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NEXT MATCH: Tuesday 16 July, 2019, 7.45pm
Away v. ATHERTON COLLIERIES
Pre-season Friendly


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16 July 2019

TUESDAY AT ATHERTON COLLIERIES

Altrincham play their first ever match at Atherton Collieries tonight (Tuesday). The Colls won the EvoStik First (West) last season, the division they shared in 2018-19 with our neighbours Trafford, whom we meet on 30 July. So Atherton now meet Altrincham with just one step of the Pyramid between them.

In their pre-season home games in 2019 the Colls have lost 0-2 to a strong Chorley side, last week, before trouncing Ashton Town 5-0 last Saturday.

The Colls play at the Skuna Stadium, Alder Street, Atherton, Manchester M46 9EY. Admission for the game against Altrincham will be £5 for adults and £3 for concessionariess. A match programme will be available for £1.50.

Despite not having met previously, Altrincham and Atherton Collieries have several ex-players in common. One such link between Altrincham and Atherton Collieries (and, coincidentally, with Alty's next opponents, Blackpool), comes through Derek Halliwell, who played in the successful mid-sixties Altrincham team and who was a regular spectator at Moss Lane before his sad death in 2016. Not only was Derek born in Atherton, but he had also played for Atherton Collieries before joining Alty. In addition he had enjoyed a seven-month spell on the ground staff at Blackpool.

Right: Derek Halliwell at Moss Lane, February 2015.

Other players to have donned the shirts of both Altrincham and The Colls include former Alty defender Chris Lynch, who moved from Moss Lane to Atherton Collieries in 2018. Likewise, Lloyd Bannister, who spent pre-season at Altrincham in 2018, moved on to the Colls, whilst former Alty reserve, Keith Wedge had made a similar move some years earlier.

Another player who has been on both clubs' books is a Robins' youth team graduate and first-teamer, striker Mario Daniel. Likewise former Alty goalkeeper, Adam Reid, also played for the Atherton club.

Tonight, Altrincham will be looking for an improved outcome compared with their last pre-season outing, a 0-6 defeat to Crewe Alexandra last Saturday.

PRE-SEASON GAMES

After today's game, Altrincham's remaining pre-season matches are...

MORE FROM CREWE

More on last Saturday's game at the JDS comes from Crewe Alexandra, whose "boss David Artell says that the tactical work and sharpness we worked on last week showed at Altrincham at the weekend. Crewe romped to a 6-0 win with Oli Finney grabbing a hat-trick at Moss Lane and, although it was a comfortable afternoon for the Railwaymen, Artell says there is a room for improvement in all aspects.

Artell said, 'We did more work on our sharpness last week and you could see it start to the effect it had at Altrincham. It was pleasing to see the players create numerous chance and score goals but there is a long way to go. There is room for improvement and plenty left but I think the fans could see the difference between the Nantwich performance and that one on Saturday.

'They had being doing a lot of running in those first 10 days of pre-season and were a bit leggy at Nantwich but working on those short and sharper stuff made a difference to us in the final third at Altrincham. It was another step in the right direction and all minutes under the belt for most of them.'”

And Crewe Alexandra add that they "are set to split the first team squad right down the middle for friendlies at Witton Albion an Curzon Ashton... Both games take place on Tuesday 16 July... The Alex boss is set to send evenly matched sides to Wincham Park and the Tameside Stadium as he looks to get a full 90 minutes of pre-season match fitness into the legs of his squad."

PATRONS HEADING FOR 200

Membership of the Altrincham FC Patrons' scheme for 2019/20 is heading towards the two-hundred mark.

For the cost of £50 your name will appear throughout the coming season in the matchday programme as a Patron of Altrincham Football Club.

Every member will be entered into a prize draw, which this year will be made at the Stockport County pre-season game on 23rd July, with the prize being hospitality packages for four people at the Alfreton Town league fixture on Tuesday 13th August.

If you are interested in becoming a Patron for next season, please forward a cheque, payable to Altrincham Football Club, for £50. Alternatively, you can pay by card by phoning the office. If you require any further information please do not hesitate to enquire by e-mail. More details are on the Altrincham FC official website.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Dulwich Hamlet report that "Manager Gavin Rose was in good spirits after a productive pre-season tour to Chester and Liverpool

Dulwich Hamlet returned from their first away games of preseason with two victories: a 2-1 win against Chester and a 4-2 comeback over Marine. Given that Chester compete at the same level as us, it was a good opportunity to see how this newly assembled Dulwich side is coming along and for Gavin Rose this was perfect preparation for the upcoming season.

'They were very fit and they moved the ball well and they were aggressive. I felt like that was good for us because we reacted quite well to it', Rose said of our first opponents. 'I think at the start we were probably quite surprised at their approach but we reacted really well and competed well, and we started to pass the ball'...

Dulwich preserved a clean sheet in the first half and it took two second half goals from new striker Danny Mills to secure the win over Chester... Rose continued 'That game could have easily been a league game. We’re only two weeks into the preseason so I think it’s a credit to both teams in terms of our fitness levels on the day.'"

According to the Birmingham Mail "Birmingham City are tracking Kidderminster Harriers midfielder Ed Williams. Birmingham are keen to strengthen this summer with head coach Pep Clotet chasing several new recruits...

Attacking midfielder Williams has scored 13 times and grabbed six assists in 36 appearances for Harriers since joining the club from Gloucester City last year. Blues’ Championship rivals Swansea City are also reported to have shown interest in the 23-year-old, as have League One promotion hopefuls Peterborough United.

Speaking about transfers from Blues’ training camp in Portugal last week, Clotet said, 'We know exactly what we need, we know that we are a solid team and we know what we are lacking. What we are lacking is really what we lost, a little bit of creativity, a bit of goals with Che and that’s what we need to improve. “We need players that are going to come here with hunger to keep the team progressing.'”

Kettering Town advise that "The Poppies are on the road Tuesday night as they take on Jon Taylor's new look Bedford Town at the Bright Management Eyrie. The Eagles lost 1-2 to Luton Town last Saturday, Tre Mitford scoring their goal after 87 minutes. Former Poppy Nathan Abbey is the Eagles' assistant manager, with Bed Ford and Nick Bennion in the ranks of ex-Kettering players."

Alty renew acquaintance with Farsley Celtic in the coming season and we get a reminder of their history from Rotherham Vital Football, which informs us that "Rotherham United... take on Farsley Celtic at the Throstle Nest tomorrow (Tuesday, 16 July).

Founded in 1908 Farsley joined the West Riding County Amateur League eighteen years later. 1949 saw them join the Yorkshire League Division Two getting promoted to Division One at the end of the 1951/2 season. They were champions and runners-up a number of times and the 1974/5 season saw them reach the FA Cup first round for the first time taking on Tranmere Rovers who won two-nil. They had a few seasons of yo-yoing between Division One and Two and after the Yorkshire League and the Midland League combined 1982 saw them in the Division One North of the Northern Counties East League getting promoted to the Premier Division at the end of the 1984/5 season.

Two years later they were promoted to the newly formed Division One of the Northern Premier League and seventeen years later were promoted to the Premier Division. After Spennymoor United failed to fulfil their fixtures, the League took their results away, leaving Farsley champions until the FA stepped in and gave all teams who hadn’t played Spennymoor three points meaning Farsley ended up in third place losing to Workington in the play-off final. The end of the 2005/6 season saw Farsley promoted via the play-offs to the Conference North and [they] got another promotion, again via the play-offs, the following season but were relegated after just one season.

Financial problems saw the club expelled from the league before the start of the 2009/10 season although, being re-admitted, they went into administration and, when they couldn’t finish their fixtures, March 2010 saw them expelled from the Conference and [they] were disbanded.

They reformed as Farsley AFC for the 2010/11 season joining the Premier Division of the Northern Counties East League and, after winning the title, gained promotion to Division One North of the Northern Premier League. 2015 saw them return to the name Farsley Celtic and [they] were promoted via the 2017 play-offs to the Premier Division.

Last season the Celt Army took the Premier Division title and they will start the coming season in the National League North."

OLD FOES: FC HALIFAX TOWN

The Halifax Courier informs us that "FC Halifax Town have announced the departure of manager Jamie Fullarton after 17 months in charge. The 44-year-old Scot, who took charge of Halifax’s 1-0 friendly win at Farsley Celtic on Saturday, succeeded Billy Heath in February last year and helped Town avoid relegation during the 2017-18 campaign.

After the club’s transition from part-time to a hybrid version of full-time last summer, Fullarton guided them to a 15th placed finish in the National League last season. Of Fullarton’s 67 games in charge (not including West Riding County Cup but including the 2-0 win over Hartlepool on the day of his appointment), Town won 21, lost 18 and drew 28.

Halifax are now without a manager with just 19 days to go until the start of the new campaign."


15 July 2019

PARKINSON ASSESSES DEFEAT

The official Altrincham FC website has a post-match interview by press officer, Brian Flynn, with manager Phil Parkinson following the 6-0 defeat by Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.

NEXT OPPONENTS: ATHERTON COLLIERIES

Atherton Collieries entertain Altrincham on Tuesday. They play at the Skuna Stadium, Alder St, Atherton, Manchester M46 9EY

Atherton Collieries report that on Saturday, "Two goals inside a minute early in the first half set the tone as Colls coasted to a 5-0 victory over Ashton Town at the Skuna Stadium on Saturday morning.

Following Tuesday’s 2-0 home defeat to Vanarama National League newcomers Chorley, Colls’ preparations for the new BetVictor Northern Premier League Premier Division campaign continued with this encounter, Town finishing ninth on their return to the North West Counties League First Division North after promotion from the Cheshire League.

Colls went in front on ten minutes when Marcus Perry fired the ball in to the bottom right-hand corner of the net, and it was almost in exactly the same spot that the lead was doubled by a trialist barely a minute later.

With the hosts 2-0 in front at the break, a third goal was added on 54 minutes when some lovely build-up play saw Jack Egan exchange passes on the edge of the box before finishing from ten yards out.

The two sides last met three years ago in a friendly at Edge Green Street... In goal for Colls that day was youngster Paul Foster, and he lined up in goal for the visitors this afternoon for the second half, but there was nothing he could do about a fourth goal for the hosts on 71 minutes as Oliver Roberts curled a delightful free kick in to the top left hand corner of the goal before another trialist completed the scoring on 83 minutes with a deflected effort.

Pre-season action continues for Colls this coming Tuesday (16th July) when Vanarama National League North side Altrincham are the visitors to the Skuna Stadium for a 7.45pm kick off".

In their previous game, Atherton Colieries reported that "Colls faced another very tough pre-season test as newly promoted National League side Chorley brought a strong side featuring trialists from league clubs.. Colls had to wait until the 30th minute before launching an attack of note, Ben Hardcastle shooting wide from the edge of the box.

Tom Bentham created Colls best chance of the half on 39 minutes when he won two 50/50 tackles in the midfield area, rode a third challenge before playing the ball to Danny Lambert who crossed for Bentham himself to nod narrowly wide inside the box.

The game then turned in Chorley’s favour, [ex-Alty loanee] Elliot Newby was adjudged to have been fouled in the box, stepping up himself for the spot kick, only for Chris Cheetam to pull off a great save. However, minutes later, just before the break, Chorley came again and [ex-Alty midfielder] Josh O’Keefe was able to finish after a header back across the box to open the scoring.

The second half saw a couple of changes for both teams and Chorley were soon on the scoresheet again, Elliot Newby making amends for that earlier missed penalty.

From then on, Colls had some great chances to get on the scoreboard, Tom Bentham unable to direct a cross from Trialist on target and Jordan Cover being denied by a point blank reflex save onto the bar after heading a Gaz Peet cross goalwards from 4 yards out...

The pace of Colls attack continued to cause Chorley problems, Cover and Trialist on the left going past defenders with ease, to the delight of the crowd, but unable to put the icing on the cake. With Chorley looking dangerous each time they attacked, the game provided another decent run out for the squad".

NEXT VISITORS: BLACKPOOL

As reported earlier, Altrincham's guests next Saturday, Blackpool, recently cancelled another planned pre-season game against National League North opposition, in the shape of Spennymoor Town. The Blackpool Gazette elaborates on this, stating that new manager "Simon Grayson has explained his reasoning behind cancelling Blackpool’s scheduled pre-season friendly at Spennymoor Town. The Seasiders were due to take on the non-league side at Shildon AFC’s ground on Saturday to coincide with the end of their six-day training camp in Scotland.

It had been arranged that the Pool players would get on the coach from St Andrew's to the stadium, a journey that would have taken around four hours. However, Grayson believed that wasn’t the right preparation for his squad and decided to cancel the match, taking charge of an inter-squad 11 v 11 game instead.

'I looked at the schedule and I thought going to Spennymoor was a long way out of our way really,' Grayson told The Gazette. 'Geographically it didn’t work and Spennymoor were fine with that. Instead we’ll do a session in the morning, we’ll do a double session Thursday and Friday and we’ll have an 11-a-side game, an in-house game which I can control a little bit more. If I go to Spennymoor I can’t really stop and start it like I want to do, so that will be the schedule.'"

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

NL Daily reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) have announced the signing of experienced defender Ryan Cresswell. The 31-year-old has notably represented the likes of Bury, Rotherham United, Southend United and Northampton Town in his career, most recently spending the end of last season at Boston United.

He becomes the latest signing for Bradford player/manager Garry Thompson, alongside Shaun Gardner, Mitchell Lund and Ben Hedley.

Thompson said, 'We’re really happy with the squad we are building and have had a few options for a player of Ryan’s experience and background which we have been considering. The support we have from the directors is excellent and getting Ryan finalised today was a big part of that squad balance we have been focusing on.'

Cresswell said 'Speaking with Garry and the club has been really positive... The pre-season schedule the club has is very strong and I can’t wait to get game time against Brighouse, and then it’s my old club Rotherham on Wednesday night.“

Chester City "announce the signing of ‘Trialist B’ – forward Danny Elliott. The 23-year-old has already made his mark at the Deva,scoring a fantastic solo goal at home to Wigan Athletic last Saturday.

Elliott spent time at Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa during his youth days, before playing college football for Hofstra Pride in New York. He made 68 appearances and scored 14 goals. Danny was most recently at Port Vale, after training with the club and earning a deal in January 2019. He features again for the Blues against Dulwich Hamlet" in a home match which Chester lost, "two-one in a closely fought friendly".

The Eastern Daily Press tells us that "Football managers say they take little notice of the early pre-season friendlies but, if King's Lynn Town's opener proved anything, it was that summer transfer business appears to have been astute.

There have been three additions to the squad which won promotion; Sam Kelly, Sonny Carey and Nathan Fox, and all three showed exactly why manager Ian Culverhouse wants them in his squad. Culverhouse's recruitment hasn't finished yet - he's in the market for a defender and Saturday's two Lynn teams, one for each half, included a raft of the ubiquitous summer player, A Triallist, including one Chris Smith, a free agent centre-half after leaving Ipswich Town.

Culverhouse has five more friendlies to work out who he wants before the big kick-off... time is short, but the build-up needs to be sweet. And at the Zeeco Stadium, it was.

Yes, the scoreline gives him nothing tangible, but it allowed the master craftsmen to tinker with pairings, formations and players. Fox was given the first half to show what he can do as he tries to fill the large boots of Frazer Blake-Tracy, while Kelly and Carey appeared after the break with Lynn 2-0 up and cruising.

Carey is one for the future, but has an air of confidence, carries the ball well, is confident in possession and, judging by what happened in the 57th minute, a bit handy in front of goal; he pulled out a screamer from just outside the area to make it 3-0.

Kelly may well be the cleverest acquisition of the lot. He has some pedigree at Football League level, and he showed it; a turn of pace that raises the eyebrows, an eye for an opening and another who is comfortable in possession...

'We handled the ball okay,' said Culverhouse. 'I am not that bothered about scores... It is just looking at combinations and the way we are passing the ball. The pitch was a bit sticky, but I was pleased with them. Their work rate was very good. You are just looking at fitness levels and things like that.'

Culverhouse is likely to field two teams on Tuesday when Lynn go to Bury Town, but after that it begins to get a bit more serious as he looks to ensure Lynn are competitive at the higher level, and that will mean having plenty of tricks up his sleeve."

Bulls' News reports that "Simeon Maye has signed for Hereford after impressing while on trial. The 24-year-old midfielder, who has previously starred for Rushall Olympic, Solihull Moors, Redditch United and Boldmere St Michaels, played against both Wellington and Cinderford, but was unavailable for Friday night's match against Yeovil.

However, he linked up with his new team mates yesterday... Hereford Head Coach Marc Richards said 'Simeon has been with us from the start of pre-season. He brings energy, quality and he has the legs to get around the park. I’ve been really pleased with his attitude and character, he’s been great to have around and has an infectious personality. He’s fitted in well with the boys which is really important'".

According to Bolton Vital Football, "A bunch of kids few will have heard of represented Bolton Wanderers as they lost their opening pre-season friendly to York City by a goal to nil.

Although, in theory, our senior players could have featured, none did. Amongst the 23-man (or boy) squad, the only senior involvement was literally in name-only, with Adam Senior named on the bench. Connor Hall and Ronan Darcy were the only players who had played for the first team in an official game, while Dennis Politic and Yoann Zouma were two of the more familiar names. Phil Parkinson was in the stands, leaving Nicky Spooner and Julian Darby to it, so maybe this was a calculated thing to play the kids.

In the end, one mistake seemed to be the difference between the two sides, with Kempster scoring the only goal of the game, capitalising on an interception... You would expect, and hope, that the team in 20 days time against Wycombe is stronger and has a bit more experience in it".

Meanwhile, York Press report that "Manager Steve Watson reckons York City could have finished with a 'very healthy' scoreline against Bolton Wanderers had they been more clinical but he is not overly concerned about that at this stage.

The Minstermen were in control from start the finish against their League One opponents at Bootham Crescent, racking up four times as many shots as the Trotters. Alex Kempster got the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win, however, as good chances went begging...

Watson said 'I don't want anybody peaking in the middle of July. I want everybody coming into form, fitness and sharpness at the start of August... We created plenty and it could have been a very, very healthy score... After a comprehensive defeat against Leeds, it was a lot more controlled; the only downside was the quality of finishing'...

In contrast to Wednesday night against Leeds, when all of the squad played a part, Ryan Whitley, Sean Newton, Josh King and Kempster all played the full 90 minutes, though Watson is keen to avoid doing so again against Hartlepool on Wednesday. Along side King, fellow youngster Nathan Dyer, Reiss Harrison, Jake Watson and Kiari Ventura also got run-outs, impressing in the victory.

'Our team didn't look any worse for having the young players in,' Watson said. 'Kiari stretched them and Jake Watson did well before he unfortunately got injured'"

The Daily Post informs us that "Bryan Hughes felt Saturday’s match at AFC Telford United was the perfect run out for Wrexham...

After opening their pre-season schedule with a 4-0 win at Welsh Premier League side Cefn Druids, Wrexham have put in promising displays against League One side Fleetwood Town and Portuguese Primeira Liga outfit Portimonense SC, but lost both games 1-0.

Wrexham were back in action on Saturday as they claimed a 2-0 win at the New Buck's Head... thanks to clinical finishes from Leighton McIntosh and Bobby Grant...

'It was perfect for us,' said Hughes. 'It has been a long week, being in Portugal and getting back and the travel arrangements, so this was the perfect test for us. It is a bit more realistic to when we go into the National League. Telford caused us a few problems, turned us many times, so it got us into that defensive structure which at times we are going to have to deal with, but I thought we dealt with it really well'".

The Northern Echo informs us that "Alun Armtrong has brought in nine players to Darlington so far and wants two or three more to bolster his new-look squad.

Bringing in a striker, likely to be on loan from a Championship club, is among his priorities. 'It’s ongoing,' he said. 'Loans will probably happen in the last week before the season starts. I still want one or two players if I can. I would like three in, but finances will dictate that. I don’t want to blow the money too early because it’s the fans’ money and I want to protect it.'

All nine of his new additions started on Friday when Quakers lost 2-1 at Harrogate Town, and most will be involved in some capacity in Monday evening’s friendly at Bishop Auckland. Ex-Sunderland winger Lucas Bell will play as will a couple of players from the academy, while a handful [of] Bermudan players remain on trial including Justin Donowa, who made a favourable impression when used as a substitute against Harrogate.

The match at Heritage Park, where Darlington played 109 games as tenants from the beginning of the 2012-13 season, will be Armstrong’s third game at the helm and he has been pleased with the progress made so far... He said 'The Motherwell match was the first time these lads had played together at 11-a-side, we hadn’t had chance to do any shape, it had all been focused on fitness. You could see in the final third we need a lot of work there, but everyone could see how exciting we’re going to be, how hard working we’re going to be and I think the fans will enjoy it'".


14 July 2019

ALTRINCHAM 0-6 CREWE ALEXANDRA

Above: Alty centre-back Toby Mullarkey clears as Crewe threaten Tony Thompson's goal in the second half.

Match report here.

From the opposition, Crewe Alexandra report that they "ramped up their pre-season with a really positive outing at Altrincham. The Alex were in the mood to create chances and threaten the opposition goal and we took the game for Alty from the off. It ended 6-0 and it could have been more...

Right: Alty's Tom Peers, who has returned to the club after leaving last season, and Crewe's Billy Sass-Davies, who had a loan spell at Altrincham last season.

First half goals from Paul Green, a penalty from Charlie Kirk and one from Perry Ng gave us the cushion of a 3-0 lead and we continued to be on the front foot in our second friendly of the summer.

After David Artell made 11 changes just before the hour mark, midfielder Ollie Finney did his chances of a first team start no harm whatsoever with a quick fire hat-trick. His first one should perhaps had been saved by the Altrincham keeper Tony Thompson but his other two strikes demonstrated his finishing ability.

Crewe Alexandra’s second pre-season fixture allowed boss David Artell to give most of his first team squad another sufficient run out at Moss Lane. The majority who started the game against Phil Parkinson’s Altrincham side were given an hour of playing time before they were replaced...

Chris Porter was a late withdrawal after suffering a slight knee injury so youngster Connor Heath stepped in. New signing Olly Lancashire made his first appearance since joining us but Daniel Powell did not feature due to a sore back. Summer trialists, centre-half Christian Mbulu and forward Paul Taylor were provided with another opportunity to impress after both being retained from the opening friendly at Nantwich.

There was certainly a greater intensity to Crewe’s play and the attacks soon flowed towards the Altrincham goal... With Crewe doing most of the early attacking, the home side were reliant on the counter attack and they nearly caught us out from one of our own corners. Kirk put a shift in to get back and that allowed Ng to position himself to block from winger Nathan Arnold and Matt Chadwick could only fire wide on the rebound...

Crewe finally took the lead on 22 minutes. More good work down the left by Kirk and Pickering gave Green the opportunity to bend a powerful bending shot past the helpless Tony Thompson. Veteran Green was then quickly involved again to help make it 2-0 within two minutes of his own opener. Crewe were awarded a penalty when Shaun Densmore’s last ditch tackle to prevent Green making it 2-0 caught the Alex midfielder. With Porter missing, Kirk stepped up and rolled the spot kick past Thompson with relative ease.

At the other end, Richards was hardly troubled... Crewe went in 3-0 ahead at the break, Lowery’s cross was met by the head of Kirk and his powerful header hit the crossbar and Ng helped himself to the rebound for the goal he had threatened all afternoon.

The Alex continued to look for more goals... There was [sic] 11 changes made by Artell just before the hour mark... Finney notched his first after being found by Regan Griffiths. The keeper should have kept it out with his powerful shot really going through his grip and into the net.

Soon after Finney made it 5-0 with his second goal of the afternoon. He evaded a couple of defenders coming towards him inside a crowded box, before picking his spot for a fine finish... Finney completed the scoring in emphatic fashion. The midfielder was really positive with his run forward and at the end, he emphatically smashed it out of Thompson’s reach for his third goal of the game and Crewe had six goals on what proved a warm afternoon in Altrincham".

NEXT GAME: ATHERTON COLLIERIES

On Tuesday night Altrincham travel to Atherton Collieries for their next pre-season friendly (7.45pm). On Saturday Atherton Collieries warmed up with a 5-0 home win over Ashton Town.

DAMIAN'S NEW CLUB

Former Alty striker Damian Reeves has joined Yorkshire club Ossett United after spending last season at Gainsborough Trinity.

LATEST TRIALIST

In Saturday's game with Crewe Alexandra, three trialists from previous pre-season games were included in the second-half squad. These were defender Zac Corbett (ex-Southport), wide man Jamal Crawford (ex-FCUM and Chester FC), and Lewis Salmon (Hanley Town), though Lewis did not get onto the pitch. A fourth trialist also featured, who had not played for Altrincham this summer. He was Darren McKnight, a midfielder, who started out at Barnsley but later played for Shrewsbury Town, Morecambe, Glossop NE, Bamber Bridge, Hyde United and Stalybridge Celtic.

Also in the squad on Saturday were youth graduates Dontai Gabidon (left-winger/left-back) and goalkeeper Oliver Culkin.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Altrincham were not the only National North club on the wrong end of a scoreline on Saturday as Gateshead report that "Player-manager Mike Williamson thought the scoreline gave a harsh reflection on his young Gateshead side as Consett ran out 4-1 winners on Saturday afternoon. The Heed fielded no first-team players at Belle View Stadium in their second friendly of pre-season as a number of trialists and youth players were handed a chance to impress against the Northern League Division One side.

[Former Altrincham man] Mason Fawns put Williamson’s side in the lead after 14 minutes from close range before goals from Ali Alshabeeb and Luke Carr handed Consett the advantage at the break.

A two-minute quickfire double in the second half from Carr’s penalty and Michael Brown ensured the hosts won by a comfortable margin... 'It was a good run out, I thought it was a worthy [worthwhile] exercise,' he said. 'We got a chance to look at a few of the lads. As a new team it’s obviously hard to come and play a game like this as a one-off but there were some very good performances.

'We looked strong in the first half and got into some good positions, and the second half we just looked as though our inexperience got the better of us in the end'...

The Heed are now almost midway through the pre-season schedule... Hebburn and Harrogate Town are next up for Williamson and his men...

'It was a tough test for us today,' added Williamson... 'We picked up a couple of little niggles in training this week and I didn’t want to risk any of the first-team lads. We’ve obviously got a small squad as it is so today was about looking at a few other lads. We’ll certainly be going with our first team squad moving forward. It’s pre-season so there’s a lot of load inside our legs on the training field, but we need to get minutes on the pitch so it will be full-strength from now on.'”

According to the Grimsby Telegraph, "Scunthorpe United started their UK pre-season schedule off with a 2-0 victory over Guiseley.

First half goals from Lee Novak and John McAtee gave the Iron the victory in what was a solid display".

And yet another of Alty's divisional rivals, also lost as Mansfield Town tell us that "Stags’ manager John Dempster says that alongside being pleased with Mansfield’s ‘combination play’ in today’s 1-0 win over Alfreton, he confirmed his men came through the game ‘unscathed.’

Under-21s’ midfielder Alistair Smith scored the game’s only goal late on, with his excellent first-time finish at the back post. The Mansfield boss described this afternoon’s clash as a ‘really good exercise’ for his players... The pitch was immaculate, so credit to Alfreton for that...

'It was brilliant for Alistair [Smith] to get a goal... We came through unscathed, with minutes in the bank for the boys. If you look at the Bradford [Park Avenue] game and the Alfreton game, there are glimpses [of patterns]... and you look at Cooky [Andy Cook] in the second-half, with the problems he caused Alfreton’s centre-halves through physical dominance'".

At Halifax Town "The long wait is over, and football is back as FC Halifax Town got their pre-season underway in a short away trip to Conference North newbies Farsley Celtic. An impressive performance in the first pre-season game seen [sic] the Shaymen come away with a 1-0 win with a goal from Josh Staunton inside the first ten minutes.

The first scare of the game came inside the first minute for the Shaymen when a cross was met by Farsley Striker Nathan Cartman who was free inside the six-yard area, but he handled the ball before putting it into the net, and the referee was in the correct position to easily disallow the goal...

The attack kept coming from the Shaymen and on nine minutes the goal came, after two unsuccessful corners, one paid off. Earing whipped in the cross to find Josh Staunton completely unmarked inside the six-yard box to head the ball past Farsley goalkeeper Elliot Wynne.

FC Halifax Town were going all guns blazing inside the first 20 minutes, playing exciting football and really worrying the Farsley defence... The Farsley Attack struggled to offer much, as the Shaymen’s defence stood firm...

Farsley Celtic FC Line-up: 1. Elliot Wynne 2. Jordan Richards 3. Isaac Baldwin 4. Chris Atkinson 5. Jack Higgins 6. Adam Clayton (C) 7. Ben Atkinson 8. Tyler Walton 9. Paul Walker 10. Nathan Cartman 11. Will Hayhurst. Subs: 12. Luke Parkin 13. Kyle Trennery 14. Kwame Boateng 15. Mark Bett 16. Danny Ellis".

Stockport County visit Moss Lane a week on Tuesday. But, on Saturday, Curzon Ashton conceded that "Stockport County proved too strong as Curzon fell to a 2-0 defeat in their first pre-season appearance at the Tameside Stadium. Two goals from Jake Kirby provided the foundation for the visitors’ victory as they showed exactly why they won the National League North last season, but Curzon can take encouragement from their defensive resilience and an improved second half showing.

After a scrappy opening, Stockport gradually began to control possession and Frank Mulhern cracked the game into life, 12 minutes in, when his 25-yard effort battered the crossbar. From that point on the visitors dominated the rest of the half and took the lead ten minutes later when Kirby drove forward unchallenged and struck a low shot past the despairing dive of Cam Mason and into the bottom corner.

Mark Bradshaw had nominally begun with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Sean Miller pushing high up in support of Callum Saunders. But those plans had to be altered when Saunders was forced off less than 20 minutes in to be replaced by a trialist. After scoring 18 goals in their two pre-season games thus far, there was no let up from the Hatters as they pushed to extend their lead... and the Nash could consider themselves fortunate to only be trailing by a goal going into half time.

The second goal did arrive only two minutes after the restart, though; Kirby doubling his tally for the day with a firm header from a corner. Curzon introduced Liam Davies, Jack Banister, Danny O’Brien, Elliott Cooke and Luke Merrill in the second half and the longer the half went on the more they grew into the contest...

With the game slipping away, Curzon started throwing more bodies forward and were nearly caught out on a subsequent counter-attack. Nyal Bell burst through one-on-one but Mason stared him down and parried his shot away to keep the score respectable."

From The Leader we learn that "Leighton McIntosh and Bobby Grant were on target as Wrexham beat Telford United 2-0 at The New Buck's Head Stadium in their latest friendly.

Summer signing McIntosh's early strike proved to be the difference between the sides in the first half of Wrexham's fourth pre-season outing. National League North outfit Telford were the better side after the break and missed a penalty before substitute Grant scored a late second for Bryan Hughes' men to seal victory...

Telford had a goal disallowed when Ellis Deeney converted a corner after Dibble was adjudged to have been fouled but the Wrexham goalkeeper did well to punch away Brendon Daniels's dangerous cross with team-mates ready to pounce...

Telford came close to an equaliser at the start of the second half as Dinanga got ahead of Dibble and the ball reached Aaron Williams whose headed was cleared off the line by Jake Lawlor... Telford continued to threaten and Theo Streete's penalty was brilliant saved by Dibble who then conceded a penalty as he brought down Dinanga in the area.

However, Dibble redeemed himself and guessed the right way to keep out Dinanga's spot kick... But the Reds made it 2-0 in the 88th minute as a corner wasn't cleared and Shaun Pearson fed Grant who fired home.

Telford United: Wycherley, Streete, Sutton, White, Daniels, Cowans, Deeney, Walker, Knights, Williams, Dinanga. Subs: Lowe, Addai, Morley, McQuilkin, Barnes-Homer, Brown, Royle, Lilly, Lait".

And another losing club from the National North on Saturday was Leamington who went down 1-3 to Solihull Moors.

"Brakes endured another tough afternoon against a very good Solihull Moors side who took the opportunity to use a large number of their first team squad... Despite not facing the Moors for four years there are still plenty of connections between the two clubs, with Tony Breeden, Junior English, Callum Gittings and Jack Edwards having turned out for Solihull in the past, while Liam Daly and more recent Brakes players Matt Stenson and Jordan Murphy were on the visiting side.

Breeden was up to his usual antics outside of his penalty box early on, trying to take the ball past Murphy to clear only to be penalised...

Tim Flowers’ men opened the scoring inside the opening ten minutes, and on the day that last season’s top scorer Colby Bishop left the club to sign for Accrington Stanley, Matt Stenson returned to find the net against his old team mates, pouncing on a poor kick out from Breeden to flight the ball perfectly over the backpeddaling keeper and into the net.

Having smashed in seven goals in five pre season games for Brakes 12 months ago, Stenson clearly had the bit between his teeth as he looks to prove that he is worthy of a regular place in Solihull’s starting eleven, but he had nothing to prove to his old supporters, who are well aware of how good he is... The visitors picked up the pace after the goal, but they were rocked back on their heels on 23 minutes as they inexplicably shot themselves in the foot... Brakes new boy Cieron Keane on the left put a low ball across the face of goal from the touchline that Harry Flowers turned into his own net under no pressure from anyone...

Solihull were ahead for a second time seven minutes into the second half, however. Murphy was brought down just outside the box and Hawkridge took full advantage, steering a powerful low free kick in off the post... With just over twenty minutes to play Murphy became the second former Leamington man of the afternoon to score as he finished from close range... In Paul Holleran’s absence Martyn Naylor and Tom James used all their available substitutes including three trialists. This has been a testing week for Leamington, with three tough warm up fixtures, and they will surely enjoy more of the ball and more scoring opportunities in their next couple of games.

Life after Colby Bishop starts here, the manager has developed a habit of unearthing strikers with potential who have all gone on to better things. The challenge now is to do it once more.

Leamington: Tony Breeden © (13 Ben Newey, 80), Junior English, Jack Lane, Joe Clarke (17 Trialist, 80), Jamie Hood, James Mace (18 Trialist, 66), Josh March (15 Connor Taylor, 75), Callum Gittings (12 Reece King, 47), Kaiman Anderson (16 Trialist, 75), Jack Edwards, Cieron Keane (14 Kian Taylor, 66)."

Kidderminster Harriers "continued pre-season with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against League 1 Bristol Rovers. Ashley Chambers had Harriers ahead at the break with a well-taken goal, with Tom Nichols notching an equaliser for The Gas at the end.

Harriers began the game the brightest of the two teams, and hit the woodwork inside seven minutes as a well-struck free-kick thumped off the post and away with the goalkeeper beaten.

Chambers opened the scoring with nine to go until the break when Austin’s expert pass released the striker, the former Nuneaton man tucking the ball beyond the keeper and into the back of the net.

Six after the restart Rovers were level when Nichols met a good cross with a strong header from eight yards that beat the goalkeeper..

With the entire outfield consisting of players to have played, or be playing, in the Harriers Academy, the finish was a tough work-out for the Aggborough youngsters but they showed their own mettle superbly, blocking and tackling their way to a deserved draw."

And, finally, news of a winner, at last, in National North as Bradford (Park Avenue) won 3-2 as "Garry Thompson’s side travelled to Brighouse for their final away game before the commencement of the 2019/20 season. The match ended in a 3-2 victory to Bradford (Park Avenue) in a strong hit-out for both teams.

Bradford Park Avenue opened the scoring after three minutes thanks to Sean Gardner who chipped the keeper from an inch perfect pass from Ben Hedley. Despite conceding, Brighouse continued to keep the pressure on Bradford Park Avenue and made it difficult for them to move the ball about as the play became more fast paced and less structured. This change in pace allowed Ben Hedley to pounce on a loose ball in the Brighouse box that came about from a defensive error and slot it past the Trialist between the sticks.

A period of possession by the hosts in attack led to a Trialist finding space and firing home to bring the deficit to one goal. Within ten minutes, a piercing cross delivered into the away team's box was met by the head of Carl Stewart who glanced it into the top right corner ten minutes before the half-time whistle...

Three minutes into the second half a Bradford shot was palmed away by the keeper into the path of a Trialist who gently guided the ball into the bottom corner and capitalised on the handling error... Garry Thompson and Shaun Gardner were pleased with the performance and combinations being built throughout the squad...

Bradford (Park Avenue): ‪1-Charlie Andrew ‪2-Trialist‬ ‪3-Matty Clarke‬ ‪4-Mitchell Lund‬ ‪5-Ryan Cresswell (C)‬ ‪6-Trialist‬ ‪7-Trialist‬ ‪8-Ben Heddley‬ ‪9-Shaun Gardner‬ ‪10-Elliot Holmes‬ ‪11-Trialist‬. ‪Subs‬: ‪12-Garry Thompson ‬-65’- Shaun Gardner ‪13-Trialist‬ -65’- Charlie Andrew ‪14-Lewis Rathbone -62’- Ben Hedley ‪15-Jon Moran -62’- Ryan Cresswell".


13 July, 2019

ALTRINCHAM 0-6 CREWE ALEXANDRA

Crewe Alexandra gave their Cheshire neighbours a footballing lesson in a match which featured no fewer than forty-three players!

Both sides fielded their stronger elevens in the first half before Alty made ten changes at the break. Crewe changed all eleven of their players just before the hour mark.

Two goals in as many minutes midway through the first half set Alex on the way to victory. The opener was a well-struck effort from left of goal by Green, which found the far corner of the net. Barely a minute later, a challenge by Densmore on Green conceded a penalty, which Kirk converted (24 mins).

Just before half-time, Crewe captain Perry Ng scored the visitors' third goal after a thunderous header by the visitors' number ten had come back off the crossbar from an Owen Dale cross.

Soon after Crewe had made a complete change of team, one of the new eleven, Finney scored with a shot which was touched but not stopped by Thompson (62 mins). Four minutes later it was 5-0 as Finney drove home a low shot. The sixth and final goal arrived nine minutes from time when Peers's mis-pass led to Finney completing his hat-trick emphatically.

Match report here

TODAY'S GAME: ALTY v CREWE ALEXANDRA XI

Altrincham welcome a Crewe Alexandra XI to the J. Davidson Stadium today (Saturday, 3pm). As usual entry is free to Altrincham season-ticket holders and prices at the turnstile are as follows:

On the eve of the match Crewe Alexandra reported that "First-team coach Alex Morris says now is the time for the latest crop of Crewe youngsters to prosper at first team level and not just survive. Morris believes that another 12 months of maturity for the likes of Charlie Kirk, Ryan Wintle, Callum Ainley and Harry Pickering will see them make even more of an impact this coming season. The likes of Oli Finney and Tom Lowery also caught the eye at the back end of last season with their performances, with Finney winning the Breakthrough Player Award.

Ahead of this weekend’s pre-season game at Altrincham, Morris said 'There is a responsibility on them not just to survive this year, but to prosper. Those players are reaching the top of a cycle where we are hoping they will attract interest from other clubs, because of the volume of appearances they have made.

'If you are attracting interest that hopefully means you are having success on the pitch, because clubs will look at players who are in winning teams. So it is important we develop that winning mentality. That could get us in position to win promotion, and players could be sold on for fees we think reflect the time and effort we have put into them'. The coach added: 'This season will be very important in that sense, and next season too. It’s a two-year window of real importance'".

Crewe Alexandra also report that they " action on Saturday 13 July with a trip to Altrincham FC, 3pm kick-off. The match is The Alex's second pre-season match of the summer after the opening contest at Nantwich Town last weekend...

Crewe lost out 2-1 at Nantwich in what was a thoroughly useful fitness test after just one week back in pre-season training. The match at Moss Lane will be every bit as tough, with Alty playing a league higher than The Dabbers in the National League North. The Alex won 3-0 at Altrincham in pre-season last summer thanks to goals from Perry Ng, Jordan Bowery & Ryan Wintle".

Above: Sean Miller leads the retreat after a ball into the Crewe box had been cleared in last summer's meeting with Crewe Alexandra. The Alty man with no.4 on his shorts is actually no.5, Liam Goudling.

The teams on 20 July 2018 were:

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Anthony THOMPSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON (capt), 4. Ben HARRISON, 5. Liam GOULDING, 6. Sean WILLIAMS, 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Sean MILLER,. Subs: 12 Elliot ROKKA, 14. Jake MOULT, 15. James JONES, 16. Tom HANNIGAN, 17. Max HARROP, 18. Tom PEERS, 19. Lloyd BANNISTER, 20. Andrew JONES, 21. Bay DOWNING.

CREWE ALEXANDRA: Dave RICHARDS, 2. Nicky HUNT, 3. Harry PICKERING, 4. Paul GREEN, 6. Perry NG, 7. Charlie KIRK, 8. Ryan WINTLE, 9. Alex NICHOLS, 10. Jordan BOWERY, 11. Tommy LOWERY, 12. Eddie NOLAN. Subs: Ben GARRETT, Billy SASS-DAVIS, Chris PORTER, Finney DAVIES, Calum AINLEY, Brad WALKER, Josh LUNDSTRUM.

HOME DRAW IN FA YOUTH CUP

Altrincham FC Youth (under-18s) have been drawn at home in the FA Youth Cup.

In the Preliminary Round Qualifying, to be played in w/c 2 September 2019, they will host Curzon Ashton at the J. Davidson Stadium.

The winners of that tie progress to the First Round Qualifying, to be played in w/c 16 September 2019, where they will be at home to the winners of the Ashton Town v Vauxhall Motors tie from the Preliminary Round Qualifying.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

Blyth Spartans "have agreed deals for next season with midfielders Damen Mullen and Craig Spooner. Mullen, 30, is no stranger to Croft Park, having played for a number of years, surpassing 200 appearances for the club and was a vital cog in last season play-off contending side:

'It’s been a long summer,' said Mullen on signing the new deal, 'Obviously it was a bit up and down at the end of the season, but good to get it sorted now. I’ve missed the first couple of weeks of pre-season, to be fair my wife has just had our first child, hence I’ve come in a bit later than I expected'.

Mullen lauded the signings Lee Clark has made this summer... 'There is a lot of young lads in the dressing room, loads of energy in the side and pace, there is no point on dwelling on what happened, we’ve got a new team. It’s a new start and we’ve just got to get going into the new season'.

After a successful trial with the club, Clark has also secured the services of Craig Spooner, a Newcastle United product who played his football at North Shields last season".

And Blyth Spartans also announce that "forward Dale Pearson has signed a contract with the club. The 24-year-old was one of Lee Clark’s first signings, joining from Newcastle Benfield on a league registration deal, but the potent forward has impressed during pre-season and earned himself a contract at Croft Park. The former Ashington, Morpeth Town and West Allotment Celtic striker netted twice in Blyth’s 3-0 win over North Shields on Tuesday night and was pleased with the form he had shown to date.

'The whole team has just gelled really well. With only five players being here from last season, obviously it has taken a bit of time to gel together but I think it’s coming along nicely. Hopefully by the time the season starts, we’ll have that chemistry and be able to hit the ground running.'

The striker has formed good partnerships with fellow forwards Scott Fenwick and Michael Sweet and believes they’ll only get better as a unit:

'Scotty is good to play off, he’s got a lot of experience. He’s a big strong lad so hopefully as time goes on we can score plenty of goals. Sweety has scored for fun everywhere he has been, I believe as a unit we’ve got all the characteristics to keep the fans entertained this season.'”

According to the Northern Echo, "Darlington have their second run-out of pre-season this evening when they go to Harrogate Town, about as close to home as Yorkshireman Will Hatfield will play now that he has signed for Quakers. The 27-year-old lives in Leeds and for the past four years was playing for Guiseley...

He made his first appearance in Quakers colours last Saturday in a friendly with Motherwell, making an immediate impression, and said 'It was my first run-out because I hadn’t trained with the lads, I’ve been doing my own fitness work at home. To come in and play 70 odd minutes, I was happy with and I thought I did okay.'

Hatfield came through the youth ranks with Leeds but has played most of his football with Accrington Stanley and Guiseley, while he also had a spell with Halifax Town... 'I’ve got a lot of experience in this division, and the one above, and hopefully I can bring that to the team. I like to get in the box and score, but I also like to be disciplined and break things up; a bit of everything in midfield, attacking and defending. I had two years in the National League when I first signed for Guiseley and really enjoyed it, and then we dropped into the National League North.

'They’re both really tough leagues and I want to bring my experience to this team and I want to be aiming for promotion. I was at Guiseley four years and enjoyed my time there, but Darlington showed a bit of interest and a club of this size made it a no-brainer for me. I was looking for a new challenge and I’m certainly going to get one here'".

The Grimsby Telegraph tells us that "Grimsby Town tasted defeat for the first time this summer as they continued their pre-season preparations at Boston United... The Mariners fell to a 2-1 loss at York Street, with Matt Green getting on the scoresheet as a brilliant strike late on from one of the hosts’ trialists proved to be the winner".

The Shropshire Star informs us that "'Ruthless’ Marcus Dinanga can be a massive player for AFC Telford United this season, according to boss Gavin Cowan. The 22-year-old striker was overshadowed by Daniel Udoh on his return to the club last season, having netted 25 goals on loan at the New Buck's Head from Burton Albion in 2017/18.

And Cowan wants Dinanga to get back to that level as he battles fellow new-boy Aaron Williams, as well as Andre Brown, for a place in the Bucks’ starting XI.

'He comes alive when we’ve got the ball,' said Cowan after watching Dinanga score twice in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Market Drayton Town. 'We know he’s still got to work hard with things to work on. He’s a player that has knack scoring goals, if he gets chance he puts them away. He’s a massive player for us, as is Andre (Brown) and Aaron (Williams).

'They all need coaching because they can always be better. We can all get better, I ask my staff on what I can improve on. There’s one specific thing we want to work him on but when he gets the ball he comes alive. The one word I would use with Marcus is ruthless. He has a ruthless mentality. That is a massive positive in so many ways for us and we want to get him ruthless in other ways'".

Kettering Town announce that "After discussions with Peterborough United and the FA, tomorrow's game will now be a normal two halves of 45 minutes and NOT 4 x 30 minutes. The Posh first team squad will be attending and many are expected to play some part in the game."

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Garry Thompson rolled back the years to score in Bradford (Park Avenue's) defeat to EFL opposition in his first home game in charge. The former Bradford City winger, now 38, gave his side an early lead but they ultimately succumbed to a 4-2 loss to Mansfield Town at the Horsfall Stadium.

Despite the defeat to the League Two side, Thompson will be pleased with how his new-look Avenue side played. It was Thompson himself who gave his side a 12th-minute lead after Lewis Knight went on a dazzling run... The start of the second half saw a host of changes for Mansfield as manager John Dempster changed his entire starting line-up.

The universal changes worked for the visitors four minutes into the second period as Mitchell Lund scored an own goal. Mansfield soon showed the gulf between the two sides as substitute Danny Rose scored from a tap-in. Mansfield enhanced their lead in the 61st minute...

Following some changes for Avenue they nearly managed to find a way back into the match... Avenue pulled a goal back in the 75th minute through Elliot Holmes, but it would only prove to be a consolation strike.

Mansfield further extended their lead seven minutes from time when Maynard completed his brace... Avenue's busy pre-season continues when they travel to Brighouse Town ... before they host League One Rotherham United next Wednesday at the Horsfall Stadium".

The Eastern Daily Press reports that "King's Lynn Town step up their preparation for the new season on Saturday with their first friendly game of the summer. The newly-promoted Linnets head to the Zeeco Stadium, home of Step Four side Stamford Town (3pm).

Linnets boss Ian Culverhouse is expected to use all of his available squad, which means travelling fans will get their first look at new signings Sam Kelly, Nathan Fox and Sonny Carey.

Kelly has league experience with Port Vale and Grimsby Town and was at Norwich City when Culverhouse was the Canaries assistant manager. Fox is likely to be asked to fill the vacancy left by Frazer Blake-Tracy's departure for Legaue One Peterborough United, while former Canaries' Academy player Sonny Carey steps up from Wroxham.

Carey is, understandably, excited about the move and the prospect of pitting his wits against National League North company in the new season. Carey, 18, said 'Now they've been promoted, there will be a lot of eyes on the club, so I'm looking forward to show what I've got. I think I will bring good energy to the team with me being a young and fit lad... Towards the back end of the season, I was coming over and training with the boys once a week on the Thursday.

'Training was a lot quicker and the intensity was also higher and I had less time on the ball, but I really enjoyed stepping it up with better players. They obviously liked what I saw and now I'm here. I loved it at Wroxham last season and Jordan (Southgate) showed great faith in me by giving me my chance in the first team at 17, but now I want to improve myself even more.'"


12 July 2019

SORVEL ON START OF SEASON

The NL Daily reports that "Neil Sorvel struck a defiant note as he reflected on the toughest of starts for Altrincham in their quest to go one better than last season’s promotion near-miss in the National League North.

Alty... open up with an attractive but distinctly difficult test at home to big-spending, full-time former Football League outfit York City on Saturday, August 3 and follow up with a trip to Chester three days later.

Both opponents are strongly tipped to be at the forefront of this coming season’s promotion race, but Sorvel turned any sense of apprehension on its head and said 'It’s a tough one, but they will be saying exactly the same about having to face us.'

Alty’s assistant manager took charge of the team for their opening pre-season friendly at Whitchurch Alport, in the absence of boss Phil Parkinson, and was impressed with what he saw in a 1-0 win... He said, 'It was a good workout, and it showed there is going to be real competition for places in all areas, which is what we want'.

Read more in the Sale & Altrincham Messenger.

BLACKPOOL CANCEL MOORS' FRIENDLY

The Blackpool website still indicates that the Seasiders are visiting Altrincham for a pre-season game on 20 September. But one of Alty's league rivals Spennymoor Town is "disappointed to announce today that Blackpool FC have advised that they will not fulfil the previously agreed friendly with Spennymoor Town.

The game was scheduled for this Saturday (13th July) at Shildon’s Dene Street whilst pitch works took place at The Brewery Field. But a change of management at Bloomfield Road has seen Simon Grayson take charge of the Tangerines and commit to a series of friendlies in Scotland, which will make the trip to the North East impossible.

Managing Director Tony Wilson, First Team Manager Jason Ainsley and Club Secretary David Leitch have been scrambling to arrange a replacement fixture at extremely short notice and have managed to secure a trip to North Yorkshire to face Evo Stik Northern Premier League North West Division side Tadcaster Albion.

Tony Wilson said, 'Obviously we’re very disappointed for our supporters and also for Shildon, who were looking forward to hosting a Football League side at the weekend. I understand Blackpool are going through a period of change, which has now unfortunately had an impact on our preparations for the season...

'Due to the extremely short notice, we regret that we will not be able to provide a supporters’ coach for the trip. We won’t even be able to provide a team coach due to availability, so we’re making the trip in cars'...

Jason Ainsley said, 'Of course we were looking forward to playing a side of Blackpool’s calibre, but we won’t let this derail our preparations for the season, which have been going well. The squad looks very strong and the lads are preparing diligently for the campaign ahead. We’ll take this in our stride and focus on what we can control'...

ALTRINCHAM FC SEASON TICKETS

Altrincham FC has announced that its 2019-20 season tickets are now available to purchase online as well as in person or by post.

Prices for the tickets, which include free admission to the home pre-season matches are:

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

The National League reports that "New Bradford (Park Avenue) boss Garry Thompson wants to make the Horsfall Stadium a place where other teams hate to play.

Avenue boasted one of the better away records last season with their home form middle of the road. And ex-Bradford City player Thompson isn't hanging around; he wants his new team to start as they mean to go on as they prepare to face Mansfield Town in what will be Thompson's home management debut.

'We want to have good home form because I think it will take us a long way this season', he told the Telegraph & Argus. 'We want it to be that family feel, but we want it to be a fortress... That comes from our intensity on the pitch, it comes from us having the full backing from the fans. I think we'll have that.'"

Leamington have issued a "Revised History".

It includes, "There is a common misconception that Lockheed/AP Leamington are not the same club as Leamington FC because of the 12 year gap in our playing record, which is emphatically NOT the case.

The origins of Leamington FC are ingrained in Tachbrook Road, which runs out of the town to the South. Just before you pass the Windmill pub on the left is where The Windmill Ground was sited, and opposite was the enormous Lockheed car parts factory that employed so many of the townsfolk and would become the driving force behind the football club and its many successes until things unfortunately turned sour in the 1980s. It is here that our club was born, in 1933, as Lockheed, Borg & Beck...

The nickname ‘The Brakes’ was adopted by virtue of the car products the company manufactured.

The club underwent a name change in 1973 as Lockheed became Automotive Products, and AP Leamington, as we are more widely remembered, entered another boom period in their history... [Brakes were] founder members of the Alliance Premier League (Now the National League) in 1979...

Leamington spent three seasons in this new league before being relegated in 1982, but... the following season saw them win the Southern League Championship and with it promotion back to the APL, or so they thought.

Promotion was refused by the APL on supposed ground grading issues while, with the club at its playing pinnacle, Automotive Products decided to sell the club’s Windmill Ground on Tachbrook Road for housing, leading to the break up of one of the most exciting teams in non league football...

The fight to find a new stadium for the club dominated the next few years as the club tumbled down and out of the Southern League. Leamington FC Limited was formed on September 6th 1983 with the intention of purchasing the Windmill Ground. Our association with Automotive Products ended on July 1st 1985, and the name of the club reverted to Leamington FC... By 1988, now in the Midland Combination and at its lowest ebb, the decision was made to place the club in mothballs while the search for a new stadium site continued...

In 1990 a field was purchased in Harbury Lane from a local farmer and a rudimentary ground was created. Re-launched in 2000, and playing at what was called the New Windmill Ground".

King's Lynn Town "begin their pre-season campaign on Saturday with a visit to The Zeeco Stadium, home of step four outfit Stamford.

Manager Ian Culverhouse is expected to use all of his available squad with the likes of Sam Kelly, Nathan Fox and Sonny Carey expected to be in a Linnets shirt for the first time".

At Gateshead "Connor Thomson was pleased to get back into the swing of things as Gateshead fell to defeat in their pre-season opener against Middlesbrough. The Heed went a goal down on the stroke of half-time through Jonny Howson’s 25-yard effort but managed to draw level shortly after the break, as Thomson slotted home from the penalty spot following an infringement from Brad James.

The Championship side regained the advantage through Ashley Fletcher after 66 minutes, before Marvin Johnson’s 25-yarder crashed in off the post to hand the visitors their first pre-season victory...

'It was always going to be tough, they’re a Championship side with a strong team' he said. 'I think we did very well considering we have a brand new squad and nobody really knows each other on the pitch yet, but I think we looked good overall'...

The 23-year-old... started the game and was brought off just after the hour mark as Mike Williamson made wholesale changes. He was glad to get his name on the scoresheet and draw his side level in the pre-season opener, adding... 'If a penalty is there to be taken then it obviously gets the confidence going straight away'".

Brackley Town "announce the signing of defender Kelvin Langmead... from Harrogate Town.

Defender Kelvin was previously with Shrewsbury Town and Northampton Town and has played over 300 EFL games."

Blyth Spartans "have completed the signing of central midfielder Ursene Mouanda on a season-long loan deal from South Shields.

The 20-year-old joins from the Evo-Stik Premier side having made 26 appearances for Graham Fenton and Lee Picton’s men last season. Born in Ivory Coast, Mouanda moved to the North East when he was five years old and had previously trained with Newcastle and Sunderland.

However, it was the Monkseaton Football Academy where Mouanda caught the eye, prompting Rangers into taking the youngster north of the border in 2016... After spending a year in the Gers’ development squad, Mouanda remained in Scotland but joined Kilmarnock, manager Lee Clark’s former club...

The Ivorian has been described as 'particularly adept at breaking up play and helping his team launch attacks'. While Clark and Mouanda’s paths did not pass at Kille, the pair will link up at Croft Park this season".

EVO-STIK LEAGUE FIXTURES

"The fixtures for the new BetVictor Northern Premier League season have been released.

On the opening day, in the BetVictor Northern Premier League Premier Division play-off champions Warrington Town host Morpeth Town, with runners-up South Shields travelling to newly promoted Radcliffe.

FC United’s first match back in the NPL takes them to Grantham Town, while Atherton Collieries’ first game at this level takes them to relegated Ashton United.

After suffering their first-ever relegation, Marine start life at step four with a home game against NPL new boys Dunston."

Premier Division - August 17

In the North/West Division our neighbours and pre-season opponents, Trafford, kick off away to Tadcaster Albion.


11 July 2019

SPORTING DINNER

Former Liverpool, Watford and England star John Barnes is the guest at the latest Altrincham FC sporting dinner, details of which are to be found, right.

YORK CITY, "GEARED UP FOR ALTRINCHAM"

On Tuesday, York Press reported that "York City manager Steve Watson is not overly concerned about the result tonight as his side start building towards next campaign. Championship outfit and Yorkshire rivals Leeds United are the visitors to Bootham Crescent (7pm), where both sides kick off their pre-season fixture lists.

Despite a couple of twinges... the boss is hopeful nearly all of his squad will be fit. With an eye on the 2019/20 National League North season-opener at Altrincham on August 3, Watson is looking to mix youth and experience to get as many minutes as possible into his side to precipitate a positive start to the season.

'The whole of pre-season is getting geared up towards playing Altrincham,' said Watson. 'So we're doing all we can to make sure everyone is firing for that day and if we have to give people a chance to get injuries right, we'll have to do that.

'Every manager will tell you they want a full pre-season out of everybody but you rarely get that. My plan for tomorrow, because it's our first game, is... get half a game into most people...

'I wouldn't say the result is ever irrelevant but, for me, tomorrow is more about getting valuable minutes and valuable experience into the lads... As pre-season wears on, you'll see me looking closer to what I'm hoping to start with...

'You'll see me getting minutes into everyone. Everybody, from tomorrow, is trying to to do everything they can to get into the team against Altrincham. We had a good pre-season last year at Gateshead and started the season well, in and around the play-offs most of the season. That has to be the aim for York.

'But at Gateshead, we didn't play anybody that much higher than us; Blyth, North Shields, (Newcastle) Benfield. Teams you would expect a National League team to do well against.

'This year, we're playing Leeds, Bolton, Notts County, Hartlepool. They're all above us so it's a different kind of pre-season but that's not to say we won't, maybe in another week's time, put out a strong team and absolutely have a go at pre-season...

In this fixture last pre-season... the 1-1 draw was probably the fair outcome of a game where a sub-par Leeds were pressured well by York, for whom triallist Joe Tait scored the goal...

Watson added 'I wouldn't want to put my most experienced 11 out and leave a lot of inexperienced kids to play a half on their own. It wouldn't be fair or a good reflection of the squad we've got.'"

The 2019 match on Wednsday night ended in a 5-0 win for Leeds United. York City report that "Steve Watson opted for two different sides in either half of City’s first pre-season friendly against their fellow Yorkshiremen who started with a strong first team to contest the new-face York squad...

Leeds scored number three on 32 minutes... The Minstermen had their first effort of the game just before half time with Kallum Griffiths curling a free kick over the bar from 25 yards before Leeds went down the other end and scored a thunderbolt through Jack Harrison, his second of the game.

With City 4-0 down at the interval it was time for Steve Watson to play his second half eleven for the final 45 minutes which featured eight changes.

Pete Jameson was named between the sticks in the second half team... But the new signing couldn’t keep out Adam Forshaw on 53 minutes as the midfielder beat the offside trap and neatly chipped over the former Blyth Spartans goalkeeper to make it 5-0...

Leeds made a total of ten changes on 62 minutes, bringing on a whole new outfield set of personnel which included former York player Ryan Edmondson...

York City (first half): Whitley, Griffiths, McNulty, Allen, Ferguson, Trialist 1, Trialist 2, Green, McLaughlin, Burrow, Maguire. Unused substitutes: Moke, Tait, Newton, Wright, Jameson

York City (Second Half): Jameson, Dyer, Tait, Ferguson (Jebson-King 62’), Newton, Allan (Watson 62’), Moke, Bond, Kempster, Maguire (Wright 62’), Longstaff. Unused substitutes: Harrison, Ventura, Whitley...

Referee: Ross Joyce. Attendance: 5,180".

PRE-SEASON GAME: TRAFFORD

Alty travel to Shawe View on 30 July, from where comes news of two players with Altrincham connections as Trafford announce that former Robins' defender Sam Grimshaw and current defender Harry Sheridan have signed for Trafford. In the latter case, Harry "re-joins us on dual registration with Altrincham. Harry was with us for a short time last season, so it’s 'welcome back' Harry".

Harry Sheridan took part in the recent pre-season friendly, playing at right-back for the Altrincham First Team Squad against their Youth Team counterparts.

VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH NEWS

NL Daily reports that "Long-time former Curzon Ashton manager John Flanagan has joined the coaching staff at his former club Mossley.

Flanagan enjoyed a very successful tenure as Curzon Ashton boss, guiding the club to two promotions and leaving them in 14th place in the National League North at the time of his departure last November... Flanagan... previously managed the Lilywhites himself in 2010."

And Curzon Ashton report that "A Liam Davies double ensured Curzon’s pre-season continued with a battling win over Stalybridge Celtic in a physical encounter at Bower Fold

Mark Bradshaw again rotated his side after Saturday’s defeat against Wigan U23’s. Matt Regan was set to return to the starting line-up after missing that game, but an injury picked up in the warm up meant he wasn’t risked with Jack O’Leary taking his place. Nicky Wroe, who has captained the side in pre-season so far, was another absentee and so it was Andy Halls who wore the armband.

Both sides struggled to create chances in the opening half hour and the flow of the game wasn’t helped by a lengthy stoppage so Stalybridge’s Ross Killock could be treated and stretchered off after a collision with one of the Nash’s trialists.

But the game burst into life shortly before half time when Davies curled a magnificent free kick into the top corner past the despairing dive of the Stalybridge goalkeeper Winterbottom...

The lead was doubled, though, five minutes into the second half – and in slightly fortuitous circumstances. Davies’ cross from wide on the touchline was aimed for the back post but ended up floating over the head of the helpless Winterbottom and under the crossbar.

Stalybridge set up a nervy finale when Declan Walker, who had only signed for the club in the morning, blasted a free kick past Cam Mason with ten minutes remaining.

But Curzon stayed calm and with almost the last kick of the game when Brad Lynch burst through and slotted the home to wrap up an impressive win ahead of a bigger test on Saturday against Stockport County in our first friendly of pre-season at the Tameside Stadium."

Guiseley inform us that they "have dipped into Joint Manager Marcus Bignot’s talented Academy pool at his Full time Football and Education Degree Programme at Solihull College and University Centre to bring two young prospects to Nethermoor on contract.

He is joined at Guiseley by right-back Reiss McNally, who along with Barkers figured in Guiseley’s pre-season friendly against Bradford City. The 18 year-old stands at 6ft 2ins with his main attributes being in his 1 v 1 defending and [he] will add some height, pace and power to the defensive line-up.

Both will remain on their full time football programme and continue to pursue their Degrees in Sport Science at Solihull College and University Centre as well as playing in the Vanarama National League North as semi-professional footballers with Guiseley AFC."



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