Match Report

WIDNES (1) 2

Pre-season friendly match
played on Sunday, 10 July 2016, at 2pm


Two late goals secured a draw for an Altrincham team playing for the first time under the management of Neil Young. With different line-ups playing in each half and with each of them comprising a mix of last year's squad, new signings and trialists it was not surprising that the visitors were unable to impose themselves on the NW Counties side. It was not until the last fifteen minutes that Alty began to assert themselves.

They had fallen behind after 35 minutes when a long ball reared up and allowed Jack White to score past trialist keeper Ciaran O'Loughlin who, earlier, had made two fine saves. When Simon Richman lost possession and then fouled Owalabi, he conceded a penalty. Owolabi scored from the spot in the 64th minute.

Alty got back into the game when Boris Melingui's fine pass gave Reeves a shot which was half stopped but, as Hattersley went to finish it off, he was brought down. Hattersley took the spot kick to make it 2-1 after 77 minutes.

Reeves got the equalizer with six minutes remaining, steering home a low shot, just inside the post.


REFEREE: Mr Joe Johnson

Both sides fielded more or less completely different sides in each half. For Altrincham, this meant a mixture of established players, new signings, trialists and youth team/reserves' graduates.


The Altrincham second half players were not numbered on the team sheet and several of them wore differing numbers on their shorts from their shirts! So, apologies for any errors. Likewise the Widnes second half team did not wear the numbers given on the team sheet.

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks) First Half: 17. Ciaran O'Loughlin, 18. Sam Patterson, 12. Keenan Quansah, 5. Tom Hannigan, 2. Harry Cain, 14. Joe Cuff, 9. Jake Moult, 20. David Lynch, 11. Billy Hasler Cregg, 7. James Lawrie (capt), 21. Craig Hobson. Second half subs: 1. Andrew Dawber, 14. Charlie Joyce, 20. Callum Charlton, 22. Sam Heathcote, 25. Boris Melingui, 26. Liam Haynes, 8. Simon Richman, 28. Jamie Menagh (capt), 10. Damian Reeves, 23. Danny Hattersley.

WIDNES (All blue) 1. Richard Mottram, 2. Josh Kavanagh, 3. Joe Fielding, 4. Kevin Pollard, 5. Jack Riley, 6. Michael Burke, 7. Dale Korie-Butler, 8. George Webster, 9. Jack White, 10. James McShane, 11. Luke Edwards, 12. Jordan Stafford, 13. George McGrogan, 14. Thomas Mitchell, 15. Paul Carney, 16. Daniel Whalley, 17. Luke J Edwards, 18. Elliot Toner, 19. Matthew Rigby, 20. Tunde Owolabi, 21. Liam Turner.


This was Altrincham's first game under Neil Young's managership. Since Alty's last visit to the Halton Stadium, against Runcorn FC Halton, the playing surface has been made artificial, providing an introduction similar to what Alty will find in the stadiums of at least three league opponents in the coming season.


Altrincham kicked off but they were very soon grateful to O'Loughlin, from Everton's Academy, when their defence parted to let in White, whose firm shot was beaten out by the trialist goalkeeper (2 mins). Referee Johnson, who was unusually kitted out in a yellow top, soon had his shaving foam out to mark the ten-yard distance for an Alty freekick after Lawrie had been tripped. But this came to nothing.

Altrincham were again indebted to O'Loughlin when White surprisingly outmuscled Jake Moult in midfield and Edwards's resulting shot had to be stopped (10 mins). At the other end, the lively Hasler-Cregg now fired in a shot which went narrowly wide.

Widnes lost their captain Pollard to injury after 17 minutes. Soon afterwards superb skill from Lawrie saw him bring down a cross from Cain, who was impressing with his energy as he got forward from left-back. Lawrie's resulting shot was well saved by the keeper but at the cost of a corner.

A couple of minutes later a Hasler-Cregg shot forced a save from Mottram (21 mins). His counterpart O'Loughlin then had to get back smartly to tip a looping effort from Edwards over his own bar for a corner.

Following good work from Cuff, Alty's captain, James Lawrie, now got in a low cross which Hobson was only just unable to reach at the back post (31 mins).

After an apparent trip on Hasler-Cregg had not been given, a Widnes ball up the Alty middle led to confusion and the ball bounced over oncoming keeper O'Loughlin allowing White to record the game's opening goal (35 mins).

After a quiet few minutes, the final action of the half saw Lawrie feed Lynch, who carefully placed his shot towards the keeper's bottom right corner but the ball struck the outside of the post.

Half-Time: WIDNES 1

Both sides made wholesale changes for the second half with only Hannigan remaining for Altrincham.

After a fairly uneventful spell, Melingui started to make an impression on the right wing but one of his crosses, on the hour, was headed over by Reeves.

Widnes doubled their lead with a 64th minute penalty, converted by Owolabi. The Widnes forward had himself been brought down in the box by Richman after he had lost the ball.

In the final fifteen minutes Altrincham finally found some fluency and, from Melingui's fine ball, Reeves's effort was partially stopped by the keeper but, as Hattersley moved in to finish it off near the goal line, he was brought down by McGrogan. Hattersley got up to steer the resulting penalty past the keeper to make it 2-1 (77 mins).

Altrincham now belatedly dominated proceedings but, following a corner from Charlton, Hattersley was unable to convert a half-chance. After this, a fine ball from Menagh was headed narrowly wide by Reeves. But Alty's striker got his reward in the 84th minute when a good pass from Joyce led to him steering the ball, low, past the keeper and into the bottom corner of the net.

Perhaps the best chance for Alty to clinch the game arrived in the 88th minute, when another good pass from Melingui only just evaded Reeves. But a draw was a fair outcome in a game in which it took Altrincham a long time to get going. On this basis, Widnes look set for a good season, whilst there were sufficient signs from Altrincham's new players to give hope for their new campaign, too.

Full-Time: WIDNES 2