Match Reports, 2004-05



Pre-season Friendly game
on Sunday, 8 August, 2004, at 2pm.


I am extremely grateful to Tony Spilsbury for the following account of the Altrincham FC Youth friendly match at The Pavilions, Runcorn, on Sunday 8 August 2004. Longstanding fans will know Tony as the former manager of Altrincham Reserves in the mid-1970s. Tony has kindly volunteered to help Youth team manager George Heslop and coach Neil Thomason this season. Once again our best wishes go to George for a speedy return to full health.

This friendly fixture held on Sunday was played in three thirty minute periods as opposed to the usual two halves of forty-five minutes to allow more flexibility in substituting players at the end of each period.

Overall the game was a typical pre-season game considering:-

  • It was their first game played together as a team.
  • The team was formed from a squad of 35 players still being processed and in training, with a view to cutting down to 20 players for the start of the season.

    So, it was by no means our strongest 11. The idea was to give as many of the 35 a chance in the friendly matches to see how they would play in a competitive game.

    Altrincham took the lead after about 12 minutes when Sam Cawthra latched on to a through ball and, with only the keeper to beat, he hit a shot past the advancing keeper to put us 1-0 up. Runcorn equalised just before the end of the first period when a defensive positional error allowed a Runcorn player too much space on the edge of our penalty area, and he, likewise, hit the ball past Chris Bowcott in the Altrincham goal.

    The second period started with Altrincham putting on five substitutes to enable everyone in the squad the chance to play and much of the second period was a tale of moves breaking down through mishit passes. This to be expected when players are trying both to settle into their roles within the formation as an individual player and at the same time to understand positional instructions to benefit the team-play.

    In the third period one or two injuries had occurred, and players subbed at the end of the first period were brought back on to have a look at them in slightly different positions, to check on their versatility. About 12 minutes from time Sam Cawthra was again put through one-on-one with the Runcorn keeper, and again he made no mistake to give Altrincham the winning goal.

    Overall, I felt we were the better side, but our passing let us down at times and moves broke down as a result. So, we were self-destructing instead of turning our possession into goalscoring chances. The scoreline of 2-1 was close but, had our approach play been better, we could well have run out winners by a bigger margin.

    Several questions were answered by this game, as Assistant Manager/Coach Neil Thomason and Coach Tony Spilsbury were able to evaluate how players performed. The information has now been given to Manager George Heslop, still unable to attend due to incapacity. George will now select a squad of players for Altrincham's next friendly opponents for a game at Wythenshawe Town's ground next Sunday.



  • Goalkeeper: Chris Bowcott
  • Right back: Chris Waugh
  • Centre backs: Marcus Maddix and Rick Hinds
  • Left back: Ryan Stewart.
  • Right midfield: James Monaghan
  • Centre midfield: Tom Hilton and Paul Lewis (captain)
  • Left midfield: Johan Clarke.
  • Striker Terry Leigh and Sam Cawthra.

    Substitutes, who all played, were:

  • Goalkeeper: Sam Jones
  • Right back: Daley O'Neill
  • Centre back: Chris Bailey
  • Left back Stuart Toulson
  • Centre midfield: Lee Scanlon
  • Striker: Thomas Ball