WOODLEY SPORTS (2) 3
ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
played on Saturday, 1 July 2006, at 1pm.
REFEREE: Mr. M THORNLEY
ATTENDANCE: est. 150
Just nine eventful weeks (which included both a relegation and promotion for Altrincham!) after their last league game of 2005/06, the 2006/07 pre-season got under way on a very hot day at Woodley's impressively developing Lambeth Grove stadium, which boasts the only artificial pitch in the district accepted for non-League football. These sides had last played each other in a Cheshire Senior Cup match last September, which Altrincham had won 4-2.
Since then, Woodley had lost out in the promotion play-offs from UniBond One. Their starting eleven today included ten players who either started or were on the bench for the play-off defeat by Gresley Rovers in May.
TEAM NEWS This was Alty's earliest pre-season game for many a year and was played on a baking hot afternoon. Alty's team was a mix of first-teamers, new signings and reserves. The visitors fielded two new signings from Halifax Town, midfielder Steve Bushell and winger Justin Bowler. Alty's other new signings, Joe O'Neill, Robbie Lawton and Peter Thomson were unavailable today but two trialists were, Adie Nevins (a former Manchester United youngster) and a midfielder called Mannion..
Woodley included several former Alty players including David Swanick, Chris Young and Mario Daniel, whilst former trialist Gavin Salmon was on their bench.Woodley also remain under the managership of Ally Pickering, who had a few games for Alty in 1999/2000.
WOODLEY SPORTS (Red & blue striped shirts, white shorts and socks): . 1. Liam HIGGINBOTHAM, 2. Dave SWANICK, 3. Russell HEADLEY, 4. Carlos MEAKIN, 5. Mark PHILLIPS, 6. Chris YOUNG (capt), 7. Mario DANIEL, 8. Chris CURLEY, 9. Danny QUEELEY, 10. Daniel DOUGLAS-PRINGLE, 11. Luke HORROCKS. Subs: Not listed on teamsheet.
ALTRINCHAM (Pale blue shirts and socks, dark blue shorts.) 1. Craig ELLISON, 2. Stephen ROSE, 3. Richard GRESTY, 4. Karl MUNROE, 5. Peter BAND, 6. Steve BUSHELL, 7. Lewis CHALMERS, 8. Warren PEYTON, 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Kieran LUGSDEN, 11. Justin BOWLER. Subs: 12. Ben DEEGAN, 14. Blake NORTON, 14. Laurence BALL, 15. NEVINS, 16. Pat McFADDEN, 17. Astley MULHOLLAND, 18. Lee MANNION.
Above: Steve Bushell, in front of Warren Peyton and, right, Justin Bowler.
Alty started slowly and a misplaced pass by Lugsden gave Woodley an early corner. Though this was cleared, Woodley soon took the lead when Daniel volleyed home to complete a neat move initiated by Horrocks (9 mins). Woodley went close again before Alty won two corners, following the first of which Peyton's excellent shot from 20 yards was well saved by former Trafford keeper, Higginbotham at the cost of the second corner. The home side were benefitting from its experience of playing together more regularly than Altrincham's new blend of first-team, reserve and new players.
Woodley made an early substitution (22 mins) and, five minutes later, doubled their lead when Alty allowed Daniel to advance unchallenged before feeding Douglas-Pringle, who fired home (27 mins). Sports went close again soon afterward when Horrocks cut in but the Woodley Sub (no.15) fired over the bar. Then the pacey Horrocks himself advanced 25 yards before feeding Douglas-Pringle who lifted his effort over the bar (30 mins).
But Alty got back into the game with a well worked goal. Chalmers's excellent pass forward found Little to the right of goal in the outer reaches of the penalty area. The Alty top scorer from last season turned Headley inside out twice before planting a shot into the bottom corner, to the keeper's left (34 mins). Meanwhile, Steve Bushell was reinforcing the impression that he would be an excellent acquisition for the coming season whilst former Halifax team mate Justin Bowler made some darting runs showing good pace and control. However, it was Woodley who went the closer to scoring again when they got behind the Alty defence on the Woodley left flank. But, just before the interval, Lugsden almost got on the end of a ball forward only for Higginbotham to race out to kick clear (44 mins). The final action of the half saw Alty survive a corner kick, won for the home team by Mario Daniel.
|Half-Time: WOODLEY SPORTS 2 ALTRINCHAM 1|
At the interval Alty made two changes with Pat McFadden replacing Kieran Lugsden up front and Blake Norton replacing Lewis Chalmers. This latter change led to Bowler moving to the right wing from the left. McFadden soon had a good chance to level the scores when he found himself unmarked in the box but he pulled his right foot shot wide of the target (49 mins). Three minutes later Woodley brought on Salmon for Queeley and then, after 54 minutes, Alty brought on Adie Nevins for Stephen Rose and two minutes later, Richard Norris came on for Richard Gresty, who had played well at left-back. Little then went close with an audacious lob from 40 yards (57 mins). But Woodley themselves went close when they headed narrowly wide.
Alty's passing continued to be less than perfect though Norris was an exception, his distribution proving that he had lost none of his ability after an injury layoff of a full season. The regular changes continued as Alty brought on Astley Mulholland, a member of last season's youth team, for Bowler on the right wing (63 mins). Soon Alty did put together an excellent passing move in which Norris figured three times, but the move ended in McFadden's shot narrowly wide of the far post (67 mins). Yet more changes came after 72 minutes when Reserves' defender Laurence Ball came on for Warren Peyton and Colin Little gave way up front to last season's top scoer in the Youth team, Ben Deegan.
Douglas-Pringle then shot narrowly wide and soon afterwards won a corner. But, after this, a fine ball from Norris found Deegan who cut in but shot over the bar (76 mins). Alty made their eighth substitution of the second half after 77 minutes when Bushell went off and was replaced by a young trialist, Lee Mannion, who had been recently released by Crewe Alexandra (77 mins). After a couple of rash challenges by Chris Young, the Woodley captain was withdrawn by his bench. Soon Deegan nodded over the bar from Norris's freekick but Woodley then made another change as Daniel returned to the match (83 mins). Ellison then had to save well from the Sports' number 12. However, Woodley sealed the game after 89 minutes when Salmon got the better of Band in the outer part of the Alty box and, though his shot was half stopped by Ellison, it found the net to make it 3-1.
Whilst Alty will have been disappointed at the result, the unfamiliar starting line up and the numerous second half changes meant that the exercise was more about preparation for the new season that the result on the day. Perhaps the most promising aspects for Alty were the confirmation of Bushell's ability in midfield, the welcome return of Richard Norris in midfield and some promising flashes from Justin Bowler. Gresty also had a solid game, albeit playing in an unaccustomed left-back position, whilst Nevins also showed some potential when he came on. Apart from Little's excellent goal, the Alty shooting was a disappointment but there is time yet to hone that for the new campaign.
|Full-Time: WOODLEY SPORTS 3 ALTRINCHAM 1|