ALTRINCHAM (1) 5 BANGOR CITY (1) 2
played on Tuesday, 8 August 2006, at 7.45pm.
Alty produced some excellent attacking football, especially in the second half, but there were still some worrying defensive lapses to give Graham Heathcote food for thought on a wet night in front of just 220 spectators at Moss Lane. O'Neil put Bangor one up after 8 minutes after Coburn had dropped a corner at his feet, under pressure from former Alty Reserve, Ashley Stott. Lloyd-Williams had already hit the post for the visitors but Alty got level after 28 minutes when captain Steve Bushell scored from 10 yards. Bushell scored again after 57 minutes, rounding off an excellent move but Roberts equalised after 66 minutes when he was left unmarked to convert a cross from the left from Edwards. Thornley's downward header from Peyton's cross made it 3-2 (73 mins) before good play from Thornley set Little at goal and his expert jink created an opening to score and make it 4-2 (79 mins). Substitute Lee Hendley continued his excellent pre-season with a smartly taken goal when McFadden's cross from the left was deflected to him to make it 5-2 (88 mins).
This was Altrincham's tenth and last first-team warm-up match and a repeat of the same friendly fixture which concluded last season's summer games. There was a disappointing gate for this match, played on what was to be a very damp night at Moss Lane. Nevertheles, the Moss Lane pitch was looking in good condition after summer re-drainage work by groundsman Neil Brown.
Alty had to make a late change as Val Owen, named in the starting line-up, had to drop out and be replaced by Steve Aspinall.
Bangor included several ex-Alty Reserves including Adam Docker, Kieran Killackey, Ashley Stott and substitute James Marsden, as well as the prolific Marc Lloyd-Wiliams, who was briefly on Alty's books in his youth. Clayton Blackmore, the former Manchester United star, played at right-back for City, whom he also manages.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks.): 1. Stuart COBURN; 2. Steve ASPINALL, 15. Peter BAND, 5. Gary TALBOT, 11. Gary SCOTT; 7. Justin BOWLER, 4. Robbie LAWTON, 30. Steve BUSHELL (capt), 12. Warren PEYTON; 9. Colin LITTLE, 3. Joe O'NEILL. Subs: 10. Rod THORNLEY, 13 Andy CUMMINS (gk), 14. Lewis CHALMERS, 17. Karl MUNROE, 20. Kieran LUGSDEN, 21. Stephen ROSE, 26. Lee HENDLEY, 28. Pat McFADDEN.
BANGOR CITY (Blue): 1. Ian HAVARD, 2. Clayton BLACKMORE, 3. Martin BEATTIE, 4. Kieran KILLACKEY, 5. Adam DOCKER, 6. Paul O'NIEL, 7. Marc LLOYD-WILLIAMS, 8. Ashley STOTT, 9. Paul ROBERTS, 10. Michael WALSH, 11. Shaun EDWARDS. Subs: 12. Peter JONES, 14. Ben OGILVY, 15. James MARSDEN .
Bangor kicked off towards the Hale 20/20 End but Alty had the game's first chance when Little found O'Neill free in the box but the Havard was out quickly to close off the chance (1 min). Alty continued to attack and, after four minutes, a scramble in the Bangor box saw the ball hurriedly cleared again from O'Neill. But Bangor were now giving as good as they got and were very unlucky not to score when Lloyd-Williams turned cleverly past Peter Band and saw his fine curling shot from just inside the box strike Coburn's right upright, with the Alty keeper beaten (7 mins). However, the respite was short for Altrincham as Roberts and Stott combined to win a corner on the left, taken for the visitors by Walsh. As this kick came across the goalmouth, Coburn went up to catch it but, on the way down, he lost the ball as Stott challenged and O'Neil was left with an open goal from very close range and he duly put his side ahead (8 mins). After another Alty defensive mix-up a few minutes later, Alty manager Graham Heathcote reshuffled his formation, moving Gary Scott from left-back to right midfield, Justin Bowler from right flank to left and Warren Peyton to left-back (11 mins).
Play went on without too much in the way in goalmouth action until a fine cross from the right by Aspinall found Little, whose first-time shot was well saved by Havard but the loose ball found its way to Bowler. However, he smashed his shot, from left of goal, over the bar (19 mins). Alty continued to press for a leveller with Lawton much involved. However, the nearest they came was when O'Neill's effort was blocked and a corner resulted. Following this, Bowler did well to cross from the left but Peyton missed his kick beyond the back post (25 mins). Peyton continued to be busy in his pre-season role of chief dead-ball taker but Bangor threatened when Lloyd-Williams got onto a ball played over Peyton and only a mis-control allowed the ball to run to Coburn (27 mins). After O'Neill and the hardworking Peyton had combined at the other end, Bowler put in a cross from the left which prompted a strong handball appeal by Alty. However, play continued and the ball was flicked on from the outer reaches to the box, diagonally, to Bushell near the left post and he fired the ball home from 10 yarsd or so for his first goal for Altrincham since joining from Halifax Town (28 mins).
Soon, Bowler got past Blackmore but the defender recovered to block and conceded a corner. At this point the Bangor player-manager received a lecture from the referee for reasons that were not too clear. Peyton's corner led to some pressure and eventually a freekick for a foul by the feisty Killackey on Lawton, 20 yards out. This prompted a second lecture for Blackmore (32 mins). A rehearsed freekick routine saw the ball played to Little who swivelled and shot at goal but the keeper got down well to save at the foot of the post (33 mins). Now, Bangor won a corner following which Docker fired wide but Bangor won another corner moments later, which Scott cleared. Next, Alty won a corner, which O'Neil headed wide (38 mins). O'Neil went even closer after 41 minutes when he exchanged passes with Little and curled his resulting shot round the post, as rain now fell more heavily (41 mins). Yet another physical challenge from Killackey was punished by a freekick but as half-time approached Bowler fired well over the target into Golf Road in what was now a lashing downpour (44 mins). Half time arrived with the scores level.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 BANGOR CITY 1|
Bangor won an early corner but Alty went close after 50 minutes when Scott, now at right-back, O'Neill and Little combined, the last-named shooting wide. Alty were soon getting on top and eventually the pressure paid off as Aspinall, now playing in centre-midfield, found Bushell who executed a neat interchange of passes with Little before running on to finish well, tucking the ball just inside the post past the keeper's right-hand, to record his own and his side's second goal (57 mins).
The game was now being played at a quicker tempo than in the first half and Altrincham were beginning to put together some good passing movements. However, another robust challenge, this time on Scott, led Graham Heathcote to invite the referee to "start having a few words or we'll end up with someone injured". As play continued, another neat Alty move ended as Bowler again fired too high at the target (60 mins). A ten-pass move than ended as Bushell headed Peyton's cross from the left narrowly wide.
Alty made a change after 65 minutes with Thornley replacing Bowler. But moments later, Bangor got back in the game with an equaliser. Walsh made an excellent run up the middle before finding Edwards on the left with a fine pass. His well struck cross found Roberts, arriving unmarked in the goalmouth, and though he did not hit the ball cleanly, Roberts comfortably scored past the exposed Coburn (66 mins). The goal lifted City and soon the same player almost repeated his goal as he slid into the box but this time he could not quite make contact with a low cross from Lloyd-Williams after good work from Edwards (67 mins). It was time now for Alty to shake things up and they did so with a triple change. Chalmers, Rose and Hendley came on Aspinall, Talbot and O'Neill (68 mins). But Scott was soon forced to concede a corner before Killackey committed another foul. However, things improved when Chalmers and Little set Hendley racing at goal on the right, and he won a freekick on the very edge of the box for obstruction by Docker. Bushell's freekick went over the goalmouth but found Peyton on the left. His return cross was headed downwards into the net by Thornley to make it 3-2 (73 mins). Alty went close again when Peyton's curling freekick landed on he roof of the net (75 mins), before Bangor won two corners in as many minutes. But Little wrapped the game up after 79 minutes when he received a well judged, threaded pass forward from Thornley and Alty's leading scorer sold a dummy to a defender before lifting the ball past the keeper (79 mins). At this point Munroe and Cummins came on for Band and Coburn (79 mins). Thornley continued to look lively before Alty made another change as McFadden replaced Lawton and Bangor’s Jones replaced Edwards (82 mins).
Scott was having a good game for Alty as was Stephen Rose who was distributing the ball well constructively out of defence. from one such pass, McFadden won a corner when his cross was put out by O’Neill. Alty now brought on Lugsden for Little up front (84 mins). From Peyton’s corner, the ball came via Bushell to Thornley whose firm, low shot whistled past the base of the keeper’s left post. The referee made his only booking of the game with five minutes left, showing his card to Walsh for a late challenge on Munroe. Bangor now brought on Ogilvy (86 mins) but Alty went on to score a fifth. This came when Thornley did well to feed Chalmers, who in turn hooked the ball on well to McFadden on the left. McFadden's well-hit cross skimmed of a Bangor head to Hendley whose first-time left-footed shot found the back of the net, for his sixth goal of pre-season (88 mins). But Kieran Lugsden was less lucky moments later. From wide right, Kieran's fine shot beat the keeper but came back off the inside of the far post, struck the back of the keeper and rebounded to safety. For the second game running the young striker had been robbed of a goal by the woodwork.
In the end the score suggested an easy win but, in fact, Bangor had pushed Alty all the way until the closing stages, when the large numbers of fresh legs (eight Alty subs were used) helped the home side finish the stronger. Altrincham played some good football, especially going forward in the second half but they will still have some concerns about the defence, which has failed to keep a clean sheet in ten pre-season attempts.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 5 BANGOR CITY 2|