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Pre-season friendly match
played on Saturday, 29 July 2017, at 3pm


Despite again ringing the changes with the starting eleven and utilizing a squad of 19 players, Altrincham were well deserved winners over a Bradford side which had finished last season with more than double Altrincham's points tally in the Vanarama North division. Since last season, Nicky Clee and Luca Havern (via Telford) had joined the Yorkshiremen and both played today against their former club.

Indeed, but for two absolute defensive howlers by Altrincham, the visitors would have won even more comfortably.

The afternoon started disastrously for Tom Hannigan, making his first appearance of pre-season after missing much of last season with injury. His underhit back pass to ex-BPA keeper Tim Deasy allowed Brooksby to nip in and score with barely a minute on the clock.

Altrincham deservedly equalised in the 44th minute when Jake Moult hammered home a penalty after Jordan Hulme had turned past a defender and been upended.

But, seven minutes after the interval, another disastrous piece of Alty defending saw sub keeper Tony Thompson come out for a harmless aerial ball, only to collide with left-back Lewis Short, and drop the ball at the feet of a grateful Oli Johnson. He couldn't miss the vacant goal to make it 2-1 to Avenue. However, within a minute, John Johnston, who had a very good game, hammered in a loose ball from close range after good work from Hulme to level the scores again.

And, within five more minutes, Alty had taken a 3-2 lead as Disney netted after a Poole shot had been blocked. Altrincham made it 4-2 in the 65th minute when sub striker Josh Amis netted his fourth goal of pre-season from a cross from the left by Omotola.

REFEREE: Mr Mark Powell
ATTENDANCE: Fewer than 200?

Altrincham were again without Simon Richman who was working abroad, whilst Sam Heathcote, Jerome Wright and Kyle Brownhill had left the club since last Tuesday's game. With other tactical changes being made by Phil Parkinson, just five players who had started last Tuesday also began this match. Tom Hannigan made a welcome return to start the game after missing much of last season through injury.

Several ex-Alty players are now at BPA including Nicky Clee, Gianluca Havern and Danny Boshell who were all in the squad for this match. For Alty Tim Deasy was formerly a BPA keeper.


BRADFORD PARK AVENUE (Green and white) 1. Steven Drench 2. Javan Vidal, 3. Matt Hill, 4. Nicky Wroe (c), 5. Luca Havern, 6. James Knowles, 7. Wayne Brooksby, 9. A Trialist, 8.Toulson, 9. Adam Boyes, 10. Oli Johnson, 11. Nicky Clee. Subs: 12. Lewis Johnson, 13. Ed Hall, 14. Danny Boshall, 15. A Trialist, 16. Lee Knight, 17. A Trialist.

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Tim DEASY, 2. John DISNEY, 3. Lewis SHORT, 4. Tom HANNIGAN, 5. Chris LYNCH, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Sam SHERIDAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. James POOLE, 11. Josh HANCOCK. Subs: 12. James JONES, 14. Laurence TAYLOR, 15. Josh AMIS, 16. Tom PEERS, 17. Tomoli OTOMOLA, 18. Shaun DENSMORE, 19. Ben HARRISON, 20. Tony THOMPSON.


The clubs were in the same division last season, but unlike Alty, Avenue had fairly comfortably survived in the Vanarama North after an awful start to 2016-17.


On a sunny but breezy afternoon, on a good surface at the Horsfall Stadium, Altrincham kicked off towards the small stand behind one goal. As Alty attempted to get a feel of the ball at the back, Hannigan, from left of goal hit a poor, underpowered back-pass towards Deasy only for Brooksby to nip in and score a simple goal (1 min).

Alty's first sight of goal was a fine 25 yarder by Hancock but it was a little too straight at the keeper and Drench beat it out (5 mins). Despite their disastrous start, Altrincham were beginning to show some composure and a well-directed long ball by Moult allowed Short to win a corner (8 mins).

Another promising move ended when Short overhit a ball for Hancock after Johnston had found the left-back with a good pass (10 mins). A combination between Poole, Disney and Johnston ended with the last-named's cross to Drench. But whilst Alty looked promising going forwards, they remained shaky at the back as, now, Johnson got past Lynch, right of goal, but his cross/shot was poor.

For Alty Johnston was looking the liveliest player and, now, he advanced up the right but his cross went, low, to the outstretched keeper. It was now a fairly even game (17 mins) but with little in the way of goalmouth action to excite the crowd as defences dominated. However, Deasy then had to make a smart diving save, to his right, to deal with a Wroe 25-yard daisy-cutter. A BPA corner resulted, followed by another on the other side of the pitch (23 mins).

Alty were trying to play out of defence but several times their move faltered with a mis-pass. And when Hulme did locate Poole, the former Hartlepool man could only produce an underpowered effort, which ran to Drench, the former Guiseley keeper (29 mins). Next, Poole and Johnston conspired to win a corner on the right but, although Alty were having a decent spell of possession there was no end product at this stage (32 mins).

A feature of pre-season has been some excellent long-range passing from Moult and he now found Johnson, whose cross from the left was headed over the bar by Hulme (33 mins). Alty were enjoying more of the ball than BPA whose only minor threat to Alty over the next few minutes was a Wroe chip which went comfortably to Deasy (38 mins). The former Barnsley midfielder was orchestrating the BPA midfield.

After another Johnston run had won a throw on the right, taken by Disney, the ball was played to Hulme inside the box. He turned smartly but as he attempted to get behind his marker, he was tripped for a clear penalty. Jake Moult blasted the spot-kick home to restore Altrincham to well-merited parity at the interval (44 mins).


At the break, Ben Harrison replaced Hannigan at centre-back and Tony Thompson came on in goal for Deasy. The half started with Poole doing well but again he could not muster a powerful shot to trouble the keeper (46 mins).

After a foul on BPA's Johnson, the BPA freekick was headed off target (48 mins). Next, after Alty had lost the ball, Harrison cleared up against Oli Johnson. But Alty then conceded another poor goal. A routine aerial ball was dropping towards Short inside his box, in the left-back position. However, keeper Thompson came out and called for the ball. Short had no time to get out of the way and the Alty keeper caught the ball and collided with his full-back almost simultaneously. The outcome was that he dropped the ball, leaving Johnson with the simple task of putting it into the unguarded net from about 15 yards; so it was 2-1 to BPA (52 mins).

Altrincham were back level within a minute, however. Sheridan fed Hancock and in turn he relayed the ball to Hulme. The striker turned smartly and shot at goal. Drench could not hold the shot and Johnston hammered home the loose ball to level the game at 2-2 (53 mins).

After a BPA header had gone wide from a freekick, Alty got to the other end where Disney netted from close range, for the second time this summer, after a Poole shot had proved too hot for Drench (57 mins).

So with a lead for the first time this afternoon, Alty made a mass change as Jones, Taylor, Amis, Peers, Omotola and Densmore came on for Disney, Lynch, Moult, Johnston, Hancock and Hulme (58 mins). By the hour mark Altrincham looked well in control and BPA now made a change, too, as a trialist replaced their most threatening player, Oli Johnson (61 mins).

A Poole shot now went close before BPA responded as a Clee long throw was nodded to Thompson (64 mins). Alty wrapped up the game moments later when Amis, in the centre of the goalmouth, finished smartly from Omotola's cross (65 mins).

Now, Disney and Johnston returned to the match for Short and Poole. After stoppages for treatment to Omotola and then BPA's Vidal, Alty won an 81st minute corner. BPA then changed their keeper as Hall replaced Drench (81 mins).

With three minutes left, Oli Johnson came back on for Clee as Alty held on comfortably to their 4-2 lead.

This had been another promising display from Altrincham though there remains an inability to keep a clean sheet. The many player-changes made in all of the pre-season games have no doubt told Phil Parkinson a lot about his potentially best starting eleven but it has been encouraging that, despite the frequent changes of personnel in pre-season, the eleven on the pitch at any one time have managed, for the most part, to play in a consistently constructive manner and have achieved generally good results, which bode well for the coming campaign.