Match Report


Pre-Season Friendly
played on Tuesday, 23 July 2013, at 7.45pm


Two creditable pre-season defeats for Altrincham against Football League clubs were followed by this disappointing showing against promoted Trafford of the EvoStik Premier League. The Shawe View team deserved the win but Altrincham can point to the absences from their starting line-up of Stuart Coburn, Shaun Densmore, Damian Reeves, Simon Richman and James Lawrie (who did play the second half), all regular starters last season. It was former Altrincham left-back Andrew Smart who was instrumental in both of Trafford's goals.

After a good start from the visitors, Trafford took the lead in the 26th minute when Smart curled home a freekick from the edge of the box after a Doughty foul on Joe Shaw, who has returned to Trafford this season after a spell at Witton Albion. Just two minutes later Smart got behind Rodgers on the Trafford left and his cross looked to be heading towards a Doughty goal-line clearance. But Shaw managed to bundle the ball home to make it 2-0.

Altrincham scarcely troubled Reid in the Trafford goal in the first half but improved when Lawrie came on at the interval. However, they still lacked a cutting edge with Perry looking short of match fitness and Clee ending the game appearing to be carrying an injury. Trafford used numerous second-half substitutes whilst Altrincham used none of the three trialists who were on their bench.


REFEREE: Mr Rob Goodwin-Davey

Altrincham started the game without six players who were at the Club last season. Goalkeeper Stuart Coburn was on holiday whilst captain Shaun Densmore, Damian Reeves, Simon Richman and Rob Gilroy were rested. In addition, James Lawrie was on the bench rather than in the starting eleven as the management continued to integrate the new signings into the squad.

Carl Rodgers came in for his first start of the summer, whilst Nicky Clee returned after taking a knock in the opening pre-season game. Danny Boshell assumed the captaincy in Shaun Densmore's absence. Shaun watched the game, along with Simon Richman, back from his busy summer with the British Universities and Colleges team in Russia.

In addition to James Lawrie, three trialists were on the bench; goalkeeper Matt Lord, Scott Byrom (ex-Nelson) and Sam Freakes (ex-FCUM). Positional changes from the last game saw Scott Leather move to right-back, Mike Williams was in central defence, Matt Doughty played at left-back and Jake Moult in right midfield as Kyle Perry (wearing no.19) moved up front with James Walshaw.

Trafford's starting team were all players who were at the Club as they won the EvoStik First Division North play-offs last season, apart from striker Joe Shaw who had returned to Shawe View over the summer, after a season away at Witton Albion.


TRAFFORD (All white) 1. Tom Read, 2. Ally Brown, 3. Andy Smart, 4. Steve Mason, 5. Nia Bayunu (capt.), 6. Paul Ashton, 14. Simon Gallenders, 8. Martyn Andrews, 9. Michael Oates, 10. Joe Shaw, 11. Kamahl Whight. Subs used: 19. Rory Fallon, 15. Ade Nevins, 7. Sam Halligan, 17. Luke Heron, 18. Cedric Crou, Burthem, Jacobs, Keightly.

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, red shorts and red socks) 1. Adam REID, 2. Scott LEATHER, 3. Matt DOUGHTY, 4. Carl RODGERS, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Mike WILLIAMS, 7. Jake MOULT, 8. Danny BOSHELL (capt.), 19. Kyle PERRY, 10. James WALSHAW, 11. Nicky CLEE. Subs: 12. Sam FREAKES, 14. James LAWRIE, 15. Matt LORD, 16. Scott BYROM.


Altrincham had won the corresponding fixture 3-1 at Shawe View last pre-season.


Altrincham started the game well enough, keeping the ball well on a pitch which was obviously going to be fairly hard after the recent weeks of hot, mostly rainless weather. Leather won an early corner for the visitors as he advanced up the right but Trafford soon put together a good passing move of their own which ended as Brown's shot was blocked and then Smart fired wide from left of goal (6 mins).

Alty had the best early chance as the ball came out to Jake Moult who connected well but Read impressively deflected the shot over the bar for another corner, but neither this, nor a second flag-kick came to anything (8 mins).

After an improved spell from Trafford had produced a fairly even game, Alty did win a fourth corner of the half but, again, to no avail. As Shaw advanced on the edge of the Alty box, he was fouled by Doughty and a freekick was awarded on the front edge of the penalty area, to the right of goal. Former Alty left-back Andy Smart powered a curling, low shot into the net to give his side the lead, to the delight of the Trafford chairman who had won the "Golden Goal" prize as a consequence (26 mins).

After a clearance from Tom Read had led to Rodgers attempting an ambitious 35-yard volley towards the unguarded goal, which missed the target, Trafford doubled their lead.

This goal arrived after Smart got behind Rodgers on the left and as the ball was crossed into the goalmouth, it looked as if Matt Doughty was well placed on the line to clear but Joe Shaw nipped in to bundle the ball into the net to make it 2-0 (28 mins).

After this, a smart turn and lob from Clee just cleared the Trafford bar before the Robins won another corner, through Doughty, taken by Moult on their left, which Read palmed away (33 mins). As half time approached the hitherto reliable Williams completely miskicked a pass to Oates but his shot was blocked (40 mins). It then needed a fine sliding tackle from Leather to halt another Trafford incursion before half-time arrived.

Altrincham had scarcely threatened the Trafford goal, with the home defence marshalled by the impressive Bayunu doing well and with little in the way of crosses, especially from the right, to take advantage of Perry's physical presence.


At the break, James Lawrie replaced Jake Moult in what was to be Altrincham's only substitution of the game. No doubt benefitting from their half-time team-talk, Altrincham showed some more purpose in the opening stages, with Lawrie making an impression. He twice drew fouls in the opening minutes but the freekicks were dealt with well by the hosts.

An extravagant tumble in the box by Walshaw did not impress the referee (52 mins) before Lawrie connected well from 25 yards but Read was well placed to stop his shot (53 mins). Walshaw was working hard, frequently dropping deep to try and get possession before another Lawrie effort went narrowly wide (55 mins).

Trafford now started a regular sequence of substitutions as Fallon replaced Whight and then Crou came on for Andrews. For Altrincham, it was again Lawrie who posed the major threat as his 20-yard effort cleared the bar narrowly. Trafford made a further change before a quick throw from Clee got Walshaw into the box. He was clearly being held but the referee saw nothing amiss as the striker dragged his shot across goal and wide (62 mins).

Another Trafford change saw Shaw replaced before a Rodgers shot earned Altrincham a further corner half way through the second period. After Halligan had replaced Brown for Trafford, Walshaw got forward well to win another corner, whilst his strike partner Perry was having a quieter game.

When a Trafford player overran the ball and fell, he was fortuitously awarded a freekick, a decision which led to Matt Doughty being booked for his protests (73 mins).

Three more Trafford substitutions took place by the 77th minute as Alty continued unchanged, though Clee looked to be in some kind of difficulty. After a Trafford corner had been dealt with, Walshaw was lectured after a minor spat on the right wing. However, Walshaw and Clee were soon instrumental in good work on the Alty left which led to a cross which Perry, under pressure, could only lift over the bar from six yards (87 mins).

And so, Altrincham recorded their third successive defeat of pre-season, following two promising performances against Football League opposition. However, the game will have helped Lee Sinnott and Neil Tolson devise the best formation for the coming season as their four summer signings (Boshell, Williams, Perry and Walshaw) all played ninety minutes and a number of other players assumed different roles from those employed in previous games.

And with Densmore, Reeves, Richman, Coburn and Gilroy at their disposal for the season ahead, the management duo have good options to consider.

Footnote: As usual, Trafford FC made everyone welcome and we wish our neighbours success in their inaugural season in the EvoStik Northern Premier League in 2013-14.