ALTRINCHAM (0) 0 MANCHESTER UNITED RESERVES (2) 5
played on Wednesday, 23 July 2014, at 7.45pm
Like Eric Morecambe, whose piano playing involved all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order, Altrincham used their first team squad but played several of them in unfamiliar positions as manager Lee Sinnott experimented in advance of the new season. The outcome was a comfortable win for a skilful Manchester United reserve side who used 19 players during the game.
Alty barely threatened the United goal throughout the game and they fell behind after 28 minutes when Wilson scored after Altrincham failed to clear a corner. A fine long-range goal from Petrucci made it 2-0 after 41 minutes and though United might have scored again before the break, it was Alty's Gillespie who came closest as his excellent freekick came back off the upright of O'Hara's goal.
With Parton replacing Coburn for the second half, Petrucci made it 3-0 on the hour mark after good work on the right by Lawrence. McNair nodded home a freekick after 72 minutes before Goss beat Parton with a near post flick six minutes from time. United's quick movement and accurate passing made them well deserved winners.
- 28 mins: James WILSON (ALTRINCHAM 0 Manchester United Reserves 1)
- 41 mins: Davide PETRUCCI (ALTRINCHAM 0 Manchester United Reserves 2)
- 60 mins: Davide PETRUCCI (ALTRINCHAM 0 Manchester United Reserves 3)
- 72 mins: Paddy McNAIR (ALTRINCHAM 0 Manchester United Reserves 4)
- 86 mins: Callum EVANS (ALTRINCHAM 0 Manchester United Reserves 5)
REFEREE: Mr Richard Bartlett
Alty lined up with the attacking threat of Damian Reeves and Nicky Clee left on the bench, along with midfielder Greg Wilkiinson, youth graduate Max Pouncey and goalkeeper Dave Parton. Also, there was no Adam Griffin or Jake Moult in the squad. Trialist Wade Joyce, son of United' Reserves' manager Warren was also an absentee for the Robins. On the pitch, James Lawrie started in an unaccustomed central midfield role and Scott Leather was at right back. Up front, Kyle Perry was partnered by new signing Steven Gillespie. So it was somewhat of an experimental side for Altrincham.
In contrast, this was the third game of pre-season for a settled squad of Manchester United's reserves.
ALTRINCHAM(Yellow shirts and socks, blue shorts)
|1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 3. Mike WILLIAMS, 4. Scott LEATHER, 5. Gianluca HAVERN, 6. Tom MARSHALL, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Ryan CROWTHER, 9. Kyle PERRY, 10. Steven GILLESPIE, 11. James LAWRIE. Subs: 12. Sean WILLIAMS, 14. Greg WILKINSON, 15. Damian REEVES, 16. Nicky CLEE, 17. Max POUNCEY, 18. David PARTON.|
MANCHESTER UNITED RESERVES(Red shirts, white shorts, black socks)
|13. J. Pereira, 2. Marnick Vermijl, 4. Tom Thorpe, 5. Paddy McNair, 3. Guillermo Varela; 7. Saidy Janko, 6. Josh Harrop, 8. Davide Petrucci, 10. Andreas Pereira, 11. Tom Lawrence; 9. James Wilson. Subs: 1. Kieran O'Hara, 12. Matty Willock, 14. Joe Rothwell, 15. Ashley Fletcher, 16. Ryan McConnell, 17. Sean Goss, 18. Angelo Henriquez, 19. Callum Evans.
This was Altrincham's first home friendly after three away wins at Abbey Hey, Buxton and Mossley. It was the first match at the J. Davidson Stadium since the memorable play-off victory over Guiseley and the pitch was looking excellent after a hard summer of work from groundsman Neil Brown, who has been praying for rain to help the new surface bed in fully.
On a warm, sunny evening, United kicked off towards the Golf Road end. It was the visitors' second game of the week, having drawn 0-0 at Southport 24 hours earlier. As in that game, United brought a large squad to Moss Lane, which allowed them to more or less completely change their line-up during the game.
United immediately settled into a rhythm of accurate and rapid passing, denying Altrincham much possession. However, there was little in the way of menace from the visitors' moves and it was not until the 17th minute that the first real shot on goal arrived when Andreas Pereira shot wide.
Curiously, this prompted an improved spell from Altrincham as Richman won the ball well and, at the conclusion of several passes, Lawrie fired a shot across goal which just cleared the bar.
United responded in kind as Janko was set clear by a chip over the defence but Havern, who had an excellent game, did well to get back to cover. Then Richman was dispossessed and the Uruguayan Varela got forward but shot wide (24 mins).
United won their second corner of the game, after which the visitors had a shot blocked. However, Altrincham did not fully clear the ball and, from a low cross from the right, Wilson scored from a close-range central position to give United the lead (28 mins).
After Richman had been caught in an aerial challenge, Andreas Pereira was rather harshly booked (33 mins). With Lawrie now going wide on the left, Crowther came infield but still Altrincham were struggling to get a sight of the opposition goal. Soon afterwards, United's Lawrence was booked for throwing the ball away (38 mins),
Altrincham did get forward again after Lawrie had won possession but then, out of nothing, Petrucci hammered an unstoppable shot past Coburn from 25 yards out in a central position (41 mins). It could have got worse as, first, Janko was put clear only to be denied by Coburn and then Wilson's shot forced a fine, one-handed stop, low to his left by Coburn (43 mins).
But what could have become a 0-4 scoreline almost became just a 1-2 deficit as a foul on Gillespie gave Alty a freekick, 25 yards out in a central position. From the kick, Gillespie hit a superb shot which cannoned back off goalkeeper Pereira's right-hand upright (45 mins). That near miss was the final act of the first half.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 MANCHESTER UNITED RESERVES 2|
For the second half Altrincham made three changes as Parton, Wilkinson and Sean Williams replaced Coburn, Mike Williams and Richman. The visitors brought on Henriquez for Wilson as well as Rothwell for Janko. A United corner and then a shot, well saved by Parton, were the only notable features of the opening period (53 mins).
Good play by Lawrence saw him get round Wilkinson to the byline, right of goal and, when his cross resulted in a shot, Parton stopped it well, but the ball ran loose and Petrucci was on hand to score from close range (60 mins).
Both sides made changes as Goss replaced Petrucci and Alty's Gillespie gave way to Reeves (61 mins). More United changes came as Willock replaced Harrop (66 mins), then goalkeeper Pereira gave way to O'Hara, who had been Trafford's goalkeper when Altrincham exited the FA Cup at Shawe View last season (69 mins).
A Sean Williams foul gave United a freekick from which McNair arrived to nod the ball past Parton and make the score 4-0 (72 mins). Cue more changes as United brought on McConnell for McNair, Evans for the injured Henriquez and Fletcher for Andreas Pereira; at the sama time Alty introduced Clee for Crowther (74 mins).
United continued to dominate with their slick passing and rapid closing down. They scored a fifth goal six minutes from time when they advanced on the left and Evans smartly flicked the ball past Parton at the near post (84 mins).
As ever the result of this pre-season game will be secondary to the lessons learnt by the Altrincham players and management. Starting the game without two of their experienced attacking players and deploying one or two others in unfamiliar roles meant it was always going to be an uphill fight for Altrincham against an impressive line-up of Manchester United youngsters.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 MANCHESTER UNITED RESERVES 5|