Match Report


Pre-season friendly match
played on Saturday, 18 July, 2015, at 3pm


Altrincham took an early lead when Stalybridge's former Alty keeper, Tony McMillan, raced out to his right touchline but was hustled off the ball by Michael Rankine. Alty's new striker then curled his shot into the net from wide left, despite the attempts of two retreating defenders to block it. That was in just the seventh minute.

For Celtic, Chippendale impressed and, especially in the second half, they had the majority of the forward momentum. They had a goal chalked off for offside but Altrincham almost scored a second goal in the 90th minute when James Lawrie's fine shot came back off the underside of the crossbar.


REFEREE: Mr R Johnson

Surprisingly trialists Jordan Deacey and Jordan Sinnott were not in today's squad but new signing Anthony Griffith made his debut. Nicky Clee and Shaun Densmore were not involved today either.


STALYBRIDGE CELTIC (Blue shirts & socks, white shorts): 1. Tony McMillan, 2. Peter Wylie, 3. Danny Wisdom, 4. Jack Higgins, 5. Matty Hughes, 6. Bohan Dixon, 7. Aidan Chippendale, 8. John Shaw, 9. Alex Johnson, 10.Adam Farrell, 11. Aaron Chalmers. Subs: 12. Ben McKenna, 14. Chris Simm, 15.Stephen Tames, 18. Oliver Crowley.

ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts and red socks): 1. Stuart COBURN 2. Scott LEATHER, 3. Adam GRIFFIN, 4. Anthony GRIFFITH, 5. Gianluca HAVERN (capt), 6. Tom MARSHALL, 7. James LAWRIE, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Michael RANKINE, 10.Josh O'KEEFE, 11. Ryan CROWTHER, Subs: 12. Sam HEATHCOTE, 14. Jake MOULT, 15. Damian REEVES, 16. Joel SWIFT, 17.David BROWN, 18. Tim DEASY, 19. Rhain DAVIES.


This was Alty's fourth pre-season games, following draws at Abbey Hey and at home to Wigan and a victory at Bamber Bridge. Interestingly for a match at this level, the match officials were provided with microphones to enable them to contact each other.


Altrincham kicked off, playing down the slope of the Bower Fold. Celtic's Chippendale got in an excellent early cross but then an Alty freekick soon followed (1 min). Next, captain Luca Havern had to cover smartly as a Marshall clearance rebounded to an opponent. Celtic's bright start continued as a Farrell 25-yarder had to be saved after the referee had played a good advantage, following a Richman foul on Chalmers. The former Alty trialist and brother of Lewis, Aaron Chalmers, resumed after treatment (5 mins).

But the decisive moment of the game was to arrive as early as the seventh minute. Former Alty keeper, Tony McMillan, raced out to his right touchline. However, Michael Rankine hustled him off the ball before curling a shot into the net from near the touchline. Two retreating defenders almost got to the shot but it beat them both and nestled in the net for the new Altrincham striker's second goal this week. Both had been earned by the striker's strength in a challenge.

At the other end, Coburn now smothered a low cross, before Alty responded as a Griffin cross earned a corner on the left. Following a Celtic freekick, 35 yards out in a central location, the ball came off Marshall for a corner (14 mins). Alty had not seriously threatened the Celtic goal after going ahead but now a tame, long shot from Richman drifted wide (16 mins).

Just after Griffith had been penalised versus Wisdom, he survived a penalty appeal as Dixon went down under his challenge. After 22 minutes Coburn was again called into action as he tipped a freekick over his bar for a corner. O'Keefe, playing centrally behind Rankine, was having a quiet game and his mis-pass epitomised the next few minutes of play from both sides.

When Griffith played in Crowther, up the middle, his quickly taken shot was deflected easily to McMillan (28 mins) After a Havern foul on Farrell on the Celtic left, a driven freekick won the hosts a corner on their right, taken by Chippendale. A couple of minutes later it took a fine Leather tackle to halt a Chippendale run. For Alty, a Lawrie shot was saved comfortably (32 mins).

It was the lively Chippendale whose cross won the next corner of the game after 38 minutes. However, the kick was badly overhit by Johnson. Johnson did better after 41 minutes when his freekick from 25 yards out just cleared the angle of post and bar. Alty had a problem after 44 minutes when Coburn came to punch but was unable to get through a melee to do so but as the interval beckoned, Richman actually headed the ball into the Celtic net but the flag was up for offside as O'Keefe nodded the ball on to him (45 mins).


Celtic boss Liam Watson had remained in the stand through half time whilst on the field Griffith and Rankine were engaged in a "warm down" on the pitch. It was Jake Moult and Damian Reeves who came on to replace the duo though not before Moult had inadvertently flattened Reeves as the midfielder warmed up near the touchline.

After an early foul on O'Keefe, Griffith and Coburn mismanaged a freekick and conceded a needless throw. Celtic continued to look the more attacking side as it needed a fine Havern tackle to halt a Stalybridge man in Alty's box (48 mins). As Alty counter-attacked O'Keefe executed a poor cross cum pass which failed to locate a team-mate (49 mins).

Coburn then had to make a very smart save, beating out a well struck shot from 20 yards by Chalmers (51 mins). Celtic remained on the front foot as Coburn punched clear a freekick clear but Marshall was hurt in the process and needed treatment (55 mins). Next, a Johnson long-throw led to Shaw hooking the ball over the bar. A Stalybridge corner soon arrived to maintain their impetus.

Next a Lawrie freekick went to the home keeper and after 64 minutes a decent shot from outside the box by Crowther had to be saved. Marshall now showed the referee a badly torn shirt and was ushered off to change it before being allowed to continue.

For Celtic Wisdom rifled a firm shot over the bar from a Johnson lay off before both sides made changes. For Celtic, Simms, Tames and Crowley came on (for Johnson, Farrell & Wylie) whilst Alty's Heathcote replaced Marshall at centre-back (69 mins).

. After a Leather foul on his own byline, on the Celtic left, Coburn had to tip out Chalmers's freekick for a corner (73 mins). Two minutes later Celtic withdrew Chalmers and McKenna replaced him. Alty were again pushed back as it needed a fine Griffin tackle to halt the next attack, before Moult cleared a McKenna cross (76 mins).

Twelve minutes from time, Celtic gained a corner off Heathcote. Then an error by Moult in his own goalmouth led to Celtic finding the net but the offside flag was up to deny Celtic an equalizer. Next, a long throw led to a header by Simm to Coburn.

After 81 minutes Swift came on for Crowther but Reeves remained the lone striker. Alty won a corner off Higgins (83 mins) before Dixon's foul on Richman gave alty a freekick 20 yards out from goal. Lawrie's freekick deflected off the wall before Swift ran up the middle for 60 yards, aided by two Celtic players colliding. As possession was lost, Dixon emulated Swift with a surge towards the Alty goal and the move ended as a team mate hit the bar but offside was flagged in any case (85 mins).

As the game entered the ninetieth minute a fine run by James Lawrie ended with an excellent shot which came back off the underside of the Celtic crossbar.