clitheroe had got past Aspinall.
Alty were then forced to withdraw the limping Adams in favour of Shuttleworth (44 mins). An ice pack was immediately applied to Adams's left calf as he left the pitch. Half time arrived with Altrincham two up but conscious that Chorley had improved in the closing stages of the first half.
|Half-Time: CHORLEY 0 ALTRINCHAM 2|
At half-time Alty brought on Baguley on the left and switched Little to the right, with Holt being the player taken off. Mark Maddox, wearing Adams's number three shirt, joined Talbot at the heart of defence, with Band moving to midfield to replace Rose. Chorley made four changes with Sharrock coming on in goal and Smith, Barlow and Heslop also joining the game at the interval.
Acton soon had to be alert, taking Talbot's hurried back pass on the thigh before dribbling the ball past a Chorley man to safety. With Chorley posing a higher threat after the break, Acton was soon busy again having to gather the ball on the left edge of his box, but sliding out of the penalty area as he did so to concede a freekick. Pryers whipped this in from the Chorley right to find the unmarked Barlow, who shot high over the bar from beyond the back post (48 mins). Baguley was beginning to make a mark with his willingness to run at the Chorley defence but it was the Magpies who soon found the net. Howarth fed Gray, who got behind Talbot and into the right side of the box. His cross found Smith unmarked and he shot firmly through Acton's legs (51 mins).
Chorley continued to press until Aspinall did well on the Alty right and got to the by-line. After Wright's forlorn attempt to claim a penalty when he went down in the box, Baguley whipped in a testing cross from the left which Sharrock caught. Alty now swapped their strikers; Lugsden and Hardy replacing Hallows and Peter Wright (62 mins). Lugsden wore Rose's number six shirt. There was almost a misunderstanding between Aspinall and Acton as the former's header did not take account of the latter's movement but Acton recovered well to gather the ball.
Acton then gathered a low shot from Howarth at the second attempt and Baguley was obliged to come back and help out his defence as Chorley made a game of it. Stuart Wright then came on in place of Kielty in midfield (67 mins). Baguley managed to get forward again soon afterwards and fired in a great cross from the left which Little misheaded. Aspinall then did well to block Barlow as he shot, (68 mins) before Maddox did equally well against the same player. Despite Little and Baguley switching wings, Alty were not creating much threat to the Chorley goal and, in fact, the game went through a fairly nondescript phase after a fine pass from Baguley had found Hardy and via Little had gone to Lugsden whose shot went for a goalkick (74 mins).
Chorley now replaced Barlow by their number ten. Alty had a scare when Maddox missed his header from Howarth's cross but Heslop volleyed over the bar from the back post (77 mins). Alty won a rare corner after 82 minutes when Aspinall's shot was deflected but Bennett caught Baguley's flag-kick (82 mins). Alty got a freekick near the halfway line when Thomas handled the ball. Aspinall pumped the kick forward and Band got to it in the air before Sharrock and looped it left for Hardy, who reacted quickly to net the loose ball and make it 3-1 (86 mins).
Below: The keeper has just been beaten in the air and the ball is heading to Niell Hardy, to score the third goal.
Almost immediately Heslop "scored" from Vermiglio's feed but was given offside. After a lengthy stoppage for a Chorley injury in the final minute, the game ended with a Hardy shot at Sharrock. So, Alty have now netted 14 goals in three games and won all three matches away from home, albeit against opposition from lower divisions. Nevertheless, Graham Heathcote will be pleased to see his side evolving for next season, though the injuries picked up by Rose and Adams today will have taken some of the gloss off the result. Having played two NW Counties' sides (Abbey Hey and Trafford) and a UniBond First team (Chorley), Alty now travel to play Hyde United from the UniBond Premier on Monday night.
|Full-Time: CHORLEY 1 ALTRINCHAM 3|