ALTRINCHAM (1) 1
SHREWSBURY TOWN (1) 2
played on Friday, 1 August 2014, at 7.45pm
Although Shrewsbury deserved their win, Altrincham put up a good performance to underline manager Lee Sinnott's contention that this is the strongest squad he has had in his three years at the helm. Altrincham took a 31st minute lead from the penalty spot. This came from a poor Shrewsbury back-header which induced goalkeeper Leutwiler to knock down Alty's Steven Gillespie. Nicky Clee converted his second penalty of pre-season with confidence (31 mins).
Just before half time, Shrewsbury equalised when Clark scored at the second attempt, after a good stop from Coburn. Indeed, Alty's keeper had earlier made two superb saves to keep out The Shrews. The winner came after 64 minutes just moments after Altrincham had made a five-man change. Vernon slotted home a cut-back from the right byline to secure the victory.
The game went ahead after hours of often heavy rain but the pitch held up very well, underlining the hard work put in over the summer by groundsman Neil Brown.
- 31 mins: Nicky CLEE (penalty) (ALTRINCHAM 1 Shrewsbury Town 0)
- 44 mins: Jordan CLARK (ALTRINCHAM 1 Shrewsbury Town 1)
- 64 mins: Scott VERNON (ALTRINCHAM 1 Shrewsbury Town 2)
REFEREE: Mr P Banks
Alty again rang the changes with Stuart Coburn returning in goal, whilst Mike Williams, Simon Richman, Kyle Perry, Sean Williams and Ryan Crowther dropped to the bench. Shrewsbury had almost totally rebuilt their squad over the close season, following relegation to League Two.
ALTRINCHAM(Yellow shirts and socks, blue shorts)
|1. Stuart Coburn, 2. Shaun Densmore (capt), 3. Adam Griffin, 4. Peter Cavanagh, 5. Gianluca Havern, 6. Tom Marshall, 7. James Lawrie, 8. Jake Moult, 9. Steven Gillespie, 10. Damian Reeves, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 12. Scott Leather, 14. Mike Williams, 15. Ryan Crowther, 16. Sean Williams, 17. Simon Richman, 18 David Parton (gk), Greg Wilkinson, Kyle Perry, David Brown, Jeff King.|
SHREWSBURY TOWN(Red & black striped shirts, black shorts and socks)
| 1. Jason Leutwiler, 2. Cameron Gayle, 3. Nat Knight-Percival, 5. Mark Ellis, 6. Connor Goldson, 7. Ryan Woods, 8. Liam Lawrence, 9. James Collins, 10. Scott Vernon, 11. Ashley Vincent, 20. Jordan Clark. Subs: 12. Jermaine Grandison, 14. Dominic Smith, 15. Andy Robinson, 16. Andy Mangan, 17. Aaron Wildig, 18. James Caton, 19. Mickey Demetriou, 36. Callum Burton,
For this, their eighth pre-season match, Altrincham again employed their away strip, just as in the previous seven games.
Torrential rain for most of the afternoon and evening continued as the game got under way but groundsman Neil Brown's work on the pitch had ensured that it drained well and the surface was good throughout the match.
Shrewsbury kicked off, defending the away end but the early minutes were punctuated by petty fouls, though a fourth minute appeal from Shrewsbury for a penalty went unheeded. The closest to a goal in the early stages arrived in the tenth minute when, after some "ping-pong" in the box, Vincent fired over the bar.
After Gayle had fouled Clee, Lawrie's freekick led to a blocked Moult shot (12 mins). Clee, who had a fine game, now got the ball to Densmore, whose low cross just evaded Reeves's stretching leg. At the other end, a ball deflected to Vernon, but his shot ran comfortably to Coburn. Altrincham won their first corner from a Clee freekick after a foul on Gillespie (18 mins). As Alty enjoyed a good spell Clee, Moult, Densmore and Lawrie combined well. But, soon, Marshall had to be alert to dispossess Vincent in the Altrincham box, after which a deflection off a shot gave the visitors a corner (21 mins). As the rain briefly eased Cavanagh was settling well into his midfield role on his second appearance for the club.
Town now enjoyed some momentum as two crosses came in, the second producing a header to Coburn from Vernon. Alty's keeper did even better after 29 minutes when a ball from the left found Clark who forced a superb one-handed save, low down, by Coburn. The keeper scooped the ball away to his right for a corner.
But just as Shrewsbury were threatening, a poor Shrewsbury header back towards their own goal forced keeper Leutwiler to race out to try to head clear of the advancing Gillespie. But the Alty man got to it first and the keeper bundled Gillespie to the ground on the front edge of the box. A penalty was awarded but, being a friendly, the keeper escaped even a yellow card. Nick Clee stepped up to score confidently from the spot, his second penalty conversion of pre-season (31 mins).
Clee continued to impress in a more central role than he has occupied in past seasons.
Following a long ball to Collins, who looked offside, the Town player was faced only by Coburn but the Alty keeper again saved well, keeping the ball out with his legs at the cost of a corner, from which Goldson headed wide (36 mins).
The Shrews were now having a good attacking spell and a Vernon cross from the left won another corner. However, it looked as if Altrincham would retain their lead to the interval until, a minute from the break, Clark got into the box. Again, Coburn saved well but Clark netted the rebound to make it 1-1 (44 mins). But there was still time for Alty's Gillespie to latch onto a through ball and get in a well-struck, low shot from 25 yards, which forced a corner off the keeper. However, Lawrie's corner was cleared.
Altrincham had been good value for the 1-1 scoreline, although Coburn had been the busier keeper and had made some excellent saves to stop certain goals.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 SHREWSBURY TOWN 1|
At the interval Perry came on in a numberless shirt, replacing Gillespie. Soon, Reeves started a move before another advance, started by Marshall, ended with a Perry header from a Lawrie cross, which won a corner (49 mins). Next, Lawrie shot wide after an interchange with Perry, before a Griffin cross was followed by Lawrie's cross to the keeper (54 mins).
It was then Shrewsbury's turn to enjoy a decent spell but Alty defended well, with Cavanagh making an important challenge in the box. A freekick from 30 yards cleared the Alty bar before Altrincham made a five-man change. Richman, the two Williamses, Leather and Wilkinson all came on whilst off came Lawrie, Havern, Cavanagh, Griffin and Marshall. At the same time the Shrews brought on Robinson and Caton replacing Clark and Vincent (63 mins).
But before Alty's multiple changes could settle in, they conceded a goal as Vernon scored from a cut back from Caton from the right byline (64 mins). Alty now had Clee at left back, with Richman on right midfield and Wilkinson and Sean Williams in the centre of midfield as the Shrews enjoyed some dominance.
However, soon, Alty responded but their move broke down on the edge of the box. No.19 who was apparently Mangan and not Demetriou as on the teamsheet, replaced Collins for Town (71 mins) before a pacey Crowther run was halted on the left. Moments later Crowther played a slick one-two with Reeves but Crowther slid the resulting shot just wide, across goal (72 mins).
Just after a Sean Williams cross had been nodded wide by Reeves, Wildig and Grandison replaced Gayle and Woods for the visitors (76 mins). Knight-Percival tried a cheeky chip from 40 yards which went just over the bar but he was then replaced by a number 4 who was, apparently, Demetriou (77 mins).
With Leather now wearing the captain's armband for Alty, Wilkinson slid a superb ball forward up the middle to Reeves but his shot deflected off the keeper for a corner. Next, Richman got to the byline but his cross evaded Reeves (79 mins).
Four minutes later, Jeff King replaced Reeves. Once again Shrewsbury tried but failed to lob Coburn, this time from 65 yards but the keeper got back to gather the ball (86 mins). King then started a move which produced a freekick for his side. From 30 yards out, centrally, Clee's dipping freekick was saved. That was to be Alty's last chance. Although they lost the game they had given the League Two side a good test.
Next up is the first game of the league season, at Aldershot Town, and it is encouraging that the management duo will have to make difficult decisions to determine who will be in the starting eleven from a strong squad.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 SHREWSBURY TOWN 2|