in conjunction with the and the

Match Report

25 July 2001


Friendly Match, played on Tuesday, 24th July 2001, at 7.30p.m.

28 mins: Steve BIRD or Pat CLAFFEY [o.g.](Rossendale United 1 Altrincham 0)
35 mins: Jody BANIM(Rossendale United 2 Altrincham 0)
36 mins: Rico RICHARDS (Rossendale United 2 Altrincham 1)
55mins: Darren BOWMAN (Rossendale United 3 Altrincham 1)
75mins: Levi KENNEDY (Rossendale United 3 Altrincham 2)
84 mins:Jed WALSH (Rossendale United 4 Altrincham 2) 

ATTENDANCE: About 180?
7.30pm Blue and white striped shirts, blue shorts and socks   Red and white striped shirts, black shorts and socks
2. Matt HOLDSWORTH 2. Steve HOWE
3. Jason HEFFERNAN 3. Kenny BRADY
4. Paul LYNCH 4. Pat CLAFFEY
5. Mike SMITH 5. Terry BOWKER (capt.)
6. Steve BIRD 6. Tony HARGREAVES
7. Gareth GARDNER 7. Keith MAIRS
9. Jody BANIM (capt) 9. Wayne McKENZIE
10. Craig SARGESON 10. Rico RICHARDS
11. Jerome FITZGERALD 11. Simon McMAIN
13 -- 13. Barry MOORE (gk)
14 Gareth WEST 7*. ?
15 Jed WALSH 15. Otis THOMAS
16 Chris WILLOWS 16. Levi KENNEDY
17 Matt KNOWLES 17. Eric SEEKIE
18 Darren BOWMAN 18. ?

Altrincham's third pre-season match was played at Rossendale's Dark Lane ground, against the magnificent backdrop of the hills above Rawtenstall. Unfortunately they were mist-covered and the game was played in damp conditions, with rain which was at times torrential during the first half.
Rossendale were deserved winners against an Altrincham team characterised by its youthfulness and the players' lack of familiarity with each other's playing styles. Only Terry Bowker and Keith Mairs of the starters had any league experience for Altrincham. The team were directed by new Reserves' manager, Graham Wright along with physio Gary Thompson. Altrincham went two down after 35 minutes but Richards immediately pulled one back. In the second half, with both sides making numerous substitutions, Rossendale got a third only for Kennedy to raise the prospect of a draw when he made it 3-2. However, a fine fourth from a corner settled the affair.

Although Rossendale had helpfully pinned up the team sheets to the club-house wall and had issued a programme, the players who took to the field for Altrincham (and possibly for the home side too) did not wholly match the names and numbers given on either listing. So, the teamsheet above is correct, so far as it goes, for the Altrincham side but may have errors for Rossendale. Altrincham made it even more complicated when they introduced an unlisted sub in the second half, wearing the number seven shirt vacated at the interval by Keith Mairs! The Alty team was largely the same as that which figured at Abbey Hey on Saturday but striker Lee Poland was a notable absentee for this game. Alty played 4-4-2 with McKenzie and Youth player Rico Richards up-front. At the back were last season's Youth players Dale Newbrook (in goal), protected by Steve Howe and Pat Claffey, along with Terry Bowker and Kenny Brady. Midfield comprised Hargreaves, Mairs, Gilligan and McMain.


Alty keeper Dale Newbrook was soon in action making a fine save after a minute of play as the Alty defence gradually found their feet. With Rossendale enjoying the better of the opening stages, a wide shot from Keith Mairs was the Robins' only shot on goal in the first seven minutes. Soon, however, a mazy run from the promising Hargreaves was stopped by a foul and Rico Richards began to use his pace to test the home defence. The opening goal came when the referee awarded a foul against Bowker on the right, 25 yards from goal. Fitzgerald's well-taken free-kick found a team-mate (? Steve Bird) unmarked and either he or, according to Rossendale's web-site, Alty's centre-back, Pat Claffey, poked the ball home from eight yards or so (28 mins).

Altrincham were finding it difficult to string together any threatening moves, which was not surprising with a team whose members must in many cases barely have known each other. After the second of two Rossendale corners inside a few minutes, Altrincham spurned the opportunity to clear the ball and the lively number nine, Banim, scored from close range (35 mins). Almost directly from the restart, Rico Richards got free, rounded Horridge, and put Altrincham back in the game at 2-1 (36 mins). The referee assisted Altrincham when, after Bowker had lost possession and then fouled his man, the whistle went as the Rossendale player was getting into a dangerous position and advantage should have been played. The half drew to a close with a Rossendale free-kick causing consternation in the Altrincham defence and the visitors' passing still being erratic.


Rossendale made five changes at half-time, numbers 12,14,15,17 and 18 appearing. Meanwhile Altrincham brought on two more of last season's Youth teamers, Paul Monaghan and Levi Kennedy, as well as an unidentified blond defender (no.14). A new number seven also came on for the Robins to replace Keith Mairs, as well as Barry Moore, a trialist who took over in goal from Dale Newbrook. The others to leave the fray were Claffey, Howe and McMain. The personnel changes obviously did little to help Altrincham find their rhythm and they went 3-1 down after 55 minutes when the Rossendale sub. Darren Bowman drove home from the edge of the box. The pass of the game came from Levi Kennedy, a forty-yard diagonal ball forward for his new number seven whose good shot was beaten out by Horridge. The incoming Richards was prevented from getting onto the rebound by a defender (57 mins). Although he had looked Altrincham's most potent threat, Richards soon gave way to Otis Thomas (66 mins) and then Gilligan was replaced by an Altrincham number 18 (73 mins) who was clearly neither Eric Seekie (18 in the programme) nor Steve Howe (18 on the teamsheet).

Rossendale brought back their number eight as a substitute before Levi Kennedy scored a goal out of nothing. Receiving the ball on the outer corner of the box, he took a swing at the ball and it ended up in the corner of the net, having gone across the goalkeeper (75 mins). For a few minutes Altrincham upped the tempo and looked as if they might snatch a draw. However a bizarre sequence of events led to the deciding fourth goal for Rossendale. Moore inexplicably touched the ball as he aimed to shepherd a wayward shot into touch for a goalkick, to the left of his goal. After an appeal, the ref belatedly gave a corner but he ordered it to be taken on the right hand side of Altrincham's goal, the Rossendale left! This was cleared but a dubious free-kick soon followed just outside the box, won by the impressive Banim. The kick deflected off the defensive wall for a corner and the flag-kick was volleyed home superbly by Rossendale's number 15 (?Walsh, 84 mins). Rossendale finished the game the stronger and the final whistle went with Altrincham not having a corner throughout the match.

Graham Wright had a thankless task trying to mould into a unit a team of young players who had come from different sources within and outside Moss Lane against a side fresh from a triumphant championship campaign in the NW Counties Division One. Altrincham were always going to have a tough game on their hands and so it proved. Presumably something approaching the first team will be evident on Thursday when we take on Macclesfield Town at Moss Lane in the Graham Heathcote testimonial (k.o 7-30pm). Despite the result, it was a pleasure to visit a new ground and a friendly club.


Copyright: ©
Compiled by John Laidlar