SALFORD CITY (1) 1 ALTRINCHAM (1) 3
played on Tuesday, 1 August 2006, at 7.45pm.
Above: Eddie Hussin (in blue, on knees) scores the opener, with Robbie Lawton (19), Pat McFadden (28) and Lee Hendley (26) involved in the build-up.
In this friendly Alty had the novel experience of playing against two different Salford City sides, one in each half. The second-half City side took to the pitch in Manchester United strip and included Ben Thornley in its ranks, playing against his Alty brother, Rod. Eddie Hussin opened the scoring for Alty after just five minutes, finishing off a neat build up. Salford levelled with a well hit 25 yarder after their number three was allowed to advance unchallenged. But Alty restored their lead when Lee Hendley netted from a defensive clearance by City (30 mins). In an entertaining second half played in swirling wind and, at times, torrential rain, Alty missed several chances before Colin Little scored well from a superb long ball forward from Steve Aspinall (90 mins).
Following a home game against a Manchester City XI last Thursday, Alty travelled tonight to play against Salford City. For some Alty fans this was a first visit to a ground built on a site which has been in continuous use for sport for 325 years, initially being a (horse) race course but, later, a venue for rugby (league and union) and athletics, with Salford City FC arriving in the 1970s. Though little is visible from the road, once inside, the ground is large and set in a natural bowl with a striking 1930s' concrete stand on one side and a covered terrace on the other. City play in the NW Counties Division 1, along with Trafford and FC United whose teams Alty had already played this pre-season.
Alty were again without the injured Gary Scott, Peter Thomson and Colin Potts, though all were present and Gary Scott was involved in the warm-up before kick-off. However, Val Owen had recovered to be included in the squad. Alty started with teenagers McFadden and Hendley up front and Karl Munroe and Stephen Rose as the centre-back pairing.
City had two separate teams warming up, one of which was to be employed in each half. However, Salford's former Alty man Jamie Baguley was only a spectator.
SALFORD CITY (Orange shirts and socks, black shorts, changing to Manchester United's red strip for the second half when an apparently completely different eleven played. The list below is as given over the tannoy, though the numbers did not correspond to the shirts worn): 1. HORRIDGE, 2. WHITEHEAD, 3. ECKERSLEY, 4. SANTOS, 5. HANLON, 6. OTUTU, 7. WATSON, 8. MYERSCOUGH, 9. J. ROBINSON, 10. N. ROBINSON, 11. McNALLY. Subs: 12. WHITEHEAD, 14. DEVLIN, 15. GABRIEL. Amongst those playing in the second half was Ben THORNLEY.
ALTRINCHAM (Pale blue shirts and socks, dark blue shorts.) 1. Stuart COBURN; 23. Steve ASPINALL, 18. Stephen ROSE, 17. Karl MUNROE, 12. Warren PEYTON; 19. Robbie LAWTON, 5. Eddie HUSSIN (capt), 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 10. Rod THORNLEY; 26. Lee HENDLEY, 28. Pat McFADDEN. Subs: 1*. Andy CUMMINS, 3. Justin BOWLER, 8. Val OWEN, 15. Peter BAND, 16. Joe O'NEILL, 22. Colin LITTLE, No Number. Steve BUSHELL, .
Salford kicked off but had the disadvantage of playing into a gusty wind and into a setting sun. Alty won an early corner (4 mins) which was half cleared but a neat combination on the right of Hendley, McFadden and Lawton soon got the ball to Alty captain Eddie Hussin, just inside the box, and he rifled the ball home efficiently to give Alty the lead (5 mins). It was a very welcome goal for Eddie after his year-long layoff. After a brief stoppage for treatment to a face injury for Lewis Chalmers, McFadden did well and got to the by-line on the left but Hendley was only able to turn his low cross wide of the near post (14 mins). After an Alty corner had been and gone, McFadden was judged to have sprung the offside trap and headed for goal but, though his shot from the right was goalbound, a defender cleared it before it could reach the line (16 mins). Alty continued to enjoy the better of the play but then paid the price for failing to close down the City number three who was allowed to advance 20 yards up the inside-left channel before cracking a swerving shot at goal, which Coburn tried to punch away. But the ball went past him into the net to ensure that, for the eighth successive pre-season friendly for the first team, a clean sheet would not be kept by the Alty defence (19 mins). This signalled a good period of play from the home side, which tested Altrincham's defence.
But, soon, Thornley had a shot saved before McFadden and Hendley combined to set up a shot for Lawton which forced a fine save from the experienced Horridge in the Salford goal (21 mins). A couple of long throws in succession from Chalmers led to an Alty corner but this came to nothing. With rain now pouring down, Rod Thornley made good progress on the left only for his shot to be blocked. Another Alty attack was then half cleared to Lee Hendley, to the right of goal, and the striker coolly netted for the fifth time in pre-season to put Alty 2-1 ahead (30 mins). Pat McFadden then had a chance, from the left of goal, but lifted his shot over the bar (37 mins). Just before the half time whistle, Stephen Rose lashed in an excellent, low shot from 25 yards which the keeper saved well.
|Half-Time: SALFORD CITY 1 ALTRINCHAM 2|
At the break Val Owen replaced Eddie Hussin in midfield and Stuart Coburn gave way to Andy Cummins between the posts . But Salford appeared to field a completely different eleven for the start of the second half, all of whom wore Manchester United's red-Vodaphone shirts in contrast to the first-half orange strip their team had worn. Amongst the Salford numbers, playing on the right, was Ben Thornley, brother of Alty's Rod. The new Salford team played the ball about well but Alty went close after 53 minutes when Owen fed McFadden, on the left, but his attempted cross was sliced out for a goalkick. Immediately both Pat and Lee Hendley were replaced up front by Colin Little and Joe O'Neill. After this, from a poor throw-out from the home keeper, Rod Thornley had a shot charged down by the City defence (56 mins). For Alty, Rose was doing well at the back, building on his good performance for Radcliffe Borough on Saturday. Next a good cross from the left by Peyton found O'Neill, who got up well but headed over the bar. After 57 minutes Alty made another change as Band and Bushell came on for Munroe and Chalmers respectively. A minute later, a well struck freekick from Rose was headed wide by O'Neill.
Alty were now on top again and after having a corner cleared they attacked again with a firmly hit cross from the right by O'Neill which skimmed off Little's head and wide of the target. At this point, Justin Bowler replaced Rod Thornley (64 mins). Soon, Robbie Lawton played in Joe O'Neill but the keeper managed to smother the ball before the sides won a corner kick apiece. From Salford's corner the ball evaded Cummins but a defender headed the inswinging corner kick off the line. The rain was now pouring down once again as Alty won another corner themselves (73 mins). After this, the hardworking Peyton fed Owen in front of goal but Val somehow lifted the ball yards over the bar (75 mins). At the other end, the Salford no.11 did get in a header at the Alty goal but it was straight at Cummins. Alty then had another good chance as O'Neill got free but, though his first touch was heavy, he got the ball back only to miscontrol again and end up poking the ball well over the bar from close range (80 mins).
Alty continued in the driving seat but squandered another chance when Owen elected to pass rather than shoot. But, in the last minute, a superb long pass from the right-back position by Aspinall found Little whose first time shot lifted the ball over the advancing keeper to make it 3-1 (90 mins). As well as the hardworking opposition from Salford City, both the difficult weather conditions and facing a team of fresh players after the interval ensured that this was a challenging match for Altrincham. There were plenty of positive signs for them from the game, particularly going forward, but the quest for a clean sheet goes on, after eight first-team friendlies in which the opposition has scored at least once in each game. It was also disappointing to see Eddie Hussin after the game with a thick bandage on his right thigh as a result of a hamstring tweak. Altrincham now have two more friendlies at home to Bolton Wanderers and Bangor City, before finalising their line up for the opening of the Conference season at home to Stevenage Borough on 12th August.
|Full-Time: SALFORD CITY 1 ALTRINCHAM 3|