ALTRINCHAM (1) 1 CREWE ALEXANDRA (1) 1
played on Tuesday, 26 July 2016, at 7.45pm
Altrincham secured a well-deserved draw, their fourth in five pre-season games, against a strong Crewe Alexandra side at the J. Davidson Stadium. The visitors had enjoyed a dominant spell midway through the first half when only a couple of fine stops by goalkeeper Dawber kept them out. But Alex got the breakthrough in the 32nd minute when Cooper nodded home a Jones ball played into the box.
Having rarely threatened, Alty nevertheless equalised less than four minutes later when James Lawrie's well-taken freekick from 25 yards was firmly headed home by centre-back John Cyrus who arrived, unmarked, towards the back post.
Altrincham made three changes at the interval and went on to make eight substitutions, in all, during the second half. And it was they who had the better of the latter stages of the game but the score remained 1-1.
- 32 mins: George COOPER (ALTRINCHAM 0 Crewe Alexandra 1)
- 36 mins: John CYRUS (ALTRINCHAM 1 Crewe Alexandra 1)
REFEREE: Mr T. Kirk
Alty made just two changes to their starting eleven for this game as Moult and Hattersley came in for Goodall and Joyce. Damian Reeves again captained the side, though Alan Goodall was to assume the armband during the second half.
ALTRINCHAM (Yellow shirts and socks, blue shorts): 17. Andrew DAWBER, 6. Sam PATTERSON, 15. John CYRUS, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 3. Callum CHARLTON, 8. Jake MOULT, 11. David LYNCH, 12. Billy HASLER-CREGG, 14. James LAWRIE, 10. Damian REEVES (capt), 28. Danny HATTERSLEY. Subs: 19. Charlie JOYCE, 20. Jamie MENAGH, 21. Craig HOBSON, 22. Sam HEATHCOTE, 24. Simon RICHMAN, 25. Alan GOODALL. 25. Danny HATTERSLEY, 26. Harry CAIN, 28. Simon GARNER
CREWE ALEXANDRA (Red & white shirts, white shorts, red socks): 1. Ben GARRATT, 2. Oliver TURTON, 3. John GUTHRIE, 4. Harry DAVIS (capt), 7. Ryan LOWE, 8. James JONES, 9. Chris DAGNALL, 11. George COOPER, 14. Zoumana BAKAYOGO, 18. Billy BINGHAM, 20. Charlie KIRK. Subs: 5. George RAY, 6. Ben NUGENT, 10. Callum SAUNDERS, 13. Dave RICHARDS, 15. Oliver FINNEY, 16. Callum AINLEY, 17. Daniel UDOH, 21. Ryan WINTLE, 22. Alex KIWOMYA, 23. Perry NG.
As both teams are sponsored by Cheshire company Mornflake, this game was designated as The Mornflake Cup, although there was no actual trophy at stake.
Altrincham kicked off towards the Golf Road end which, like the rest of the ground was fairly sparsely populated. Crewe were the first to threaten and it took a block from Lynch to keep them out (2 mins). Then Cooper got past Charlton on the visitors' right wing and his well-struck shot drew a decent stop from Dawber (5 mins). Play was interrupted by frequent stoppages for minor infringements before a fine header from Hannigan led to Hattersley winning a freekick 30 yards from Crewe's goal. Lawrie's low freekick was comfortably saved by Garratt (9 mins).
Another Alty freekick from similar range soon followed when Lawrie was pushed over. But Hasler-Cregg's freekick was disappointing. Next Moult brought down a loose ball well, but his resulting half-volley was well off target (17 mins).
There was no real threat of a goal at this stage but, when Lowe got round Hannigan and located Kirk, his volley should have been closer to the target (23 mins).
But this presaged a spell of dominance from Crewe. Next a fine long ball allowed Turton a good shot which Dawber beat out and Hannigan cleared (25 mins). Then Kirk advanced on the left and, from his low cross, a well-struck shot by Turton forced another good block by Dawber (27 mins). Alty remained on the back foot as Crewe won a corner. which ended up with Dawber via a nod from Dagnall (29 mins).
As Crewe continued to threaten, Kirk's mishit effort was blocked but then, after a half clearance by Altrincham, Jones's ball into the goalmouth from the right was nodded on, into the net, by Cooper to give The Alex the lead (32 mins).
Crewe then wasted a further chance as Cooper put Kirk clear but he shot tamely at Dawber (35 mins). Having barely threatened, Altrincham, nevertheless, were level four minutes after falling behind. The equaliser arrived when a foot-up offence, committed against Hattersley, gave Alty their third freekick of the game from a 25-yard or so range, slightly right of goal.
Lawrie's excellent freekick located the incoming Cyrús, towards the back post, and the centre-back planted a firm header past Garratt to make it 1-1 (36 mins). Before the break Crewe threatened again but Lowe sidefooted over the bar (40 mins). A poor challenge by Reeves on Turton earned him a lecture (42 mins) but half-time arrived with the scores level.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1|
CREWE ALEXANDRA 1
ALtrincham made three changes for the second half as Goodall, Heathcote and Joyce replaced Charlton, Hasler-Cregg and Reeves. Heathcote went to right-back, Patterson moved to the left and Hattersley was now a lone front man. Soon, midfielder Joyce saw a shot blocked for a corner (49 mins). As in the first half, Crewe were getting caught offside with some regularity but they were then lucky to be awarded a corner when the ball clearly went out of play off their own player.
As the hour passed Altrincham were still not creating any threat to the Crewe goal but now Moult and Hattersley were replaced by Hobson and Richman (62 mins). Altrincham now began to enjoy a good spell but without threatening a goal. Next Harry Cain replaced Patterson at left-back (71 mins). Cain, a youth tam graduate at Alty, soon impressed as he intercepted the ball and showed electric pace up the left wing. Lynch's resulting effort was beaten out by Garratt.
Now Menagh replaced Lawrie in the no.10 role (74 mins) and, six minutes later, coach Simon Garner came on for Lynch (80 mins). He was soon in action, covering well as Crewe got into the Alty box.
It was Altrincham who were setting the pace in these latter stages of the game but Heathcote was alert to make a fine covering tackle on a Crewe counter-attack (86 mins). A good move involving Richman and another fine run by Cain, led to an Altrincham corner but this came to nothing. And so the game ended level, meaning Alty had drawn four of their five pre-season agmes. But they had more than held their own in the second half against a League Two side.
Next up will be a test against a Burnley XI on Friday at the J. Davidson Stadium.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1|
CREWE ALEXANDRA 1