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Pre-season friendly match
played on Saturday, 7 August, 2021 at 3pm


A strong Altrincham side came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw at Curzon Ashton. Alty started well and dominated the opening stages but without seriously threatening to score. Lack of a real threat in front of goal was a characteristic which was to persist throughout the afternoon.

It was the hosts who created more chances over the ninety minutes against an Alty side which suffered last season for a lack of incision up front and which, on this showing, showed the same failing.


REFEREE: Mr Dean Watson

As well as long-term absentees, Andy White, Connor Hampson and Shaun Densmore, other notable absentees for Altrincham were Brad Jackson, Ritchie Sutton, Sean WIlliams and Matt Gould, as they recovered from injuries of varying degrees of seriousmess. There was no place either for Fisayo Adarabioyo whose days at the club seem to be numbered given the absence of a squad number allocated to him.

The visitors' team-sheet listed four trialists, one of whom was actually A-Jay Leitch-Smith, whose signing for the club was announced before kick-off. Another trialist was the same young man who played at right-back at Bradford (Park Avenue) in midweek but whose identity has not been confirmed by the club.

Barring the injured absentees, the starting eleven here looked to be close to the manager's first eleven.

Amongst the Curzon squad were familitar faces in the form of Craig Mahon and Craig Hobson who had both played for Alty whilst Dominic Knowles and Dale Whitham were amongst those who had faced Alty previously for Chorley and Harrogate Town respectively.


CURZON ASHTON (All blue) 1. Christopher Renshaw, 2. Matthew Challoner, 3. Natthew Waters, 4. Scott wilson, 5. Marcus Poscha, 6. Luke DAly, 7. Jack McKay, 8. Dale Whitham, 9. Dominic Knowles, 10. Jack Dunn, 11. Alex Curran. Subs: 12. Craig Mahon, 13. James Cottam, 14. Craig Hobson, 15. Luke Merrill, 16. Johan Mitchell, 17. Jaden Major, 18. Jack Dyce.

ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, white socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Joel SENIOR, 3. David FITZPATRICK, 4. Toby MULLARKEY, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. Matty KOSYLO, 14. Ben PRINGLE, 9. Marcus DINANGA, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Ryan COLCLOUGH. Subs: 12. Curtis MILLER, 15. A TRIALIST, 16. A TRIALIST, 17. Dan MOONEY, 18. A-Jay LEITCH-SMITH, 8. Connor KIRBY, 19. Tom PEERS, Noah TYSON


The sides had last met competitively on Boxing Day 2019 when Alty won 1-0 in a National League North match.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms had been forecast for the afternoon but steady drizzly rain was as bad as it got and, indeed, the closing stages were to be played in sunshine.


Altrincham kicked off on an excellent surface at the Tameside Stadium and they dominated the opening fifteen minutes or more.

Hancock prompted an early potential threat to the home goal when he won possession 35 yards out and fed Dinanga but the striker's cross was poor from the right (2 mins). Altrincham continued to dominate possession yet could not create any shots at goal.

Hancock again fed Dinanga after 12 minutes but the striker delayed his shot and the chance had gone. Next a Colclough low cross came to nothing. Things improved after 17 minutes when Fitzpatrick fed Colclough and his low shot from 20 yards fizzed narrowly wide.

But Curzon now began to get into the game and won no fewer than four corners in twelve minutes by the half-hour mark. Between the first and second corners, Knowles got in a shot which was blocked and, between the second and third corner, a freekick from wide on the right, towards half-way, drifted goallwards across the box and Thompson had to make a diving save (23 mins).

Alty did threaten in the 25th minute when Hancock, Senior and the impressive Pringle combined to feed Colclough whose cross went across the goalmouth, narrowly missing conversion from the incoming Senior at the back post.

Play then stopped for treatment to the small of Tom Hannigan's back before he could continue. With The Nash winning the corner count 4-0 they now took the lead in terms of goals when Dunn and Curran combined well for the latter's deflected shot to beat a diving Thompson, low to his left (33 mins).

For twenty minutes Altrincham had not seriously threatened the Curzon goal, whereas the hosts had the ball in the net for a second time in the 38th minute, when Knowles fed Curran who rounded Thompson and scored, only for the off-side flag to rule out the effort (38 mins). Four minutes later Curran sold Mullarkey a dummy and fired narrowly wide from 20 yards.

At the other end Dinanga had hardly touched the ball for the best part of half an hour and goalkeeper Renbshaw had not been tested. So, at the break, Alty trailed 1-0 and could have no complaints.


At the break Tom Hannigan was taken off, presumably because of his back injury in the first half and a trialist (no.16) took his place. Alty started quite well and a foul on Kosylo won them a freekick which Pringle took but it came off an Alty head to keeper Renshaw (49 mins).

Curzon were unfortunate that a clear foul by the trialist no.16 on McKay, inside the box, was not seen as a penalty by the referee. McKay soon tested Thompson with a shot which the Alty keeper saved, low down (51 mins).

At the other end Colclough was wrestled down, arguably just inside the box, but a freekick was awarded on the left edge of the penalty are. Kosylo shot the freekick at goal to no avail.

At this point Mahon, now player-coach at Curzon, came on (54 mins). The hosts went close to adding to their lead when Mullarkey dived in for a ball but McKay got free and fired inches wide from 25 yards (57 mins).

Alty made a quadruple change on 59 minutes as Kirby, Mooney, Peers and Leitch-Smith came on for Dinanga, Hancock, Kosylo and Pringle.

But moments later, Curzon almost scored again when Knowles turned well and hit the base of the post with Thompson beaten (60 mins). And another three minutes later, Thompson had to go full length to stop a Curran effort.

Miller now replaced Colclough for Alty (64 mins) before a speculative 35-yarder from Mooney hit a defender (67 mins). But then some good interplay between Miller and Peers put Peers clear and he scored well past the exposed goalkeeper to level the score (67 mins).

Five minutes later Craig Hobson replaced Knowles up front and, on 75 minutes, Curzon took off Whitham, Dunn and Curran and brought on Mitchell, Major and Dyce, whilst Alty introduced two trialists. A number 20, went to right back and he was the same unnamed young man who had played in that position in midweek at Bradford, the other sub was a number 15 trialist (76 mins).

But it was Curzon who again went the closer to scoring, in the 82nd minute, when Mitchell did well on the right and pulled the ball back for a team-mate to hit a firm goal-bound shot which brought out a superb save from Thompson, to his left, at the cost of a corner.

Curzon then brought on Merrill for Challoner (82 mins). But neither side could score a decider and it was the hosts who had more grounds for disappointment as they had created more chances over the ninety minutes against an Alty side which suffered last season from a lack of incision up front and which, on this showing at least, showed the same failing.

On the positive side Pringle played well, Fitzpatrick was solid at left-back, Hancock was in good form and Leitch-Smith had an encouraging performance after coming on as a substitute. But Alty were indebted to keeper Thompson for avoiding defeat to a Curzon side which looks to have a promising season ahead of it.