Pre-season Friendly
played on Sunday, 25 July, 2010 at Blessed Thomas Holford, Altrincham at 2.30pm


ALTRINCHAM FC YOUTH (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. Adam REID, 2. Harry McAUGHTRIE, 3. Jake BARNABAS, 4. Kyle CUNNINGHAM, 5. James SMART (capt), 6. Owen DAVIES, 7. Jamie BROWN, 8. Stewart WALLACE, 9. Luke WALKER, 10. Ansima MATABARO, 11. Sam LANGFORD. Subs: 12. Kieran MADDEN, 14. Reece BAILEY, 15. David KING, 16. Luke LAVELLE, 17. Theo KIDD, 18. Michael WILSON, GK. Guy DRABBLE.


This was a curious match in two respects; it featured one Altrincham under-18s side playing another as George Heslop's Altrincham FC Youth team took on the Altrincham FC Juniors' team. However, the Juniors were unable to raise a full team so many of their side were also from George's pre-season pool of talent. He has so far had 83 young players to consider for next season.

Wearing Neil Faulkner's Robinsons Preservation shirts, as used by the Altrincham FC Supporters' side, the Juniors won the game's first corner (3 minutes). But it was the Youths who went closest in the opening stages when a 30 yard effort from Davies had to be helped over the bar by the Juniors' keeper. From the resulting corner, on the left, James Smart rose well to power a firm header into the net (6 mins).

Next, Langford got in a good shot from a Matabaro feed. After this a neat passing move produced a corner for the Youths and again Smart won the resulting header. But it was not one-way traffic as Gatrell scored a fine goal at the other end, making some space to the left of goal before driving a low shot across the keeper into the bottom, far corner of the net to make it 1-1 (20 mins).

Right: Reece Bailey.

Before the first break, Jamie Brown fired narrowly over the bar (27 mins) and then Matabaro span well to get in a left foot shot which also narrowly cleared the bar (29 mins). After Wallace had shot wide, the first break arrived after some 31 minutes. Both sides used the five-minute break to reorganise, with the Youths making three changes as Madden, Bailey and Wilson replaced Walker, Cunningham and Langford. The Juniors also made some changes.

The second period began, like the first period, with an early goal for the Youth team. A fine ball forward from Smart dropped over the shoulder of Madden and he, from left of goal, expertly lobbed the keeper (33 mins). But as this third of the game wore on, the Juniors began to get the upper hand. The nearest they initially came was when they hit the stanchion behind the goal (44 mins). The Juniors made a triple substitution midway through the period as first team manager Graham Heathcote arrived to watch proceedings. After a snap shot from Madden had cleared the bar, Gatrell got in a firm shot at the other end which the keeper parried well (59 mins). Soon after this a cross from the right was headed home at the near post by no.21 to level the scores just before the next break (60 mins).


Lavelle, King and Drabble now came on for the Youth team and soon they went close as Davies went close (62 mins). Brown now had to give way through injury to Langford (66 mins). Soon, Kidd was put in on goal but his effort struck the bar (70 mins). With the Youth team back on top, Langford saw a good shot well saved. After this, from a corner, Smart again got a clear header but this time his effort narrowly cleared the bar (77 mins).

An ambitious 40-yarder from the Juniors' number four needed Drabble to be alert to tip over the bar for a corner (81 mins). Alty made late changes as Cunningham and Walker returned to the game in place of Smart and Madden (82 mins). Play was now end to end but, with thirty seconds of normal time left, the game was decided. The persistence of Kidd, to the right of goal, led to him finding Bailey whose shot entered the roof of the net to make it 3-2 to the Youth team. A minute or so of added time made no change to the score.