Match Report


Pre-Season Friendly match
played on Saturday, 5 July 2014, at 3pm


In their first pre-season friendly, on a warm and sunny afternoon in Gorton, an Altrincham squad including only six of last season's regular starters secured a comfortable win against a young but spirited Abbey Hey side. There were impressive debuts for Alty's summer signings Sean Williams and Ryan Crowther, whilst trialist midfielder Wade Joyce (ex-Barnsley and St Johnstone and son of Warren Joyce) was another new face.

It took Altrincham 26 minutes to open the scoring, through Sean Williams, but four goals from Damian Reeves and one from Kyle Perry ensured an encouraging start to the new season. For the second half Altrincham deployed five substitutes, all, like keeper Josh Samberg, Alty youth graduates.


REFEREE: Mr Simon Mather

With a number of last season's regulars unavailable (Coburn, Clee, Richman, Marshall, Moult, Wilkinson, Havern), Alty gave debuts to their two summer outfield signings, Ryan Crowther and Sean Williams but, though named on the bench, new keeper Dave Parton had picked up a knock in training. Wade Joyce, a trialist, was included in the starting line-up.



(Red and black)
1. Jon McILWAIN, 2. Kieran BURYWOOD, 3. Danny HEWITT, 4. Matt HARROP, 5. Adam LAWRENCE, 6. Scott HARDY (capt), 7. Rick BOPEL, 8. Wes HARNEY, 9. Sam JONES, 10. Justin PICKERING, 11. Jack MASON. Subs: 12. Billy SUTCLIFFE, 14. Luke GIBSON, 15. Lee RILL, 16. Martin PILLINGTON, 17. Deven GOLDEN.


(Yellow shirts and socks, blue shorts)
1. Josh SAMBERG, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Sean WILLIAMS, 5. Scott LEATHER, 6. Mike WILLIAMS, 7. Wade JOYCE, 8. James LAWRIE, 9. Kyle PERRY, 10. Damian REEVES, 11. Ryan CROWTHER. Subs: 12. David BROWN, 14. Connor HANCOCK, 15. Sam HEATHCOTE, 16. Tom CLARKE, 17. James CAMPION, 18. Dave PARTON (gk).


This was Altrincham's first pre-season game. Abbey Hey have featured as Alty's opposition in just such a fixture several times over the last 15 years.


The game kicked off in bright sunshine, with a gentle breeze helping to keep the heat to manageable levels. Altrincham kicked off in front of a gate of perhaps 100 people. Although Altrincham were on the front foot from the start there were no clear chances in the early stages.

The first real threat arose in the 12th minute when James Lawrie's hooked volley was well saved by keeper McIlwain, who was to have an excellent match for Abbey Hey. Following an Altrincham corner, Reeves headed narrowly over the bar. Another chance arrived for Reeves a minute later but he scuffed his shot to McIlwain (13 mins). A further chance arrived for Reeves after Crowther, who had already impressed on the left wing, fed the striker whose well-struck shot was well saved, at the cost of a corner.

McIlwain continued to frustrate Reeves as he now saved another firmly struck effort from the Alty man, conceding another corner in the process (19 mins). Altrincham now won four successive corners before McIlwain frustrated Perry with yet another good save (20 mins).

But then Abbey Hey threatened as Bopel shot just wide. Altrincham were passing the ball well with Sean Williams particularly impressing in midfield. At the back it was good to see Mike Williams having a solid performance on his return from last season's cruciate ligament operation.

Altrincham finally made the breakthrough in the 26th minute when Sean Williams again advanced well and, after an interchange of passes to his left he curled his shot into the net to make it 1-0. Another surging Sean Williams run soon yielded a corner before Perry also won a flag kick (33 mins).

A superb ball from the left touchline by Crowther located Reeves, who, undeterred by McIlwain's earlier saves, this time firmly beat the Abbey Hey keeper to make it 2-0 (34 mins). But, four minutes later, McIlwain again came out on top as Reeves tried a chip over him after being put clear. However, a minute later, Reeves did make it 3-0 with a tap-in after good work from Perry.

Before the break Lawrie had a shot saved by the busy McIlwain and two Alty corners came and went, leaving the score at 3-0.


Altrincham made a change at the interval as Sam Heathcote came on at centre-back for Mike Williams, whilst Abbey Hey brought on four subs. Along with Shaun Densmore there were now two sons of famous Alty players in the pitch.

McIlwain again frustrated Alty as he saved another goalbound effort, this time from Joyce (52 mins). But then Samberg in the Alty goal had to block an effort by Mason (54 mins). The Abbey keeper, however, then came out of goal and lost the ball to Perry who smartly lobbed the ball into the net from far right of goal, making it 4-0 after 55 minutes.

Just after the hour, David Brown, James Campion and Connor Hancock came on to make up the rest of a now very youthful back line. In midfield, Tom Clarke also joined the game. The players who went off were Griffin, Joyce, Leather and Crowther. Immediately from the restart of the game after these changes, the impressive Sutcliffe got through the middle to score (63 mins).

Damian Reeves completed his hat-trick after 69 minutes from a Densmore feed. At the other end Samberg saved well from a well struck Pickering effort (74 mins). Reeves made it six-one with his fourth goal after 77 minutes when he converted a good feed from James Lawrie.

Abbey Hey enjoyed a good spell with two corners and also hit the post through the pacey Sutcliffe. Reeves almost added to his tally in the final moments as Lawrie's excellent run led to his shot being deflected narrowly wide.

So, this was a very satisfactory opening game for Altrincham; their two new signings both played well and the youth graduates acquitted themselves well.