ALTRINCHAM (1) 1 SOUTHPORT (0) 0
played on Saturday, 14 December 2013, at 1pm
A well-struck first-half goal from Nicky Clee brought Altrincham victory over a Southport side watched by new manager John Coleman.
- 24 mins: Nicky CLEE (ALTRINCHAM 1 Southport 0)
Damian Reeves was at a wedding, so Perry and Lawrie were the new combination up front. New signing, ex-Hyde and Stockport defender Adam Griffin, made his debut at lef-back.
Former Alty men Matt Flynn and James Smith started for the Sandgrounders, Smith now being positioned in central midfield.
ALTRINCHAM (Red and white stripes, red short and socks) 1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (capt), 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Jake Moult, 5. Gianluca Havern, 6. Scott Leather, 7. Junior Smikle, 8. Carl Rodgers, 9. Kyle Perry, 10. James Lawrie, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs 12. Simon Richman, 17. Max Pouncey, 14. Greg Wilkinson, 15. Rob Gilroy, 16. James Walshaw, GK Danny Lloyd, 18. Matt Doughty.
SOUTHPORT (Pale blue) 1. Danny Hurst, 12. Matty Challinor, 5. Matthew Flynn, 4. Steve Akrigg, 2. James Smith, 6. Scott Brown, 8. Jamie Milligan, 23. Nathan Ellington, 14. Paul Rutherford, 25. Richard Brodie, 15 (wearing 20) David Fitzpatrick. Subs: 3. Liam Willis, 15. Danny Hattersley, 27. Godwin Abadaki, 7. Jamie Hand, Jamie Campbell, 28. Logan, 21. Osawe, Joyce
This friendly had been arranged on a day when FA Trophy matches for the scheduled opponents of both clubs had left them without a game. Admission was free of charge for all spectators.
Southport kicked off towards the thinly populated but vocal away end on a cold and breezy Saturday lunchtime, when Christmas shopping and live Manchester City TV action were militating against a big crowd. Despite free entry just 223 hardy souls turned out to watch the game.
After four uneventful minutes, Ellington put a fifth-minute freekick wide. An Alty freekick, two minutes later, likewise came to nothing before Altrincham allowed Brodie to get into the box but he fired over the bar from left of goal (10 mins).
Alty had not had a direct shot before Clee, back from a brief injury absence, won his side's first corner. From this, Port were lucky as a defender’s clearance came off a teammate but only went for another corner, this time on the right (14 mins).
The Conference National side were making unforced errors, one of which allowed Clee to get in a cross. An Alty freekick and then another attack preceded Griffin winning a corner as Alty enjoyed a decent spell on the front foot (19 mins).
Altrincham took the lead in the 24th minute when good play ended with a smart lay-off to his left by Rodgers which set up an impressive left-footed drive from Clee which found the back of the net.
Southport almost levelled when Brodie forced a fingertip save from Coburn with a curling left-footed shot from right of goal (27 mins). This came just after Brodie had gone down in the box but had failed to earn the penalty that he was looking for.
Altrincham now put together a good move which ended with Rodgers shooting wide. But it again took a good save from Coburn to keep Southport out as he blocked Ellington's close range effort on the half-hour mark.
Another robust challenge from Brown tripped Densmore as he broke speedily from midfield but, as it was a friendly, he escaped the yellow card he deserved. A long ball up the middle deceived former Alty man Matty Flynn and allowed Perry to get free but he shot well wide (34 mins).
Port went close again when Smikle was penalised near half-way and from the freekick Brodie passed to Challinor whose cross set up Ellington for a shot into the side netting. A Port corner soon followed, after which Lawrie and Clee broke forwards and fed Perry but he was halted on the edge of box (38 mins).
Lawrie now almost caught Flynn napping on the ball before the same Alty man fed Smikle whose shot was deflected out of play for corner. Despite a late corner won by Fitzpatrick, Alty retained their lead at the interval. Coburn had been the busier keeper but there was not much between the sides in a fairly entertaining first half.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 SOUTHPORT 0|
At the break, Altrincham brought on Wilkinson for Havern as Rodgers moved to centre back. Akrigg's crude lunge on Lawrie gave Alty a freekick, which Densmore hit well over the bar; Alty's captain smiled ruefully at his error. Moments later there was an even further off-target effort from Rutherford (48 mins).
Five minutes into the half John Coleman made a triple change as Logan, Hand and Hattersley replaced Smith, Rutherford and Brodie. The second half was proving to have less goalmouth incident than the first with the visitors not afraid to resort to the odd foul, as when Lawrie was felled by Brown and Clee was twice stopped by infringements, the latter a semi-rugby tackle by Hand (56 mins).
Just before the hour Walshaw came on for Clee and, for Port, Willis for Flynn, followed two minutes later by Osawe coming on for Ellington. The fouls continued as Akrigg offended against Walshaw and Hand again used his arms, this time to haul down Lawrie (61 mins).
Abadaki replaced the efficient Milligan (64 mins) before youth team players Pouncey and Gilroy replaced Perry and Densmore (68 mins). With Smikle at right back, Altrincham were not getting forward much in this half but now Gilroy won a corner before the alert Walshaw got onto a poor back pass but trod on the ball (72 mins).
Altrincham then brought on goalkeeper Lloyd for Coburn. Next, Akrigg conceded a corner as Walshaw threatened the Port goal but the Robins looked unlikely to add to their single goal at this stage. After scrappy play from both sides, Lloyd parried a shot before Gilroy's cross won a corner (78 mins).
A threat from Osawe ended when he inexplicably crumbled at the knees as he got clear. Ten minutes from time, Doughty replaced Griffin before came on for Brown (83 mins). At the back Leather was having a solid game for Alty, who now got to the other end but Walshaw's shot went wide.
The second half had been disappointing fare after a promising first period but Altrincham's Neil Tolson, in charge today as Lee Sinnott was watching a prospective signing, will have been the happier of the two bosses as his side not only overcame a team from higher in the nom-League pecking order but also recorded a clean sheet.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 SOUTHPORT 0|