ALTRINCHAM (0) 1 STOCKPORT COUNTY (2) 2
played on Tuesday, 11 July 2017, at 7.45pm
SUMMARYAfter a largely end to end first half, Stockport nevertheless led 2-0 at the break. Alty had fallen behind in the 20th minute when goalkeeper Tim Deasy delayed his kicked clearance which, as a result, was partly charged down. The ball was then worked to Stephenson and his cross-shot from the left proved too strong for Deasy. Alty had their moments at the other end but, just before the interval, they conceded a decisive second goal. This was a header by Oswell, direct from a right-side corner.
With both sides making numerous changes at the start of the second half, and throughout the final 45 minutes, County largely dominated, with the surging runs of Warburton particularly threatening. But an excellent Altrincham goal in the 81st minute prompted a late attacking improvement from the home side. The goal had started at the heart of the Alty defence before, several passes later, trialist Billy Hasler Cregg on his return to Altrincham crossed from the right for Hancock to turn the ball into the roof of the net for a fine "team" goal.
- 20 mins: Darren STEPHENSON (ALTRINCHAM 0 Stockport County 1)
- 45 mins: Jason OSWELL (ALTRINCHAM 0 Stockport County 2)
- 81 mins: Josh HANCOCK (ALTRINCHAM 1 Stockport County 2)
Shaun Densmore made his first appearance of the pre-season after missing Saturday's game due to a wedding commitment. Tom Hannigan is still returning to fitness, whilst fellow centre-back Clayton McDonald has been released. Tomoli Omotola has a slight knock and Tom Peers was on holiday.
Unlike at Whitchurch there were no unnamed trialists in the Alty squad. The new faces tonight (trialists) included centre-backs James Jones (ex-TNS), who had been one of the unnamed trialists in the Whitchurch game, and Joel Bembo-Lita. Joel came though the ranks at Stalybridge but was at Buxton last season and has also played for Colwyn Bay and Marine. Returning to Alty was winger Billy Hasler-Cregg, who was at Moss Lane early last season, but had been with Stalybridge Celtic later last season. Up front, striker Josh Amis was at Stockport County last season.
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Tim DEASY, 2. John DISNEY, 3. Kyle BROWNHILL, 4. Chris LYNCH, 5. Sam HEATHCOTE, 6. Jake MOULT (capt), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Sam SHERIDAN, 9. Josh AMIS, 10. James POOLE, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. Lewis SHORT, 14. James JONES, 15. Laurence TAYLOR, 16. Jerome WRIGHT, 17. Shaun DENSMORE (second-half captain), 18. Joel BEMBO-LITA, 19. Billy HASLER-CREGG, 20. Tony THOMPSON (gk).
STOCKPORT COUNTY (All blue): 1. Ben HINCHLIFFE, 2. Dan COWAN, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. Harry WINTER (capt), 5. Michael CLARK, 6. Stephen O'HALLORAN, 7. Jimmy BALL, 8. Sam WALKER, 9. Jason OSWELL, 10. Matthew WARBURTON, 11. Darren STPEHENSON. Subs: 12. Scott DUXBURY, 13. Ian ORMSON (gk), 14. Chris SMALLEY, 15. Harry BRAZEL, 16. Adam THOMAS, 17. George WEST, 18. Adam ETCHES, 19. Tom WHITTY, 20. Jordan DOWNING.
This was Alty's first home friendly of the summer, following a 1-1 draw away at Whitchurch Alport last Saturday.
After a very wet day, the pitch at the J Davidson Stadium was nevertheless a credit to groundsman Neil Brown. County kicked off towards their supporters at the Carole Nash & Family End and won a corner as the opening minute of the contest was concluded.
Alty responded when O'Halloran pushed over Alty trialist Amis and they gained a freekick. Poole sent in an excellent dead-ball, from the deep right which Lynch headed but could not direct towards goal (3 mins). The sides then traded attacks with a Johnston cross at one end, followed by a comfortable Deasy save at the other (6 mins). Next a foul by Moult on Stephenson and then a foul by Disney led to County freekicks, the latter effort being diverted well wide of goal for a corner (12 mins).
For Alty, Poole was fouled just outside the visitors' box, right of centre. The victim took the freekick himself and it whistled across the goalmouth as it was diverted, narrowly wide, for a corner (16 mins). But with Altrincham holding their own against the higher division visitors, they conceded a goal. It arrived when Deasy delayed a kicked clearance and saw his effort half-blocked by a closing Stockport player. The ball was worked left by County to Stephenson. From an acute angle, his well-hit, low cross shot was partly stopped by Deasy but, nevertheless, found the back of the net (20 mins).
Alty responded well with Johnston's strong and low cross from the right being fumbled by Hinchliffe (21 mins). The play yet again switched ends with Warburton's piledriver now being blocked by a defender. After this, a fine cross by Disney, from the right, was headed by Poole but it was glanced just wide of the keeper's right post (23 mins).
When Moult committed his second strong challenge of the game he received a lecture from the referee which would almost certainly have been a card in a competitive match (24 mins). After an Amis effort had been saved Alty almost slipped up in defence as Heathcote's back-pass was directed past Deasy but the keeper managed to recover well to get the ball. Alty's keeper soon made an even better save as he pushed away Stephenson’s low effort, at full stretch to his right (28 mins).
The bright play continued as Disney, Alty's right-back, won a corner but after the half-hour mark the next few minutes saw goalmouth incidents much reduced and the sides cancelling each other out in midfield. But five minutes before the break a good cross from the left by Johnston was only fractionally too high for Amis to get over the ball and head home, the ball instead clearing the bar.
But in the last of the forty-five minutes, Lynch had to concede a corner on County's right. An Alty head went up to head the corner but missed the ball and Oswell was left with a straightforward chance which he headed home (45 mins). 2-0 was perhaps a little harsh on Altrincham at this stage of what had been a generally open and fairly even game.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 STOCKPORT COUNTY 2|
As expected there were mass changes at the interval. For Altrincham, only Moult, Johnston, Amis and Poole of the original starters also resumed in the second half. The other players were replaced by goalkeeper Thompson; a new back four of Densmore, Bembo-Lita, Jones and Short; Taylor in midfield and Wright on the left. Stockport meanwhile changed their keeper, with Ormson on for Hinchliffe.
Alty won two early corners, through Johnston and Short respectively, before Billy Hasler-Cregg came on for Poole (54 mins). The changes allowed Stockport to coast through the opening stages of the second period, though a good effort from Taylor did win Altrincham a further corner (58 mins).
Not for the last time in the game Alty allowed Warburton to advance unchallenged up the centre and this time Deasy had to make a stop before punching away a follow-up.
Play stopped again for more substitutions as Duxbury, Smalley, Brazel and Thomas came on for County and Alty withdrew Johnston, Moult and Amis for the returning triumvirate of Heathcote, Hancock and Sheridan. Heathcote was put up front in place of Amis (61 mins).
Altrincham belatedly got in a couple of shots as Heathcote saw an effort saved and Wright made space well before also forcing Ormson into action (65 mins).
At the back Jones and Bembo-Lita were covering well for Alty. But play stopped again after 72 minutes as County introduced two more subs, West and Etches for Ball and Oswell.
Alty survived a scare when County counter-attacked following a Hancock mis-pass but another substitution again halted play shortly afterwards when Poole returned to replace Heathcote who had only returned to action some thirteen minutes earlier (74 mins).
There was much less in the way of goal threat at either end than had been the case in a largely end to end first period. With ten minutes remaining County made their final changes as Whitty and Downing came on for O'Halloran and Walker (80 mins). But then Altrincham put together an excellent passing move which took them from defence to scoring a well-worked goal. Hancock, Taylor, Poole and Densmore were all involved in the latter stages of the move before Hasler-Cregg got in an excellent low cross from the right which Hancock finished off, sliding in to find the roof of the net from close range, making it 1-2 (81 mins).
The goal prompted Alty to renewed attacking efforts and even Jones got forward to win a corner. From this Short ballooned an effort into one of the top floor windows of the adjacent apartments but, fortunately, the glazing proved equal to it (87 mins). Play was halted when an idiot ran aimlessly 70 yards up the pitch from the County enclave in the Golf Road end before walking into the arms of a steward who firmly showed him the exit (90 mins).
Despite finishing the game well, Altrincham could not find an equalizer, leaving County with what, on balance, was a deserved win. For Altrincham the lack of a focal point to their attacks remains a concern at this early stage of pre-season but there were spells of good passing and movement to encourage optimism for the coming season. Next up is a trip to Kidsgrove Athletic on Saturday.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 1 STOCKPORT COUNTY 2|