ALTRINCHAM RESERVES (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Chris ROWLEY, 2. Keith WEDGE (capt), 3. Chris ADAMS, 4. Colin McALLISTER, 12. Michael RISK, 6. Cabba BAGDIGI, 7. Stewart WHITE, 8. Lee MANNION, 9. Lee HENDLEY, 10. Astley MULHOLLAND, 11.Daniel HEFFERNAN. Subs: 1* Scott BALL/PARKER? (gk), 14. Kwame BARNETT, 15. John OAKES, 16. Pat McFADDEN, 17.Ben DEEGAN.
Above: Danny Heffernan is stopped on this occasion but he had a good game and scored one of Alty's goals.
A surprise inclusion in Alty's line-up was left back Chris Adams, recently released by Altrincham FC but as yet without another club. With a couple of players arriving late and reduced to the subs bench as a consequence, Alty showed a number of changes from their previous friendly. Without Ashley Brown (broken leg), Alty introduced a new face in the shape of right-midfielder Stewart White, who has experience with Rhyl and Airbus UK in Wales. Lee Hendley started up font, with fellow first-team squad member Pat McFaddden on the bench. Chris Rowley came into the side in goal.
Watched by Alty first-team manager Graham Heathcote and a decent number of both home and away supporters, Alty started strongly with Hendley getting free in the first minute but his effort was blocked, the ball coming to Mulholland whose shot went narrowly wide. After another Alty shot, Heffernan did well on the left flank and got into the box from where he laid the ball, low, into the box for Mulholland to open the scoring (3 mins). But the lead lasted barely a minute as Wythenshawe advanced on the left and a cross picked out the unmarked no.8 who headed home past the unguarded Rowley (4 mins). Just two minutes later Hendley span superbly past his marker but shot wide. However, three minutes later, the yellow-booted Hendley continued his impressive pre-season marksmanship when he backheeled Wedge's low cross into the net after good work from Bagdigi and White (9 mins). An Alty corner soon followed but though this was cleared Hendley now hit the post from a clever ball from Mulholland up the middle. Moments later, Mulholland made it 3-1 with a firm header from Hendley's cross from the right (12 mins). Spectators arriving late for the match were shocked to hear that they had missed four goals! Amongst those in the crowd were Alty keeper Stuart Coburn and striker Colin Little.
However, any thoughts of a rout were not to be fulfilled as Wythenshawe made an early change to their defence and began to settle. Following treatment to White's back, the injured player resumed but it was not until the 26th minute that Alty went close again, when Mulholland's low cross just evaded Hendley, whose pace was causing the opposing defence concerns as was Mulholland's skilful play. But Alty were gifted a fourth goal when the home side's no.2 did well to stop Heffernan and passed back to his keeper. Unfortunately the Wythenshawe number one kicked the ball straight out to Heffernan, who coolly lobbed him from left of goal, the ball being slightly diverted by the keeper's hand into the far corner of his own net, where it was heading anyway (27 mins). Two Alty corners followed before Hendley shot wide (30 mins). Then a fine ball from Risk almost set Hendley free but the striker was blocked off. Next, Mulholland shot over the bar but then Wythenshawe won two corners as they enjoyed a good spell, penning Alty back in their own half. Heffernan was impressing on the left and he relieved the pressure by winning an Alty corner. From the corner, taken by Heffernan, White lofted the ball over the bar (43 mins). Just before the interval, Alty advanced up the right from where Astley Mulholland squeezed a shot between the keeper and his left-hand post to make it 5-1 and complete a deserved hat-trick, which will have been noted by Graham Heathcote.
|Half-Time: WYTHENSHAWE TOWN 1 ALTRINCHAM RESERVES 5|
Alty made four changes at the break, by which time steady rain was starting to fall. The changes saw the underemployed Rowley replaced in goal by Scott Ball, a former Liverpool FC youngster, whilst Deegan, McFadden and Barnett came on for Adams, Mulholland and Hendley. Wythenshawe started the half well and, eight minutes into the half, brought on no.12 for no.2. From a freekick Wythenshawe shot over the Alty bar and soon afterwards, as the ball came in from the left, it evaded Risk, and was put into the net by a Town player to make it 5-2 (55 mins). But Alty responded by extending their lead to 6-2 when McFadden was set free and he went wide of the keeper before slotting ball back from right of goal into the unguarded net for a well-taken goal (56 mins).
Soon aftewards McFadden thought he had scored again as his shot from the left struck the inside of the far post but rebounded into the grateful keeper's arms (57 mins). When McFadden was tripped soon after this, White curled the freekick over the bar (60 mins). But Wythenshawe were holding their own in this half and, next, their lively no.9 forced a good save with a low shot (63 mins). The no.9 and no.11 caused Alty some problems throughout but generally McAllister and Risk did well with Wedge and Mannion at the back. Mannion, the former Crewe youngster, had moved back into the defence in the second half after a busy first half in midfield. After an Alty corner had been cleared Bagdigi advanced impressively up the middle and put a left-footed shot only narrowly wide (66 mins). Town won a corner, after which Alty's Oakes came on for White (69 mins). McFadden now won his side a corner before Wythenshawe made another change (17 for 11) after 73 minutes.
Wythenshawe got further back into the game when McAllister was judged to have fouled an opponent on the left edge of the Alty box. The Town no.16 converted from the spot but was obliged to retake it by the referee who officiated without any linesmen throughout. From the retake, Ball saved well but the no.16 converted the rebound to make it 6-3 (75 mins). A Wythenshawe corner followed, which the Alty keeper caught. Oakes then fired narrowly over from 25 yards before Alty brought back Hendley and Mulholland for Heffernan and Bagdigi (80 mins). McFadden won Alty a corner but a Wythenshawe flag kick soon followed. Alty were not alert to a short corner from which a cross came in, which the no.9 headed neatly into the net to make it 6-4 to Alty (85 mins). Deegan and Hendley combined towards the end and though the keeper fumbled the latter's effort he gathered the ball. A late corner for Alty came and went as the visitors held on to there two goal lead.
|Full-Time: WYTHENSHAWE TOWN 4 ALTRINCHAM RESERVES 6|
Compiled by John Laidlar