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Pre-season friendly match
played on Saturday, 24 July, 2021 at 12 noon<


In the first away match to which Altrincham fans had been admitted since a trip to Hereford on 29 February 2020, manager Phil Parkinson had to split his squad between this match and another friendly commitment, timed for three hours later at Ashton United.

Against a West Didsbury & Chorlton team which was completing its pre-season games, Altrincham in their inaugural game of the summer succumbed to a 1-0 defeat. The goal, in the eighth minute, was a disaster for goalkeeper Matt Gould who failed to deal with a routine back pass from new signing Kennedy Digie and conceded an own goal.

The loss of Gould to what looked like a serious first-half injury rounded off an unhappy afternoon for the Altrincham no.2 goalkeeper.

Alty barely mustered a shot of note in the first half and, though they dominated the second period, ex-Alty keeper Andrew Jones was rarely troubled in the West net.



Phil Parkinson opted to use this match to view his new signings and a number of trialists, supplemented by only two players were Altrincham employees last season. They were Ritchie Sutton and Matthew Gould who had just 16 league starts for the club between them. The manager also included Connor Kirby, who had returned to the club for a second loan spell from Harrogate Town.

Managed by former Altrincham Reserves' manager Chris Rowley, the West team was packed with former Altrincham players.


WEST DIDSBURY AND CHORLTON (White shirts with dark blue sleeves and trim, dark blue shorts and socks): 1. Andrew JONES, 2. Matt COOK, 3. Cameron HANCOCK, 4. Callum JONES, 5. Marcus DIBBLE, 6. Sam HEATHCOTE, 7. Aarron GREWAL, 8. Lee EAVAN, 9. Ben ELLIOTT, 10. Rhain DAVIS, 11. Dontai GABIDON. Subs: Tom WESTALL, Josh ?THAKER, Joel SWIFT, Alex JACKSON, Billy MATTHEWS, Jack BAILEY, Jack RYAN

ALTRINCHAM (Red and white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks with red turnovers): 1. Matt GOULD, 2. Phil PARRY, 3. Junior BROWN, 4. Kennedy DIGIE, 5. Ritchie SUTTON (c), 6. Jordan LUSSEY, 7. Brad JACKSON, 8. Connor KIRBY, 9. Marcus DINANGA, 10. Ben PRINGLE, 11. A-J LEITCH-SMITH. Subs: 12. Harlan RODGERS-MORRIS, 14. Liam EVANS, 15. Ryan MORTON, 16. James BERRY, 17. Yusuf ADENIYI, 21. Liam BLACKBURN (gk)


For this first match of pre-season, Alty gave a debut to the new Puma home kit, the design of which marked a welcome return to the club's traditional red and white striped format. The socks were a new combination of white with a red top whilst the new black shorts differed from those of previous seasons in not bearing the player's number.


On a pleasantly mild afternoon after the recent heatwave, the hosts kicked off in front of a very respectable crowd in Chorlton. Altrincham started quite brightly with Lussey getting in a shot but missing the target comfortably (5 mins).

Out of nothing the hosts took the lead through an Altrincham error. New signing, centre-back Kennedy Digie played a routine back pass towards keeper Matty Gould. The former Spennymoor keeper, who made just one league start last season, made a hash of kicking clear and the ball rolled past him towards the goal-line.

Gould hacked the ball away but it had crossed the line and the eagle-eyed linesman signalled a goal (8 mins).

When Alty did get a sight of goal, Junior Brown like Lussey before him, was well off target (11 mins). A stoppage for a home player's injury brought former Alty physio Alan Ainsley onto the pitch to treat him.

One of a number of home freekicks now narrowly cleared the bar (16 mins) whilst, at the other end, a long ball dropped to Jackson who hooked a difficult chance onto the roof of the net (18 mins).

After a home corner had come to nothing, a Pringle freekick was poked narrowly wide by Digie (23 mins). As the half-hour mark came and went, Altrincham were still struggling to land a shot on target.

An excellent run by Grewal led to a low ball across the Alty goalmouth, at which point Gould went to ground for treatment (35 mins). After protracted treatment it became clear that he could not continue and, indeed, could barely walk, having to be helped off the pitch with what seemed to be a hip or groin problem. He later was to emerge on crutches.

Fortunately, Alty had young reserve keeper Liam Blackburn on the bench and he came on to replace Gould.

The nearest Alty came to a first-half leveller arrived when a Dinanga shot was blocked and led to a Lussey header which went wide. Almost immediately Alty landed their first shot on target as Dinanga and Leitch-Smith had shots blocked before Parry forced a routine save from Andrew Jones with a curling shot (42 mins).

But half-time arrived with Altrincham, much as they had during 2020-21, finding the route to goal a difficult one to navigate.


At the break Leitch-Smith gave way to Ryan-Morgan. And the visitors started the half on the front foot winning two corners in the first ten minutes after the interval.

An injudicious challenge by Kirby, who had been as good as anyone for Alty in the first half, earned him a yellow card (59 mins).

On top though they were, Altrincham were still not creating clear chances before the hosts made a triple change. And when some good play did present Kirby with sight of goal, he shot wide (67 mins).

The lively Jackson earned his side a corner, following which Alty did force Jones to make a save (72 mins). Another corner came and went as time ticked by (79 mins). But it was West who had the best shot of the half as Callum Jones got a sight of goal but Blackburn did well to block the effort with his legs (84 mins).

Alty made two changes as Parry was replaced by Rodgers-Morris (84 mins) and two minutes later Jackson gave way to Morton.

The Robins did have a good late chance when one of the substitutes headed wide a fine cross to the back post from Pringle (88 mins).

So, despite dominating the second half, Alty's opening game of the summer ended in disappointment. Fielding a team of players who were almost all virtual strangers to each other produced a predictable outcome but, hopefully, Phil Parkinson and Neil Sorvel learnt more about the trialists as they seek to finalize their squad for the coming season.