*Mooney magic .. Dan Mooney was on the mark again with this smart finish at Trafford in midweek. Picture by Michael Ripley.
Altrincham round off their programme of pre-season games with a trip across the Pennines to West Yorkshire tomorrow morning. Here, ED PAINTER previews what they can expect when they arrive in Huddersfield.
The Robins' squad have their final chance to impress this weekend as they face Huddersfield Town B behind closed doors at the Canalside Sports Complex in their final pre-season outing of 2021.
Only one week now remains until Alty’s Vanarama National League campaign gets underway, and with play-off final runners-up Torquay United waiting to host us on the 21st, manager Phil Parkinson will be wanting his side to be ready for the challenge when they make the long journey south to Plainmoor.
In our most recent outing, the Robins were given a tough test by an impressive Trafford outfit, who have enjoyed an impressive pre-season campaign of their own, beating Chester and Ashton United, while drawing against Curzon Ashton.
At Shawe View, Alty looked impressive early on as Matty Kosylo, Tom Peers and Toby Mullarkey all had efforts which forced the home defence into action.
With 10 minutes left in the first half, Parkinson’s side were rewarded for their impressive start when Dan Mooney fired past Ewan McFarlan, who had done his best to thwart the Robins up until that moment.
Former Fleetwood Town midfielder Mooney, who has been in goalscoring form this summer, looked to be in the mood for more, and, just before the break, his curled shot flew agonisingly wide of the top corner.
Trafford grew into the game after the restart, and, in the 70th minute, they had their equaliser when an outswinging free-kick found the head of Adam Rooney, who towered above his marker at the far post to thump the ball past Tony Thompson.
Alty had several chances to edge back in front, as Marcus Dinanga had an effort cleared off the line, before Sean Williams’ shot from range drifted inches wide of the goal. However, the hosts were able to hang on, with the Robins drawing for a second successive game.
Based at their Canalside Sports Complex, The Huddersfield Town B team are a side made up of the club’s youth prospects and players who are not currently featuring for the first team in the Championship.
A unit which was created in July, 2020, following a similar model set out by Premier League side Brentford, our hosts play in a mix of competitions, like the Premier League Cup, while also taking on high-level European opposition and senior sides from lower divisions.
The Huddersfield Academy set-up has a history of producing good players, ones who go on to enjoy lengthy careers in the Football League. Names such as Jon Stead, Lucas Akins, Simon Eastwood, Jack Hunt, Duane Holmes, Philip Billing and Matt Crooks have all at one stage in their careers called the Canalside Sports Complex home.
Our opponents are managed by Jon Worthington, a man who once captained Huddersfield Town before stepping into the dug-out. Jon made nearly 250 appearances for our hosts between 2002 and 2009, having graduated from Huddersfield’s Academy before re-joining as part of the medical team in June, 2015.
Soon after returning to the club, Worthington subsequently adopted the lead role in the Academy’s medical set-up before embarking on a career in coaching under Academy manager Leigh Bromby.
It did not take very long for Worthington to impress, progressing rapidly through the club’s coaching set-up. A year after his return, he took charge of the under-19s, before taking the extra responsibility of becoming the B team manager in January 2021.
In their last outing, The Terriers were on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline, losing to National League North side Chorley at Victory Park. After Harry Cardwell had given the hosts an early lead, goals from Kian Harratt and Brahima Diarra saw Worthington’s edge in front.
However, Huddersfield found themselves a goal behind at the break, with Connor Hall’s spot-kick and Cardwell’s second of the game giving the Magpies a 3-2 lead.
Despite showing that they had the ability to mount a comeback, they were unable to further trouble the hosts’ goal as Chorley ran away with the game, with Billy Whitehouse doubling the lead before Cardwell, a Stockport County loanee last season, completed his hat-trick.
Listen to the game Live on Radio Robins
You can listen to live commentary on Radio Robins and the broadcast starts at 10.55am
The commentary team is Niall Flynn and Brian Flynn
You can listen to Radio Robins in any of the following ways:
1) By visiting our Match Centre on the club website
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Tom Hannigan's first half header produced a good save from Aleksandar Petrovic
Pictures: Michael Ripley
Altrincham completed a 9 match pre-season with an impressive 2nd half display to overturn a half-time deficit at the Canalside Training Ground in West Yorkshire.
Huddersfield Town fielded a much more experienced line-up than in the corresponding game 11 months ago & the first 45 minutes were fairly even in terms of play but it was the visitors creating all the chances but couldn't find a way past Aleksandar Petrovic, who denied Marcus Dinanga, Tom Hannigan & Matty Kosylo with a string of excellent saves in the opening half hour.
Marcus Dinanga's header from Dan Mooney's excellent free kick brought an outstanding save from the Huddersfield keeper
Tony Thompson was barely employed throughout the contest but was bamboozled by a 30 yard shot from skipper Ben Jackson that swerved & dipped on its way past the bemused Robins stopper.
There were 2 trialists on show, one deployed as a centre back in the first half & then left back after the break & the other, a midfielder, who played the whole of the seocnd period. Both players put in positive displays.
From the opening exchanges of the 2nd half, there was a step-change in the Robins performance with things clicking into gear. Petrovic palmed away a well struck Josh Hancock free kick for a corner, after Mooney had been hauled down just ouside the area.
Petrovic foils Josh Hancock's free kick.
Mooney was almost unplayable in this phase of the game, seeing an effort tipped over before completing an incisive move just before the hour mark that brought the equaliser. A trialist & Dinanga combined well to release the former Fleetwood Town winger, who darted between 2 defenders before finally beating Petrovic with a smart finish with the outside of his left foot.
Dan Mooney equalises.
5 minutes later, The Terriers were breached again as Alty worked the ball swiftly & effectively from the half way line to the 18 yard line, Josh Hancock intelligently picking out Dinanga's run & the former Stevenage man dinked the ball delightfully over the advancing Petrovic.
Marcus Dinanga puts Alty ahead
One of the trialists had a goal disallowed, following what was possibly the move of the game, before three substitutes combined nicely to seal the win 10 minutes from time.
A-Jay Leitch Smith picked out Toby Mullarkey, who unselfishly squared the ball to Tom Peers, who completed the job with a confident right foot shot from 12 yards.
A-Jay Leitch-Smith starts the move....................................
Toby Mullarkey squares the ball to................................................
Tom Peers 3-1!
Torquay United will undoubtedly provide a much sterner test in next Saturday's opening National League fixture but there can be little doubt that the players achieved the objectives of this final pre-season fixture & confidence should be high going into the 2nd season at National League level just over 12 months after promotion was achieved.