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Pre-season friendly match
played on Saturday, 27 July 2019, at 3pm


One goal in 74 competitive appearances is midfielder Sean Williams's tally in an Alty shirt but he struck home two superb freekicks against AFC Fylde in this friendly, played at a sodden J. Davidson Stadium.

Before his goals, Sean's tenth-minute tackle had brought him a booking and prompted a melee. But the game settled down and a finely worked goal saw Altrincham take the lead in the 27th minute, when Nathan Arnold's well-placed shot beat Fylde's new keeper Montgomery. The goal came after ex-Coaster Tom Hannigan had started a move which, via Conor Branson and John Johnston, was completed impressively by the former Grimsby and Lincoln winger.

A foul on Simon Richman, who was having a fine game till injury was to curtail his game in the second half, gave Alty a freekick six minutes before the interval. From the "D" of the Fylde box, Williams's low freekick found the corner of the net to double the home side's lead.

AFC Fylde had the better of the second half, winning no fewer than eleven corners. But they only managed to convert one of the flag-kicks. That came when the ball came out to an unmarked Danny Rowe whose low shot beat Drench in the 53rd minute.

Fifteen minutes from time, a foul on James Jones, again in the Fylde "D", saw Williams smite another fine freekick into the net, this time off the keeper's left-hand post to make it 3-1.


REFEREE: Mr Nik Storey

Alty included ex-Coasters' players Hannigan, Thompson and Walters in their squad and, pre-match, all were able to renew acquaintance with former team-mates still at Fylde. Likewise, Fylde's Ashley Hemmings, not in today's squad, was greeted by many of his former team-mates from Alty, where he had enjoyed a loan spell last season.

Hemmings and a number of other Fylde players were not used today, having apparently played in an unpublicised friendly the previous day.

Alty were without Max Harrop (hamstring problem), so Sean Williams moved from his customary midfield position to play at no.10. Trialist Lewis Walters returned after missing last Tuesday's game whilst trialing at Brentford.


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

AFC FYLDE (All white) 1.James Montgomery, 3. Scott Duxbury, 4. Neill Byrne, 6. Alex Whitmore, 8. Ryan Croasdale, 9. Danny Rowe, 10. Danny Philliskirk, 12. Luke Burke, 15. Dan Bradley, 18. Jordan Williams, 31. Nick Haughton. Subs: GK Dan Lavercombe, 21. Cam Hollywood, 22. Sheldon Green, 24. Kai Shorrock, 26. Jack Byrne, 29. Leo Roberts.


AFC Fylde had thumped Alty 6-0 on their previous visit to Moss Lane and, since then, had gone on to reach the play-off final for a place in League Two. They arrived as holders of the FA Trophy.

Today's match went ahead despite several hours of steady rain.


With the floodlights already on and steady rain falling, Fylde kicked off towards the Golf Road end. In just the third minute, Alty went close when Johnston got in a testing low cross from the right which flew across goal, narrowly evading Hulme.

But Altrincham were fortunate when a Bradley cross from the right was met by a Rowe header but, uncharacteristically, the striker put it significantly wide (7 mins).

Williams's poor challenge on an opponent prompted a tenth-minute fracas with more than a dozen players involved in a clash of handbags. The Alty man was booked, though Dave Challinor seemed to want a more severe punishment as he berated the officials.

Next Rowe hit a freekick into the wall, following a White foul. The rain was causing problems on the Popular Side towards Golf Road wth water sloshing up when the ball was played in that area.

The game's first three corners were all won by Altrincham, the first, won by Johnston, arriving at the end of a neat Alty move (21 mins).

Soon after a Branson shot had been comfortably saved, Alty's third corner arrived after Johnston had intercepted the ball and his shot had been deflected. This corner was cleared back to Johnston and, from his cross, Hannigan's back-header just cleared the bar (24 mins).

Soon after Fylde had responded with a couple of corners of their own, Hannigan instigated a superb move up the Alty right. Via Branson who played a one-two with Johnston, the ball was played inside to Arnold who coolly swept the ball into the keeper's bottom right-hand corner from about 15 yards to give Alty a 1-0 lead (27 mins).

Two more Fylde corners soon followed, the second arising from a mix-up between Drench and Hannigan.

In the 34th minute, Fylde almost equalised as Burke's cross was headed goalwards by Rowe but the ball was cleared off the line. For Alty, Richman was having a fine game in midfield where Branson, likewise, looked assured.

After Haughton had won his side a corner, Alty enjoyed a few minutes of supremacy, which led to Richman winning the ball before being felled as he approached the penalty area. From the "D" of the penalty area, Sean Williams hit a fine, low freekick into the net to make it 2-0 (39 mins).

It almost became 3-0 a minute or so later when Johnston won the ball and a corner, from which Branson had a clear header which had plenty of power but was misdirected wide of goal (40 mins).

Fylde were losing possession too often for Dave Challinor's comfort but they almost pulled a goal back when Haughton's well-hit effort had to be beaten away by Drench.The game was marred by a second players' set-to following a challenge from which Fylde were awarded a freekick. Branson and Burke were lectured in the aftermath (44 mins).

Rowe had not had his goalscoring antennae working in the first half so far and, from the freekick, he again was off-target, hitting the effort miles over the bar (45 mins).


Just five minutes after the re-start, Richman was hurt in a block tackle on the halfway line on the Popular Side. After treatment he hobbled badly all the way round the pitch to the bench and was replaced by Hancock (52 mins).

Fylde soon won what was to be the first of their eleven second-half corners. Alty defended this poorly, allowing an unmarked Rowe to score with a less than thunderous shot from just outside the box (53 mins).

The next Fylde corner was also poorly dealt with and had to be hooked off the line from Philliskirk's effort (55 mins).

Alty continued to look vulnerable from the third corner as Fylde dominated proceedings at this stage. As happened several times last season in wet conditions, Altrincham perversely concentrated their attacks up the sodden right-wing where the ball repeatedly stuck in the waterlogged channel.

Two more Fylde corners arrived around the mid-point of the half, with Hampson suffering a leg injury as the second of these kicks was cleared. He resumed after treatment and corner no.7 of the half for Fylde soon arrived, which went narrowly wide from a header.

At last Alty responded with a corner of their own, which came from a Johnston freekick after he had been felled himself (73 mins).

This corner was half-cleared to Jones, who was upended inside the "D" of the penalty area. Williams repeated his fine freekick of the first half as he again drove a low freekick into the net, this time the ball clipping the inside of Montgomery's left-hand post as Alty went 3-1 ahead (75 mins).

After this, Drench was unable to punch an aerial ball cleanly but his defence helped him out before Williams won a corner at the other end. Then, a Jones error allowed Rowe to poke the ball past Drench but Hannigan cleared off the line for yet another Fylde corner.

With just ten minutes remaining, trialist Walters came on; it was surprising that he had not appeared earlier. At the same time Thompson replaced Drench in goal.

Hampson now was hurt once more and this time was subbed, as Densmore replaced him and assumed the captaincy (82 mins).

After Fylde's eleventh corner of the half, Peers replaced Hulme and Chadwick came on for Jones (85 mins). Next Haughton fired just over the bar for Fylde before Hancock was hurt by a foul but carried on after treatment.

Alty rode out the final minutes comfortably to record a win which gives confidence to the management ahead of the new season. But before Alty entertain York City, they have a final friendly away to Trafford this Tuesday.