Match Report


Pre-season friendly match
played on Tuesday, 7 July, 2015, at 7.45pm


In their first pre-season friendly of the summer, Altrincham failed to open their account against NW Counties club Abbey Hey in Gorton on Tuesday night. Both sides wasted decent chances to score with James Lawrie's shot against the post, from a Jordan Sinnott cross, being the nearest to a goal.



REFEREE: Mr Simon Mather

Alty fielded completely different elevens in each half on a good surface but, particularly in the second half, the game was played in difficult, wet conditions. In the first 45 minutes, in addition to last season's regulars Coburn, Densmore, Griffin, Leather and Reeves, Altrincham deployed trialists Josh Green and Jayden Hall, as well as new signings striker Michael Rankine and midfielder Josh O'Keefe. Also starting for the visitors were Youth team graduates centre-back Sam Heathcote and midfielder Jeff King, who spent much of last season at Kendal Town.

Both of these two trialists had had spells at Chester FC last season. One of them, midfielder Jayden Hall (b.1994) was on loan there from Burnley, while 20 year-old Josh Green was on loan from Fleetwood Town.

For the second half, Tim Deasy took over in goal, behind six players from last season (Clee, Marshall, Richman, Moult, Sinnott, Lawrie), plus trialist forward Jordan Deacey (ex-BPA and AFC Telford United), reserve striker Joel Swift and youth team graduates David Brown and Rhain Davies.

Alty regulars Luca Havern and Ryan Crowther were not available tonight.


ABBEY HEY (Blue): 1. Jon McIlwaine, 2. Kiarno Samms, 3. Danny McDonnell, 4. Darren Talbot, 5. Des Flanagan (capt), 6. Sam Freakes, 7. Justin Pickering, 8. Kane Hickman, 9. Ashford Blake, 10. Tom Murray, 11. Danny Hewitt. Subs: 12. Connor Bretts, 14. Chris Hallows, 15. Andy Smith, 16. Malam Varela, 17. Wayne Cahill, 18. John Hardy, 19. Steve Yarwood, 10. Nico Collins.

ALTRINCHAM (Yellow shirts & socks, blue shorts): First Half: 1. Stuart COBURN, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (capt), 5. Scott LEATHER, 16. Sam HEATHCOTE, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 7. Jeff KING, 4. Josh GREEN, 8. Josh O'KEEFE, 12. Jayden HALL, 14. Damian REEVES, 6. Michael RANKINE. Second Half: 18. Tim DEASY, 2. Rhain DAVIES, 5. David BROWN, 6. Tom MARSHALL, 3. Nicky CLEE, 4. Jake MOULT, 7. Simon RICHMAN, 8. Jordan SINNOTT, 11. James LAWRIE, 10. Jordan DEACEY, 9. Joel SWIFT. Sub. 16. Sam HEATHCOTE


Abbey Hey operate in the Premier Division of the NW Counties Football League, four rungs below Alty in the non-League ladder. This was Altrincham's first match of the summer but this was the the ninth pre-season friendly between these sides over the past 15 years. During that time, Alty had won eight of the encounters and drawn once (2002), scoring 39 goals and conceding seven times. Last season Alty won 6-1, aided by four from Damian Reeves,


After a day of heavy thundery showers, the game kicked off in dry conditions on an excellent surface at Goredale Avenue. Altrincham started very brightly with a move of approaching twenty passes but there was no threat to the Abbey Hey goal at the end of it. Indeed, neither side caused either goalkeeper any real concern in the opening stages. Alty's Stuart Coburn was the first into action, making a routine save from Pickering's chip after a poor Alty clearance (14 mins).

Abbey Hey then settled and got in a cross which Coburn took cleanly. Further forward, Rankine and Reeves were seeing relatively little of the ball. Abbey Hey made a change as early as the 22nd minute when Hardy replaced Pickering.

Not long after a good Densmore cross had just evaded Rankine, Abbey Hey won the game's first corner, off Leather. Griffin had to head this smartly away from goal. Blake then did well to get past Leather and put in a cross.

Alty responded with three corners in three minutes, either side of the half-hour mark. The first came from a Jeff King shot which was deflected wide, the second from a fine ball by O'Keefe which put Reeves clear. But, as the keeper came out, Reeves's shot struck the Abbey Hey number one and deflected for a corner. The third of this sequence of corners was won by Hall from a good pass by Green. A few minutes later, Alty threatened again as Rankine found Reeves and his excellent pass, in turn, located Hall whose shot was comfortably saved (34 mins).

But Abbey Hey were giving as good as they got and soon won another corner (36 mins). Next, from a Hall pass, Densmore's cross from the right had to be tipped away from under the bar by McIlwaine (39 mins).

Abbey Hey had a great chance to take the lead after 41 minutes when Blake was played in behind the Alty defence. However, as Coburn advanced, the striker shot wide. For Alty, Jeff King had made some probing runs on the right and he did so again just before the break. The half ended with Blake seizing onto a mis-pass from Leather but the striker shot over the bar (43 mins).

So the half ended goalless with Abbey Hey counting themselves a little unfortunate not to have taken the lead on the balance of chances.


Altrincham's new team of eleven took the field for the second half whilst Abbey Hey made a handful of changes themselves. The new Alty team, again a mix of regulars and trialists, nevertheless showed a bit more urgency than their first-half counterparts as they won an early corner. Following this, a Richman shot just cleared the bar. Next, Deacey was put clear but as with Reeves's first-half effort, McIlwaine same out quickly to block his effort.

Rain now started to pour down before Lawrie and Sinnott combined for the latter to fire over the bar (53 mins). Though Altrincham were now having the better of things, it was Deasy who was next in action, parrying away a shot for a corner on the hour mark.

Altrincham spurned another chance, after 63 minutes, when Lawrie latched onto a loose ball and got in a cross but Richman spooned his effort over the bar. With rain still falling, Abbey Hey won a corner before a Lawrie shot at the other end was deflected narrowly wide for an Altrincham flag-kick (73 mins). A rasping Moult shot from 25 yards now cleared the bar before an underhit back pass from Marshall left Abbey Hey in possession. The ball was fed to the unmarked Flanagan who wasted, perhaps, the best chance so far by putting the ball wide (75 mins).

Abbey Hey threatened again when Pickering got clear behind Brown but Deasy parried his shot away and a defender completed the clearance. Alty's Australian youth team graduate, Rhain Davies, now went down and, after lengthy attention from physio Alan Ainsley, had to be taken off with what looked like a rib injury. Sam Heathcote came back on to replace him (82 mins).

With five minutes left, Altrincham created their best chance of the match. Jordan Sinnott got in an excellent low cross from the right into the path of Lawrie but he sidefooted the chance onto the keeper's left upright, from where it was cleared. There was time for a long shot from Moult to win a corner off the keeper but the game was destined to end goalless. Abbey Hey would be the happier with this result against a higher-ranking team but, as manager Lee Sinnott had said before the game, pre-season results are secondary to the players' gaining sharpness. And there was certainly some room for improvement on that front tonight.