TRAFFORD (0) 0
ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
Pre-Season Friendly Match
played on Thursday, 21 July, 2005 at 7.45p.m.
A goal in the 89th minute from ex-Macclesfield trialist Stephen Owens gave Alty their second 1-0 away win against NW Counties Division One opposition this week. Owens seized on a defensive error and kept his head to get past keeper Gillies and knock the ball into the empty net. In the first half Alty fielded a strong eleven mainly featuring first-team squad players with just two trialists included; Colin Bell at right back and Karl Munroe at centre-back. But ten changes were made at the interval with Bell the only player to survive the cull and seven trialists comprising the bulk of the line-up. As at Cammell Laird the game was well contested and while Alty will have been pleased to have won, Trafford acquitted themselves very well.
REFEREE: Anthony Taylor
This was Alty's third pre-season game, after a 1-3 home defeat by Morton and a 1-0 win at Cammell Laird. Trafford play in the NW Counties Division 1, the same division as Cammell Laird.
There was only one completely new face tonight, trialist striker Stephen Owens from Macclesfield Town. But first-team regulars, Stuart Coburn and Gary Talbot were also making their first appearances of this pre-season. Alty included only two trialists in the eleven which kicked off the game (Karl Munroe from Halifax and Macc. Town at centre-back and Colin Bell, ex-Chester Reserves, Bury and Rochdale at right-back). The much changed team which played the second half featured seven trialists in the eleven. Apart from the injured Aspinall, Scott, Hussin and Thornley, only Lewis Chalmers of last season's first team remains unseen on the pitch this pre-season as he is on holiday.
Trafford goalkeeper Martin Campbell, who played a game on loan for Alty last season, has left this summer for Atherton LR, whilst his fellow keeper, Dave Cummins, who also played on loan for Alty, broke his hand in January. So, John Gillies was signed from Chorley and he had already joined the tradition of playing a loan game for Alty by keeping goal for us last Tuesday at Cammell Laird. So, tonight, he was playing against Alty after keeping a clean sheet for the Robins just 48 hours earlier! Also in the Trafford side was former Alty winger, Simon Woodford, who is now Trafford's regular right-back. On the Trafford bench was former Alty Youth Paul Robinson, who is resuming his career after completing a University course. In fact, Paul had been introduced to George Heslop's youth team by current Trafford boss, Danny Johnson.
ALTRINCHAM: (Pale blue shirts, dark blue shorts, white socks): (First half) - 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Colin BELL, 3. Kirk HILTON, 4. Karl MUNROE, 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Steve HAWES, 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Val OWEN, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Kieran LUGSDEN, 11. James OLSEN. (Second half) - 1. Richard ACTON, 2. Colin BELL, 3. Liam BROWNHILL, 4. George MELLING, 5. Mark MADDOX, 6. Lee ROBINSON, 7. Paul TILLEY, 8. Steve GARVEY, 9. Gavin SALMON, 10. Stephen OWENS, 11. Wes WILKINSON.
TRAFFORD: (All white): 1. John GILLIES, 2. Simon WOODFORD, 3. Wes RITCHIE, 4. Haydn EAMES, 5. Lee SOUTHWOOD, 6. Nick BOOTHBY, 7. Mark FITTON, 8. Franny VAUGHAN, 9. Andy LUNDY, 10. Phil CARRATT, 11. Graham VAUGHAN. Subs: 12. Craig COOTES, 14. Scott WEIR, 15. Danny HOOPER, 16. Colin BULWICH, 17. Paul ROBINSON.
Altrincham kicked off and were soon pressing forward on the well manicured Shawe View pitch. Hilton and Olsen were soon combining well on the Alty left and it was from a link between these two that the ball came to Colin Little who got in a well struck shot from the edge of the box, which Gillies saved very well, parrying the ball out for a corner on the Alty left (8 mins). Potts's corner was underhit and cleared. At the other end, Munroe did well to halt Lundy's advance. Hilton then fed Olsen again and the new man from Vauxhall Motors jinked past three men to the by-line and, with the help of Steve Hawes, a corner was won. Alty's attacks continued and a fine ball from Munroe found Little, whose first touch was impressive before he forced another fine save from Gillies with his shot. A third Alty corner followed after 16 minutes, won by Potts on the right from Owen's feed.
After Little had been fouled on the front edge of the box, Alty's leading scorer from last season curled the resulting freekick just wide of Gillies's right post (18 mins). Despite their dominance, Alty could not score and indeed in all three games this season so far, their approach play has not been matched by clinical finishing. Coburn was called to make a good save after 20 minutes, from Graham Vaughan's 30-yard effort. Then Little fed Lugsden at the other end but his shot was held by Gillies. Alty had an escape when Woodford and Lundy fed Carratt, who had space inside the box. He had time to compose himself but elected to shoot instantly with the outside of his boot and his effort went wide (21 mins).
Bell earned a lecture for a foul on Graham Vaughan but the victim's freekick curled to Coburn (23 mins). Trafford were now giving as good as they got and Coburn had to make a save from Carratt, soon afterwards. The nearest that Alty came to a goal in the first half was when Little fed Potts whose cross was acrobatically directed just wide by Lugsden's overhead kick from right of goal (31 mins). The game had settled into a good, competitive encounter and Alty won another corner when Hawes's shot was deflected. Soon after this Lugsden's cross from a Hilton pass, produced another flag-kick. But half-time arrived with the scoresheet blank.
|Half-Time: TRAFFORD 0 ALTRINCHAM 0|
Right-back Bell was the only player to survive the half-time cull, the other ten positions being taken by a side made up of trialists, plus Maddox, Melling, Tilley and Acton. After a good advance up the left by Owens, Trafford enjoyed the better of the opening stages and from Ritchie's cross, Acton saved well from Carratt's header at the cost of a corner. Soon Karl Munroe had to come back on, this time in midfield, as Robinson limped off (53 mins).
Tilley was soon making a mark on the right of midfield but Trafford were having the better of proceedings at this stage and won a corner from a deflected shot. Trafford's Boothby had to limp out of the game amd Paul Robinson came on to replace him at centre-back (57 mins). A foul on Owens gave Garvey a freekick, which was half cleared to Wilkinson, who went past two defenders and found Salmon but the striker's first touch was poor and the ball was cleared. Bell had to make a crucial tackle on Lundy as Trafford went forward again.
The game saw plenty of endeavour from both sides but goalscoring efforts were scarce at this stage. But Trafford soon won another corner (75 mins). Next, Hooper came on in place of Fitton for Trafford (78 mins). Wilkinson, who had been quiet in the early part of the half, then showed great pace to get to a ball at the by-line and his cross was only half cleared. Soon Wilkinson was in action again as he made an interception and burst into the box only to be upended without the reward of a freekick (82 mins). Trafford won another corner after which Lundy was replaced by Weir up front (83 mins). Following this, Bell went on the overlap and received the ball from Tilley but his shot rose over the bar (87 mins). Soon, Salmon shot wide after Garvey had seized on a misdirected goalkick. But just as the game looked set to be goalless, a mistake by the normally dependable Southwood, allowed Owens to latch onto his underhit pass. The young trialist took the ball past the advancing Gillies and kept his head to control the loose ball before knocking it into the empty net (89 mins). There was just time for Cootes to replace Southwood before the final whistle sounded. For the second year running, Alty had beaten Trafford with a late goal after Marcus Hallows had given them an 88th minute 3-2 win in July 2004.
This was another good test for the currently large Alty squad, which manager Graham Heathcote has indicated he will have to prune after Saturday's game at Radcliffe. He looks to have some useful potential additions to the squad amongst his trialists. Bell and Munroe had longer to impress tonight than the other trialists and both did well. The game also helped the established Alty players to get back to match fitness and hopefully by 13 August they will have become more clinical going forward to match the often impressive approach play seen tonight, especially on the left flank in the first half where Olsen is settling in well and combined effectively with the undoubted class of Hilton. In midfield, Hawes too is adjusting well back to football at a higher level than he has played for a year or two. With Hallows, Hussin and Scott likely to be missing for a while with injury and Thornley also currently nursing a minor injury, Graham Heathcote is going to need to ensure that he has sufficient players to see him through, at least to the opening of the transfer window in the new year. But Graham's necessarily tight budget means that he will inevitably have to make some hard choices as to who to sign on from amongst the many trialists. But at least Alty will have the insurance of a Reserve team which last season proved so useful with the likes of George Melling, Val Owen, Paul Tilley and Lewis Chalmers amongst those emerging from its ranks.
|Full-Time: TRAFFORD 0 ALTRINCHAM 1|