Match Report


Pre-Season Friendly
played on Tuesday, 16 July 2013, at 7.30pm


Had James Lawrie's impressive jink into the box in the closing stages, from a fine pass by James Walshaw, been rewarded with a goal, this game could have ended the same way as Alty's first friendly of the summer against Accrington last Saturday, in a 2-3 defeat. But such a narrow margin would not have reflected the dominance of the League One side in tonight's game, as Rovers put out a strong team against their Altrincham opponents from three rungs down the footballing ladder.

Without goalkeeper Stuart Coburn and midfielder Carl Rodgers, Simon Richman and Nicky Clee, Alty fell behind after just nine minutes when Thompson got free on the right and his cross was turned into the net off the back post by Ryan Lowe. The same duo combined after 28 minutes and this time Lowe headed home another cross from the right wingman after Alty had lost possession near halfway. A minute before the interval, goalkeeper Reid could only palm a high ball towards Sodje, who made it 3-0.

Tranmere kept Alty penned back for long periods of the second half but Damian Reeves cleverly headed in Jake Moult's cross from the right byline after 70 minutes. Alty ended the game well but could not score again.


REFEREE: Mr Rick Bartlett

Altrincham were again without Simon Richman, due to his involvement in the World University Games football final in Russia, whilst Stuart Coburn, Nicky Clee and Carl Rodgers were other absentees, though Stuart was involved in the warm-up. The Alty bench comprised summer signing James Walshaw, three youth team graduates in the shape of Rob Gilroy, David Brown and Pat Crilly, plus five trialists.

Scott Leather came in for his first start of the summer, whilst Matt Doughty moved to left midfield and Mike Williams to left-back.

The trialists were goalkeeper Matt Lord, Scott Byrom (ex-Nelson), left-back Christopher Bailey (who moved from Colne to Nantwich Town in February 2013) and Dan Lloyd (previously with Runcorn Linnets and Barrow).

Rovers included a couple of trialists in their starting eleven.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, red shorts and red socks) 1. Adam REID, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt.), 3. Mike WILLIAMS, 4. Jake MOULT, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Scott LEATHER, 7. Kyle PERRY, 8. Danny BOSHELL, 9. James LAWRIE, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Matt DOUGHTY. Subs: 12. Chris BAILEY, 14. James WALSHAW, 16. Sam FREAKES, 15. Rob GILROY, 17. Scott BYROM, 18. Matt LORD, David BROWN, Pat CRILLY, Dan LLOYD.

TRANMERE ROVERS (Blue) 1. Owain Fon Williams, 2. Leon McSweeney*, 3. Evan Horwood, 4. Danny Holmes, 5. Stephen Foster, 6. James Rowe*, 7. Joe Thompson, 8. Max Power, 9. Ryan Lowe, 18. Andy Robinson, 11. Akpo Sodje. Subs: 12. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, 14. Shaun Jeffers*, 15. Jake Kirby, 16. Abdulai Bell-Baggie, 17. Cole Stockton, 18*. Ian Goodison, 19. Liam Davies, 20. Jason Mooney,


Mike Garnett advised us that "Altrincham's historical record against Tranmere Rovers before today's game was:

We have played Rovers off and on in pre-season on this ground for over 40 years; the first such game of which I have a record was on August 2nd 1972, the Robins winning 1-0. Our last meeting was of course Mark ‘MadDog’ Maddox’s testimonial game. There was also one ‘in-season’ friendly, which Alty also won by the only goal, on November 10th 1995".


Altrincham's second pre-season game kicked off on a bright sunny evening at the J. Davidson Stadium - the weather has been better since the stadium was renamed! Once again the teams changed ends before kick off, a decision presumably motivated for Tranmere by the position of the sun. Consequently, Adam Reid had to face the sun in the first half.

The first half chance saw Moult slice wide before Reid had to produce a smart save from Lowe (2 mins). Next, Reeves got free and almost got to a long ball but keeper Williams just arrived before him. Rovers won two early corners (6 mins) as the game started in a fairly open manner. However, Rovers took the lead in the ninth minute when Thompson got free on the right and his cross was hooked in off the back post by Ryan Lowe.

Alty won their first corner, a minute later, through Perry. Havern rose well but his header cleared the bar from the corner kick. Perry and Reeves were leading the attack with Lawrie in a deeper role, as on Saturday. When Reeves was very clearly held in box by Foster, the referee gave nothing (16 mins) but an Alty corner soon followed, which the keeper punched clear (17 mins).

There was a scare when Lowe blocked Reid's attempted kicked clearance but the ball went wide. After he had won a freekick, 30 yards out, Perry hit a 30-yard shot well over the bar. At the other end, Densmore's timely tackle conceded a corner. Next, Moult's fine ball for Reeves led only to Alty throw.

Play was fairly even but then Doughty lost the ball near halfway. Thompson broke up the right and his excellent cross was headed home by Lowe to make it 2-0 to the visitors (28 mins). Rovers continued to press as Havern conceded a corner from the visitors' keeper's long ball. Reid did well to beat out a header at back post, at the cost of another corner (32 mins).

Foster headed this corner well wide and soon afterwards a Sodje header was equally off target. Alty put together an impressive move of about 15 passes but did not threaten the Tranmere goal at the end of it (36 mins). The visitors were, not surprisingly, the quicker side to 50-50 balls and took advantage of Alty wanting too long on the ball. From one such error, when Boshell dwelt too long on the ball, Power broke clear but he was seen off (39 mins).

A few minutes later, Power again got free but Reid made a good block, at the cost of a corner (43 mins). Unfortunately, the pressure finally told when a ball was looped into the box and Reid got slightly under it and was only able to knock it into the path of Sodje, who scored (44 mins).

Tranmere deserved their lead but mistakes by Altrincham had made their task easier.


For the re-start, Altrincham introduced Walshaw and Gilroy, with Boshell and Doughty going off. Jeffers and Akpa Akpro also came on for Rovers.

Gilroy was soon getting stuck in against the wily Robinson but, generally, the visitors were quicker to the ball, as would be expected from a League One team.

As the hour mark approached, Altrincham were yet to trouble the Rovers' keeper they were also forced to make a change, at a freekick conceded by Densmore. Havern, who had been hobbling earlier, came off to be replaced by trialist Chris Bailey, a left-back who was at Nantwich Town last season.

However, on the hour mark, Lawrie won a corner, which came off a player to Fon Williams. Play soon switched to the other end, where Reid had to punch clear before Tranmere introduced Baggie for Robinson (62 mins). Alty were to be kept in their own half for a while and were glad to see a Horwood cross just evade a team-mate in the box. Fortunately the rest of Rovers' crossing was not too accurate so, although they were defending, Alty's goal was not seriously threatened.

Good control by Akpa Akpro won his side a corner but, with the game in the 70th minute, Moult pursued a 50/50 ball on the right by-line and did well to get in an excellent cross which Reeves expertly nodded into the net at the back post to make it 1-3 (70 mins).

Six minutes later, Walshaw advanced from half way and hit a superb shot which whistled past Fon Williams’s right post. Next, Sam Freakes (ex-FCUM) came on for Perry, who was later to be treated by physio Alan Ainsley on the touchline as the game proceeded (76 mins).

In the 79th minute Rovers brought on Kirby for Holmes and, just after this, Densmore was dispossessed, leading to Akpa Akpro heading wide (80 mins). Reid made another good save when a Baggie shot deflected to Jeffers, whose point blank effort was well blocked by Alty's keeper. Two Tranmere corners followed before a pinpoint long ball by Walshaw found Lawrie. He cut in cleverly past a defender but his shot was deflected for a corner, which was cleared

Though Alty were finishing the game well, it required another excellent double save by Reid to prevent a further goal for the visitors (88 mins). The final whistle signalled a deserved win for Tranmere but on another very hot day, Altrincham's team of established and new players, as well as trialists, will have benefitted from a tough workout. They now have a week's rest before travelling to Trafford next Tuesday.