The long trip to the English Riviera for the opening fixture of Altrincham's latest Vanarama National League campaign draws ever nearer, and there's a distinctly familiar look to their latest opponents in their build-up to the new season, as ED PAINTER explains.
The Robins' busy pre-season schedule enters the final stretch this week, with Altrincham travelling to Shawe View tomorrow evening to face Trafford.
With most of the squad getting a lengthy run-out over the past few weeks, attention will now turn to earning a place in the starting Xl against Torquay United on the 21st, with Pitching In Northern Premier League Division One West outfit Trafford providing the latest test.
So far, Phil Parkinson’s side have put in some impressive performances, earning victories over Ashton United, Nantwich Town, Brightlingsea Regent, and Bradford (Park Avenue), as well as a draw against Curzon Ashton. There have been two defeats, against West Didsbury & Chorlton and Stoke City under-23s.
In our most recent friendly against Curzon Ashton, a second-half strike from Tom Peers ensured Alty came from a goal down to secure a 1-1 draw at the Tameside Stadium.
The Robins almost took the lead after only two minutes, when Josh Hancock slipped the ball through to Marcus Dinanga, but he dragged his shot from the edge of the six-yard box narrowly wide of the far post.
Curzon grew into the game and in the 23rd minute, Dale Whitham’s glancing header from a right-flank free-kick forced Tony Thompson into a diving save away to his right.
After both Dinanga and Matty Kosylo were unable to turn Ryan Colclough’s low cross home, the Nash edged ahead, as Alex Curran's first-time effort from a half-cleared free-kick took a deflection to give Thompson no chance.
In the second half, Parkinson’s side got the equaliser they deserved, when A-Jay Leitch-Smith combined well with Curtis Miller to set up Peers for a chance that was expertly toe-poked past the keeper.
And moments before the final whistle, the Robins could have completed another late comeback when a dangerous ball from Miller looked to have left Connor Kirby with a simple finish, only for a Curzon defender to make an excellent last-ditch challenge.
Founded in 1990 and based a 20-minute drive from The J. Davidson Stadium, Trafford are currently members of the Northern Premier League Division One West, a level they have been playing in since their relegation from the Northern Premier League Premier Division at the end of the 2014/15 season.
A side with obvious ambitions of returning to Step 3 of the non-League football pyramid, the North have been consistently finishing in the top half of the table, with the only blemish to that record being last season, when they were 14th, after only seven games, when the season was curtailed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The links between Trafford and Altrincham are clear for everyone to see. Over the years, there have been many players who have lined up for both teams; Robins’ legend Graham Heathcote managed Trafford for a short spell, while former Trafford player-manager Ged Kielty also played for Alty.
Our opponents are managed by Danny Caldecott, who took charge of the club in the summer of 2020, having acted as assistant manager to previous coach Tom Baker. During his first season in charge at Shawe View, he guided his side to 14th place in the NPL Division One West table, before the season ended early.
As a player, Danny had a long and distinguished career with Stalybridge Celtic, Hyde United, Ashton United, Nantwich Town, New Mills and Droylsden. He later signed for Trafford, originally as a player, and made his debut on 15th August, 2015 at home to Brighouse Town.
Upon retirement, he made the move into the dug-out before the 2017/18 season, helping to steer the club to a sixth-placed finish during his first season in management, before two consecutive ninth-place finishes.
In their last outing, the North enjoyed a 4-2 home win over Ashton United, a side that the Robins faced earlier on in our pre-season campaign. In Trafford's game with Ashton, our hosts took the lead after only 16 seconds through Mike Burke, before strikes from Darius Palma and Matty Barlow gave them a three-goal advantage heading into half-time.
Things got even better after the break when Matty Morgan added a fourth to give them a commanding lead and despite Ashton mounting a late comeback through a Ben Hardcastle brace, the North hung on to secure an impressive pre-season victory.
Admission prices for the match are as follows:
£5 - Adults
£3 - Concessions
£1 - Kids
Please note that there will be some ticket availability on the gate, but fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets online.
Listen to the game Live on Radio Robins
You can listen to live commentary on Radio Robins and the broadcast starts at 7.30pm.
The commentary team is Brian Flynn, Ian Wilkinson, Tim Ainsworth & Matt Gould.
You can listen to Radio Robins in any of the following ways:
1) By visiting our Match Centre 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'.
Dan Mooney puts Alty 1-0 up in the first half at Shawe View
Pictures: Jonathan Moore
Phil Parkinson, spoke to Brian Flynn after the Robins drew 1-1 at Shawe View against Trafford FC on Tuesday night