KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC (1) 2
ALTRINCHAM (0) 2
played on Tuesday, 18 July 2006, at 7.45pm.
ATTENDANCE: est. 150
Alty got within seven minutes of their first win of pre-season before Kidsgrove substitute Ward netted the equaliser. Kidsgrove had started well, taking the lead after just three minutes when a through ball obliged Richard Acton to rush to the edge of his box to push the ball away but it was immediately crossed back in from the left and Rhead hammered the ball home. Alty levelled just after the break when Lee Hendley got free and took the ball round the keeper (51 mins) and then the visitors went ahead as Pat McFadden got on the end of a perceptive pass from trialist Lee Mannion to score from right of goal (73 mins).
Right: Eddie Hussin continued his rehabilitation at Kidsgrove.
For most Alty supporters this was their first visit to Kidsgrove Athletic, where they received a warm welcome from officials at the Stan Brown Stadium. Once again the heat was a major factor with temperatures having reached 32 degrees during the day.
With three games in three days, Alty rang the changes and Steve Aspinall was the sole survivor in the starting line-up at Kidsgrove compared with the eleven who began the game at Cammell Laird last Saturday. Into the starting eleven at Kidsgrove's well-presented stadium came goalkeeper Richard Acton, defenders Stephen Rose, Gary Scott and Gary Talbot, midfielders Lewis Chalmers, Edddie Hussin, Val Owen and Blake Norton and strikers Colin Little and Pat McFadden. On the bench was keeper Dave Cummins, who was apparently at Wythenshawe Town last season, having previously played for Alty on loan from Trafford. Ex-Crewe trialist Lee Mannion joined him on the subs bench along with Lee Hendley, Richard Norris and Karl Munroe. So none of Alty's new signings (Bushell, Bowler, O'Neill, Thomson and Lawton) were on display.
KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC (Blue):1. A.MULLOCK, 2. A.KIELTHY, 3. A. SCOTT (capt), 4. M. OWEN, 5. W. BROTHERTON, 6. S. ROBINSON, 7. R. EYRE, 8. A. MILLER, 9. M. RHEAD, 10. A. REY, 11. A. MATRANGA. Subs: 12. D. SHAW, 14.B. McARA, 15. A. THORLEY, 16. P. BIEGUS, 17. A. WILKES (gk).
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and socks.) 13. Richard ACTON, 2. Steve ASPINALL, 21. Stephen ROSE, 5. Gary TALBOT, 3. Gary SCOTT; 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 4. Eddie HUSSIN (capt), 8. Val OWEN, 18. Blake NORTON; 9. Colin LITTLE, 10. Pat McFADDEN. Subs: 1*. Dave CUMMINS (gk), 26. Lee HENDLEY, 22. Richard NORRIS, 16. Lee MANNION, 17. Karl MUNROE
Kidsgrove kicked off and though Eddie Hussin had a good early shot, which was blocked (2 mins), it was the home side who took the lead after just three minutes. An aerial ball up the middle evaded the Alty defence and goalkeeper Acton was forced to rush out to the front of his box where he knocked the ball away, amidst strong appeals for handling outside the penalty area. However, play continued and the ball immediately came back from the Kidsgrove left to Rhead who cleverly evaded a challenge before blasting the ball past Acton. All three Alty friendlies so far have yielded an opposition goal in the first ten minutes, a trait they will want to end before the Conference season starts.
Alty replied with an attack which saw McFadden flagged, very late, for a clear offside offence and then the young Alty striker was penalised again, for a foul on the keeper, as Norton put the ball into the Kidsgrove net (9 mins). The next few minutes saw the sides trade attacks but without either side creating any openings. Eventually a Hussin and Little combination led to a header from Owen which the keeper saved (17 mins). Norton was getting involved on the Alty left and the same player was soon busy taking four corners in three minutes. Following the second corner, McFadden had a shot well blocked and from the third, taken from the Alty right, Norton hit the cross bar directly from the corner-kick. After this sequence of corners, Hussin got in his second good shot of the night, his 20 yarder going narrowly wide of the keeper’s right post (21 mins). Kidsgrove then put together a very good move which ended with Miller firing narrowly over the bar from 22 yards (24 mins).
A long throw from Chalmers was then cleared before McFadden volleyed wide at the back post from a cross from the right (28 mins). Next, Rhead cut in well from the left for Kidsgrove before firing just wide (31 mins) and soon afterwards Rose was forced to concede a corner . But it was Hussin who again went close for Alty after this, lashing an effort just wide (33 mins). At the back Talbot was heading the ball clear with his customary power before Alty had another chance which went unconverted as McFadden fed Chalmers, whose shot was placed narrowly off target (35 mins). Another chance came and went as Little did well to exchange passes with McFadden before feeding Owen, whose shot was very well blocked by the keeper's legs at the cost of a corner. From the corner, Little had a shot blocked but then Kidsgrove had a corner of their own, which also went unconverted. As half time approached Owen skimmed a header well wide after a good build up by Aspinall, Little and Norton (44 mins). But half time arrived with Alty still trailing.
|Half-Time: KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC 1 ALTRINCHAM 0|
At the break Lee Hendley, sporting bright yellow boots, replaced Colin Little up front for Altrincham. And the new boots soon made their mark as Hendley (right) got clear to the right of goal, drew the goalkeeper and then slotted the ball into the empty net to make it 1-1 (51 mins). Soon afterwards, the lively Hendley won his side a corner and from Norton’s kick, McFadden's back post header missed the target. At this point Kidsgrove brought on Biegus for Rey (55 mins). Norton was again employed on a corner kick soon afterwards before Alty withdrew Hussin in favour of Norris in midfield (61 mins). Talbot took over as captain and three minutes later Karl Munroe came on for Aspinall (64 mins). Hendley threatened again for Alty, to the right of goal, but the ball ran away from him down the slight slope and the keeper made a good save at the cost of another Alty corner. The home side now made a double swap as Robinson and Miller were withdrawn (69 mins).
Altrincham were now on top and McFadden's shot forced another corner from a good save by Mullock. Yet another corner followed soon afterwards and as with all the flag-kicks tonight, it was taken by Norton. Once again Norton curled the corner well and the ball evaded the keeper, only to be headed off the line. After Rose had advanced well, a cross came in from the Alty right which just evaded McFadden in front of goal. But now Alty made a switch as Scott gave way to Mannion and Chalmers moved to left back (73 mins). Kidsgrove also made a change as McAra replaced Matranga. Kidsgrove were then caught offside and, though they put the ball in the net, there was never any doubt that it was going to be ruled out. Alty then took the lead when a good ball from Mannion forward for McFadden saw the striker score well from right of goal (78 mins). At this point Alty replaced former Kidsgrove keeper Acton with Cummins (79 mins). Then Gary Scott came back on for Alty, substituting for Owen (81 mins). The versatile Chalmers now moved to centre-midfield.
Altrincham looked to have the game in their hands but a fine move on the Kidsgrove right saw a low cross from Kielthy turned in at the back post by Shaw, the ball spinning off his foot onto the inside of the post and past Cummins (83 mins). The goal lifted Kidsgrove and soon Cummins had to be alert to make a good stop from Rhead's powerful shot. However, Alty put together an excellent move in the 88th minute which ended with McFadden’s shot at the keeper. But the game remained at 2-2 and Alty had achieved the same result on this ground as their Conference rivals Northwich Vics had done a few days earlier.
For the third successive game in pre-season Alty had been unable to beat a UniBond First Division side but they had their chances to do so tonight. Nevertheless, the Alty management will be more concerned with having seen another ninety minutes of action from their squad to ascertain likely starters in the Conference on 12 August and also, on a less happy note, to clarify who is to be released from a squad which is currently 26-men strong if all of the remaining players who made first-team appearances last season are added to this summer's new signings.
|Full-Time: KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC 2 ALTRINCHAM 2|