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Pre-season friendly match
played on Tuesday, 10 August, 2021 at 3pm


In front of almost 600 spectators at Shawe View, it was another mixed bag of a performance for the visitors as the Robins failed to overcome a Trafford team from three rungs lower in the football ladder. Alty fielded a strongish side, albeit without Jake Moult, Tom Hannigan and Ryan Colclough, who all look certain to start when the National League kicks off.

Altrincham took a 35th minute lead when O'Brien dwelt on the ball and was dispossessed by Dan Mooney, who fired a low shot across the keeper into the net.

The visitors brought on A-Jay Leitch-Smith for Josh Hancock at the interval and, on the hour mark, Dinanga, Williams, Miller and a trialist centre-back, (who had also appeared at Curzon Ashton last Saturday), came on for Peers, Pringle, Hall and Kosylo. Alty created several half-chances in the second half but it was Trafford who found the net when Rooney headed home a freekick in the 70th minute to make it 1-1.


REFEREE: Mr K Silcock

Seven of the starters for Altrincham at Curzon Ashton three days earlier also started this game at Shawe View, with Hannigan, Moult and Colclough rested and not involved at all here, whilst Dinanga moved to the bench. Into the starting eleven came Will Hall, Connor Kirby, Tom Peers and Dan Mooney. On the bench was the same young trialist, a central defender, who had been seen in the game against Curzon three days earlier, as well as young goalkeeper Noah Tyson who, likewise, had been in the squad in Tameside.

It was good to see Shaun Densmore and Connor Hampson both involved in the warm-up, though neither defender was named in the squad nor likely to be fit for the start of the season. Fellow defender Andy White, who was a spectator at Curzon Ashton at the weekend, was not involved in tonight's match either.

Former Alty striker Astley Mulholland was in the Trafford midfield tonight and winger Darius Palma was another ex-Robin in the home line-up.


TRAFFORD (All white) 1. Ewan McFarlan, 2. James Neild, 3. Jack Sloan, 4. Astley Mulholland, 5. Adam Rooney, 6. Keil O'Brien, 7. Darius Palma, 8. Connor Hughes, 9. Mike Burke, 10. Alfie Belcher, 11. Matty Morgan. Subs: 12. Harry Sheridan, 13. Niall Jordan, 14. Isaac Graham. 15. Jack Dorney, 16. Tunde Otaluna, 17. Aidan Roxburgh, 18. Joe O'Shea, 19. Jack Higginbottom, 23. Mackena Bradshaw

ALTRINCHAM (Yellow shirts with blue trim, blue shorts, yellow socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON (c), 2. Joel SENIOR, 3. David FITZPATRICK, 4. Toby MULLARKEY, 5. Will Hall, 14. Connor KIRBY, 17. Ben PRINGLE, 7. Dan MOONEY, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 9. Tom PEERS, 11. Matty KOSYLO. Subs: 12. Curtis MILLER, 16. A-Jay LEITCH-SMITH, 18. Sean WILLIAMS, 20. A TRIALIST, 22. Marcus DINANGA, GK. Noah TYSON.


This, by now, customary pre-season game between neighbours Trafford and Altrincham saw a gap of three divisions between the clubs. As usual the pitch at Shawe View was in excellent condition and had recently hosted excellent pre-season wins for Trafford over Chester FC and Ashton United.


On a pleasant but, at times, cloudy evening in Flixton, Trafford gained three corners in the first three minutes before Alty enjoyed some possession which, unfortunately, had no end product. A misplaced clearing header by Senior gave Trafford a good chance in the eleventh minute but an Alty defender got in an important block before the resulting shot could reach Thompson.

At the other end Tom Peers executed a neat one-two with a team mate but the home keeper was out quickly to thwart Alty's striker (14 mins). A minute later, Kosylo saw a well-hit shot saved by McFarlan.

Next, a fine long, diagonal ball from Pringle found Kosylo but the move was halted with the ball with Hancock.

After that, a long ball forward to Burke, at the other end, saw the Trafford striker hit a shot straight to Thompson (19 mins). For Altrincham, Mooney was looking lively on the left wing but, when Alty won corner, it was a defender, Toby Mullarkey, who got in the next Alty shot when the ball came out to him (20 mins).

Soon, a fine ball from Kirby invited a Mooney volley which fell to Peers only for McFarlan to block the striker's effort at the cost of another corner (21 mins).

Play went through an uneventful spell before the referee halted the game around the half-hour mark for a drinks break which was hardly necessary on a mild but far from warm evening.

With Alty struggling to convert their passing game into clear chances, it took a defensive error by Trafford to create the opening goal. Mooney pounced on O'Brien, who was in possession of the ball inside his own box. The Alty man stole the ball and made space to his right before driving an excellent low shot back across the keeper from slightly right of centre (35 mins).

The nearest Alty came to doubling the lead was in the 41st minute when Pringle found Mooney, who had swapped wings with Kosylo, saw a well-hit effort fly narrowly wide. The half ended with an Altrincham corner but they failed to add to their one-goal lead in a half where they had acquired a deserved lead but had seen forward moves break down too easily on too many occasions.

Half-Time: TRAFFORD 0

At the break Trafford brought on three substitutes, with Mulholland one of those withdrawn. For the visitors Leitch-Smith replaced Hancock in the no.10 role at the interval but, apart from an Alty corner which came to naught, there was little to set the pulse racing before Trafford brought back on Belcher for Hughes (54 mins).

On the hour, Altrincham made a further four changes as Peers, Pringle, Kosylo and Hall made way for Dinanga, Williams, Miller and a young centre-back sub wearing no.20 who had performed the same role at Curzon Ashton at the weekend.

Senior, who had a generally good game, now got up the right and his low cross was met by a combination of Dinanga and a defender, the ball falling to Miller whose effort was blocked on the line by a defender (63 mins).

Moments later Miller fed Dinanga who, too, was blocked on the line, but the offside flag was raised in any case.

An impressive dummy by the lively Miller was not matched by his underpowered shot which ran to McFarlan's arms (69 mins). Trafford then won a freekick, about forty yards out, right of centre. Taken by Belcher, it was met by Rooney's firm header at the back post, from very close range, which powered into the net, to Thompson's right, to make it 1-1 (70 mins).

An Alty corner soon followed the goal they had conceded and then a fine run up the right by Senior, from a Leitch-Smith pass, saw his fast, low cross deflected just behind Dinanga who had arrived, with a defender, at the back post (72 mins).

In what was probably the most open spell of the game, an Altrincham shot was deflected to Leitch-Smith whose own effort was saved by McFarlan, before Trafford went close at the other end following a corner (79 mins).

The hosts went even closerto scoring moments later when they got into the Alty box and the move was finished by a well-struck shot, which rippled the side natting prompting some spectators mistakenly to cheer a goal.

Play now stopped for Mooney to be treated and this led to Kosylo re-emerging from the dressing room and returning to the match in place of his fellow wide man (81 mins).

Kosylo soon fed Wiliams for a shot from outside the box, which rose over the bar (82 mins). Senior won his side a late corner (87 mins) but it was Trafford who soon threatened at the other end as Alty got in a muddle and a diving Thompson had to shovel the ball forward, fortunately to a team-mate (89 mins). The game ended just after Alty had been umnable to capitalise on a last-minute corner.

So, for the second time in a week, Altrincham had been unable to despatch lower-ranked opposition. However, compared with the Curzon game they had created more chances, albeit it had needed a good finish froim Mooney following a Trafford error to secure their only goal of the evening. Alty will have been disappointed to have conceded a goal from a routine freekick as Burke was allowed a free header at the back post to power home his effort.

The final friendly of summer will be a "behind closed doors" affair against Huddersfield Town's "B" team on Saturday before the National League season kicks off at Plainmoor against last season's runners-up, Torquay United. Once again it looks as if scoring goals may be a challenge for Altrincham if pre-season has been anything to go by.

Full Time: TRAFFORD 1