Match Report


Pre-Season Friendly Match
played on Friday, 22 July, 2005 at 7.00p.m.


  • Match:
  • Matchball:
  • Programme: Tintagel Consultancy Ltd


    Right: James Olsen contests possession as Mark Maddox and Gary Talbot look on.

    Only a last-kick-of-the-game equaliser, ironically from Crewe's former Alty loan player Matt Bailey, deprived the Robins of a win tonight. After Alty had had a goal disallowed, Crewe were gifted the opener when Dugdale was left unmarked at a corner and scored comfortably (23 mins). The visitors played some neat football, with new signing Luke Rodgers impressive, but lacked decisive finishing. It took Alty till the 75th minute to equalise when substitute Kieran Lugsden impressively finished off a punt, up the middle, from Coburn. Lugsden then made it 2-1 (87 mins) with another impressive first-time finish following a corner. Thornley also went very close in the end to end final stages watched by a disappointing gate of 366. Coburn made three magnificent saves for Alty in the second half but when he made a fourth magnificent stop, he was unlucky to see Bailey pounce on the rebound just ahead of Melling to make it 2-2. The referee blew the final whistle as Alty kicked off after the goal.


  • 23 mins: Adam DUGDALE (Altrincham 0 Crewe Alexandra 1)
  • 75 mins: Kieran LUGSDEN (Altrincham 1 Crewe Alexandra 1)
  • 87 mins: Kieran LUGSDEN (Altrincham 2 Crewe Alexandra 1)
  • 90 mins: Matt BAILEY (Altrincham 2 Crewe Alexandra 2)

    REFEREE: Mr N Swarbrick


    This was Alty's fourth pre-season game, after a 1-3 home defeat by Morton and 1-0 wins at Cammell Laird and Trafford, the latter only taking place last night. Alty had beaten Crewe to lift the Cheshire Senior Cup last season. A 7pm kick-off may have been a factor in the disappointing gate of 366.


    There was no sign of Stephen Owens from Macclesfield Town who scored the winner last night at Trafford. First-team regular Rod Thornley was on the bench, otherwise the starters included only two trialists, Steve Garvey in midfield and Aaron Wilford up front. Added to the injury list (Hussin, Scott, Hallows) was Richard Norris, who was hurt by a tackle late in the game at Trafford.


    ALTRINCHAM: (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Stephen ROSE, 3. Kirk HILTON, 4. Mark MADDOX (capt.), 5. Gary TALBOT, 6. Steve HAWES, 7. Colin POTTS, 8. Steve GARVEY, 9. Aaron WILFORD, 10. Colin LITTLE, 11. James OLSEN. Subs: 12. Rod THORNLEY, 14. Karl MUNROE and Nehru McKENZIE, 15. Kieran LUGSDEN, 16. George MELLING.

    CREWE ALEXANDRA: (Grey and blue shirts, blue shorts, grey socks): 1. Owain fon WILLIAMS, 2. Cavell COO, 3. Paul BIGNOT, 4. Adam DUGDALE, 5. Richard SUTTON, 6. Gary ROBERTS, 7. Nick MAYNARD, 8. Lee BELL, 9. Matt BAILEY, 10. Ben RIX, 11. Luke RODGERS. Subs: 12. Mark CARRINGTON, 14. Kyle WILSON, 16. Mark ROBERTS, 17. Michael O'CONNOR.


    Alex kicked off towards the 20/20 End and were soon passing the ball around in the way one expects of Dario Gradi's sides. Indeed, Gradi himself was in charge of the team tonight and he saw his charges win an early corner off Maddox. However, Alty responded by winning a corner themselves from a 20 yard effort by Steve Hawes who was much involved right from the start of this game. However, Hawes's corner was not well taken and Maddox was again soon forced to be alert in conceding another corner as Crewe's new signing Luke Rodgers loked dangerous on the right flank (9 mins). Coburn dropped Bell's corner but had been fouled in the process as the referee rightly spotted (11 mins). A great through-ball then found Rodgers who fed Maynard. He rounded Coburn but Maddox did very well to clear the danger for a corner as Rodgers closed in up the centre.

    Crewe were now looking the better side as Graham Heathcote tried to lift his side and, indeed, they soon won a corner when Garvey, Wilford and Potts combined. Though Talbot won a header from the corner, the danger was cleared (16 mins). Dario Gradi had now come down to the technical area as Cheshire's two finest managers attempted to get the best from their players.

    Alty looked to have taken the lead after 21 minutes following a freekick for a foul on Hawes, 35 yards out to the right, after the Alty midfielder had won possession. From the freekick, Hawes fed Little who passed to Potts before Wilford clipped the ball across goal for Garvey. He found Talbot before Olsen drifted in at the back post to bundle the ball home- but the goal was ruled out, presumably for offside. Soon after this, Garvey fed Hawes for a shot from 25 yards which went wide. Alty's improvement continued as, now, Wilford got in a fine shot from right of centre which went narrowly wide of the keeper's left post (22 mins). But then Crewe won a corner when Rodgers again advanced up the right. From the corner, Dugdale was left unattended near the penalty spot and he made no mistake in knocking the ball past Coburn to give Alex the lead (23 mins).

    Crewe now won two more corners in quick succession and it was not until the 33rd minute that Alty went close again when Wilford rose well to head narrowly wide. At the other end, Rodgers fired a shot just over the bar as Crewe continued to have the better of things. Alty left-back Hilton now limped off and, after a minute or two with ten men, trialist Karl Munroe came on in his place (36 mins). A Crewe error now allowed Hawes into the box and he found Wilford in a threatening position but the big man's first touch allowed the keeper to save. But Crewe threatened as well with Bailey getting past Talbot only for Maddox to cover well. Soon afterwards Coburn had to produce a fine save to stop a Rodgers's effort after good work from Maynard. Crewe won another corner.

    Altrincham went very close after 40 minutes when, from Rose's pass, Potts chipped the ball towards goal but it drifted just past the far angle of post and bar. At this point, Maddox became Alty's second casualty when he limped off to be replaced by Melling (41 mins). Before the young defender could settle, Bailey took advantage of his slip but shot over the bar from 22 yards. Coburn then had to be alert to come out and smother as Maynard threatened. The half ended with Crewe good value for their lead.


    Graham Heathcote continued to give his side plenty of encouragement as the second half started but it was Crewe's Rix who got in the first shot, which went wide. But then, in a matter of seconds, first Hawes and Potts misread each other's intentions and then Gary Talbot made an airkick when attempting to clear, and a Crewe corner resulted. So, the Alty manager called for more effort (51 mins). But a second corner followed which was cleared. Just after Bignot's 20-yarder had narrowly cleared the Alty bar, Nehru McKenzie came on in midfield for Garvey (53 mins). Altrincham began to settle but it was Crewe who won the next corner. Alty made another change on the hour mark with Rod Thornley coming on for Olsen. At the same time, Rodgers who had only joined Crewe today for a reported £100,000 gave way to Wilson. McKenzie made his mark in midfield and when he received a pass from Potts to the left of goal and got in a good, low ball across goal to the back post where Thornley, sliding in, could not quite turn the ball into the vacant net, the ball instead skidding back across the face of goal (61 mins).

    After 63 minutes, Kieran Lugsden came on for Wilford up front but Crewe immediately won a corner as the floodlights began to come on. Play was fairly even in the second half but Crewe won another corner off Melling (68 mins). Soon afterwards, Crewe made a double change with O'Connor and Carrington coming on Bell and Rix. At the same time, as Potts had limped off injured, Garvey made a return, this time on the right flank (72 mins). There then followed a magnificent save from Coburn from a half volley by Maynard from a cross from the right (74 mins). Altrincham then got back on level terms in very direct fashion. A long punt up the middle from Coburn, who had gathered a cross from O'Connor, set Lugsden free and his first-time shot as the ball dropped out of the air found the net impressively (75 mins). But Crewe almost restored their lead when a great shot from Roberts prompted an even greater save, one-handed, from Coburn going to his left, at the cost of a corner (77 mins). After McKenzie had lost the ball, Maynard got past Munroe but fired narrowly wide. Play was now end to end and when Carrington set up Bailey for a shot he forced another tremendous save from Coburn, who saved the ball one-handed to this right, and the ball did not even rebound out of his grasp (82 mins). Melling then had to be alert to block two shots in quick succession, at the cost of a corner. Crewe now brought on Roberts for Dugdale (83 mins).

    Little then advanced and found Lugsden whose pass set up McKenzie inside the box but he sliced his shot well wide, only for Little to get a head to the loose ball and his effort landed on the roof of the net. The unfortunate Roberts had to come off with a cut to his cheek bone, just two minutes after coming on. So, Dugdale returned to the fray. A fine shot from Little won Alty a corner which led to a second corner on the right by Hawes. Mamnager Heathcote instructed Hawes to ensure that he got enough height on the ball and the midfielder duly obliged. The ball came out to Lugsden 15 yards out in a central position and his first time shot found the roof of the net to give Alty a 2-1 lead (87 mins). Crewe pressed for an equaliser and Maynard's volley produced yet another amazing save from Coburn, once again one-handed, but this time the ball rebounded out to Bailey who just managed to poke the ball home as Melling closed him down (90 mins). Alty just had time to tap the ball to each other to re-start the game when the referee's whistle sounded.

    Although Coburn had to produce at least four top-class saves, Alty will feel that they did enough to deserve their draw.