|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)|
|7.30pm||Blue and white striped shirts, blue shorts and socks||Red and white striped shirts, black shorts and socks|
|1.||Paul HORRIDGE||1.||Dale NEWBROOK|
|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|
|8.||Liam DENNING||8.||Ryan GILLIGAN|
|9.||Jody BANIM (capt)||9.||Wayne McKENZIE|
|10.||Craig SARGESON||10.||Rico RICHARDS|
|11.||Jerome FITZGERALD||11.||Simon McMAIN|
|12||Gary RISHTON||12.||Paul MONAGHAN|
|13||--||13.||Barry MOORE (gk)|
|15||Jed WALSH||15.||Otis THOMAS|
|16||Chris WILLOWS||16.||Levi KENNEDY|
|17||Matt KNOWLES||17.||Eric SEEKIE|
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.
|HALF-TIME: ROSSENDALE UNITED 2 ALTRINCHAM 1|
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.
|FULL-TIME: ROSSSENDALE UNITED 4 ALTRINCHAM 2|