Despite recent reports that plans for fans to return to sport events in October are called off, Alty’s preparation for the 2020/21 season will indeed continue, with tonight’s trip to Alfreton Town all set to go ahead behind closed doors.
At the time of writing this match preview we do not yet have clarity on what this news will mean in relation to the start of the 2020/21 season. Until we’re told otherwise, the season starts on Saturday, 3rd October at 15:00 and we can rest assured that Parky and the players will be treating tonight’s encounter with Billy Heath’s Reds as such - should circumstances change, we will communicate this with you all in line with The National League’s regulations and subsequent embargos.
Anyway, moving on to tonight’s game of football. Perhaps one to be savoured.
Alty travel to “The Impact Arena” off the back of an impressive 4-0 victory against Huddersfield Town B. The game, played at their Canalside Sports Complex training ground, was effectively over by half-time courtesy of a first half brace from Jordan Hulme and another for good measure, Yusifu Ceesay the scorer. Toby Mullarkey added a fourth in the second half, converting from a Matty Kosylo cross.
Afterwards, assistant manager Neil Sorvel caught up with Aiden Beswick:
We knew that Huddersfield would be technically very good & keep the ball well, which they did in the first half & that gave us the opportunity to work on our defensive shape & hitting them on the counter-attack. Against the better full-time teams in our league, we are not going to be able to create the number of chances that we had on Saturday & being critical, we will need to do better in terms of our conversion rate.
Looking ahead to tonight’s game, he added:
We will be looking to start the 8 substitutes from Saturday at Alfreton tonight, so that all of Saturday’s squad will have featured in a game for at least 60 minutes, with a view to getting the players up to 75-80 minutes game time in the last 2 pre-season games at AFC Fylde on Saturday & Salford City U23’s on Tuesday.
Pre-season is more about playing minutes, getting the lads to link-up & looking at different combinations, rather than results. We are looking to progress with each game played & each team that we play brings different challenges & most of them, including Alfreton, will have played more pre-season games than us.
With that in mind then, we could be looking at a starting XI that gives Matt Gould his first start, as well as places in the XI for trialists Joel Senior, Ashley Smith-Brown and Will Hall - plus Curtis Miller, Simon Richman and Toby Mullarkey.
Our media team have been granted access to The Impact Arena for today's game.
You can listen to live commentary of tonight's game at Alfreton Town on Radio Robins, sponsored by Ashley Mowers Garden Machinery, and the broadcast starts at 7:30pm.
The match commentary sponsor is 'The Non-League Lounge.'
The commentary team is Paul Salt, Niall Finnegan and Brian Flynn.
You can listen to Radio Robins in any of the following ways:
1) By visiting our MatchCentre on the club website.
2) Download and install the Mixlr app on Android devices from the Google Play Store - start the app and search for 'Radio Robins'.
3) Download and install the Mixlr app on Apple devices from the Apple Store - start the app and search for 'Radio Robins'.
5) There is also a temporary Radio Robins WIX website at https://rr5977.wixsite.com/radiorobins
Match coverage will also play out on the Altrincham FC Twitter page.
Altrincham put in another ninety minutes of pre-season action last night with an away friendly at Alfreton Town's "Impact Arena."
It was a game that saw the Robins play plenty of good football, particularly in the first half, but two goals in three minutes were enough to put Phil Parkinson's men away against opposition that were a few games ahead of his in their preparation.
You got the sense that this was the sort of game Altrincham needed to have at this stage, particularly against a combative and physical side akin to the footballing styles they are set to come across in The National League.
Reflecting upon the performance with Brian Flynn in an interview that will be posted in full later, Parkinson said;
I've been saying all the way through, everyone came back a little bit earlier than us. They've had more games so they're where they want to be, obviously we're still trying to get there. We're not far away, I think if we we're just a little bit more efficient in the final third - in the first half - it could have been a completely different score.
A fair reflection upon a first half that saw Alty play some really good stuff at times, with Josh Hancock putting in a particularly eye catching performance in his usual 'number ten' role.
Alfreton edged the opening exchanges with a series of corners but once they allowed the Robins to settle onto the ball the game was dictated in central midfield by Sean Williams, with Toby Mullarkey proving a comfortable foil in that deeper role.
Inside half an hour chances had been created for Hancock, Miller and Hulme but the trio were all unable to convert, the biggest of which fell to Hancock who found himself ten yards out from a Matty Kosylo pass - Alfreton's James Jones got across to block expertly.
The second half was a different story. It's all about minutes at this stage and, much like the friendlies that have come before this one, we knew Alty would be likely to make wholesale changes. Connor Hampson, Yusifu Ceesay and Simon Richman all played 45 minutes in place of Andy White, Curtis Miller and Sean Williams.
Alfreton's opener came just before the hour mark. A third successive corner was lofted deep into the box where the aforementioned Jones was free to head the ball back across, finding former-Robin Conor Branson to head home at the back post.
The goal was met by further Altrincham changes in the form of Max Clayton, Tom Peers, Shaun Densmore, Jake Moult and trialist Ashley Smith-Brown replacing their grey-stripped counterparts - but no sooner had they settled in their positions than Alfreton's Nathan Fox smashed a stunning 30-yard goal past Matt Gould. Two nil.
Alty did settle back into the game and, as time wore on, they looked increasingly likely to find a lifeline. Gould dispatched a long goal kick down the right channel for Ceesay to latch on to, his cross found a free Peers but, with only the goalkeeper to beat, his effort was wide of the mark.
Hampson then won a penalty with just a couple of minutes left on the clock, he cut in from the right hand side and displayed good footwork - enough to confuse his man and he was subsequently tripped. The penalty was taken by new signing Clayton, who showed some really high quality touches and turns in his half an hour on the pitch, but it was at a good height for goalkeeper George Willis and that was that.
Alty's next friendly will take place this coming Saturday at AFC Fylde. This game will be played behind closed doors, with all of the usual coverage in all of the usual places.