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Pre-season friendly match
played on Saturday, 5 August 2017, at 3pm


If manager Phil Parkinson was unhappy with his team after they had won 4-0 at Winsford in midweek, he will have been even more disappointed after this lacklustre showing against neighbours Trafford. His disappointment will be all the keener for his fielding what he had suggested might be his starting eleven for the league season. On this showing there may be some late changes to his plans for the game against Stafford Rangers next Saturday.

Alty started quite brightly but Trafford grew into the game. Things started to go seriously wrong for Alty in the lead-up to half-time as, firstly, John Disney had to go off after a strong challenge had left him injured. And, minutes later, Sephton got round Chris Lynch, who had just been moved from centre-back to cover Disney's right-back berth. From the Trafford man's cross, from Trafford's left, former Alty youth Ashley Woods headed home in the 39th minute.

There was little improvement from Alty after the break as forward movement was laboured and passes repeatedly went astray. On 71 minutes, a four-man substitution saw Amis (pictured right), Sheridan, Moult and Hancock come off and Poole, Peers, Richman and Taylor come on. This raised the tempo and a missed header in front of goal by Peers and the same player's shot which struck the outside of the upright might have salvaged a draw for the Robins. But Trafford emerged the winners and will go into the new season with more confidence than their visitors on this showing.

REFEREE: Mr B Lamb (Eccles)

Phil Parkinson had suggested that he would deploy Altrincham's intended starting eleven for the new league season, which begins next week. With Poole suspended for that game, and Densmore on holiday for that fixture, Poole was on the bench and Densmore presumably only started (at left-back) because of Lewis Short being unfit.


TRAFFORD (All white): 1. Grant Shenton, 2. Ally Brown, 3. Declan Rydings, 4. Chris Palmer (c), 5. Josh Granite, 6. Paul Linwood, 7. Brian Summerskill, 8. Scott Sephton, 9. Ashley Woods, 10. Andy Keogh, 11. Jack Dorney. Subs: 12. Kingsley Williams, 14. Sean Yeldrem, 15. Steve Mason, 16. Rio Ahmadi, 17. Pauli Loukola.

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


The corresponding fixture last season had ended 1-1, with Billy Hasler-Cregg being Alty's scorer. Jake Moult was the only Alty player to start the fixture both today and last year.


Trafford kicked off on the customary excellent surface at Shawe View. Altrincham deployed Amis as the main striker with Hancock as the no.10, Hulme on the left and Johnston on the right. Altrincham had an early chance when Hancock missed from close range after a fine interchange between Densmore and Hulme up the left. Hulme's cross came in, low, to the near post but he could not turn the ball home from close range (3 mins).

Alty's good start continued as Densmore advanced and again combined well, on the left, with Hulme. But, this time, the cross from Hulme was overhit. Trafford's first effort was a wild 25-yarder from Dorney. As they did throughout the game, Alty were attempting to play the ball out from the back but with varying degrees of success.

The game's first corner arrived, for Altrincham, in the twelfth minute but nothing came of it. The hosts were now settling into the game and former Alty midfielder Summerskill had an effort blocked after Sephton's cross from the right (16 mins). Summerskill had another effort blocked three minutes later after Brown had got past Densmore.

Although Densmore and Hulme again combined well up the left, there was no end product. At the other end Deasy twice fumbled a Summerskill freekick but the ball was cleared (24 mins). Johnston then won and took a corner and soon afterwards he gained his side a freekick in the right corner. As with most of the deadball routines today, no threat resulted from this one.

After Johnston had won another corner, the same player got to the byline but put in a wild cross (27 mins). Johnston's purple patch continued as he got in a cross but the home keeper got on the end of it (28 mins). Summerskill felled Hancock near halfway, after which Disney got in a cross but Hulme miscued it well wide (30 mins).

Trafford's Keogh won the game's next corner after Disney had lost the ball on Alty's right flank. But in the 33rd minute a firm challenge by Summerskill left Disney on the ground and after treatment he had to be helped off the pitch by Alty's two physios, with an ankle injury. As left-back Lewis Short was not fit enough to start today and right-back Shaun Densmore is on holiday next week, Alty could be struggling for defenders on Saturday.

Tom Hannigan came on for Disney (35 mins) and went on to have another solid game at centre-back as he returns to full match fitness. Centre-back partner Ben Harrison was also again proving dependable for Altrincham as, now, he dealt with a Summerskill long ball.

Soon, Hannigan had to clear a Keogh header off the line (37 mins) but the respite was short as Lynch, now at right-back in Disney's absence, was beaten by Sephton and from Trafford's left byline his cross was headed home in the centre of the goalmouth by former Alty youth player, Woods.

The half ended with Sephton fouling Lynch and then Amis being tripped near halfway but at the conclusion of a disappointing first half from Altrincham, the hosts held the lead.

Half-Time: TRAFFORD 1

As in the first half Alty started the brighter of the two sides, as Johnston was halted on the byline and then a Densmore shot was blocked (48 mins).

Soon, Lynch won a corner on the right, taken by Sheridan before Harrison had to get back to do just enough to stop Dorney as he threatened to get clear (51 mins). From an Amis cross, Hulme was judged offside before Trafford's Sephton fired just wide from the edge of the box after the ball had been cleared to him.

As the hour mark passed Altrincham continued to labour and they were yet to trouble Trafford keeper Shenton in any serious manner. Johnston won another corner which yet again proved ineffectual as the keeper collected Sheridan's kick (64 mins).

On 69 minutes Alty did get a shot on target but Shenton saved Johnston's effort.

In the seventy-first minute Alty made four changes as Amis, Sheridan, Moult and Hancock were taken off and Poole, Peers, Richman and Taylor came on. Meanwhile, Williams came on for Trafford.

Hulme was moved up top now, with Peers on the right and Johnston switched to the left. The changes immediately lifted the visitors as a Poole shot was blocked as a Trafford man fell on the ball amidst strong appeals for hand-ball which went unheeded. Next, another Johnston shot won another corner. Taken by Poole, this was headed over the bar by Harrison (74 mins).

Soon afterwards, from right of goal, Peers did well and his shot beat the diving Shenton but struck the outside of the near post ((75 mins). Trafford now withdrew Keogh and Granite off in favour of Ahmadi and Mason. A short corner by Alty came to nothing before a good Johnston cross found Peers's head in front of goal but he headed disappointingly over the bar (78 mins). Alty had created more in the previous seven minutes than in the preceding seventy.

The hosts continued to frustrate Alty and, with five minutes remaining Woods and Dorney were subbed by Yeldrem and Loukola. Altrincham, although playing better than they had been, were not creating any more chances before the last minute of the game was marked by a Pool freekick and then Hulme gaining a corner. Another freekick arrived two minutes into added time but when Shenton clawed this over his own bar, the referee did not award a corner but instead blew the final whistle.

This disappointing display, far from cementing next Saturday's starting eleven, must have raised some questions in the manager's mind about his line-up for the visit of Stafford Rangers.

Full-Time: TRAFFORD 1