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Pre-season friendly match
played on Tuesday, 23 July 2019, at 7.45pm


Altrincham welcomed their neighbours Stockport County to the J. Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night, having lost to the Hatters four times, without scoring, last season. And that tally became five victories for Stockport as they netted an 81st minute winner and, although Altrincham had taken the lead, it was through an own goal.

In fact, Alty's goal in the 29th minute came after the hosts had failed to land a shot on target. The goal was made by some trickery from Nathan Arnold as he advanced into the box but, although Hulme subsequently claimed the goal, and Branson was also in the vicinity, the shot from Arnold clearly rebounded off Minihan and then Jackson and into the net.

The equalizer arrived eight minutes later and was the result of a needless foul, wide on the Stockport right, by Jordan Hulme. The freekick was initially cleared by a decent Williams header but his team-mates failed to complete the clearance and Dimaio cleverly made space before firing a low shot past Drench from the edge of the box.

And Stockport's winner also came from Altrincham's failure to complete a clearance after Densmore had lost possession in midfield. The ball came out to Osborne who hit a fine, low shot from 18 yards past Thompson's right-hand and into the net off the far upright.


REFEREE: Mr Adam Davies

Altrincham started with a strong starting eleven and there were just two loanees among their nine named substitutes. These were Lewis Salmon, the young forward from Hanley Town who had played earlier in the summer, and who it was reported subsequently had signed for Trafford, and Adam Morgan, a former Liverpool striker, most recently with Curzon Ashton.

County also fielded a strong starting eleven.


ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Steven DRENCH, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON (c), 4. Toby MULLARKEY, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Sean WILLIAMS, 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Conor BRANSON, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Max HARROP, 11. Nathan ARNOLD. Subs: 12. Shaun DENSMORE, 14. Josh HANCOCK, 15. Matthew CHADWICK, 16. James JONES, 17. Simon RICHMAN, 18. Tom PEERS, 19. Lewis SALMON, 20. Anthony THOMPSON, 21. Adam MORGAN

STOCKPORT COUNTY (Blue shirts and shorts, white socks): 1. Ben Hinchliffe, 2. Sam Minihan, 4. Paul Turnbull (c), 5. Ash Palmer, 6. Jordan Keane, 7. Adam Thomas, 8. Sam Walker, 9. Frank Mulhern, 11.Jake Kirby, 17. Connor Dimaio, 21. Ben Jackson. Subs: 3. Dan Cowan, 10. Elliot Osborne, 13. Ian Ormson, 14. Alex Curran, 15. Darren Stephenson, 18. Fergus Arthur, 19. Szymon Czubik, 20. Jordan Downing.


After County had four times beaten Alty last season and kept a clean sheet on each occasion, the hosts were looking to break that sorry sequence.

But is was a very hot evening so it did not suggest that the game would be of a high tempo.


Stockport kicked off towards the Golf Road end and, in the heat, they started the better side. After Dimaio had shot wide, Mulhern got in a goalbound shot from the edge of the box which Drench saved well (4 mins).

The game settled into a cagey pattern. Altrincham were passing the ball around neatly but without creating any real opening whilst County looked dangerous on the counter-attack.

Drench was in action for a second time as he held a seventeenth-minute freekick, whilst County's custodian was so far untroubled. Before the game halted for a drinks' break there had been little to really excite the spectators, which was perhaps unsurprising on such a warm evening (25 mins).

The refuelling stop seemed to benefit Altrincham as they went ahead soon after the game had restarted. The goal was made by Arnold who jinked up the middle into the box before his hot ricocheted off Minihan, and then Jackson, and into the net, though Hulme optimistically seemed to claim the goal as his (29 mins).

So, despite not having landed a shot on target, Alty had the lead. It was the first time they had scored in five matches against County and, even now they could not say that they had scored for themselves!

County seemed to fall apart for several minutes after the goal and almost presented Alty with a second goal as a suicidal back pass was reached by Hulme just ahead of the oncoming keeper but he was unable to poke the ball past Hinchliffe (33 mins).

Then Hulme fed Johnston who, from right of goal, hit the outside of the near post, a corner being awarded (34 mins). But County now benefitted from an Alty lapse, as Hulme needlessly fouled an opponent on the County right wing, some 35 yards from the corner flag.

The freekick was not a particularly good one and it was competently headed clear by Alty's shortest player, Williams. But his team-mates were unable to complete the clearance, allowing Dimaio to gain possession, make space for himself, and drive the ball into the net from the edge of the box (37 mins).

Alty had still to hit the target at the other end as half-time arrived.


The floodlights slowly came on as the second half started. The only change of personnel at this stage was Hancock's replacement of Harrop.

Stockport started the second half brightly, forcing an early save from Drench. But, again, the general pattern of the match was one of general competence rather than excellence, with the heat perhaps to blame.

County should have made it 2-1 after 58 minutes when Kirby's cross found Jackson, who steered his shot wide of the back post when he should at least have troubled Drench.

It was only a minute before the hour-mark that Hinchcliffe was first tested as Williams and Hulme combined well. Then, Altrincham and Stockport both made numerous changes at the hour mark. For the hosts, seven new faces came on, meaning that all of the subs had been used apart from Salmon. Branson, Hampson and Mullarkey were the only home players to remain on the pitch from kick-off.

At the same time, County made three changes as Cowan, Curran and Stephenson were introduced.

A fine cross-field ball from Hancock to Chadwick led to a fine Johnston shot which the keeper beat away for a corner (69 mins). Nothing came of this nor of a County corner soon afterwards.

County were getting on top as the final ten miutes approached and they soon took advantage of gaining possession off Densmore. As with the first goal Alty half cleared the danger but this time it was Osborne who capitalised on their failure to complete the job. From just outside the box he hit a low, accurate shot past Thompson's right hand and into the net off the inside of the far upright to make it 2-1 (81 mins).

After the restart County won three succcesive corners and had the ball in the net from Mulhern but he was clearly offside and the goal was rightly scrubbed (86 mins).

At the other end Chadwick advanced into the box and went down under a challenge but no penalty was awarded in response to the wingman's appeal. County were in charge in the closing stages as Curran put an effort narrowly wide at the end of a good move. Alty had a last-minute chance when Osborne felled Morgan but Hancock's low freekick was comfortably saved by Hinchliffe.

So County had made it their fifth successive win over Altrincham and they had again prevented them from scoring, given that Alty's goal seemed to be put into the net by a County player.

Despite the result it was another good workout for Altrincham as Phil Parkinson edges towards his starting eleven a week on Saturday in the league clash with York City. Before then Alty host AFC Fylde and travel to Trafford for their final pre-season game.