|7.30pm||Red & white shirts, black shorts and white socks|| ||All blue|
|1.||Stuart COBURN||1.||Steve HODGSON|
|2.||Gary SCOTT||2.||George ABBEY|
|3.||Chris ADAMS||3.||Danny ADAMS (capt.)|
|4.||Mark MADDOX||4.||Carl MUNROE|
|5.||Paul TAYLOR||5.||Shaun CAME|
|6.||Steve HAWES (capt.)||6.||Paul O'NEIL|
|7.||Jeremy ILLINGWORTH||7.||Richard EYRES|
|8.||Lee POLAND||8.||Colin LAMBERT|
|9.||Carl FURLONG||9.||John ASKEY|
|10.||Ian CRANEY||10.||Richard TRACEY|
|11.||Danny MURPHY||11.||Andy McEVOY|
|12.||Jason GALLAGHER||12.||Kevin KEEN|
|13.||Dale NEWBROOK (gk)||13.||Steven WILSON (gk)|
|14.||Dave SWANNICK||14.||Matt WOOLLEY|
|15.||Tony HARGREAVES||15.||-- RIDLER|
|16.||Keith MAIRS||16.||--- HITCHIN|
There were three matches at Moss Lane tonight. Top of the bill was the 90-minute game with Macclesfield Town, which was Graham Heathcote's testimonial match. It ended 0-0 with Altrincham more than holding their own against a team including many Macclesfield first-teamers. Rod Thornley was absent with his employers, Manchester United, so Carl Furlong and Lee Poland were paired up front. Otherwise the Alty team was as against Tranmere Rovers. Jason Gallagher made a welcome return from injury as substitute. Former Moss Lane favourite Danny Adams captained Macclesfield and gave a typically impressive performance, whilst for Alty Danny Murphy had a lively game in all senses of the word. At one point he was "sent off" for a fracas- no card was shown but he was waved off by the ref.; three minutes later he was substituted whilst still off the field; then, he returned to play the final part of the game! Graham Heathcote maintained a 90-minute stream of verbal advice and encouragement from the touchline and the coach will have been pleased with a second consecutive clean sheet at Moss Lane. Carl Furlong also made his presence felt but left the fray late in the game with a minor muscle strain.
Half-time witnessed a short game betwen ex-Alty and ex-Macclesfield players and after full-time, a match took place between two sides made up almost entirely of "Alty Legends" (see below).
Alty kicked off towards the Golf Road End and enjoyed some early pressure, with Danny Murphy popping up all over the pitch. However, a slick Macclesfield interchange between Abbey, Askey and Tracey produced the first serious threat of the game after five minutes. Altrincham responded well, however. A fine through ball from Chris Adams found Lee Poland, who cut into the box and fed Danny Murphy but Murphy's shot was blasted over the bar (8 mins). A minute later an ambitious volley from outside the box by Furlong went high and wide. Then Abbey dispossessed Murphy but his 30-yarder was just over the Altrincham bar (12 mins). Two corners in succession for the Robins were cleared by the visitors but the hosts nearly took the lead after 22 minutes. A fine ball by captain Steve Hawes found the advancing Gary Scott on the right flank but the keeper managed to smother the threat (26 mins). A Craney chip was then just wide (27 mins) as Altrincham now made the running.
Danny Murphy attracted Graham Heathcote's criticism as he left Munroe unmarked at the back post and Coburn was obliged to make a magnificent twisting save to tip the ball over his crossbar (30 mins). O'Neil then missed the target with a clear sight of goal as, this time, it was Gary Scott who attracted his coach's criticism for allowing his opponent to cut inside him from the left wing. Macclesfield were now on top as Tracey poked a shot over the bar (37 mins). However, before half-time, Steve Hawes set up Lee Poland for a rising shot which went narrowly over the bar (40 mins). As the half drew to close it was the League outfit who looked the more menacing, particularly down their left flank, after Altrincham had enjoyed the better of the opening period of the half.
|HALF-TIME: ALTRINCHAM 0 MACCLESFIELD TOWN 0|
Half-time saw a brief 7-a-side game between ex-Alty and Macclesfield players, who included Dean Greygoose, Chris Sharratt, Jeff Johnson, Kevin Hawkins, Paul Rowlands, Nigel Shaw, Graham Tobin, George Shepherd, John Timmons, Darren Heesom and Alan Heathcote. The "Reds" beat the "Whites" 1-0, thanks to Rowlands's fine header.
Ex-Alty Youth player Matt Woolley came on for Macclesfield at half-time, as did substitute goalkeeper Steve Wilson. The second period began with a series of niggly fouls, with Altrincham at least as much at fault as the visitors. A rare mistake by Danny Adams allowed Carl Furlong to win a corner. This came to nothing before Jason Gallagher came on for Gary Scott. Almost immediately there was another foul and an immediate small-scale fracas which seemed to involve Furlong. However, it was Murphy who was singled out by the referee for punishment. He waved Murphy off the pitch, raising his hand more than once to indicate what looked like a five-minute "sin-bin" punishment in lieu of a booking (56 mins). But, just two minutes later, ex-Morecambe full-back Dave Swannick came on as a substitute for Murphy! This allowed Gallagher to move into midfield. A foul on Swannick led to a free-kick as a result of which Illingworth struck the post from ten yards (60 mins).
Hitchin then replaced Askey for Macclesfield (63 mins), just before Furlong got in a shot at the new goalkeeper. Furlong soon produced a nice swivel to let in Poland but Wilson just got to the ball first. Lambert then took aim from 25 yards but was just wide of the goal as Furlong went down with what appeared to be a muscle strain. However, Furlong resumed after treatment. Hawes was next to threaten a goal, but his aim was a little too high (72 mins). Keen now replaced Lambert for Macclesfield whilst Danny Murphy, having been both "sent-off" and substituted, resumed in place of Illingworth (73 mins). From a Hawes free-kick to Poland, the ball came to Furlong who got in a creditable overhead kick at goal, which went just over the bar (79 mins). Shortly after Furlong had headed over the bar, he was replaced by the returning Illingworth (82 mins). Altrincham were enjoying most of the possession and looked the more likely to score but a shot from Tracey, deflected for a corner, indicated that Macclesfield could still be a threat. Altrincham nearly snatched a win in the last minute when a superb ball from Swannick found Poland who got to the ball just before the keeper but could not steer the ball into the net (90 mins).
|FULL-TIME: ALTRINCHAM 0 MACCLESFIELD TOWN 0|
The third game of the night was a half-hour game between two full sides of Altrincham "Legends", though youth players Vernum Rowland and John Ross made up the numbers and Stuart Coburn kept goal. Predictably, Graham Heathcote's team (wearing the red and white Alty strip) won 2-0, the maestro scoring the first from a free-kick from outside the box. Kevin Hawkins got the second goal. Graham Heathcote had another free-kick chance in the second half but, this time, Dean Greygoose tipped the ball over the bar. The sides included (for the team in the red Alty strip): Stuart Coburn, John Davison, Tommy Simcock, Ian Morris, Jeff Johnson, Graham Barrow, Kevin Hawkins, Paul Rowlands, Andy Reid, Simeon Hodson, Charles Heathcote - and Charles's father, Graham Heathcote himself. The opposing squad in the blue strip included Dave Mobley, Alan Heathcote, Barry Anderson, Barry Howard, Graham Barrow, Andy Reid, Nigel Shaw, Simeon Hodson, Paul Showler, Ken McKenna, Dave Cockram, George Shepherd, John Brady and Dean Greygoose. Also there, but not playing, were names such as John King, Les Atwood, Gerry Casey, Lennie Dickinson and Peter Eales.
This was a great evening's entertainment for which the organising committee should be applauded. The committee comprises Barry Pond, Bill Coop, Grahame and Terry Rowley, Bernard Taylor and Derek Wilshaw. They also produced a fascinating 40-page testimonial brochure chronicling Graham's career. Amongst the remaining testimonial events for Graham Heathcote will be "An Evening With Alty Legends" with a GMR (radio) panel, a testimonial dinner, a race night and a disco.