ALTRINCHAM (0) 3
F.C. UNITED OF MANCHESTER (1) 1
played on Wednesday, 19 July 2006, at 7.45pm.
REFEREE: Mr Rick Bartlett
A return to Moss Lane for their first home friendly of pre-season brought Altrincham their first win of the summer, after they had fallen behind to a Rory Patterson penalty, conceded by Peter Band (39 mins). Following a fairly even first half Alty had the better of the second period, aided both by an improved performance of their own and the visitors' introduction of six subs before the hour mark. Colin Little equalised with a superb effort from outside the box which saw the ball drop over keeper Melville's head (57 mins) and then another well taken goal by Warren Peyton made it 2-1 after 64 minutes. Alty wrapped it up after 81 minutes when Lee Hendley scored from a narrow angle after an FCUM defensive header had gone past the United keeper
This was Altrincham's first match against FC United of Manchester though the NW Counties club had played a league game against Holker OB at Moss Lane last season. As ever, FCUM were supported in good numbers, outnumbering the home support for another pre-season game which was to be played in sweltering conditions. Groundsman Neil Brown had done a good job over the summer getting the pitch in good condition after drainage work at the end of last season.
This was Alty's second game of three on consecutive evenings and, once again, the team showed numerous changes. Compared with the team for the match at Kidsgrove 24 hours earlier, Gary Scott and Colin Little were the only two players to start both games. However, four of the five new signings (Bushell, Bowler, Thomson and Lawton) were in the team, with Thomson the only absentee. Once again several Alty players were decked in the named-shirts of other players, so many of the FCUM fans went home believing that our number ten had been the United and England masseur Rod Thornley (who has Alty's squad number, 10) when in fact the no.10 shirt was worn tonight by new signing Robbie Lawton from Vauxhall Motors! Likewise Chris Adams "was" Richard Norris for the evening, whilst Joe O'Neill wore Val Owen's shirt and Justin Bowler assumed Kieran Lugsden's identity. The referee had insisted on a limit of six subs per side, but Alty had already named eight on the bench before that decision was made and though only six FCUM subs appeared on the team sheet, two others (nos.19 and 20) were also available.
With former Alty Youth keeper Barrie George on holiday in Ibiza, Steve Torpey was the only ex-Altrincham player in the FCUM starting line-up, though former Alty reserve Adie Orr was named on the bench, as was ex-Alty Youth player Liam Coyne.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and socks.) 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Gary SCOTT, 15. Peter BAND, 17. Karl MUNROE, 22. Chris ADAMS; 10. Robbie LAWTON, 12. Warren PEYTON, 30. Steve BUSHELL (capt), 20. Justin BOWLER; 9. Colin LITTLE, 8. John O'NEILL. Subs: 1* Richard ACTON (gk), 2. Steve ASPINALL, 4. Eddie HUSSIN, 5. Gary TALBOT, 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 18. Blake NORTON, 26. Lee HENDLEY, 28. Pat McFADDEN.
F.C. UNITED OF MANCHESTER (All white, with black diagonal stripe on shirts):1. Phil MELVILLE, 2. Matty TAYLOR, 3. Alex MORTIMER, 4. Steve SPENCER, 5. David CHADWICK, 6. Robert NUGENT, 7. Josh HOWARD, 8. William AHERN, 9. STuart RUDD, 10. Steve TORPEY, 11. Rory PATTERSON. Subs: 12. Rhodri GIGGS, 14. Steve SMITH, 15. Simon CARDEN, 16. Liam COYNE, 17. Adie ORR, 18. Ben MORTIMER, 19. David BROWN, 20. Dave SWARBRICK
After a lively pre-match display by the Phoenix Cheerleaders, who brought tears to the eyes of some of the less nimble spectators with their splits routine, the teams changed ends. FCUM kicked off towards the Golf Road End and it was they who created the first chance with a smart move up the right which ended with Coburn having to rush out smartly to halt the danger (2 mins). But Alty replied with a fine ball from the impressive Bushell from which Colin Little won an Alty corner. Though this was cleared, Alty soon had a chance when another good pass from Bushell set Lawton running and the tall midfielder's cross came to Bowler but he lashed his shot over the bar (7 mins). The bright start continued as Lawton,. Bowler and Little combined for the last named to force a good save from keeper Melville (9mins). Next, from a FCUM free kick in the right corner, Coburn gathered well, low down (14 mins) and the Alty keeper then collected a header from the lively Stuart Rudd, after Patterson's shot had been deflected by Mortimer to the big ex-Skelmersdale striker (19 mins).
Little then had a good opportunity, when he dispossessed the dawdling Chadwick, but the Alty marksman put his shot well wide. A sliced clearance from Bowler then gave FCUM a corner before the industrious O'Neill tackled back to stop another FCUM attack. Alty created another opening soon afterwards when Lawton, who was playing well on the right, got in a shot which the keeper saved with his legs (29 mins). The sides were now looking fairly even and the chances became fewer as the half progressed. An injury to Scott delayed proceedings before the Alty right-back was fit enough to resume (36 mins). A threaded ball forward up the middle from Torpey then set Patterson running at goal and with Band pursuing, the Alty centre-back pulled the FCUM man back clearly and the referee rightly awarded a penalty. Patterson sent Coburn the wrong way from the spot to send the travelling fans into raptures (39 mins).
Though Alty won a corner in the last minute of the first half, they showed little sign of getting an equaliser before the interval and manager Graham Heathcote went off to give his half-time talk looking a less than happy man.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 F.C. UNITED OF MANCHESTER 1|
At the interval Gary Scott gave way to Steve Aspinall at right-back and six minutes into the half, FCUM made a triple substitution, bringing on Giggs, Carden and Orr, with Patterson and Howard being two of the three players removed (51 mins). Aspinall was soon showing composure at the back as Alty's performance improved. Peyton began to make an impression on the left and, from his cross, a flashing header from Joe O'Neill went narrowly wide (52 mins). Bowler, now switched to the right wing, was also making more of an impact than in the first half, whilst Lawton moved into the center alongside Bushell. Alty won a corner which was half cleared before Munroe had a shot blocked and then Bowler blasted high over the bar from 30 yards.
Alty equalised in spectacular style when Little superbly hooked a through ball, first-time, over the stranded Melville who knew he was beaten well before the ball hit the net (57 mins). Soon Alty threatened again but Bowler's shot was wayward after Lawton and Little had combined in the build-up. FCUM now made their second triple substitution, bring on Smith, Coyne and Swarbrick. They replaced Taylor, the former Hyde United player, Spencer and Torpey (58 mins). Altrincham were now on top in the game but the scores remained level as Melville saved O’Neill’s header from a Bowler cross from the right. But then Alty did go ahead and, as with Little's earlier goal, it came out of nothing. Peyton gathered the ball about 20 yards out and neatly turned and made space before executing a well judged chip over the FCUM keeper to record an excellent goal (64 mins). Sadly the goal was too much for some of the visiting fans and a skirmish broke out at the Golf Road End with the Alty fans wisely moving themselves out of the area as the stewards hastily re-imposed order. At Graham Heathcote's insistence, the referee stopped the game till calm was restored by the stewards' action, which was efficiently marshalled by Phil Taylor and Darren Gregory.
After play had resumed, Bowler shot over the bar (68 mins) and then O'Neill executed a smart turn and chipped the ball towards goal but this time Melville was equal to the challenge, making a good save at the cost of a corner, following which another corner immediately came. Following the second corner, by Bushell, O'Neill and Little had goalmouth headers cleared out of the goalmouth. Alty continued to have the upper hand before Alty made a double substitution with just 14 minutes left. The young strike pairing of Lee Hendley and Pat McFadden replaced Little and O'Neill. Peyton continued to impress on the Alty left but when Alty scored their third goal it owed more to a defensive error than to Alty's build-up play. One of the FCUM central defenders put too much power on a header back to his keeper and it went past Melville to the right of goal. The speed of Hendley ensured that he got to it first and, just as he had done 24 hours earlier at Kidsgrove, the yellow-booted striker finished well from an acute angle (81 mins).
Alty now made two more changes as Lawton and Bowler gave way to Chalmers and Norton (82 mins). FCUM had a chance after this when Chalmers lost possession but Swarbrick shot narrowly over from 22 yards. Alty themselves had two late chances when, firstly, Peyton shot over the bar and then Chalmers enabled McFadden to get free in the right of the box but his right-footed shot went over the target as well (90 mins). The referee added no time for the second half stoppage before blowing the whistle on Alty's first win of pre-season.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 3 F.C. UNITED OF MANCHESTER 1|