Match Report


Pre-season friendly match
played on Monday, 1 August 2016, at 7.30pm


Altrincham secured their first win of pre-season with this 5-0 victory at EvoStik Division One South club, Witton Albion. With Simon Richman, Damian Reeves and Andy Dawber tonight's absentees from last week's squad. Former Alty Youth and Reserves' keeper Andrew Jones took over in goal, whilst there was a first appearance for the previously injured Sean Miller.

Sam Heathcote opened the scoring, as the game went into its seventh minute, with a firm header from a Hasler-Cregg corner. Craig Hobson made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute with a fine header from a Hasler-Cregg cross from the right. After Heathcote had rattled the bar with another header, five minutes after the break,`James Lawrie scored a fine goal from just outside the box from a Hattersley nod-down (58 mins). Jake Moult made it 4-0 with a well-taken rising shot from inside the box after 62 minutes.

Witton enjoyed a better spell in the final twenty minutes, winning several corners in the process. But, nine minutes from time, Hattersley made it 5-0 when the ball broke to him after a Harry Cain overlap on the right. The evening was marred by a late injury to Hattersley, which saw him hobble off, leaving Alty to complete the game with ten men.


REFEREE: Mr Robert Jones, who officiated at several Altrincham National League games last season.

Alty once more varied their starting eleven and also deployed their fifth captain of pre-season as Tom Hannigan assumed the armband. Of the players used in recent games, not in action tonight were Andy Dawber and Simon Richman. However, both Simon and the injured Shaun Densmore were in attendance. In goal tonight was Andrew Jones, who has come through the Youth and Reserves at Altrincham, as well as playing for various local teams including Maine Road. Making a first appearance in the squad after injury was Sean Miller from Connah's Quay Nomads, the Welsh Premier League Young Player of the Year in 2015.

Witton, who have been transferred to the southern section of the Northern Premier League Division One for the coming season, deployed six unnamed trialists in their squad, (lettered A to F on the teamsheet), with five of them in their starting eleven. A familiar face in Albion's side was former Altrincham midfielder Carl Rodgers.

Alty had two big men up front in Hattersley and Hobson, and a back four of Patterson, Heathcote, Hannigan and Charlton. Menagh was on the left and Hasler-Cregg on the right of midfield with Moult and Joyce deployed centrally.


WITTON ALBION (Red & white striped shirts, blue shorts, red socks): 1. Dom GARNER, 2. Ryan HICKMAN, 3. Mr A. TRIALIST, 4. Michael WILSON (capt), 5. Wes BENJAMIN, 6. Mr B. TRIALIST, 7. Mr C. TRIALIST, 8. Carl RODGERS, 9. Tolani OMOTOLA, 10. Mr. D TRIALIST, 11. Mr E TRIALIST. Subs: 12. Anthony BROWN, 14. Rob HOPLEY, 15. Paul WILLIAMS, 16. Anthony GARDNER, 17. Brad BURESS, 18. Matty DEVINE, 19. Mr F TRIALIST, 20. Danny ROBERTS.

ALTRINCHAM (Yellow and blue shirts, blue shorts, yellow socks): 17. Andrew JONES, 20. Sam PATTERSON, 6. Tom HANNIGAN (capt), 23, Sam HEATHCOTE, 3. Callum CHARLTON, 12. Billy HASLER-CREGG, 4. Jake MOULT, 11. Charlie JOYCE. 10. Jamie MENAGH, 16. Danny HATTERSLEY, 8. Craig HOBSON. Subs: 21. John CYRUS, 25. Alan GOODALL, 24. David LYNCH, 19. James LAWRIE, 15. Sean MILLER, 12*. Harry CAIN, No Number: Simon GARNER.


This was the final pre-season game for Alty and had been hastily arranged after Witton's intended opponents, the Liverpool FC Development Squad had pulled out of the fixture.

Amongst the spectators were former Alty winger and current Bradford PA manager Alex Meechan and his assistant. Alty meet BPA in October in the National League North.


Witton had the first half-threat as striker Tolani Omotola got behind the defence but the ball ran to goalkeeper Jones. However, Hasler-Cregg soon won the game's first corner for Altrincham. From the right, his corner kick was firmly headed home by Heathcote, who arrived near the back post to power a header into the opposite corner of the net and give Alty an early lead as the match went into its seventh minute.

Omotola again got the better of his marker but Hasler-Cregg got back to cover well (9 mins). Next it was Paterson who had to deal with the lively Witton striker (12 mins) before Jones had to come out to head clear from an opponent after good work from Witton's Trialist E (15 mins).

At this stage Altrincham were not looking very threatening up front as possession was lost by the front men. Indeed there was no real goal threat from either side as the game passed the half-hour mark. A foul on Hobson, 40 yards out, allowed Hasler-Cregg to send in a freekick which led to a corner. From this, Menagh got in a good shot which was beaten out by Garner, only for Hannigan to put the loose ball into the net. However, he was ruled to have been offside (36 mins).

The best move of the first half arrived in the 37th minute when Hobson exchanged passes with Moult and via Patterson and Hasler-Cregg, Joyce fired in a firm shot which the keeper beat out. A corner followed after which Hobson won a freekick but it was Witton who gained the game's next corner (39 mins).

Alty doubled their lead with a well-worked goal in the 42nd minute. Hobson played the ball, right, to Hasler-Cregg. His excellent cross from the right was impressively headed home by Hobson as he leant back but, nevertheless, got good power on the ball.

There was a chance for Hattersley to add to the tally a minute before half-time when Menagh did well to get free on the left but the tall Alty striker miskicked his effort. Charlton conceded a late freekick on the Witton right but Alty got to the interval with their deserved two-goal lead intact.


Altrincham made six changes at the break as Cyrus, Lawrie, Lynch, Garner, Miller and Goodall came on for Hobson, Charlton, Menagh, Joyce, Hannigan and Hasler-Cregg. Alty coach Simon Garner, wearing an unnumbered shirt, took up the left- back role, with Cyrus slotting in at centre-back for Hannigan.

Garner soon put in a good cross from which Hattersley saw his header saved (49 mins). A minute later, from a Lawrie cross from the left, Heathcote powered a header against the crossbar. An Alty corner soon followed, after which Moult had a shot saved. Altrincham's pressure finally told as a high upfield ball from Cyrus was cleverly nodded down by Hattersley and Lawrie lashed it into the net with an impressive shot from just outside the box, in a central position. So it was 3-0 (58 mins).

Witton now made a double change (59 mins) after which Miller fired a shot over the bar for Alty (61 mins). Altrincham made it 4-0 in the 62nd minute with another good goal. A move initiated by Moult came back to the midfielder via Patterson and Hattersley. Moult did well to turn in the box to make space before hitting a rising shot into the net (62 mins).

Witton now introduced three more subs, Williams, Brown and Hopley, to replace Wilson, Rodgers and Trialist D (63 mins).

In the 69th minute Alty brought on Harry Cain at right-back in place of Patterson. After this it was Witton who came back into the game as Alty took their foot off the pedal. They made another change as Buress replaced Trialist B (76 mins) and soon won a corner which was quickly followed by two more home side corner kicks.

But Altrincham then got up the other end as Cain advanced on the right. His ball bounced off a couple of players inside the box but fell nicely for Hattersley to score (81 mins). A Witton corner was then followed by a good shot from Omotola which Jones pushed over the bar for another corner (85 mins). However, Alty's evening was marred as Hattersley was injured and had to hobble off, after treatment to what appeared to be his hip, leaving Alty to complete the game with ten men (88 mins). A late Witton corner, followed by Devine's shot across goal concluded the proceedings.

With Witton using so many trialists, the margin of defeat will have been less important to them than the lessons learned about their prospective squad for 2016-17.

Apart from the injury to Hattersley it had been a good evening for Neil Young as the roll call of goal scorers in pre-season rose to eight different names and a second successive clean sheet was achieved. The game also gave Sean Miller a first appearance and proved Tom Hannigan's fitness after his injury last time out. With so many different line-ups being deployed over the last few weeks it remains to be seen what the manager's first league line-up will be on Saturday, when Darlington 1883 are the visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium.