Match Report


Friendly match,
played on Tuesday, 30 July, 2002 at 7.30p.m.

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11 mins: Matthew WILLIAMS (Altrincham 0 Manchester United XI 1)
17 mins: Danny WEBBER (Altrincham 0 Manchester United XI 2)
23 mins: Matthew WILLIAMS (Altrincham 0 Manchester United XI 3)
25 mins: Daniel NARDIELLO (Altrincham 0 Manchester United XI 4)
56 mins: Matthew WILLIAMS (Altrincham 0 Manchester United XI 5)

REFEREE: Mr. I. Milner.
7.30pm Red and white striped shirts, black shorts and socks   All blue
2. Neil RYAN 2. Kirk HILTON
3. Gary SCOTT 3. John RANKIN
4. Mark MADDOX 4. Paul TIERNEY
5. Gary TALBOT 5. Alan TATE
6. Peter BAND 6. Lee ROCHE
7. Danny MURPHY 7. ?
8. Ian CRANEY 8. Matthew WILLIAMS
9. Chris YOUNG 9. Danny WEBBER
10. Rod THORNLEY (capt.) 10. Daniel NARDIELLO
11. Ryan HEVICON 11. Kieran RICHARDSON
12. Derek WARD 12. Ben MUIRHEAD
13. Nick STEPHENS (gk) 13 James JOWSEY
14. Andy McDONALD 14 Jimmy DAVIS
15. Mike TURNER 15. David FOX
16. Stuart LOCKE    
17. Simon WOODFORD    
18. Sean SMITH    
19. Danny FROST    

This was Alty's fifth pre-season game, following a win over Flixton, two draws (Abbey Hey and Tranmere Rovers) and a narrow defeat (to Malawi).


United's first team were playing in Norway tonight so the squad sent to Moss Lane did not include household names. Nevertheless, the young United reserves provided some excellent entertainment for the crowd of 735, which included the Malawi national team and United's injured first-teamers, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt. Altrincham carved out three half chances in the opening stages but, once Matthew Williams had put United ahead after 11 minutes and the skilful Danny Webber had added a second after 17 minutes, Altrincham were left chasing the game.

The swift, one-touch football of the young United reserve side was highly impressive. Their skill and pace brought two more first-half goals from Matthew Williams (23 mins) and Nardiello (25 mins). Matthew Williams completed his hat-trick and the scoring after 56 minutes. Alty's substitute goalkeeper Nick Stephens made a number of good saves in the last half hour to prevent further damage. Although Altrincham will be disappointed by the result tonight, for their supporters the prospect of seeing more of this skilful young United side during the coming season when the United Reserves play their home games at Moss Lane will be one to savour.


The Alty starters included six of last year's regulars plus new signing Peter Band and trialists Chris Williams, Gary Talbot, Chris Young and Ryan Hevicon. Band started this time in midfield as Talbot returned to partner Maddox at the heart of the defence. Chris Young joined Rod Thornley up front. Alty coach Andy May was not able to attend due to a family bereavement and everyone's condolences will go to him.

United started well and as early as the third minute their neat passing carved out a chance for Nardiello, from a Webber pass, but his rising shot just cleared the bar. Then Rod Thornley was fouled just inside the United half on the Alty left. The subsequent short free-kick led to Hevicon playing in an excellent ball for Craney whose shot flew across the face of goal (5 mins). Craney showed some good skills in the early stages but United were soon up at the other end with Williams saving a shot from Nardiello. Alty then went close when a neat attacking move ended with a cross from Young which was headed over the bar by Murphy (10 mins). However, United almost immediately scored when Matthew Williams got behind Talbot, some 20 yards out, and raced on to give Williams no chance as he drove the ball into the net (11 mins).

However, Altrincham continued to cause United some problems with Hevicon getting past Matthew Williams on the Alty left but his shot ran to keeper Ben Williams. Then, a fine cross by Craney produced a flying header from Young which went just wide of the keeper's right-hand post (13 mins). United responded with Nardiello's volley grazing the top of the crossbar (14 mins) and they then won a corner off Band but this was cleared. However, the Alty defence could do nothing about Matthew Williams's defence splitting ball forward for Webber which the number nine buried in the net from six yards (17 mins). Soon afterwards, a left-wing cross glanced off the top of the bar from the head of Tierney (19 mins). Next, prompted by Hilton, Webber got round the back of the Alty defence and won a corner.

It therefore came as no surprise when a third goal arrived; Matthew Williams sprang the offside trap and ran 40 yards to score past the defenceless Alty keeper, Williams (23 mins). Goal number four came two minutes later when a fine chip forward found Nardiello in the clear and he slotted the ball through Williams's legs.

There was some respite for Alty when Craney made a fine dribble and fired in a shot which United's keeper tipped over the bar for an Alty corner on their left (28 mins). However, United themselves soon won a corner and following this Tierney put in a teasing low cross across the face of goal. After the torrid 14 minutes which had cost them four goals Alty came back into things a little more in the closing stages of the half though the limping Maddox had to be replaced by McDonald (40 mins), with Band moving into the back four as McDonald went into midfield. Although Murphy, Thornley and Hevicon tried to prompt forward movements they were mostly picking the ball up in deep positions and the United defence was allowing them no real openings. Before half-time Band saw off an attack but then Webber fed Nardiello only for the United number ten to shoot wide of goal as Williams raced out of goal to close him down (44 mins).


At half-time United brought on Muirhead, at left-back, for Richardson. An early cross from Webber was well held be Williams before Alty put together an impressive move involving Ryan, Murphy, Craney and Scott which ended with a Young header just wide of goal (50 mins). Craney then played a great ball to Young who fed Murphy but his cross was taken by Ben Williams in the United goal. Alty now made two changes; Woodford for Murphy and Turner for Young (52 mins). Webber next executed a great turn and set up Matthew Williams for his hat-trick goal and United's fifth, giving keeper Chris Williams no chance to save (56 mins).

A minute later Matthew Williams was withdrawn and Jimmy Davis came on for United. Craney again did well to get the ball to Hevicon and though his low centre from the left was not threatening, Ryan made the best of a 50/50 situation driving the ball fiercely at goal from 20 yards only for Ben Williams to parry the ball away (59 mins). Alty soon made a triple change, with Ryan, Scott and Chris Williams giving way respectively to Ward, Locke and Stephens (61 mins). The new keeper, Stephens, was soon in action collecting a shot from Webber.

Woodford's persistence on the right then won Alty a corner but Ben Williams caught this as Talbot came in on it. A good tackle by Craney stopped Jimmy Davis after good work by Webber and Nardiello. United then brought on Fox for Tierney. The match was more even now than in much of the first half as United slightly took their foot off the accelerator. However, the visitors were still dangerous and Muirhead and Jimmy Davis combined well to get past Ward but Stephens made a good save to deflect Jimmy Davis's shot for a corner (71 mins). A prodigious kicked clearance by Stephens was then stopped by his opposite number just under the United crossbar (73 mins).

McDonald was showing some nice touches in midfield and soon a good cross from Woodford on the right was met by Turner but his header was glanced wide (76 mins). Nick Stephens then made a fine save after Nardiello and Webber had got the better of Talbot, a corner resulting. Soon, the lively Jimmy Davis and Webber combined and Stephens had to be alert to pick up the ball as Webber closed in (78 mins). Craney then drove a free-kick wide from 22 yards, after he himself had been felled but, at the other end, Fox fed Nardiello and his low, curling shot from 20 yards looked bound for the bottom corner of the net till Stephens got down well to stop it (83 mins).

United were finishing the game strongly and the next threat came when Nardiello slid a cross across the face of goal. Stephens produced yet another good save two minutes from time after United had advanced up their left side. The game ended just after a good passing movement by Altrincham had ended with a mis-kick by Thornley from a Ward cross. Even without several of their normal reserves, such as Stewart, Pugh and Djordjic, who were with the first-team in Norway, this United side was highly impressive and it was no disgrace to Altrincham to lose to it.