MOSSLEY (0) 1 ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
played on Tuesday, 31 July, 2012, at 7.45pm
In a game which, no doubt, assisted both managers in their pre-season planning but which rarely set the pulse racing, EvoStik Premier club Mossley caught Alty cold at a freekick to earn a draw. Altrincham had taken the lead in the 71st minute when a thumping finish from Ryan Brooke from a lay-off by Damian Reeves gave goalkeeper Pearson no chance. But, eight minutes later, after a foul by Rodgers, just outside the box, former Trafford winger Kayde Coppin drove the ball into the unguarded net as Adam Reid and his defence were occupied in building the defensive wall.
REFEREE: Mr J Hull. Assistants: Mr R Andrew & Mr A Coop.
Altrincham used a 19-man squad. Goalkeeper Stuart Coburn remained unavailable (on holiday) whilst defenders Danny Hall and Matt Doughty sat out this game, but watched it from the stand. In addition to the fifteen other members of the 18-strong first-team league squad, three of last season's youth team were included tonight. They were strikers Denico Walters and Derryn Ofori, who have appeared in earlier pre-season games, and central defender Alex Weatherby, who was making his first appearance. The substitute goalkeeper tonight was the ever reliable Steve Downs, who has appeared before in Altrincham reserve and friendly games.
Mossley included some players with Alty connections in the shape of former Youth team striker Sam Madeley and former player (2007-08), Cavell Coo (2005), trialists Gavin Salmon (from a few years back) and Ashley Young (from this summer).
In Alty's Northern Premier League days, the picturesquely situated Seel Park was a regular venue for The Robins but because Mossley, then champions of the NPL, had opted not to join the Alliance (now Conference) in 1979, the sides have met rarely since.
Today, Mossley's assistant manager is former Altrincham captain Peter Band, who would have liked to turn out tonight but was prevented by injury. The Lilywhites' manager is former Droylsden defender Steve Halford.
The match officials included Altrincham-based Andy Coop, who will be engaged at NW Counties League level in the coming season as he progresses up the refereeing pyramid.
MOSSLEY (White shirts, black shorts and socks): 1. Martin PEARSON, 2. Ashley YOUNG, 3. Kayde COPPIN, 4. Dave YOUNG (capt), 5. Steve HALFORD, 6. Keil O'BRIEN, 7. Gary GEE, 8. Jay GORTON, 9. Nathan TAYLOR, 10. Gavin SALMON, 11. Chris ROWNEY. Subs: 12. Sam HIND, 13. Xavier PARISI (gk), 14. Sam MADELEY, 15. Brad YEARWOOD, 16. Shane BIRTLES, 17. Cavell COO, 18. Steve YARWOOD, 19. Kris KING.
ALTRINCHAM (Yellow shirts and socks, blue shorts): 1. Adam REID, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Scott LEATHER, 3. Nicky CLEE; 7. Duncan WATMORE, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 4. Carl RODGERS, 11. James LAWRIE; 9. Danny MITCHLEY, 10. Damian REEVES. Subs: 12. Sam GRIMSHAW, . Derryn OFORI, 14. Scott PHELAN, 15. Patrick LACEY, 16. Ryan BROOKE, 17. Denico WALTERS, 18. Steve DOWNS (gk), 19. Alex WEATHERBY
After a fairly wet day, conditions had improved by kick off. A fairly uneventful opening did include some promising flashes from Duncan Watmore, whose turn against O'Brien allowed him to win the game's first corner (9 mins). From this, Leather's header went to keeper Pearson. Mossley replied by gaining a corner of their own when an off-target shot took a deflection (15 mins).
Altrincham wasted a half chance when Watmore's low cross from the right, following a freekick, saw Reeves and Leather getting in each other's way near the penalty spot (21 mins). Altrincham then won a freekick just outside the box when Reeves was fouled but Densmore lifted the kick comfortably over the bar. An Alty corner soon followed but the short-corner routine came to nothing.
With the half-hour mark passed without too much goalmouth action, Altrincham went very close. Reeves won the ball and fed the overlapping Densmore whose good cross from the right struck, rather than was struck by, Danny Midgley. But the ball struck the near post and led to a corner rather than a goal (32 mins).
After Altrincham had passed the ball about well, Nicky Clee won his team another corner, which was again taken short and again came to nothing. The visitors were now enjoying a good spell and when Havern's ball found Clee, the left-back's feed set Watmore free in the box. However, Duncan opted to pass rather than shoot and the ball was intercepted before it could reach Reeves (40 mins). A corner resulted but there was then a lengthy stoppage for Mossley's Gorton to receive treatment.
Watmore continued to threaten and his next cross was well met by the head of Scott Leather but the ball just cleared the bar. So, the interval arrived with the game goalless.
|Half-Time: MOSSLEY 0 ALTRINCHAM 0|
Altrincham made two changes at the break as Lacey and Phelan came on in central midfield whilst Richman and Havern were withdrawn. Carl Rodgers, who had a good first half in midfield, moved to the back four. Mossley also made changes as Hind, Birtles and Coo came on for O'Brien, Gorton and Taylor.
Altrincham had a good early chance when Reeves did well to control the ball and feed Mitchley but his shot was blocked for a corner (46 mins).
Clee and Lawrie then combined to feed Watmore whose excellent dribble ended with a goalbound shot which hit a defender (49 mins).
Five minutes later Mossley made further changes as they swapped goalkeepers and also brought on striker Sam Madeley, whose hair had changed colour since his days with Altrincham Youth (54 mins). A Clee cross produced another Alty corner before Altrincham survived a strong appeal for a penalty when Reid dived at the feet of Hind inside the box (58 mins). On the hour mark, Ryan Brooke and Sam Grimshaw came on for Mitchley and Lawrie. Grimshaw slotted into the left back role that he has normally performed with Altrincham Youth over the past two seasons.
Soon Brooke had a pot at goal which came after a Clee effort had been blocked, but his shot was well off target. At the other end, after Coo had done well, Reid had to make a save. Then a foul by Havern gave Mossley a freekick 35 yards out which Young struck well but narrowly wide (64 mins)>
Rodgers then had to make a fine covering tackle after a mis-pass from Grimshaw allowed Madeley to advance. Alty then won a freekick as Halford fouled Reeves but nothing came of it.
Finally, Altrincham broke the deadlock in the 71st minute. A fine ball from Rodgers to Clee started the decisive move. Then Reeves held the ball up well to allow Brooke to smash the ball past Pearson from the edge of the box.
Clee, now playing further forward, threatened on the left before Mossley made further changes, as King and Yearwood replaced Gee and Halford (74 mins). A foul on Watmore gave Phelan a freekick which produced an Altrincham corner. But the next goal was to come from a Mossley freekick. A foul by Rodgers about 25 yards out, just right of centre, gave Mossley their chance. As Adam Reid and the Alty wall attempted to get into position, quick thinking by Coppin saw him drive the ball into the large unguarded area of the net, to Reid's right, as Altrincham's players failed to show the necessary alertness to block such a smartly taken kick (79 mins).
More subs followed, as Mossley brought on Yarwood and Alty introduced Walters and Weatherby for Reeves and Watmore (81 mins). There was an unfortunate spat as Young and Walters clashed but the referee sorted it out with a stern lecture. Next Derryn Ofori came on for Nicky Clee (86 mins) as rain again started to fall. As the game drew to its close, it took an important header from Weatherby to stop a testing cross from the left.
Altrincham will have benefitted from trying out different options, such as Carl Rodgers at centre-back, Patrick Lacey in central midfield and the pairing of Damian Reeves with both Danny Mitchley and Ryan Brooke, but although this was not a classic in footballing terms, the travelling spectators will have enjoyed a return to see former league rivals at this friendly and beautifully located club.
|Full-Time: MOSSLEY 1 ALTRINCHAM 1|