July 2019

31 July 2019


On Tuesday night, Altrincham travelled across the Borough to Trafford and completed their pre-season with a 2-0 win.

In an entertaining match, played at a decent pace throughout, Altrincham took the lead just before half-time when Josh Hancock set up Tom Peers who scored from six yards.

Hancock himself netted the second goal nine minutes after the interval following a defensive error by Trafford.

Right: Tom Peers is congratulated on his goal.

Alty made half a dozen second-half substitutions, the majority of them en masse after 73 minutes.

Match report here.

ALTRINCHAM 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Shaun DENSMORE (c), 3. Andy WHITE, 4. James JONES, 5. Toby MULLARKEY, 6. Sean WILLIAMS, 7. Matt CHADWICK, 8. Max HARROP, 9. Tom PEERS, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Lewis WALTERS. Subs: 12. Jordan HULME, 14. John JOHNSTON, 15. Conor BRANSON, 16. Tom HANNIGAN, 17. Connor HAMPSON, 18. Dontai GABIDON, 19. Jack RYAN, 20. Steven DRENCH.


Altrincham kick off the league season on Saturday when York City visit the J. Davidson Stadium.

York Press reported before the Minstermen's Tuesday trip to Pickering, where they won 4-2, that "Manager Steve Watson is set to give York City's fringe players a chance 'to stake a claim' for next season at Pickering Town.

With less than a week to go until the National League North season starts, Watson has said he will be resting the majority of players from the Notts County game. Goalscorer Macaulay Langstaff is likely to be one of the exceptions, his second-half outing on Saturday [being] his first appearance since coming on as a half-time substitute against Leeds United.

Alongside the 22-year-old striker, Watson is keen to give minutes to weekend substitutes, youngsters and players still under examination. Watson has insisted he still wants a competitive performance from the squad players and is hoping to add to York's five pre-season wins...

He said 'I don't think, now that we've got work into everyone, you'll see many of that team playing Tuesday... That was probably the last workout for the lads you saw on the pitch (on Saturday). Maybe take away the subs, you'll see them on Tuesday, and you'll see a couple of lads we're having a look at.

'You'll probably see Macaulay because that was his first 45 since the first game of pre-season.. We'll have some young lads who will get a chance at 90 minutes against a very good team so it will still be a huge game for the club. We're all one big squad and one club and I want to see them win the game, express themselves and win six in a row... They have all got good chances to stake a claim, if not to play, it's to be on the bench and part of the squad.

'It's a big goal for the young lads because they have done great pre-season'...

Pickering, who ply their trade in the Northern Premier League north/west division, are the lowest-ranked side City will face before the 2019/20 season-opener at Altrincham on Saturday".


The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Garry Thompson admitted the glorious pre-season form of his two goalkeepers is causing him a selection headache. Bradford (Park Avenue) have made use of both Charlie Andrew and Jack Bennett across five friendlies so far.

Andrew returned on loan from Hull City, having made 15 appearances in the second-half of last season. The 19-year-old impressed, but currently will only stay until January and Bennett, a trialist originally, showed enough to earn a contract at Avenue and has started two out of the five pre-season games.

Bennett took to the field in the second-half of the 3-2 penalty loss to Bradford City, but acquitted himself well with a solid save in that shout-out [shoot-out].

Thompson admitted... 'Jack's come in, a relatively unknown keeper, and him and Charlie are just pushing each other to excel and they're both getting better and better and better. Me and Shaun actually pulled them against Bradford City and just said, genuinely hand-on-heart, because I always said I was going to be honest, I can't pick a difference between them, because they've both been superb.

'Ultimately I can't play them both unfortunately, so a decision will have to be made.'

Avenue have one last pre-season game, at home to Huddersfield Town, before Thompson will make his choice of number one for the all-important opener in the league away to Curzon Ashton.

The player-manager said '"I just keep saying to them, just keep doing the right things, being solid, be commanding, make saves and unfortunately I can only pick one. That goes for all the boys, they've all been outstanding and it gives me a headache, but a good headache, if there's such a thing.'"

A supporter comments that it will be "A much changed Avenue this season, younger and less experienced at this level, wth several other clubs seemingly taking a similar path".

The Bet Victor NPL reports that "Buxton have signed midfielder Paul Marshall from Curzon Ashton.

Marshall, 30, came through the youth ranks at Manchester City and has played in the Football League at Blackpool, Port Vale and Walsall. He has also played in non-league for FC Halifax Town, Stockport County and Alfreton Town."

At Alfreton Town, the club confirms "that Josh Thacker and Tyler Williams have joined the club following successful trials.

Josh came through the Hull City Academy and was a regular in the Under-23 set up before being released by Hull on expiry of his contract at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.

Thacker has impressed with his composure and solidity in the Reds back line during pre-season and provides another defensive option for us within the squad.

Tyler was most previously [sic] at Evo Stik East outfit Brighouse Town, where he made 13 appearances, scoring twice. Williams has also caught the eye during pre-season for his electric pace and quick feet. His combination play and attacking quality will be another good asset for Billy Heath this season.

Billy Heath [said], 'Josh is a player who is always learning, he’s only 19 and was released from Hull City which would have been difficult for him after being there from an early age. He has shown great strength of character and has a level head on the pitch. I love his maturity and attitude to the game and he has shown experience ahead of his years...

'Tyler is a player I have known about for some years now and he’s come in and done everything we’ve expected. He has an excellent attitude and has shown great qualities for us. He is still young and has done well through pre-season, we are looking forward to seeing his development this season.'”

30 July 2019


In Saturday's 3-1 wi over AFC Fylde, Altrincham's Tom Hannigan started the move which led to the first goal. His incisive pass went to Conor Branson, whose one-two with John Johnston led to the latter's pass, inside, to Nathan Arnold, who swept the ball home. Right, we see (l. to r.) Arnold, Branson and Johnston celebrating the goal.


Altrincham's final friendly of the 2019 pre-season is scheduled to take place at Shawe View against our neighbours Trafford, at 7.45pm. Admission is £5 for adults and £3 for concessionaries.

On Saturday, Trafford lost 1-3 to our league rivals Chester FC and they also lost, earlier, to another team from the Vanarama National League North, Curzon Ashton 0-2.

Altrincham supporters can expect to see a number of players in the Trafford squad who h jave turned out previously for Altrincham. These include defender Harry Sheridan, midfielder Laurence Taylor, winger Darius Palma and recent trialist Lewis Salmon.

Altrincham and Trafford share another pre-season opponent in Atherton Collieries, who visit Shawe View next Tuesday (6th August) before the final pre-season friendly with Scarborough Athletic on 10 August. So Trafford are more than forthnight away from their first league fixture, whilst Altrincham kick off their league campaign in four days' time at home to York City.

The Altrincham FC website indicates that those who did not start the game against AFC Fylde "are likely to start" at Shawe View and that Max Harrop and two reserves from last season, in the shape of Jack Ryan and Dontai Gabidon, are expected to be in the squad.


Brian Flynn, press and media officer at Altrincham, interviewed Sean Williams for Alty TV after his brace of goals on Saturday against AFC Fylde


Leamington "can confirm that goalkeeper and captain Tony Breeden has left the club following an incident at training last week. We have mutually agreed the termination of his contract with Tony accepting that his conduct fell well short of accepted behaviour. He leaves the Brakes after three spells at the club in which he has amassed close to 350 appearances.

Manager Paul Holleran stated, 'Tony has made a massive contribution at Leamington Football club and it is disappointing for both him, myself and the club that our relationship has ended in such a way. I know he will be fondly remembered by the fans and we cannot forget that he has been a big part of our success for many years'...

Chairman Jim Scott added 'It is very regrettable that Tony's tenure at the club has ended in such a manner. He has been hugely apologetic and greatly regrets his actions and has personally apologised to his teammates, Paul Holleran and myself and wishes to thank the fans for their magnificent support in his time at the club'".

NL Daily adds that "Breeden tweeted 'Officially left Leamington, not how I wanted to but down to my own poor actions. Good luck in the future and sorry to fans and staff and players who I’ve (let) down'".

The well-informed Bulls' News reports that allegedly "Tony Breeden has been released by the club after he reportedly broke teammate Jack Edwards's nose following a training ground bust-up. Edwards was forced to sit out Saturday’s friendly win over West Bromwich Albion Under-23s, while Breeden’s place in goal was taken by trialist".

On its own patch, Bulls' News reports that "Hereford have signed striker Bradley Ash after he was on trial at the club. The 23-year-old was most recently at Boreham Wood, scoring five goals in 28 appearances last season. Ash, who was on trial at Yeovil earlier this summer, also played for Barnsley and Weston-Super-Mare.

He earned his move to Barnsley after scoring 14 goals in 14 games for Weston in his debut season in Conference South...

Ash told the official Hereford FC website, 'I’ve been on trial at a couple of professional clubs but, as soon as Hereford showed an interest, I was really keen to get the deal done. I’ve known Rico [Marc Richards] for a while and so he didn’t have to sell the club too much to me, but I’m really excited by his ideas and his ambition for the coming season. Everyone at the club wants to be challenging at the right end of the table and that really excites me.'

Ash was an unnamed trialist during Saturday's win over Aston Villa Under-23s, playing around 55 minutes in the match.

Head Coach Marc Richards added '“It’s great to be able to strengthen our attacking options by bringing Brad on board. He gives us a different dynamic in the final third and again raises the competition for places. Brad has already proven himself in the league above with Boreham Wood'...

Meanwhile before deciding to sign for Hereford, Ash had been on trial at Yeovil and Newport County".

The NL Paper adds that "The young forward joined the Tykes in January 2016 from West-super-Mare AFC following an eye-catching debut season in the Conference South, netting 14 goals in as many appearances. Ash, who has played for England Colleges as well as an England C select XI, spent the 2016/17 season back at Weston-super-Mare on loan, and netted an impressive 19 goals in 34 appearances".

At Kettering Town, "The club can finally announce from Peterborough United the loan signing of central defender Sam Cartwright. Sam has played in the majority of our pre-season games and already looks part of the furniture. Previously on loan at St Ives Town, Sam will stay with the Poppies until January 2020."

From Nantwich Town we learn that "A goal apiece from Joe Malkin and Luke Walsh ensured Nantwich Town came out with a creditable draw against higher-ranked opposition in Curzon Ashton, in what was an entertaining afternoon of football at the Weaver Stadium.

Michael Ecclestone gave the visitors the lead after twenty-two minutes following a mistake in the Nantwich defence, but Joe Malkin equalised two minutes later for the Dabbers. Nantwich took the lead soon after the interval when Sean Cooke and Luke Walsh linked up, allowing the latter to fire home. However, it was the Nash’s turn to equalise shortly after as Isaac Sinclair netted on the hour mark.

The Dabbers arrived at the Weaver on the back of two consecutive wins away in Wales against Llandudno and Colwyn Bay respectively, and Dave Cooke had made two changes from the side that beat the Seagulls on Tuesday. James Lawrie and Will Saxon came back into the squad...

Both sides contested a competitive draw, with Dave Cooke likely to be the happier of the two managers as Nantwich continue their preparations for the new season.

{Ex-Alty men in bold below]. Nantwich Town: Greg Hall, Harry Goode (Clayton McDonald 73′), Matty Devine, Troy Bourne, Josh Langley, Caspar Hughes (C), Will Saxon (Jamie Reed 55′), James Lawrie, Joe Malkin, Sean Cooke, Luke Walsh (Will Foster 58′). Subs not used: Keiron Clarke (GK), Cobi Bateman, Kallam Boyle

Curzon Ashton: Cameron Mason, Andy Halls, Jack O’Leary, Nicky Wroe, Danny Shaw (Mo Ali 62′), Oliver Thornley, Jack Bannister (Luke Wall 58′), Robbie Evans (Elliot Cooke 70′), Michael Ecclestone, Sean Miller (Brad Lynch 70′), Isaac Sinclair (Liam Davies 70′). Subs not used: Liam Lovell (GK), Luke Merrell, Callum Saunders"

Short and to the point, Bradford (Park Avenue) "announce that Damian Irvine’s position as a consultant to the club has come to an end with immediate effect. The club will have no further comments."

Bermuda's Royal Gazette informs us that "Justin Donawa is set to play alongside Bermuda team-mate Osagi Bascome at Darlington FC this season after securing a deal with the English non-League club at the weekend.

The 23-year old winger started trials at the club after returning from international duty with the national team at last month’s Concacaf Gold Cup and has done enough to earn a place in manager Alun Armstrong’s squad.

'We’ve offered Justin a deal because I think he will be useful,' said Armstrong... Darlington are now hoping to be granted international clearance in time to have Donawain their squad for this Saturday’s Vanarama National League North season opener away to Farsley Celtic. The former Somerset Trojans player all but secured a deal after coming on as a halftime substitute and netting in Darlington’s 4-0 win in a preseason friendly away to Northallerton on July 23.

'Sometimes you need a game-changer that you can bring on and he has raw pace,' Armstrong told 'He might be the quickest player here, it would be a good race between him and Adam Campbell. Justin is an effortless mover, he just glides. He’s got something and he’s worth taking a gamble on and having a look to see if we can develop him. He has some attributes and he shows lovely flashes of skill at times. Sometimes he could be more selfish and can get a shot, but so could all of the front four.

'He’s been as good as gold, he’s taking on board everything we tell him and that’s all you can ask. We’ll put some work into him and he could be a find.'

Donawa and Bascome both featured as second half substitutes during Darlington’s 3-0 home win against Middlesbrough Under-23s in their final preseason friendly at the weekend.

Midfielder Bascome signed an initial deal at the club... in March, which has since been extended.

'I’m very relaxed but I do want to have a good season under my belt and show my ability, show my worth and what I’m capable of,' Bascome told The 21-year old, who scored a 'wonder goal' in Darlington’s 2-2 draw away to Darlington Town in a pre-season friendly on July 9, says he has 'adapted well' to the cut and thrust of the English game. 'I think the adaptation mostly was just getting used to the style of play, because I was used to playing a certain way'".

In Part Two of their "run down of our rivals in National League North", Darlington cover clubs from G to Y, listing "some of the signings they've been involved in" as well as listing the players who have departed.

One entry, which mentions the departure of an ex-Alty player and the arrival of one ex-Alty loanee is Guiseley...

  • Incoming: Hamza Bencherif (York), George Cantrill (Sheffield United), Gabriel Johnson (Brighouse), Andrai Jones (Stafford), Jamie Spencer (Bradford PA), Aaron Martin (Brighouse)
  • Outgoing: Joe Green (Gainsborough), Marcus Dewhurst, George Cantrill, Josh Langley, Lewis Archer and Michael Fowler Alex Purver (Oostersund)

The entry for our opponents on Saturday, York City, lists six arrivals "Steve McNulty (Tranmere), Andy Bond (Fylde), Peter Jameson, Kieran Green and Dan Maguire (Blyth), Paddy McLaughlin (Hartlepool)".

29 July 2019


Saturday's Altrincham v AFC Fylde match gave players from both sides the chance to renew acquaintance with former team-mates.

Fylde winger Ashley Hemmings, who did not play on Saturday, was warmly greeted by numerous of the Alty squad with whom he had played during a loan spell last season.

Right: Lewis Walters greets Ashley Hemmings before Saturday's game.

And three Altrincham players who had been at AFC Fylde previously exchanged words with former team-mates. Tony Thompson, Tom Hannigan and trialist Lewis Walters fell into this category.

AFC Fylde also included nine players in their starting eleven who were familiar to Alty as opponents with other clubs. The following had all played against Alty before for other clubs; left-back Scott Duxbury, who was at Stockport last season, goalkeeper James Montgomery who has kept goal for AFC Telford United against The Robins, Ryan Croasdale (for Kidderminster Harriers), Neill Byrne (for Telford United), Alex Whitmore (for Gateshead), Danny Rowe (for Macclesfield Town), Dan Bradley (for Kidderminster Harriers), Jordan Williams (for Barrow) and Nick Haughton (for Salford City).


After Saturday's win over AFC Fylde, Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson spoke to press officer Brian Flynn on Alty TV.


Altrincham's final pre-season game is on Tuesday at Shawe View against Trafford (7.45pm). Admission is £5 for adults and £3 for concessionaries.


The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Guiseley warmed up for the new season in style with a 6-0 victory over South Shields in their final friendly, including four for Gabriel Johnson.

The Lions roared into an eight-minute lead at Nethermoor through Johnson. They doubled their advantage in the 29th minute when great work from Kaine Felix found Aram Soleman, who finished well. They made it 3-0 nine minutes before the break via Johnson. He completed his hat-trick a minute before the interval to make it 4-0.

Soleman secured his brace on 54 minutes to make it 5-0. But it would be Johnson who would steal the headlines as he grabbed his fourth in the 68th minute.

Meanwhile, a second Guiseley side had a friendly run-out at the same time at Hyde United. But it wasn't such a good result for the Lions in Greater Manchester, as they crashed to a 4-0 reverse.

Adam Lakeland's Farsley Celtic wrapped up their preparations for the forthcoming season with a 4-0 win against Albion Sports at The Citadel.

After a number of missed chances for the hosts, Jimmy Spencer did give Celtic the lead on the half-hour mark, as the score remained 1-0 at the half-time interval.

Farsley grabbed three further goals during the second period, with two of them within the opening five minutes. After one minute Adam Clayton tapped in after a goalmouth scramble, with Chris Atkinson scoring another a couple of minutes later.

Will Hayhurst completed the scoring on the hour mark with a 20-yard effort."

Darlington have Part One of a useful summary of player-movements over the summer. They remind us that at Altrincham, the following players were...

  • Incoming: Connor Branson (Bradford PA), Nathan Arnold (Boston), Tom Peers (FC United), Toby Mullarkey (Nantwich)
  • Outgoing: James Poole, Eliot Wynne, Ben Harrison

Meanwhile our Cheshire neighbours, Chester FC, whom we meet in the first week of the new season, have had the following players:

  • Incoming: Jamie Morgan (Nantwich), Anthony Dudley (Salford), James Jones (Salford), Kevin Roberts (Wrexham), Joel Taylor (Kidderminster), Danny Livesey (Salford), Danny Elliott (Port Vale), Russell Griffiths (Fylde)
  • Outgoing: Jon Moran (Bradford PA), George Green (Boston), Grant Shelton

From Notts County we learn that their "manager Neal Ardley says this weekend’s defeats at Alfreton and York have highlighted a key weakness in his squad.

The Magpies were beaten 1-0 by Alfreton on Friday night before suffering a 3-1 reverse at Bootham Crescent on Saturday. And Ardley, who deliberately selects physical opponents for the latter stages of pre-season, says the performances proved what he and his staff have known to be true all summer.

'We need to become a more physical team to be able to cope with the National League,' he said. 'At York we got beaten up and out-run and the same happened at Alfreton. It was the reason we got relegated last season. We certainly need to man-up as a team'".

Meanwhile the Northern Echo reports that "Decisions will be made early this week on the handful of trialists hoping to earn a deal at Darlington, with former player Josh Heaton at the top of Alun Armstrong’s wanted list. The defender is a free agent and played as a trialist for Quakers on Saturday, coming on in the second half of a deserved 3-0 win over Middlesbrough under-23s...

If Heaton and Darlington can come to an agreement then he will be in the squad that travels to Farsley Celtic on Saturday, as will Bermudan winger Justin Donawa if Quakers receive international clearance in time.

'We’ve offered Justin a deal because I think he will be useful,'said Armstrong. Donawa was included in Darlington’s annual team photograph taken on Saturday morning, and so too was Osagi Bascome, and while Omar Holness did not appear the midfielder could yet be in Armstrong’s plans.

'Omar did smashing,' said the manager, after watching Holness play for the majority of Saturday’s win. 'We still need a midfielder and I’ve got to make a decision on Omar, who was much better today. Enthusiastic, too enthusiastic at times! He’s just got to be a bit more composed. But he’s a willing learner, so why not? The fans love him here and I can see why, we’ve got to get him to understand what we need and what to do in certain parts of the game.

'Osagi is already involved anyway because of what happened last season, Lucas Bell came on and did really well. These are squad players that I will probably need to utilise in this first month of the season. I’ve got to keep an eye on the budget, I’m in constant contact with John Woolnough (finance director) to make sure that’s right. There’s a little bit of scope in there'...

Johnny Burn and Mitchell Glover are under contract for another year but are not wanted by Armstrong and neither was in the team photo. Striker Cedwyn Scott, who played in a couple of Quakers’ friendlies, is no longer under consideration and played for Dunston UTS on Saturday.

Jarret Rivers scored twice in Darlington’s 3-0 win with Tyrone O’Neill getting the other goal during what was the team’s best performance of pre-season, playing some quick passing manoeuvres that pleased Armstrong and the fans... Stephen Thompson had a penalty saved early on by Zach Hemming, but he then set up Rivers to score a close-range back-heel, and on-loan O’Neill’s goal, coolly-taken from inside the penalty area, against his parent club came after good work by Campbell and Rivers to make it 2-0 at half-time.

O’Neill and Campbell were also involved in the best goal of the day early in the second half. Galbraith’s pass forward led to Campbell and O’Neill exchanging passes, playing in Rivers to score from ten yards.

Darlington: Elliott; Trotman, Laing (Heaton 60), Galbraith, Liddle; Holness (Holliday 73), Hatfield (Bascome 60), Thompson (Bell 73); Rivers (Donawa 60), Campbell (Tyrell 79), O’Neill (Holmes 60)"

According to the Eastern Daily Press "King's Lynn Town maintained their 100pc pre-season record when they came through their biggest test of the summer. The Linnets headed to Braintree Town on the back of four convincing wins...

Second-half goals from Michael Gash and Aaron Jones made it five, against a side which will ply its trade in National League South following relegation last season. Gash opened the scoring in the 65th minute, against one of his former clubs, and three minutes later Jones doubled the advantage with a deflected shot.

Lynn's final warm-up game is at The Walks on Tuesday night when Charlton Under-23s are the visitors."

From the Shropshire Star comes news that "Marquee summer signing Aaron Williams’s late strike saw AFC Telford United end pre-season with a 2-2 draw at Concord Rangers. Fellow new arrival Doug Tharme also scored on his debut, after being snapped up on loan from Wrexham.

The Bucks, of National League North, went down to Essex to face the National League South side and kick-off had to be delayed by 15 minutes because of traffic along the way.

But Gavin Cowan’s charges started strongly on Saturday afternoon, with Tharme finding the net after just 19 minutes at The Aspect Arena. The young defender met a corner from the right and powerfully headed past Rangers keeper Chris Haigh.

Telford went into the break behind, though, following a quick-fire double from Danny Green. His first came as the Bucks looked to clear their lines after a corner but could not get the ball away far enough, allowing Green to slip in past the defence and beat keeper Corey Addai, just signed on a one-month loan from Coventry City.

Only a couple of minutes later, Green doubled his and the home side’s tally by latching on to a diagonal ball from the left and emphatically driving the ball home past Addai via the far post...

A deserved leveller came four minutes from time when substitute Chris Lait played the ball to James McQuilkin, whose low delivery was turned in by Williams".

Blackburn Rovers report that "A brace from Joe Nuttall secured a comfortable victory for Rovers' Under-23s against Southport at the Rovers Academy... The striker scored his double in the second half, with the opener a cracking free kick that beat a former team-mate in the form of Southport stopper Charlie Albinson.

Another ex-Rover in Jack Doyle also started for The Sandgrounders against a strong home side... Today's clash was a good workout for Tony Carss's outfit, who bossed the game and were unlucky not to take a lead into the break... The home side [was] rarely troubled against the Merseysiders".

28 July 2019


One goal in 74 competitive appearances is midfielder Sean Williams's tally in an Alty shirt but he struck home two superb freekicks against AFC Fylde in this friendly, played at a sodden J. Davidson Stadium...

Right: Sean Williams (10) is congratulated on his second, and Alty's third goal, by the scorer of the match's first goal, Nathan Arnold.

Match report here.

AFC Fylde report that "The Coasters pre-season ended in defeat at Moss Lane, on a wet schedule [surface?] with a win at Moss Lane, courtesy of a late Jordan Williams header. [Jordan Williams plays for Fylde; Alty's Shaun Williams scored Alty's third with a low freekick when they were already winning 2-1].

The game was fiercely contested from the off and, after a late challenge from Sean Williams on Danny Philliskirk, a confrontation ensued. The challenge was late, and two footed and Philliskirk was lucky to escape without an injury, and Williams found himself in the referee’s book...

It was a very wet afternoon, and the surface had plenty of standing water which made play unpredictable at times, often slowing up. Jordan Hulme worked tirelessly up top for Alty, with plenty of long balls aimed in his direction, however the new partnership of Whitmore and Byrne seemed able to cope...

Johnston quickly became the main threat in the first half, with teasing set-pieces and darting runs opening up chances for Altrincham. Their spell of dominance soon paid off, as a slick move was finished off expertly by Nathan Arnold, dispatching it low into the bottom corner, giving Montgomery no chance...

The hosts doubled their lead before the interval, as Sean Williams stepped up to sweetly strike a free-kick through the wall and beyond Montgomery into the net.

After the break, the Coasters came back out the stronger of the two sides, and it wasn’t long before they had the rewards for their efforts. An inswinging corner wasn’t cleared properly, and Danny Rowe was there to volley home beyond the aptly named Drench in goal... The Coasters dictated the game from here on in, and were unlucky not to restore parity, before a crucial free-kick late on for Altrincham.

Stepping up once again, Sean Williams fired his second free-kick of the day past Montgomery, this time his effort finding the net after hitting the inside of the post".


On Saturday at Hereford FC "There were plenty of positives as The Bulls ended our pre-season programme with a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa Under-23s...

It took us just four minutes after the restart to take the lead when Thomas whipped in a dangerous ball that saw the Villa defender head into his own net under pressure from the Trialist striker... As our opponents started to get a grip back on the game, Vassilev got in a low shot that Hall did well to save.

There was a flurry of chances in quick succession with 15 minutes to go as Jordan Nicholson’s shot was blocked and then Owen-Evans saw the same fate become of his strike...

THE BULLS: Hall, Hodgkiss (O’Sullivan 46), Riley (Davies-Austin 73), Thomas (Bray 60), Cullinane-Liburd, Pope, Owen-Evans (Bishop 83), Jagger Cane (Finn 60), A. Trialist (Nicholson 60), Styche (Symons 60), B. Trialist (Davies 73). Subs: C. Trialist, Maye."

Bulls' News adds that "The trialist who is wearing the number 11 shirt today and who impressed on Wednesday night is believed to be Raheem Hanley. The 25-year-old is currently a free agent after his contract expired at Chorley at the end of last season. He has previously been at Northampton Town and Halifax, while also having a short stint with Welsh side, Connah's Quay Nomads."

Alty travel to Shawe View on Tuesday. On Saturday, according to Cheshire Live "Chester FC continued their preparations for the new National League North season with a 3-1 success at Trafford FC in their penultimate pre-season friendly.

In a competitive affair in torrential rain at Shawe View, goals from Brad Jackson, Simon Grand and Sam Baird own goal brought victory, although they didn't have it all their own way against a determined and confident home side who had reduced the arrears thanks to a Baird header in the second half... Chester bosses Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley fielded a strong side and one that won't be a million miles away from the one that starts at York Street on August 3.

On healthy looking pitch at Shawe Lane both sides had to contend with the wet and miserable weather... The Blues started brightly and held the lead as early as the eighth minute when wing back Joel Taylor marauded down the wing and sent in a dangerous ball across the face of goal, the ball evading Trafford's white shirts but not Jackson at the far post who showed composure to dink the ball over the home keeper Matt Cooper and into the back of the net.

Three minutes later and the home side came close to restoring parity when a Lewis Salmon header at the far post was blocked on its way to goal by Danny Livesey before Salmon sent the rebound looping over the bar and on to the top of Russ Griffiths' net...

While Trafford were registering more efforts it was the Blues who controlled the bulk of the play, losing their way with a lack of incision at times in the final third. But they added a second just after the half hour mark when a Gary Roberts free kick on the right was whipped into the box where Grand was on hand to slide in and send the ball into the bottom corner...

The hosts tried to respond almost immediately at the other end when Harry Sheridan rose majestically to power a header at Griffiths following a left wing free kick, but Griffiths was equal to the test...

Trafford managed to reduce the arrears. Darius Palma's header was initially denied to win the home side a corner, a corner which led to the leveller when it was curled in and found the head of the towering Baird who powered an effort downwards and past Griffiths in the Chester goal...

The Blues did managed to extend their advantage on 76 minutes, however, when substitute Matty Waters curled a corner in that appeared to strike home centre back Baird before nestling in the back of the net. Grand's lack of celebration suggesting that it was indeed an own goal... 3-1 was how it was to end and the Blues now move on to FC United of Manchester on Tuesday night before the big kick off.

Trafford: Cooper, Sheridan (Farrell 57), Amado, Taylor (Palmer 65), Baird, O’Brien (Moore 72), Wynne, Davidson (Schofield 65), Salmon (Rydings 65), Johnson (Nyaypembe 57), Palma (Grimshaw 57).

Chester: Griffiths, Jackson (Morgan 75), Taylor (Waters 75), Grand, Livesey (Jones 80), K Roberts, G Roberts (Burton 80), Stopforth, Mahon (Hughes 78), Elliott (Asante 65), Dudley (Waring 75). Subs not used: T Roberts."

From Harrogate Town we learn that "An outstanding first half performance helped Town end pre-season on a high with a 4-0 win over National League North Spennymoor Town at The CNG Stadium.

Brendan Kiernan got the ball rolling after just five minutes, poking home from close range, before Will Smith glanced Joe Leesley's free kick past Matthew Gauld to put his side two up ten minutes in.

Leesley then got in on the act himself as his right wing delivery nestled into the bottom corner, before crossing for Mark Beck to head home his fourth of pre-season and Town's fourth and final goal of the afternoon just before the half time whistle...

Despite the scoreline, Weaver rang the changes at half time, replacing Falkingham, Beck, Leesley, Kiernan and Muldoon with Lloyd Kerry, Sam Jones, Scott Brown, George Thomson and Jon Stead...

Spennymoor: Gould, William, Brogan (Ramshaw 31), Chandler, Mason, Curtis, McKenna (Greenwood 67), Ward, Boyes (Anderson 59), Roberts, Johnson (Hall 45). Subs not used: Ramshaw, Buddle, Trialist".

Harriers Online reports on Halesowen Town 4 Harriers 1. The Harriers U23s, plus Jimmy O’Connor and Richard Peniket, travelled to The Grove for the final pre-season friendly and were soundly dispatched by a Halesowen Town side...

Despite the comfortable scoreline, the game was actually evenly contested for the opening half hour or so... One sensed the hosts easing off the gas a little as substitutions disjointed the game and the Harriers began to have a couple of forays forward in the final quarter of the game. One such foray led to the goal. Jaiden White was bundled over on the angle of the box and, dusting himself down, whipped a cross-cum-shot into the far corner of the net.

What have we learnt? The kids aren’t all right, yet. We’re a few players short of anything resembling squad depth and the season starts next week...

Line up: Palmer, D Lowth, Dutton, O’Connor, Higginson, Hall, Scott, Fuller, Peniket, Trialist, White. Subs: Mountjoy (gk), Brooks, S. Lowth, Fenlon, Rawlins".

The Northern Echo says that "Darlington could take plenty of encouragement from their final friendly of the summer after they beat Middlesbrough’s under-23s... Quakers played some good football in a thoroughly deserved 3-0 victory...

Not that there were many supporters present with the attendance being 357, many fans no doubt deciding against an afternoon in the rain. However, those that stayed away missed out on Darlington’s best friendly performance this summer, one that manager Alun Armstrong was very pleased with.

He selected an almost full-strength side with Omar Holness being his only trialist, while Jamie Holmes was among the substitutes as he only returned from a holiday on Friday. Holmes being on the bench meant on-loan Tyrone O’Neill was in the starting XI in the front-three, leaving Stephen Thompson to play on the left of midfield and Quakers’ captain missed a chance to score on 11 minutes when he had a penalty saved.

Awarded after Jarret Rivers had been tripped by Nathan Dale, Thompson’s penalty was saved by goalkeeper Zach Hemming, who had a spell on loan to Darlington last season...

Thompson made a big impact and he set up the first goal on 28 minutes, getting to the byline and pulling the ball across where it was turned home at close-range by either Rivers or a Middlesbrough defender for an own goal. There was no doubting the identity of the second goal, scored on 34 minutes when the nimble-footed Adam Campbell made himself a nuisance in the penalty area, and the ball broke kindly for O’Neill to beat Hemming.

The best goal of the day was the third, coming four minutes into the second half with Campbell and O’Neill both involved. They combined well through the middle before Rivers was presented with a chance, and his calm finish made it 3-0.

The game lost some tempo on the hour when Darlington made four substitutions, among them Justin Donawa, Osagi Bascome, Holmes, and former Quaker Josh Heaton who played as a trialist and made an immediate positive impression...

Darlington: Elliott; Trotman, Laing (Heaton 60), Galbraith, Liddle; Holness (Holliday 73), Hatfield (Bascome 60), Thompson (Bell 73); Rivers (Donawa 60), Campbell (Tyrell 79), O’Neill (Holmes 60). Subs (not used): Wheatley, Hall (gk)".

And the Northern Echo adds that "Darlington are considering re-signing free agent Josh Heaton, 12 months after selling him for £75,000. The centre-back played as a trialist in today’s pre-season friendly, used as a second-half substitute... The league season begins next weekend at Farsley Celtic, by which time Heaton may have returned to Darlington a year after being sold to St Mirren.

The transfer was worth £75,000 and the Buddies’ biggest in over 25 years, but he made just two appearances north of the border and, after ending last season on loan to Kidderminster Harriers, Heaton was released this summer. Preston-based Heaton has recently been training with Harrogate Town but, after alerting Alun Armstrong about his availability, the 22-year-old was back in Quakers colours today.

Aftere today's match, Armstrong said 'I’ll have a chat with Josh now. He got in touch and who wouldn’t be interested in him? He has played at this level and he is comfortable. I’ve been speaking to Josh for a couple of weeks now. I’ve said to him that we could look at something, he would be useful, that is for definite... He wouldn’t be guaranteed a place,. If he wants to come he would have to fight for his place and he would learn from people like Laingy.

'He really enjoyed it today, he settled in straight away... Maybe it’s something that would benefit both parties.'

Louis Laing and Terry Galbraith will start the season as Armstrong’s preferred centre-back options, with midfielder David Atkinson and left-back Jordan Watson providing cover.

But Armstrong added: “People might think overloaded with centre-halvess but we’re not. Today I only had two with Atky and Jordan injured. If anything had happened to Laingy or Tez we would’ve been knackered.'”

In the Nottingham Post we learn that "Notts County suffered defeat at the hands of York City... The Magpies lost 3-1 at Bootham Crescent with the Conference North side worthy winners under manager Steve Watson.

They opened the scoring in the first half when Dan Maguire opened the scoring when he latched onto a miss-hit shot from David Ferguson. Notts created little in the opening 45 minutes and fell further behind after the break although it was self-inflicted. Trialist Kyel Reid got caught trying to dribble his way out of defence which allowed Alex Kempster to play in Macauley Langstaff for York’s second.

Notts continued to plug away in the hope of getting themselves back into the game and it was left to Pierce Bird to reduce the deficit when he headed in Mitch Rose’s cross. But any hope of a comeback was quickly wiped out by the Minstermen who made it 3-1 when Kempster scored with a powerful header".

Gateshead "secured a 3-1 win in their final game of pre-season over ten-man Scarborough Athletic. Connor Oliver put the Heed ahead after just three minutes with a fine free-kick, before Paul Blackett doubled the lead just after the hour mark with a one-on-one finish.

Flynn McNaughton pulled one back for the Seadogs with 17 minutes remaining, but it proved fruitless as JJ O’Donnell added a third from the spot, before Jordan Deacey’s red card, to secure a third straight win for Gateshead.

Player-manager Mike Williamson opted to make two changes from Tuesday night’s win over Harrogate Town, bringing himself and Elliot Forbes into the side in place of Trialist and Danny Greenfield...

Gateshead XI: James; Barrow, Lees, Williamson, Nicholson; Oliver (Greenfield, 54’); Olley, Agnew, Forbes, Thomson (O’Donnell, 45’); Blackett (Trialist, 83’). Unused subs: Guthrie, Trialist, Trialist, Cranston".

27 July, 2019


One goal in 74 competitive appearances is midfielder Sean Williams's tally in an Alty shirt but he struck home two superb freekicks against AFC Fylde in this friendly played at a sodden J. Davidson Stadium.

Above: Nathan Arnold (no.11) nets the opening goal.

Before his goals, Sean's tenth-minute tackle had brought him a booking and prompted a melee. But the game settled down and a finely worked goal saw Altrincham take the lead in the 27th minute, when Nathan Arnold's well-placed shot beat Fylde's new keeper Montgomery. The goal came after ex-Coaster Tom Hannigan had started a move which, via Conor Branson and John Johnston, was completed impressively by the former Grimsby and Lincoln winger.

Above: No.10 Sean Williams's second freekick makes it 3-1.

A foul on Simon Richman, who was having a fine game till injury was to curtail his game in the second half, gave Alty a freekick six minutes before the interval. From the "D" of the Fylde box, Williams's low freekick found the corner of the net to double the home side's lead.

AFC Fylde had the better of the second half, winning no fewer than eleven corners. But they only managed to convert one of the flag-kicks. That came when the ball came out to an unmarked Danny Rowe whose low shot beat Drench in the 53rd minute.

Fifteen minutes from time a foul on James Jones, again in the Fylde "D", saw Williams smite another fine freekick into the net, this time off the keeper's left-hand post to make it 3-1.

Match report here.


Altrincham entertain AFC Fylde today (Saturday) in the final home pre-season game at the J. Davidson Stadium.

Before matchday, AFC Fylde reported that "The Coasters have boosted in key areas this afternoon, with the double signing of Goalkeeper James Montgomery, and utility player James Craigen. The duo become the Coasters' 8th and 9th signings of the summer, following on from most business conducted back in May.

In the midst of the UK heatwave, the lads took to the beach in Lytham, after the idea of using the iconic windmill was pitched by a supporter.

Montgomery, 25, joins the Coasters from Forest Green Rovers, who he joined last summer from Gateshead. He made 25 appearances for Rovers in all competitions last year, a number which would have been more if not for a freak injury that kept him sidelined...

'He’s been one on our list for three years really, but once someone moves up into the Football League, you know it will be tough to pull it off,' said Challinor. 'Ultimately we needed to replace one very good keeper with another very good keeper and we’ve done that.'

Born in Sunderland, Montgomery first made his name at Telford [where he twice played against Alty], before his switch to Gateshead in 2017.

James Craigen, 28, joins Fylde following his departure from Dunfermline, where he made 48 appearances... His experience in Scottish football started at Partick Thistle, where he made 65 appearances in the Scottish Premiership, before moves to Raith Rovers and Falkirk...

'James is one who has been off the radar a little bit up in Scotland, but being from Preston originally, he wanted to get back down here,' said Challinor. 'His big thing for us is his versatility,' he continues. 'Although he can play as a holding midfielder, he played as a full-back last year, and that gives us great options.'".

As reported here earlier, in their most recent outing, "The Coasters recorded back-to-back pre-season victories, after a 4-1 win at Broadhurst Park saw them overturn FC United". As usual admission for Altrincham FC season ticket holders will be free for this pre-season game whilst prices on the turnstiles will be:

  • Adults - £8
  • Concessionaries - £5
  • Under-16s - £2
  • Under-12s - Free


Altrincham FC official caterer, Richie Bentley, writes that "Last year, my wife Katy and I discovered our son Cooper, 3, [pictured, right] would be growing up with a disability. Simply put, things will be different for him than his four sisters. My wife has found the charity Ruby's Fund to be of amazing help to both ourselves and many Cheshire residents whose children have a variety of different needs.

I'm so proud to have them at the club today [for the match with AFC Fylde] as the first charity of our new season. The mascot for today's game is actually Ruby's brother, who is football mad. Please give generously to the bucket collections and if you have any questions, or know anybody who may have young children who need help, the charity's volunteers and staff will be in the Sports Hall.... with Cooper and a few other amazing children.

Thanks to all Altrincham FC fans and see you soon.



The NWYA Premier league fixtures for August have ben released:
  • 06/08/19 F.C. St. Helens v Altrincham FC Res.
  • 13/08/19 Altrincham FC Res. v Middlewich Town @ Egerton Youth Club
  • 20/08/19 18:30 Knutsford FC v Altrincham FC Res. @ Knutsford First
  • 27/08/19 18:30 Altrincham FC Res. v Lostock Gralam @ Egerton Youth Club

The FA also reports that on 3 August (at 2pm), in the CFL Memorial Cup at Egerton Youth Club, Mereheath Lane, Knutsford WA16 6SL, Altrincham Reserbes entertain Whaley Bridge Athletic.


Next Tuesday, 30 July, Altrincham visit Shawe View on Tuesday to play their neighbours Trafford FC in the Robins' final pre-season game.

Today (Saturday) Trafford host Alty's league rivals, Chester FC.

Admission prices for Trafford's friendlies are £5 for adults and £3 for concessionaries.


No fewer than three former Altrincham players have signed up for West Didsbury and Chorlton FC of the Hallmark Scurity (NW Counties) League for 2019-20.

They are goalkeeper Andrew Jones (right), right-back Matt Cook and midfielder Callum Jones.

As well as playing in various cup matches, Andrew has been named in the first-team squad on many occasions and made his league debut for Alty as a substitute for Tim Deasy at Darlington on 1 March 2017.

Matt Cook was a used substitute in the CSC tie against Congleton Town last season, and he also made 21(+1) league appearances for Altrincham reserves in 2018-19.

Callum Jones made 25 league starts for the Reserves last season, as well as starting the CSC tie against Congleton Town last season. In 2017-18 he made 5(+1) starts for the first team, all in cup competitions, including the FA Trophy.


AFC Telford United "are set to complete the signing of Coventry goalkeeper Corey Addai on a month’s loan. The goalkeeper will join the Bucks next week subject to competition of paperwork.

The Sky Blues beat a host of rival clubs to sign the promising 6ft 4ins tall goalkeeper from Arsenal in 2014. The 21 year-old initially signed a two-year apprenticeship before becoming back up for the first team goalkeeper during the 2017/18 season.

Addai enjoyed some loan spells at Hendon FC and Dulwich Hamlet as well as Mickleover Sports."

Boston United "have made another eye-catching swoop into the transfer market to recruit York City striker Jake Wright on a long-term loan deal.

The 22-year-old, who made a big impression during a month's loan with the Pilgrims last season, is back with United until January initially... He will be eligible to feature against Chester FC on the opening day of the season next weekend.

Wright won promotion from National League North with Harrogate Town in 2017-2018, alongside the likes of Jordan Thewlis and Dominic Knowles, and scored twice in four appearances on loan with the Pilgrims last season... United boss Craig Elliott said, 'He is a player who did well for us during his brief loan spell here last season and I am now looking forward to working with him for an extended period'".

At Hereford FC "Experienced defender Jared Hodgkiss has agreed a deal to join The Bulls for the coming season after impressing during a number of pre-season friendlies.

'I’ve enjoyed the games that I’ve played here in pre-season and I’m looking forward to getting the season started next week. “I know a few of the players here and they’ve all said what a good set up it is. The conversations that I’ve had with Tim and Marc have been encouraging as well, so I’m really excited', Hodgkiss added.

Hereford FC Head of Football Tim Harris says that Marc Richards and himself have been pleased with what they’ve seen. 'We’ve been very encouraged by his experience, leadership and what we’ve seen during the games he has played in'...

Hodgkiss, a former West Brom trainee made over 160 appearances for Forest Green Rovers between 2009-2014 before making close to 100 appearances for Kidderminster Harriers. Recently Hodgkiss was a vital part of the Macclesfield Town National League promotion-winning side in 2017/18, making over 30 appearances during their successful season. Last season he made 20 appearances in League 2 for Sol Campbell’s side."

From Bradford City "George Sykes-Kenworthy has joined National League North side Guiseley on a youth loan.

The Nethermoor Park outfit, who City defeated 2-0 in their opening pre-season friendly on July 6, have secured the services of the young goalkeeper until at least September 3.

The 19-year-old appeared for the Lions as a trialist in aforementioned fixture."

NL Daily reports that "Signing for the club in March, Bermuda’s Osagi Bascome got a significant glimpse of life in the National League North at the end of last season with Darlington. The attacking midfielder/forward has spent time in the respective academy set-ups of Aston Villa, Levante, Valencia, Bristol City and Stoke City, as well as featuring for Massanassa in Spain. The 21-year-old was a player Darlington finance director John Woolnough, a Darlo native who joined the club in February, was well aware of, having previously lived in (and even played cricket for) Bermuda himself.

Returning fresh from the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer, he was part of the Bermuda side that competed well...

Bascome said 'I was used to playing a certain way but I kind of had to adapt. I just think the tempo really, not just the physicality part. The tempo is much quicker, you have less time on the ball, people are getting stuck in a lot, using their body better. The players have fully grown into their body so you have to be quick on the ball...

'I think going to Spain had a big impact on my life, especially the style of football there; they like to play and I think it suited me very good. I just got very unlucky, had a few injuries, so I got a few setbacks. I just thought it was time for a change, a change of scenery, so I decided to come over to England...

'I’m very relaxed but I do want to have a good season under my belt and show my ability, show my worth and what I’m capable of. So I just hope it’s an exciting season, especially for the fans, because they deserve it'"

According to Cheshire Live "It's been three months since George Delves took on the general manager role at Chester FC.

Joining from Tamworth, where he had served as chief operating officer, Delves has taken on a role that sits in between those held by former Chester chief executive Mark Maguire and ex-Blues general manager Tony Allan.

Delves, who hails from Leicestershire but has now relocated to Upton to take on the role, has been getting grips to a different way of working within the confines of fan ownership, something which he has embraced...

He told Cheshire Live 'It's been about getting to know as many people as I can... It is essentially a role which has been carved up among staff, volunteers and directors in a million different directions. It has been about piecing those things together and making sure there is clarity on who reports to who.

'In the short term from a football point of view the administration of things in pre-season, player registrations and contracts is very time consuming and we are at the back end of that period now...

And Delves revealed that the club were exploring avenues of getting more man hours into the Deva, with a potential partnership with the University College of Football Business (UCFB), based at the Etihad campus in Manchester, currently on the agenda...

'From a revenue generation point of view we are looking to make savings on certain things and we have some agreements that are in their final year that we may be putting out to tender that we are looking to change that are quite big deals, the kit supplier being one. We need to increase non-matchday revenue and there isn't a magic wand for that. A lot is dependent on facility so we are in a little bit of a grey area until that gets a bit more clarity about where we are going with that side of things.

'I was listening to an interview with Colin Gordon, the Kidderminster Harriers chairman, who said that if you are looking to survive and compete with just bums on seats then those days are gone. The clubs that thrive are the ones who have a source of finance away from attendances and we have got to move towards that and I've got to look at ways that can be done'".

26 July 2019


In the Sale & Altrincham Messenger John Edwards reports that "Nathan Arnold has been backed to give Altrincham the X factor this coming season after showing glimpses of his match-winning flair in their last two friendlies against Blackpool and Stockport County.

The former Lincoln City forward, snapped up by manager Phil Parkinson earlier this summer, hit the post with an opportunistic 20-yard snapshot in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Blackpool and set up Alty’s goal in Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat to County with some eye-catching footwork...

'I brought Nathan here to give us that bit of X factor,' said the Robins' boss. 'People are used to seeing players who can run past defenders or dribble round them but, with Nathan, I have recruited someone who will give us end product. He might not always be easy on the eye but, when he shines, he shines brightly. He will create chances and stick them away... He might not do much for a while, but then he will produce something out of the blue'...

Another recent signing, centre-back Toby Mullarkey [left], also impressed and appears to face a straight fight with James Jones for a starting place alongside Tom Hannigan for the league opener against York City a week on Saturday.

'He looked the part, bringing the ball out from the back, and he also looked very assured defensively,' added Parkinson. '’I think everyone can see he and James will be slogging it out, because Tom looks pretty much nailed-on at the moment, though that could change in the next couple of games. You never know, but it does look a case of who can be the more consistent out of those two. Three at the back could be an option as well, because they are all so mobile. We’ll see.'"


Alty TV has video of the goals from the match between Altrincham and Stockport County, last Tuesday.

The highlights clearly show that Alty's goal was an own goal as Nathan Arnold's effort deflected off, first Minihan, and then Jackson, before entering the net.


There is an interview with Altrincham goalkeeper Steven Drench [right], conducted by Aiden Beswick, on the Altrincham FC official website.

As well as discussing last Tuesday's game, Drench explains what his spring/summer injury problem was and how it has been resolved.


For the second Saturday in succession a team from the west of Lancashire visits Alty as Blackpool's visit last week is followed by the arrival of the leading club from their neighbouring borough, AFC Fylde.

AFC Fylde's last visit to Altrincham was the biggest nail in the coffin of manager Neil Young as the visitors cruised to a 6-0 win at Moss Lane in 2016. AFC Fylde went on to gain promotion at the end of that campaign.

With Alty in the NPL in 2017-18, AFC Fylde were plying their trade in the National League proper that season. And The Coasters narrowly missed out on promotion to the Football League through defeat in the play-offs last season.

Their squad on Saturday is likely to include Ashley Hemmings, who impressed as a loanee at Altrincham last season.


Only two trialists were named in Tuesday night's Altrincham squad against Stockport County; one was Adam Morgan (see yesterday's news below), the other was Lewis Salmon [right], who played in Alty's pre-season games against the club's youth team and at Whitchurch Alport, on 6 July.

Indeed, Lewis scored in the match against the youth team and would probably also have scored against Alport had not Conor Branson slid in first to convert the chance.

Lewis was also named on the bench for the friendlies against Crewe Alexandra and Stockport County but did not take part in either of those matches.

Born on 2 November 2001, he is a striker who spent his early years with Manchester United and Port Vale. He then joined Leek Town and, more recently, Hanley Town.

Our neighbours, Trafford FC, signed him very recently and he played for them last Saturday. It is thought that Altrincham will continue to monitor his progress at Shawe View, not least when Alty meet Trafford next Tuesday, a match in which, presumably, we will see him in action once more.


The Northern Premier League reports that its "chairman Mark Harris has paid tribute to the league's late president, Noel White. The below words were read by Mr Harris at the funeral of Mr White, who died after a long illness on June 30, aged 89.

'It’s my privilege to pay tribute to a true legend of British football. One of the very few to travel all the way from non-league football to the very pinnacle of the game... I am going to talk about what Noel did for non-league football and Altrincham Football Club in particular.

Noel and his business partner Peter Swales took over Alty in February 1961. The club was struggling at the foot of The Cheshire League and on the verge of bankruptcy. Noel and Peter had been invited by Robins’ secretary Harry Wood to get involved with the club. They subsequently bought up the un-issued share capital, with Peter becoming chairman and Noel vice-chairman and general secretary.

Managing to keeping the club afloat, no mean task, things began to look up in the mid 60s. Freddie Pye was appointed manager and centre-forward Jackie Swindells scored 82 goals in his first season to help Alty lift the first of two Cheshire League titles.

In 1968 Alty became founder members of the Northern Premier League. By this time Noel had become chairman at Moss Lane after Peter left for Manchester City. Noel focussed his energies on getting the club promoted to the Football League. It truth, it wasn't until the 1970s that lift-off was achieved. After that, Altrincham enjoyed a run of un-paralleled success that earned them the nickname of ‘The Manchester United of non-league’.

Above: Noel White, as depicted in the FA Cup replay programme for the match against Tottenham Hotspur in 1979.

Everton and Blackburn Rovers were taken to replays on their own grounds. Over 35,000 fans attended the Everton replay at Old Trafford. As other directors of the time (and their cheque book stubs) will confirm, the secret to Robins on-field success was simple; they bought the best players.

Under manager Tony Sanders, they added to talent like Graham Heathcote, Stan Allan and John Davison, legends such as John King, John Rogers, Jeff Johnson and Barry Howard.

According to Noel, when signing John King, the target was to 'win us the Cheshire Senior Cup, John'. That target was not just beaten, it was obliterated. Between 1978 and 1982 the Robins had a better FA Cup record than any team outside the top two divisions of professional football. The team reached the 3rd round of the FA Cup four years running, playing Tottenham and Liverpool along the way.

Noel also recognised the importance of commercial revenue to his club. He pioneered the concept of sporting dinners... Then there were the golf days, Chinese evenings and annual dinners at Manchester’s Piccadilly Hotel. Uniquely, Noel was instrumental in setting up not one, but two non-league competitions...

Later, a chance meeting between Peter and John Nash, chairman of Kettering Town and the Southern League led to the creation of the Northern Premier League in 1968. Noel served as President until his passing. I am the chairman of the Northern Premier League and can honestly say we owe Noel everything.

In 1979, he did it again, being instrumental in the setting up of the Alliance Premier League, known today as the National League. Alty were founder members and won the competition in both of its first two years. But the club failed to secure election to the Football League under the old system, missing out by a single vote in 1982 when the Luton chairman got lost en-route to the crucial meeting and another changed his mind at the last moment.

It was a devastating blow to Noel personally and to the football club. By the time that Alty had become only the second non-league team to beat a top-flight team on their own ground, Noel become frustrated by the closed-shop attitude of football league clubs. In the summer of 1986, after 25 years and 2 weeks he left Moss Lane to become a director at Liverpool.

Ironically, that summer automatic promotion and relegation to the Football League was finally agreed. Although no longer at the helm, Noel was appointed President of Altrincham FC, another post he held until his passing'".


According to NL Daily "Joel Carta can’t wait to test himself in the Vanarama National League North after he signed for Kettering Town this week. The Poppies made their second raid of the summer on Corby Town for the latest addition to their squad as the midfielder followed Connor Kennedy in swapping Steel Park for Latimer Park.

Carta was one of the stars of last season for the Steelmen as he scored 28 goals in all competitions after signing for them this time last year. The 21-year-old has now been snapped up by Kettering as they prepare for life at a higher level...

'I’d been speaking to people at Kettering and, in particular, Luke Graham and I came to look at the set-up and I liked it,' Carta said... 'For me, it’s a step up two levels and it’s a chance for me to test myself and that’s what I want', he told the Northants Telegraph.

The Telegraph & Argus informs us that "Marcus Bignot hailed his contrasting pre-seasons at Guiseley, saying he hopes to add three more players to his squad in time for the new season.

The Lions joint-manager, who joined last year, says this year's pre-season has been more football-focused... compared to last summer when the club had to negotiate the exits of a number of players following relegation.

Bignot says his side's pre-season friendly programme, which has varied between Championship opposition in Leeds United to Parkside, of Northern Counties East Football League Division One, who they defeated 4-0 on Tuesday. Guiseley's goals coming from Tabish Hussain, Aram Soleman, Aaron Martin and Kaine Felix. This midweek victory followed a 2-2 draw with Stockport County on Saturday, with Guiseley's strikes coming from Scott Garner and Gabriel Johnson.

Guiseley have their final friendly at home this Saturday when they face South Shields but Bignot says he is looking to split the squad and set up an away friendly, also for this Saturday...

Bignot says... 'We are really happy with our recruitment and the direction the group is going. As a management, staff recruitment is key. We are seeing it out on the pitch. We still have got a few players to come in. We still have three areas of the squad that we need to add to. I'm confident we will get 90 per cent of that business done in time for the first game. We're really happy with how pre-season has gone at this stage. We are into week five of pre-season.

'We're ready for the first league game... I'm absolutely delighted. There has been a process to the pre-season. It has been two contrasting pre-seasons. Last year we were negotiating with players to leave the football club. The group now feels ready for the King's Lynn game on the first day of the season'"

AFC Telford United announce the signing of Doug Tharme from Wrexham FC. The Wirral-born defender joins the Bucks on loan until January.

The youngster landed at the Racecourse Ground at under-16s' level and his progression allowed him to eventually be seen in first-team contention during the 2017/18 campaign... He made his senior debut in an FA Trophy tie against Harrogate Town in December 2017. In the summer of 2018 Tharme signed his first professional contract but was restricted to just five appearances last season with the Welsh club...

Boss Gavin Cowan spoke to the club website following the signing of the 19 year old, '“We’ve been tracking Doug since last season so we have been aware of him for some while... He is another signing that will make us more competitive'".

Spennymoor Town "has made two changes to its board structure following a stream of exciting announcements regarding the playing squad and ground developments. ,P> Former Moors centre back Paul Johnson has joined the board as Financial Director and Adam Brown has joined as Marketing and Communications Director to complete a four-person board alongside Debra Swinburn, who has autonomy over all Legal and Compliance matters, and Tony Wilson, Managing Director.

The new pair replace Ian Walker and David Mills, who have been with the club for the last 12 months as Directors. They helped build the club’s management team and lay solid foundations ahead of this season, including work on the ground developments currently taking place.

Brad Groves, Chief Executive, said 'I’m delighted with these two appointments, both of whom work with me at GAS. This allows strategic and tactical decisions to be made on an almost instant basis, which is what the club currently needs with the pace it is improving both on and off the field.'

Johnson played two seasons at the heart of the Moors Defence from 2014 to 2016 and has worked at Great Annual Savings Group (GAS) since the start of this period as a Management Accountant. He has also been working off the pitch for Spennymoor during this time, running the club’s financial processes for the last five years.

Brown has been with Spennymoor for three years as Head of Media and PR after initially working on the social media during the infamous [sic] 2013 FA Vase-winning season".

At Gateshead "Paul Blackett revealed his delight at scoring his first Gateshead goal in Tuesday’s pre-season win over Harrogate Town.

Mike Williamson’s side came into their penultimate pre-season friendly fresh off the back of a 4-2 win at Hebburn Town last Friday evening, and started against Harrogate with confidence... Blackett netted from the penalty spot to hand Gateshead a 1-0 win, their second consecutive pre-season victory...

The 21-year-old, who spent time with Newcastle Benfield last season, was delighted to get off the mark for the Heed from the penalty spot... Blackett, a Newcastle United academy product, is looking forward to facing Scarborough on Saturday".

Chester FC "are back in action at the Deva Stadium as the newly formed fan-owned CPD Bangor 1876 visit.

The Blues captured the Supporters Direct Shield on Tuesday with a 4-1 victory at 1874 Northwich. Anthony Dudley’s brace took him to five goals in five games, with Simon Grand and Danny Elliott also hitting the back of the net...

This is the start of three games in three days for Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s side. It is expected some younger players will play tonight, but also a strong core of first teamers who need minutes...

Joint Boss Bernard Morley told the press, 'We’ll be strong for Bangor. The likes of Akwasi, Matty Hughes, Brad Jackson, Matty Waters, they’ll all be playing. Lads who need minutes. James Jones had concussion (picked up in win over Newquay) but he’s back in training and his two weeks is up. Brad Jackson had impact against Carlisle. He probably could have played (against 1874 Northwich) but with 11 days to go it was a case of giving him another 48 hours rest and he’ll play a part at Bangor.'"

From Boston United we learn that "Boston United are planning to recognise the older element of their fanbase as the club prepare to bid farewell to York Street.

Club officials are actively seeking 'Lifelong Pilgrim' nominations for the season ahead as a move away from York Street edges closer.

It's part of an enhanced matchday experience which will be rolled out for the 2019-2020 campaign.

United chairman David Newton said 'I was chatting to one of our supporters at a game last season and he was talking about a supporter who had followed the club for many years and that it would be good to recognise the loyalty shown.

'I thought it was a great idea so now I look forward to welcoming some of our long-standing supporters to the new Club 85 to thank them for their valued support over such a long period, including the ups and the downs!...

One 'Lifelong Pilgrim' will be invited to each first team fixture, alongside a guest, to sample United's new Club 85 offering in the Cropley's Lounge".


Altrincham played an enjoyable game at Atherton Collieries this pre-season and, now, the BBC reports that "Kuwait, 156th in Fifa's world rankings, beat non-league Marlow in a friendly earlier this month... But have Atherton Collieries, a non-league club near Wigan, pulled off an even bigger coup?

The Colls, who play in the seventh-tier Northern Premier League Premier Division, landed a friendly with one of the top teams in Saudi Arabia. Not only that they beat al-Ittihad 2-0 in front of more than 700 fans, double their average league attendance, on Wednesday after goals by Matt Grimshaw and a trialist.

Al-Ittihad are the eight-time champions of Saudi Arabia, two-time Asia Champions' League winners and finished fourth at the 2005 Fifa Club World Cup. They were recently managed by newly appointed West Brom boss Slaven Bilic... They play at the 62,000-capacity King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, a world away from Colls' 2,500-capacity Alder House, where the friendly took place.

Al-Ittihad are currently based in nearby Bolton for a series of friendlies against Leeds, Bury and Bolton, and wanted to fit in one last match before returning to Jeddah.

Colls' boss Michael Clegg said 'I know it's only pre-season and people think it doesn't mean anything, but this was a massive game for the club'".


Welsh Premier reports that "The Football Association of Wales has announced a new brand identity and sponsorship deal for the top two tiers of the men’s domestic game. Forty-five clubs from across the country will come together as one community, under a new identity: the Cymru Leagues.

‘Cymru Premier’, the newly named top tier of Welsh football will form the peak of the new pyramid system. ‘Cymru North’ and ‘Cymru South’ replaces the Huws Gray Alliance and Welsh League Division 1 respectively, with both leagues coming under the FAW’s jurisdiction for the first time.

JD will continue their support of Welsh domestic football by becoming the title sponsor of all three divisions, which will henceforth be known as the JD Cymru Premier, JD Cymru North and JD Cymru South, with JD Cymru Leagues becoming the overarching name for the leagues.

The three leagues encompass every corner of Wales, which is why the new bilingual naming system places ‘Cymru’ at the heart of Welsh football. Alongside the naming system, a new visual identity has been created for the leagues. A key component of the FAW’s brand identity, the daffodil, has previously been used to represent the 11 players of the national teams and will now be incorporated within the Cymru Leagues.

Seven daffodils, each representing one of the seven leagues of Welsh domestic football’s top three tiers, upon completion of the pyramid restructure, come together to form the striking ball logo".

25 July 2019


Match report here.

Above: Jordan Hulme claimed the Alty goal against Stockport County on Tuesday night.

Manager Phil Parkinson reviewed the match for the official Altrincham FC website.

For their part, Stockport County reported that "County came from behind at local rivals Altrincham on Tuesday night to record a fourth win in five pre-season games, as goals from Connor Dimaio and Elliot Osborne sealed a fifth straight win over the Robins.

The Hatters made just two changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Guiseley on Saturday, with Dimaio taking the place of Osborne in the number 10 position, whilst Ben Jackson was selected at left-back, having been given permission by his parent club to play. Recently re-signed Darren Stephenson took a place on the bench.

County won all four games against Alty last season without conceding a goal, and it was Jim Gannon’s men who started the brighter with two efforts in the opening five minutes... Despite the fast start, the game entered something of a lull in the opening exchanges, with both teams visibly struggling in the sweltering heat...

The hosts took the lead, Jordan Hulme [or an own goal?] taking advantage of a goalmouth scramble to poke the ball under Ben Hinchliffe and in to the net, the first time County have fallen behind in pre-season.

County needed a response and, just eight minutes later, they provided it, Dimaio taking advantage of a poor clearance from Paul Turnbull’s free-kick to take the ball down and drill the ball home expertly to draw The Hatters level...

County seized control in the second half... County had stepped it up a level since the break and deservedly edged in front with ten minutes to go, as Osborne’s shimmied the ball on to his right foot before firing across goal and in to the corner with a little bit of help from the woodwork on its way in... The Hatters held out comfortably, to leave both sets of fans at the J Davidson Stadium with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu".


Altrincham host AFC Fylde on Saturday (27th).

AFC Fylde "recorded back-to-back pre-season victories, after a 4-1 win at Broadhurst Park saw them overturn FC United on a hot summer’s evening... It wasn’t long before they took the lead, courtesy of a Danny Rowe cracker. Almost thirty yards from goal, Rowe was afforded too much space and, with minimum backlift, fired an unstoppable effort low into the bottom corner beyond the outstretched Wharton.

Right: Ashley Hemmings was a loanee at Alty from AFC Fylde last season.

This started the ball rolling, and just four minutes later the post denied Mark Yeates his first goal of pre-season... Willoughby had something to prove back at his old stomping ground... [adding] Fylde’s second of the evening, firing an effort from distance which deflected past Wharton, and into the net.

With half-time looming, the Coasters soon effectively ended the game as a contest, as Mark Yeates pinpoint delivery found Dan Bradley in the penalty box. Bradley neatly controlled, before slotting beyond Wharton from close range, extending the lead to three goals at the interval...

The Coasters looked to finish off FC United, and the trio of Yeates, Rowe and Willoughby in particular looked most likely to make that happen... With changes made by both sides, the game took somewhat of a downturn in intensity...

Yeates was found on the right wing in acres of space, choosing to cut the ball across the penalty box to Kosylo, who was there to execute a simple left-footed finish. It seemed as if this would be the final say on the matter, until in the dying moments an FC United corner was cleared to the edge of the box, and the feet of Carney. Carney shimmied inside before unleashing a low effort into the bottom right corner of the goal, giving new goalkeeper Montgomery no chance.

With their final pre-season game coming at Altrincham on Saturday, things appear to be ticking along nicely.

AFC Fylde: Montgomery, Montrose (C), Duxbury, Byrne, Jameson, Rowe, Philliskirk, Bradley, Yeates, Willoughby, Craigen. Subs: Whitmore, Kosylo, Croasdale, Williams, Burke, Hemmings, Lavercombe, Haughton."


Alty's final pre-season game, next Tuesday, is at Shawe View from there Trafford report on a 0-2 home defeat by Curzon Ashton last Saturday. Trafford are playing three National League North sides this summer.

"Trafford fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of a Curzon Ashton Xl in front of a sparse crowd... New signing Lewis Salmon [who, curiously, was on the Alty bench this Tuesday] squandered two great early chances for the hosts, firing straight at goalkeeper Mark McCoy when he broke clear and then firing high and wide from six yards when McCoy fumbled a Kayde Coppin drive.

Left: Laurence Taylor.

In the 17th minute the visitors forged ahead with a fortuitous goal, Trafford skipper Sam Egerton turning the ball past his own keeper following a cross from the right.

Danny O’Brien almost made it two when he shot weakly at Matt Cooper but just a minute before the interval Curzon struck again when a deep corner from the right was headed home at the back post by Andy Halls.

Trafford created the better chances in a scrappy second half, Darius Palma seeing his drive deflected over in the 58th minute and then Adam Rooney heading inches wide following a fine cross by Palma.

Trafford entertain Chester FC on Saturday kick off 3 p.m. before playing host to great friends and neighbours Altrincham on Tuesday 30th July, kick off 7-45 p.m.

TRAFFORD TEAM: Matt Cooper, Chris Palmer, Joel Amado, Laurence Taylor, Sam Egerton, Keil O'Brien, Lewis Salmon, Ross Davidson, Adam Farrell, Kade Coppin, Darius Palma. SUBS: Jordan Wynne, Declan Rydings, Adam Rooney, Jordan Johnson, Simon Hackney."


The Telegraph & Argus tells us that in the Bradford derby, the "Bantams pip Park Avenue on penalties" 3-2 after a goalless ninety minutes.

"In a temperature more akin to Honolulu than Horsfall... After a stronger Bradford City selection were beaten 2-1 by Bolton in a hastily-arranged private game in the morning" they took on a Park Avenue side.

Avenue had offered little threat but nearly went ahead after 49 minutes as half-time sub Elliot Holmes clipped the bar from outside the box. Garry Thompson had obviously had a word because there was more about the home side and O’Donnell did well to tip over a shot he saw late from Avenue assistant-boss Shaun Gardner.

Thompson brought himself on just after the hour, playing down the middle rather than on the wing where he was sung about at Valley Parade... City should have gone in front... Youngster Connor Shanks was knocked over in the Avenue box while chasing Patrick’s flick. Ismail stepped up to take the spot-kick but drilled it against the outside of the post...

But with nothing to separate the sides over 90 minutes, the annual clash for the Tom Banks memorial trophy had to be settled with a penalty shoot-out. It seemed neither side wanted to win it as only one of the first five spot-kicks was made [successfully], Ismail firing wide again and O’Donnell pulling off two saves.

But ultimately it was down to the youngsters as Elliot Goldthorp and Morris converted for City – before defender Reece Staunton smashed the decisive penalty into the top corner.

AVENUE: Andrew, Croft, Trialist, Lund, Moran, Trialist, Hurst, Hedley, Trialist, Gardner, Clark. Subs: Rathbone, Bennett, Holmes, Trialist, Wright, Thompson".

Curzon Ashton "were given a harsh reality check ahead of the new season as they fell to a 4-1 defeat at Tadcaster Albion. That came despite The Nash taking the lead early on through Jack Banister, but it was all downhill after conceding a cheap equaliser five minutes later.

The saving grace is that this is still only pre-season, but it leaves the coaching staff with much to work on before the new league campaign kicks off... Curzon began strongly with Robbie Evans and Liam Davies aggressively pushing forward in support of new signing Michael Elstone in attack. And Evans played a key role in the opening goal when he drove at the Tadcaster defence and laid the ball off for Brad Lynch, whose cross to the back post was cooly dispatched by Jack Banister.

The hosts retaliated well to that early setback and levelled the scores with 12 minutes played... Curzon struggled to impose themselves on the game after that and found themselves trailing going into the break when [ex-Alty loanee] Jonathon Margetts found space in the box and drilled a shot across Cam Mason and into the bottom corner.

As the second half progressed Curzon looked every inch a squad of players who haven't played together all that often, understandable given the amount of ins and outs there have been over the summer. Tadcaster were finding far too much space in the final third and deservedly extended their lead in the 63rd minute, Margetts again providing the finish... Jake Day put the final seal on an upset victory in the final minute of the game.

Curzon Ashton line-up: Mason (Lovell 85), Halls, Thornley (Shaw 67), Ali (Trialist 46), Cooke (Merrill 46), Wroe, Evans, Davies, Banister (Khoury 57), Lynch (Trialist 57), Elstone."

According to Gloucestershire Live "Midfielder Alex Hainault has become Gloucester City’s tenth summer signing. The Canadian has impressed during pre-season and played the full 90 minutes during their emphatic 7-1 pre-season win at Evesham.

Hainault, 28, played his college soccer in America with Saint Francis University. Following his graduation he played for Swedish sides Ytterhogdal IK and Gimo IF FK, before moving to the UK to further his education at Hartpury College, where he played locally for Westfields.

Hainault adds depth to Gloucester’s squad and could get further first experience elsewhere with the club saying they will be 'linking in with other local sides to progress his development.' He joins Jennison Myrie-Williams, Marlon Jackson, Fabien Robert, on-loan Birmingham City goalkeeper Zach Jeacock, Ioan Richards, Tom Handley, Jamie Bremner, Jack Spark and James Spruce as Gloucester’s summer signings."

From Gateshead we learn that "Mike Williamson believes progression through pre-season is the most important aspect following Tuesday evening’s 1-0 win over Harrogate Town. The Heed took the lead midway through the first half when Paul Blackett was fouled by James Belshaw inside the area, before the striker stepped up to convert the resulting spot-kick.

Harrogate came close on a number of occasions... but the hosts held on for their second consecutive win of pre-season...

'I feel every day we’re getting a bit better,' Williamson said... 'We still need a few more bodies through the door but they have to be the right people... It was good to get the win, but my attention is more on the process and making sure we’re understanding, improving and growing as a group and I believe the wins will take care of themselves from there.'

Tuesday’s win over National League opposition represented Gateshead’s first clean-sheet of pre-season".

Guiseley "announce the signing of Chesterfield striker Lee Shaw on a season long loan. 25 year-old Shaw was a trialist with Lincoln City when Chesterfield snapped him up in 2018 giving him a two year contract with the option of a further year.

Lee worked as a box packer in a factory for five years and had impressed as a prolific scorer with Grantham Town before Chesterfield signed him up... Shaw has been described as ‘being able to run all day’ and was primarily used as a winger and sometimes as a wing back. Lee will continue to train with Chesterfield during the day and will join Guiseley for their two evening training sessions."

York City "made it four wins in a row as they ousted South Shields 2-0 in their first pre-season friendly away from home with two penalties from Jordan Burrow... With a new-look squad they managed to grab a convincing win...

City struggled to get a look-in as Shields pushed on... The game was somewhat turned on its head when City were awarded a penalty on 21 minutes; Dan Maguire going down on the right hand side of the box and providing a great opportunity to spin the game in York’s favour. Jordan Burrow confidently stepped up and sent Liam Connell the wrong way...

Shields made three changes at the break; including the introduction of star signing Jason Gilchrist who had previously scored double figures for Southport last season. But despite the firepower up front it was City who looked the better side in front of goal...

City finally broke through on 54 minutes after they were awarded another penalty; again Maguire taken down in the box and Jordan Burrow routinely firing into the back of the net from 10 yards [12 yards?]. Even with the score at 2-0 City didn’t lie down, Maguire raced through on goal and unselfishly squared the ball to Burrow who was denied a hat trick by Connell...

York City: Jameson, Griffiths (Dyer), Trialist A (Jebson-King), Tait, Allan, Ferguson, Moke (Harrison), Green (Trialist C), Kempster (Trialist B), Maguire (Langstaff), Burrow (Ventura)".

Also from York City we learn that "Micky Cummins insists the team aren’t getting carried away after a 2-0 win over South Shields... Cummins believes that team cohesion is just as important as positive results, with Steve Watson’s assistant describing the club as a 'positive place' going into the new campaign.

He said 'Pre-season is all about fitness, you don’t get any points from today’s game, it’s about habits and making the right decisions.. We had less bodies due to a couple of little niggles... They are really up for it and we have generated a nice atmosphere in the changing roo'...

Cummins added 'Nipa (Dan Maguire) was a threat and Jordan Burrow could have had three or four but the linkup play between the two was very pleasing. They will be up there [in their division]'...

City named three trialists in the team to face South Shields, with all three getting minutes on the pitch against the Northern Premier Division outfit. However, Cummins insists that the club will only bring in more bodies if they match the current makeup of the squad".

24 July 2019


Altrincham welcomed their neighbours Stockport County to the J. Davidson Stadium on Tuesday night, having lost to the Hatters four times, without scoring, last season. And that tally became five victories for Stockport as they netted an 81st minute winner and, although Altrincham had taken the lead, it was arguably through an own goal.

In fact, Alty's goal in the 29th minute came after the hosts had failed to land a shot on target. The goal was made by some trickery from Nathan Arnold as he advanced into the box but, although Hulme subsequently claimed the goal, and Branson was also in the vicinity, the ball seemed to rebound off a Stockport man and into the net.

The equalizer arrived eight minutes later and was the result of a needless foul, wide on the Stockport right, by Jordan Hulme. The freekick was initially cleared by a decent Williams header but his team-mates failed to complete the clearance and Dimaio cleverly made space before firing a low shot past Drench from the edge of the box.

And Stockport's winner also came from Altrincham's failure to complete a clearance after Densmore had lost possession in midfield. The ball came out to Osborne who hit a fine, low shot from 18 yards past Thompson's right-hand and into the net off the far upright.

More to follow...


Altrincham's remaining pre-season matches are...
  • Sat. 27 July HOME AFC Fylde 3pm
  • Tue. 30 July AWAY Trafford 7.45pm


A new trialist appeared for Altrincham tonight in the form of forward, Adam Morgan (aged 25). Adam is pictured, right,

Adam had previously played at Moss Lane, against Altrincham, in February 2017 when he was playing for FC Halifax Town in a Vanarama National League North match. After more than a year at FC Halifax Town, he joined Irish club Sligo Rovers before moving on to Curzon Ashton last season.

Back in late 2016, the Liverpoool Echo reported that "Former Liverpool striker Adam Morgan: I hit rock bottom but I'm on the way back up"

The Tameside Stadium is a world away from the splendour of Anfield. But in the modest surroundings of National League North outfit Curzon Ashton, former Liverpool striker Adam Morgan is rediscovering his mojo. After a torrid three years during which his career went into freefall, the 22-year-old from Halewood is starting to play with a smile on his face again...

Morgan, who had been on Liverpool’s books since the age of five, was a prolific goal scorer at youth team level. He played for England in the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Mexico, alongside the likes of... Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)... before making the breakthrough to the Reds’ senior ranks under Brendan Rodgers.. A competitive debut followed away to Hearts in the Europa League play-off and he started the second leg in front of 44,000 at Anfield...

But less than 12 months later came the chat that every young player who is battling to make the grade at the highest level fears... 'Brendan said he didn’t doubt my ability but he said that physically I wasn’t ready and looked out of my depth... He said he thought I maybe needed to go to a Championship club and kick on from there. He told me it straight. I went and sat in my car outside Melwood and cried. It hurt being told my time at Liverpool was over...

'He gave me my Liverpool debut and I won’t ever say a bad word about him... If anyone had said to me as a kid you’ll make three appearances for Liverpool, including a start at Anfield, I’d have snapped their arm off. Of course once I’d had a taste I wanted more but it wasn’t to be. Moving on was the right thing to go but it was just the wrong move and that hindered me.'

In November 2013 Morgan joined Championship strugglers Yeovil Town. It was initially a loan move but a permanent deal was already in place for January 2014. Gary Johnson’s side were locked in a relegation battle and the young striker found life tough, failing to score in 13 appearances... In August 2014 he signed for St Johnstone on loan but made just five appearances before his spell in Scotland was cut short.

'Mentally, I was shot to bits,' he said... On his return to Somerset he did at least end the long wait for a first professional goal in a League One clash with Gillingham but in the summer of 2015 he agreed a severance deal with Yeovil.

He penned a one-year deal with Accrington Stanley but played just 21 minutes of football before leaving by mutual consent. Morgan went on to have spells with non-league Hemel Hempstead Town and Colwyn Bay as he sought to maintain his fitness levels. This summer he did part of pre-season with Barrow but found himself without a club for the opening two months of the campaign..

It was Curzon midfielder Luke Clark who convinced Morgan to sign for them... 'I feel like I’ve got my head right now,' he said. 'Curzon is an unbelievable club. It’s really well run with lovely people... We train two evenings a week. My dad Shaun says I’ve got enough time on my hands to do some work for Wiggy's Wheels, his minicab company, but I’ve put that off so far!... I believe I can get back in the Football League. There might be a way back'".


In the Hereford Times we learn that "Bulls' marksman Reece Styche has sent a warning to any opposing defenders he comes across this season. The 30-year-old striker scored scored 26 league goals last season before arriving at Hereford in the summer.

Despite only being pre-season the striker has already shown aggression... 'I would never change as that's made me the player I am today,' said Styche. 'I like to play on the edge and some people won't like it, I am a bit of a whinger on the pitch. It's because I want to win and if that's the way it gets me up then that's what I do. I just like to put myself around, if we're not playing well or winning games obviously I'm not going to be happy. From a personality point of view on the pitch I try to be nasty as much as I possibly can.

'You need that edge over any opponent that you come up against. You don't want to be a soft touch especially in this league as well. I like to put myself about and put my foot in where it hurts and stuff. I like to battle on the pitch and there won't be any defender coming off having an easy game against me that's for sure.'

Styche is set to be joined up front this season by fellow contracted marksman Rowan Liburd... He added 'Me and Rowan (Liburd) have only played three or four games together and I'm new to the team especially. It is going to take time for us to gel as a partnership... It helps that both of us are unselfish, when we are on the ball we will look to play each other in and off each other... I would like to think we will give defenders in this league a real tough time this year.

'Rowan is really good in the air with his size and everything, he runs channels well and I like to run channels. It's a partnership so you've just got to do the opposite of the other one with your movement'...

Styche is one of several Bulls players who have picked up slight knocks in the pre-season campaign so far... 'I'm in a good place mentally and physically so I'm really enjoying my time here so far,' Styche added. 'That is part and parcel of pre-season and that's why you pick up these knocks with the hard surfaces in my case on my shins and calf, it's not nice'".

At Brackley Town "It is now just over three weeks since the fire that destroyed our clubhouse. The Board would like to provide you with an update on our progress...

Our initial consultation identified immediate key priorities for us. These were:

  • Providing a safe environment: An environment that is fit for purpose and meets regulatory requirements including completion of health and safety assessments
  • Play must go on: Our initial priority was to ensure that all of the planned friendly matches were covered ensuring we could seamlessly deliver football matches and training as planned
  • Hospitality: To ensure we can offer catering and refreshments, without too many disruptions, that meet the needs of, supporters, staff, players and visitors, including facilities for our community activities.

We are pleased to say that we have had success to date in varying degrees, with all three initial priorities. All health and safety assessments required to date have been completed and the football club is safe to use. In the next few weeks we will be providing an undercover solution for our supporters... and a new toilet block will be installed in the next few weeks... All friendly matches and training sessions are taking place as planned...

We have started our longer term planning required to pave our way forward with the new build... We are in regular contact with our insurance assessors who are working hard to agree an insurance settlement. This settlement process is expected to take some time, possibly months, in order that a fair agreement is finalised... People understandably still have questions about the fire and we continue to be asked about the cause. We do not have much information about the cause and feel it is unhelpful to speculate.

We can confirm that the fire was not intentionally started and forensic officers from the insurance company are investigating possible causes...

Immediate mitigations and rebuilding our facilities have financial implications for our club. Our existing insurance cover will meet a large proportion of these costs, some fundraising efforts will be required to bridge any gaps. In addition, our business interruption insurance will enable us, in part, to function effectively until our new facilities are built and in use... We truly need the help of supporters to fundraise with us... Ways you might help could include:

  • Please keep coming to all of our matches
  • Bring people with you to matches, encourage your friends and family to attend.
  • Consider the skills that you have and how you might wish to contribute.

On a lighter note, you may have noticed our new building at the front of the ground was unaffected by the fire and is just a week away from completion".

New King's Lynn Town "arrival Chris Smith has reflected on his time with Ipswich Town and has spoken about his move to the Walks last week.

The-Suffolk based centre-back made the switch to pastures new in Norfolk on Thursday after being released by the Blues at the end of last season.

Smith said 'Being involved with Ipswich first team is my main highlight so far. I made the bench a few times but my main highlight was making my debut in the Carabao Cup against Crystal Palace... Dropping out of the pro game has been a difficult decision to make but coming to a well-run team like King’s Lynn has made it easier so it doesn’t feel like such a change from the professional game and playing in competitive games each week is much more enjoyable than being involved in under-23s football'...

'The team looks to play an attractive style of football and hopefully people will start to talk about us if we pick up results doing this too,' said Smith. 'If I can be a part of a successful team playing football in the right way then I think it will give me a good chance of getting back into the league game.'

Smith, who lives close to Portman Road, added... 'From what I’ve seen I’m sure we’ll be able to compete against the best teams in the league'"

At York City "David Ferguson feels City are getting into good habits as the countdown continues to the start of the new season. The Minstermen travel to South Shields on Tuesday night seeking a fourth consecutive pre-season victory.

Ferguson, who wore the captain's armband in the second half of Saturday's victory over Scarborough Athletic, said 'We are getting into good habits and winning games. Personally, I feel in good shape and I have come back fitter than I have done in a few previous years.'

Primarily a leftback or wingback, Ferguson was employed as a makeshift centre-back against Scarborough. 'I had never played in the middle of a back three before,' he admitted. 'But there are a few niggles and when the Gaffer says "play there", you try to do a job the best you can. It was nice to see that I can do a job there but it would be tough playing there for a big league game!'

Sunderland-born Ferguson, 25, feels there is a positive mentality in the City dressing room and a 'good blend' following the summer arrival of players such as Steve McNulty and Dan Maguire'".


Welsh Premier reports that "Tough ties await Welsh representatives should they win QR2 ties [in Europe].

The New Saints and Connah's Quay Nomads have both learned their possible opponents in the Third Qualifying Round of either the UEFA Champions' League or Europa League after the draws took place in Nyon. Saints will definitely play another European tie beyond their UCL QR2 match-up with FC Copenhagen. Should they knock the Danish champions out, they will progress to UCL QR3 and meet either FK Crvena Zvezda [Red Star Belgrade] (Serbia) or HJK Helsinki (Finland).

A defeat against Copenhagen though will see Scott Ruscoe's side move into the UEL, where they will meet Valur Reykjavik (Iceland) or PFC Ludogorets 1945 (Bulgaria).

In either case, Saints will be away from home for the first leg (w/c 5 August) and home for the second leg the following week.

Nomads' reward meanwhile if they beat Partizan will be a tie against either Malatyaspor (Turkey) or NK Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia). Andy Morrison's side would be at home in the first leg (8 August) and away the following week."

23 July 2019


County have already met two National League North sides at their own grounds this summer. Stockport Vital Football reported on a win as "County claimed their third win in three pre-season games today at the Tameside Stadium against Curzon Ashton, the 2-0 victory making it also the white-shirted Blues third clean sheet on a trot, a fact that will have pleased manager James Gannon.

The National North side fought well throughout a competitive encounter giving County their best run out in the current run of pre-season games.

The starting line-up was the mix as before for County who sent out a strong side at the start, with Connor Dimaio... taking over from Curran in the number 10 role. The starting 11 more or less did an hour before giving way to a clutch of others, most of whom are now becoming quite familiar to us.

Over the 90 minutes I was impressed with Kirby who definitely fancies that number 11 shirt, placing another substantial deposit on same with 2 smashing goals, one in each half!

Mulhern again ran through his engaging repertoire of tricks and silky skills to the delight of the County following, but I probably felt that Dimaio was up there with the best, supplementing incisive passing with good strikes on goal that signal a right royal tussle for possession of that number ten shirt!

Elsewhere Arthur and Downing again knitted together seamlessly at the back when called upon and although Charlie Mulgrew had been on the park previously this pre-season, today was the first time I had really noticed his input... Oh…..and the new kit (white shirts/ black shorts and socks) was a belter!...

23 minutes in…County got their reward; a neat move ending with Thomas passing to Kirby who unleashed a fierce drive way beyond keeper Mason`s best efforts into the net...

There were 3 County changes when the game re-started, with Ormson, Curran and Osborne, on for Hinchliffe, Thomas and Dimaio and, in short order, County doubled their advantage with another cracker from Kirby...

Curzon Ashton line up:- Mason (Lovell 89), Halls, Askew, Trialist (Davies 53), Shaw (Trialist 73), Ali (Cook 73), Lynch (Bannister 60), Evans (Merrill 70), Saunders (Trialist 19), Miller, Mantack (O`Brien 60).

Stockport County line up:- Hinchliffe (Ormson 45), Minihan, Palmer (Downing 65), Keane (Arthur 63), Cowan (Golden 75), Turnbull (Mulgrew 75), Walker (Elstone 65), Thomas (Curran 45), Mulhern (Bell 63), Dimaio (Osborne 45), Kirby (Stephenson 63)".

And Stockport Vital Football adds that "County`s encouraging run of pre-season form took a knock today at Nethermoor Park where an impressive Guiseley side came back from 2-0 down to level matters, coming a whisker's width from adding a surprise winner at the death.

Not many County fans fancied a trip to this particular spot, after last season's manufactured palaver, but it very soon became apparent just why JG had plumped for this fixture against these opponents. The Lions are always combative, tight at the back, and very hard to beat, but there was much more in Russ O`Neil and Marcus Bignot's side this time around. They had added a willingness and ability to get forward and put pressure on their opponents and, in this, ex-Hatter Kaine Felix excelled!

Behind Felix there was solid defence playing as a unit, in front of which Jamie Spencer played link man, and Dylan Barkers provided the energy and a fair bit besides...

I had Cowan as the standout County performer, weighing in with countless blocks... The presence of Matt Taylor (from Oxford United) on the bench may well have spurred Dan on a touch... Guiseley did a pretty thorough job of keeping what had been a free-scoring County forward line in check. Goals for the Blues came via Mulhern and Kirby, and Thomas had another disallowed, but really we can have few grumbles in having to settle for a draw today...

County fielded much the same starting 11 with one exception namely that Osborne was on number ten duty in place of Dimaio... County supporters made up 50%+ of the 336 crowd...

We were beyond the half hour now, and still County did not have a goal to show for their efforts, added to which their opponents were proving to be not all dour defensive play; they had something to offer up front too...

The triallist keeper made a classic wakes[?] of dealing with what looked to be a simple catch. Instead of catching the ball, a fumble followed... and a goal as County's number nine pounced to strike the ball imperiously into the empty net!...

County made a double personnel change... swapping Dimaio for Osborne, and Taylor for Minihan; Taylor taking up a wing back position in front of Cowan, with Thomas fitting in at notional RB...

The keeper made a horrible fumble again! The ball was cleared this time to save his blushes, but he had no time to recover when it was 2-0!... Dimaio sent Kirby on one of his runs. He made no mistake...

When County had to concede a corner... Johnson delivered it to the back of the box, where Garner`s head did the rest! It was now 2-1... but their opponents just would not lie down and oblige... Taylor might have intervened and prevented the cross coming over, but he didn`t and over it went for Johnson to slide in and level the scores!

Arthur replaced Mulhern with 4 minutes left... A draw was not the result we expected or wanted, but, in the event, it was a good return really against a good side that really wanted it... Altrincham next on Tuesday, and they usually give us a game, do they not?

Guiseley AFC line up:- Trialist, Mc Nally, Cantrill, Barkers (Smith 78), Bencherif, Garner, Felix (Starcenko 86), Spencer, Martin, Soleman, Johnson. Subs not used : Newall, Thornton, Smith, Hussain, Digie.

Stockport County line up:- Hinchliffe, Minihan (Taylor 61), Palmer, Keane, Cowan, Turnbull, Walker, Thomas, Mulhern (Arthur 86), Osborne (Dimaio 61), Kirby (Czubik 80). Subs not used : Ormson, Downing.


The official Altrincham FC site has announced that centre-back Ben Harrison is leaving the club. He started all but one of the first 37 games of his inaugral season at the club before injury cost him his place for the last nine matches of that campaign.

He started 2018-19 on the bench and made his first start in game three of the season, away at FC United of Manchester, where he suffered further injury. He made just three further starts in the league that season.

This summer Ben has played several times in pre-season. As recently as last Saturday he played in the friendly against Blackpool, as shown, right.

Ben, aged 28, joined Altrincham from Nantwich Town, on 16 May 2017. Previously he had enjoyed a lengthy stay at Witton Albion, where he had racked up more than 200 appearances. Earlier he had played for two other Cheshire teams, Barnton and Lostock Gralam. He had a brief spell at AFC Telford United early in the 2015/16 season before returning to the Dabbers in September 2015.

In all, Ben made: 49(+6) competitive appearances for Altrincham, netting two goals.


Kettering Town "is delighted to announce the signing of midfielder supremo Joel Carta. Joel scored 29 goals in all competitions for Corby Town last season, having started his career at Coventry City, Shrewsbury Town and Mansfield Town (youth academies), before a spell at Harrowby United".

Meanwhile, Gateshead "are pleased to announce the signing of Danny Greenfield on a one-year deal... The 18-year-old midfielder joins the Heed after impressing on trial in recent weeks and most recently appeared against Hebburn Town on Friday, assisting JJ O’Donnell’s goal in the 4-2 win.

Greenfield is making his first step into senior football with the move, having been on the books with Manchester United up until under-13 level before joining Barnsley, who he helped finish sixth in the U18 Professional Development League North last season.

The midfielder revealed... 'It’s been a lot of hard work trying to show Mike and the coaching staff what I can do... It’s been a great experience playing with the first-team'...

The teenager added that one of the main factors in making the move to the North-East was playing under the guidance of player-manager Mike Williamson. 'He’s a big reason why I came here,' Greenfield continued. 'He’s obviously played a number of games in the Premier League and he’s an experienced pro so I can learn a lot off him as a young lad'”.

News of a departure comes from Kidderminster Harriers where "Defender Fraser Horsfall has signed for Macclesfield Town. The former Huddersfield youngster was offered terms by Harriers at the end of last season, but has opted to make the move to the EFL with the Silkmen.

Best wishes to Fraser, who made 87 appearances and scored seven goals whilst with Harriers."

And, for different reasons, comes news of another club losing a player as York Press reports that "Daniel Parslow has announced his retirement from professional football because of a head injury. The former City defender, who is ranked 10th in the club's all-time appearance list, had been hoping to return to the game next season after spending the last five months on the sidelines.

However Parslow, 33, has today confirmed that he will not able to resume his playing career. The former Welsh Under-21 international spent more than 11 years with the club over two spells (August 2006 to July 2015 and January 2017 to May 2019).

He made his final appearance in the Vanarama National League North game against Hereford FC on February 5 2019. A proportion of the proceeds from Saturday's home friendly against Notts County (kick-off 12.30pm) will be donated to the Headway charity.

'It comes with great sadness that I wish to announce that my football career has come to a premature end after failing to recover from a serious head injury back in February at the York v Hereford FC match,' Parslow said. 'I've been fortunate to play the game for 17 years as a professional and shared so many fantastic highs with team-mates and supporters along the way. I have made 383 appearances for York City FC, becoming the 10th player in the all-time appearances list in almost 100 years of the club's history. I am extremely proud of this record as well as being awarded the Billy Fenton Clubman of the Year trophy an unprecedented three times...

'A two-year spell at Cheltenham Town was to follow gaining promotion to League 2 and then my subsequent return 'home' to York City. Although this latter spell at York didn't go as planned, I came back to help the football club back to where it belongs... My focus since February has been on returning to health. My recovery is slow and I'm a million miles away from playing sport and returning to "normal" but I am making progress.

'York City have continued to support my rehabilitation and, together with Headway, who offer support to improve life after brain injury, I hope to increase awareness for those recovering from brain injuries... It's time to hang up the boots'...

A spokesman for the club added 'Everyone at Bootham Crescent is saddened to hear the news but the club continues to support Daniel in his recovery and has granted a benefit year, this summer, which includes a special game in his honour at Bootham Crescent on Wednesday, October 9'".

Elsewhere, Boston United "boss Craig Elliott has confirmed two important roles ahead of the impending National League North campaign.

Defender Luke Shiels (29) will assume the role of the club's on-pitch team captain, while long-serving winger Jay Rollins (25) has been appointed as club captain.

'Luke obviously has past experience of leading teams in this league," said manager Elliott. "I have been impressed with the way he conducts himself and you can clearly see his leadership qualities... I think it is fitting that Jay is club captain this season. He's our longest-serving player and somebody who shows the right attitude in every game. He's a well-respected player both on and off the pitch.'"

There is more detail on an arrival at Boston, which was noted here yesterday, as Extra Time of Ireland reports that "Former Cabinteely full-back Karl Byrne has made the move to English non-league side Boston United following a spell with fellow non-league outfit Frickley Athletic.

Byrne spent four years at Stradbrook with First Division Cabinteely before crossing the Irish Sea to make the move to England. The 23-year-old right midfielder played at wing-back for Pat Devlin’s charges during the 2018 campaign where he made 20 league appearances. In total, Byrne made 72 appearances for the Green and Whites...

Byrne then joined Frickley Athletic in West Yorkshire, where the utility man played in the Northern Premier League. He now joins Boston United in the National League North... The former Cabo man joins former Sligo Rovers captain and FAI Cup winner with the Bit O’Red, Richie Ryan, in playing for the Pilgrims. Ryan, now of USL Championship side El Paso Locomotive played for the York Street outfit during the 2006-07 season, where he made 13 appearances for the club.

Byrne had been on trial with Boston United prior to signing a contract with the club. During his trial period, he made headlines with a stunning strike in a pre-season win over Grimsby Town."

According to Cheshire Live "Anthony Johnson acknowledged that the trip to Colne was a test that his Chester FC failed on Saturday but was keen to accentuate the positives.

A strong Blues' side dominated possession and wasted a glut of chances against the BetVictor Northern Premier League Division One West side and were made to pay for their profligacy at Holt House as goals either side of the break from Sefton Gonzalez and Tony Donaldson sealed a 2-1 success on a disappointing afternoon for Chester .

Anthony Dudley's late penalty reduced the arrears but despite their overall dominance, Johnson and co-boss Bernard Morley were given 'food for thought'...

'The performance itself was OK, it was very pre-season friendly-ish,' said Johnson. 'The stuff we'd been working on without the ball in terms of pressing is always more difficult when you're playing against a team that you're going to have more possession than. It became about us with the ball and some of the passes and phases of play that we had were poor. Perhaps at times we should have adapted to the pitch and the situations but we're trying to drill in a certain way of playing.

'There were one or two things we came away with questions to, but I always feel a game like that stands us in better stead than if we'd have come away and won 3-0 or 4-0. There are one or two things that we need to go away and work on. It gave us food for thought.'

Johnson bemoaned their lack of cutting edge against Colne as the Blues wasted a number of chances... Johnson added 'Their keeper has had an absolute worldie of a game and we've had probably 10-15 chances and not took any. We created enough chances to win five or six games but unfortunately their keeper was on form and our finishing was rubbish. It was a different type of test for our lads and it was a test that we failed and one that Colne won.

'We've hammered the lads this week in a physical sense and we've fatigued them. Me, Bernard and Curly (strength and conditioning coach Chris Jones) sat down and said we wanted to put them into a tough game with tired and heavy legs. We've had a mixed bag so far but a load of different types of tests.'

Chester travel to 1874 Northwich to contest the Supporters Direct Shield. The game takes place at Barnton FC".

The Shropshire Star informs us that "Chairman Andy Pryce admits there is work to do for AFC Telford to attract more teenagers to games. Pryce and boss Gavin Cowan held a fans’ forum on Saturday during a New Buck's Head open day ahead of the pre-season friendly with League One outfit Coventry City. And Pryce admitted... 'For whatever reason it’s something we are struggling with. We do work really hard in the community through our schools' programme. I believe it could be a problem across the country not just in Telford'.

Cowan added 'It’s not an excuse but the club are suffering with manpower. Unfortunately the day to day running of the club takes a lot of our time, so it does mean that some things take a back step despite us not wanting them too'.

Meanwhile, the Bucks will now head to Mickleover Sports for a pre-season friendly tomorrow instead of Ilkeston Town... A Bucks' statement read 'The club (Ilkeston) felt that following a few disappointing results they now need to concentrate on some more realistic opposition ahead of the new season.'"

The Northern Echo reports that "Darlington supporters have shown their faith in new manager Alun Armstrong with the club now on the verge of beating last year’s season tickets sales. The current tally stands at 881, four fewer than last season, which turned out to be a dismal campaign and one that all concerned would rather forget.

It ended with Quakers 16th in the table, their lowest finish since the administration affected year of 2011-12, knocked out of both the FA Cup and Trophy in the first round and ended with Tommy Wright leaving as manager.

Armstrong replaced him in May, since bringing in ten players and enthusing supporters with his straight-talking approach while the team’s performances in pre-season friendlies have been encouraging.

The manager said 'I’m thrilled with the level of support and commitment shown by the fans which justifies my decision to come here and I know the players are all excited to be playing in front of the fans next season. Breaking the 1,000 barrier would be a fantastic achievement and I certainly wouldn’t bet against it. As I’ve already stated, one of my main objectives is to bring back those lapsed fans who have disappeared in recent seasons by playing an exciting brand of football, this is a great start towards this.'

Of the 881 season tickets sold, 542 are one-year and pay monthly, and 339 are members of the 500 Club. Quakers’ pay-monthly option, which allows fans to spread the cost evenly across 12 months via direct debit, was launched last month and the club says there are only a limited number available...

Darlington lost 2-1 at home to FC Halifax Town on Saturday, and on Tuesday evening play their latest friendly at Northallerton Town".

22 July 2019


On Tuesday night, Stockport County visit Altrincham, the promoted Hatters having defeated Altrincham four times last season.

Last Saturday,Stockport County say that they were "Never More Close To Winning At Nethermoor, As Lions Claw Their Way Back.

Above: Altrincham defend a corner against Stockport in the 0-1 defeat to County on New Year's Day, 2019.

The Hatters conceded their first pre-season goals, and saw their three-match run of friendly victories come to an end, following a fightback by the ‘Lions’ of Guiseley at Nethermoor. Second-half goals from Frank Mulhern and Jake Kirby looked to have put County on course for a first-ever win against the National League North hosts, who then netted twice in the final quarter of an hour to earn a deserved draw.

Taking to the field for the first time in shirts displaying their newly-announced squad numbers and, after a six-year wait to re-join non-league’s top tier, the return of player names on the back, the Hatters featured just one change in the starting line-up from that at Curzon Ashton a week previously, with Elliot Osborne replacing Connor Dimaio in the number 10 position.

Former Hatter Kaine Felix looked lively for Guiseley in the opening stages, and, after only seven minutes, he rounded Ben Hinchliffe before firing into the near side-netting from a tight angle on the right. Three further forays by the home winger were then well blocked by Dan Cowan...

The Hatters introduced left-back, Matt Taylor, most recently of Oxford United, upon the resumption and, thanks in no small measure to another, albeit opposing, trialist, they took the lead five minutes later. [Ex-Alty trialist] Paul Turnbull’s delivery over the top looked to be heading straight for collection by the home goalkeeper, and so it did, only for the unfortunate, anonymous custodian to slice his attempted clearance into the path of Mulhern, who steadied himself before tapping into an empty net.

The ‘keeper partially atoned for his error within another five minutes, doing well to parry away a shot that leading pre-season scorer Kirby had unleashed from 12 yards... But, with just under 20 minutes remaining, he was powerless to keep out the same Hatter’s further strike from a similar angle and distance...

With the Hatters two goals to the good, and fewer than 15 minutes left on the clock, a fourth successive friendly triumph, and a first anywhere over the Lions, appeared a fair bet but the latter, following their first corner since the interval, promptly halved the arrears, as Scott Garner headed into the near-side corner Gabriel Johnson’s deep, lofted delivery from the right... Then, five minutes from time, the Lions enjoyed one last hur-roar [sic], courtesy of their equaliser that Johnson converted at close range from Jamie Spencer’s cross on the right.

Team: Hinchliffe, Minihan (Taylor, 46), Cowan, Turnbull (Capt.), Palmer, Keane, Thomas, Walker, Mulhern (Arthur, 86), Osborne (Dimaio, 60), Kirby (Czubik, 81). Unused Subs: Ormson, Downing."


Altrincham FC Ladies, as previously noted here, will play next season at Egerton Sports Club, Mereheath Lane, Knutsford WA16 6SL, rather than at their previous home at Mersey Valley. Once again they will compete in the North West Women's Regional League, Division One South, where their competitors for 2019-20 will comprise: Burscough Dynamo, Chester FC, Curzon Ashton, Didsbury, Liverpool Feds Reserves, Northwich Vixens, Salford City, West Kirby, Warrington Wolverines and Wythenshawe Amateurs.

Some of last season's opponents have moved on. West Didsbury and Chorlton have been promoted to the Premier League, Stockport County Blues have withdrawn and City of Liverpool have moved to a more local league.

In the FA Women's Cup Preliminary Round Altrincham FC Ladies will be away at Accrington Ladies on Sunday, 1st September.


At Kettering Town, "The club are delighted to announce the signing of defender Javan Vidal, who took part in the 1-0 pre-season friendly win against a Northampton Town XI at Latimer Park on Saturday. Javan has previously played for Derby County, Chesterfeld, Tamworth, Stockport County, Rochdale, Wrexham, Bradford Park Avenue and, more recently under Nicky Eaden, at Hednesford Town".

Also "The club can also announce the signing of experienced forward Dan Nti to Kettering Town Football Club. The club are delighted to have captured Dan, who more recently played at Brackley Town. Dan has also played for Nuneaton Borough, Kidderminster Harriers, Halifax, York and Worcester City." The Boston Standard advises us that "Irishman Karl Byrne has joined Boston United after impressing on trial. The former Frickley right-back netted the winner in the pre-season victory over Grimsby Town with a long-range curler and also featured against Worksop.

United boss Craig Elliott has added Byrne to his squad, citing a desire for competition for places across his team. It is believed the attack-minded Byrne will battle with Ben Middleton for the right-back slot."

According to the Northern Echo "Darlington manager Alun Armstrong is a relieved man after hearing that key midfielder David Atkinson has avoided breaking a bone in Saturday’s friendly. Atkinson was substituted after just nine minutes of the match with Halifax Town after being involved in a crunching 50/50 challenge, and left Blackwell Meadows on crutches.

However, an x-ray on his ankle at Darlington Memorial Hospital indicated there has been no break, so Quakers are optimistic that he will be available for the season-opener at Farsley Celtic on August 3.

'You could see the difference as soon as he went off the pitch, he holds us together in the middle of the park and allows Will Hatfield to play his game,' said Armstrong, whose side lost 2-1 on Saturday after conceding a 90th minute goal. Atkinson will not be involved on Tuesday evening when Darlington play at Northallerton Town, and their next hope is that the former Blyth Spartans ace has not sprained his ankle, which has swollen considerably.

Despite losing the match and seeing Atkinson limp out of the action, Darlington could be encouraged by their performance against the National League outfit, who had four trialists in their starting XI, having controlled lengthy spells of the match and played some attractive football too.

Adam Campbell put Darlington ahead in the fifth minute... Armstrong said 'Some of Adam’s play today was a different class. He links the ball up really well. We started like a house on fire, they couldn't live with us and some of the football was really exciting, exactly what I’m looking for.'

Darlington were affected by Atkinson’s early exit, his place in midfield being taken by Osagi Bascome, and Halifax then had a good spell in which Quakers' goalkeeper Chris Elliott had to be alert. But he had no answer to Tobi Sho-Silva’s shot... Fellow Bermudan trialist Justin Donowa again looked useful and he threatened to score from outside the penalty area with a powerful effort that goalkeeper Sam Johnson saved as Darlington finished the half strongly and almost scored again...

Quakers were easily the better team in the second half, with periods of attractive passing football cutting through the Halifax defence... Just when the match looked like it was heading for a draw the Shaymen snatched a winner when Quakers switched off when defending a 90th minute free-kick. Before it was taken there was a short delay while Darlington made their final substitution with Rhys Armstrong, the manager’s son, sent on, but Quakers were sloppy when the ball was sent into their penalty area, and Harry Freedman scored from close-range.

'I think the performance in parts was very good,' said Armstrong. 'There was a lapse in concentration and I don’t think the free-kick should’ve been taken because the linesman was stood with me after the substation when it was taken'...

Quakers had been without Terry Galbraith due to illness and Jarrett Rivers, who has a thigh problem, while Jamie Holmes is on holiday. Also on Saturday a Darlington XI lost 2-1 at Richmond Town, with Joe Wheatley playing most of the match on his return from a hernia problem. Mitchell Glover came off the bench and Jonny Burn completed the entire match.

Darlington: Elliott, Trotman, Laing, Watson, Liddle, Donowa (Bell 67), Atkinson (Bascome 9, Scott 72)), Hatfield, Thompson, Campbell (Armstrong 90), O’Neill (Holness 67)".

As reported yesterday, Farsley Celtic lost at Harrogate Town who now report on their "3-1 triumph over a spirited Farsley Celtic. In an even first half hour, Town came closest to scoring... The visitors were looking enterprising in attack, but their good approach work petered out at the edge of Town’s penalty area...

Town’s new striker, Sam Jones, forced Elliot Wynne into a save at the near post. But, on 34 minutes, Harrogate opened the scoring when Leesley gained possession just outside the area and rifled a low drive inside Wynne’s right hand upright... Two goals within five minutes of the restart, appeared to make the game safe for Town.

On 52 minutes, Stead’s low centre from the left was turned into his own goal by Jack Higgins. Next,Stead was bundled over in the area by Clayton and referee Tom Nield pointed to the spot. Stead himself, took the penalty and easily beat Wynne to make it three.

However, Celtic weren’t finished and Higgins made amends for his own goal,when he rose highest from a corner and headed goalwards for Nathan Cartman to turn the ball into Town’s net".

21 July 2019


Above: Lewis Walters (left) receives the congratulations of Sean Williams and Connor Hampson, after equalizing for Altrincham against Blackpool..

Match report here.

There is a match summary and another image, in yesterday's news.

The Altrincham FC official site also has a match report here and a post-match interview with Phil Parkinson.

Blackpool sent another team to Barrow on Saturday and they report that "Goals from Nathan Delfouneso and Armand Gnanduillet saw Blackpool record a 3-0 victory at Barrow, as Ian Evatt made his final career appearance.

Delfouneso put Blackpool ahead in the first-half at Holker Street, before Gnanduillet and an own goal from Connor Brown in the second-half secured the win.

It was a very competitive game throughout though, however the biggest cheer of the afternoon came for former Pool favourite Evatt, who made an appearance as a striker for the last six minutes.

Team: Mafoumbi, Guy, Edwards, Anderton, Bola, Spearing, Thompson, Kaikai, Delfouneso, Hardie (Watkinson 77), Gnanduillet

Meanwhile, Altrincham came back from behind to beat another Blackpool side 2-1 at Moss Lane. Ben Tollitt scored for the Seasiders".


On Tuesday night, Stockport County, who beat Altrincham four times last season, are the visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium. On Saturday Guiseley reported that the score was "Guiseley 2-2 Stockport County. Goals from Garner and Johnson see The Lions fight back from 2-0 down to secure a draw".


Before Saturday's win over Blackpool, That's Manchester TV posted a video interview with Altrincham manager Phil Parkinson and chairman Grahame Rowley.


Callum Dolan, who played for Altrincham towards the end of last season, turned out for Ashton United on Saturday.


Farsley Celtic were handed their second pre-season defeat after losing 3-1 away at Harrogate Town.

It was a steady game to begin with, even as both sides were cancelling each other out. But the hosts broke the deadlock on 36 minutes when Joe Leesley’s low driven strike from the edge of the box found the bottom left hand corner...

Six minutes into the second half Harrogate doubled their lead after Celts' centre-back Jack Higgins slotted the ball into his own net. And five minutes later Town were awarded a penalty when Jonathan Stead was brought down in the box. Stead took and scored from the spot, sending goalkeeper Elliott Wynne the wrong way.

Farsley pulled a goal back on 63 minutes though through Jack Higgins who scored a header from a corner, redeeming himself from his own goal earlier in the game...

Farsley Celtic (3-4-3): Wynne, Boateng, Baldwin, Higgins, Ellis ©, Clayton, B. Atkinson, C. Atkinson, Walton, Cartman, Hayhurst. Subs: Bower, Parkin, Walker, Bett, trialist."

Boston United report that they "have completed the signing of striker Shaun Tuton. The 27-year-old has put pen-to-paper ahead of the 2019-2020 campaign following two successful trial outings for the Pilgrims. Tuton counts Chester FC, Spennymoor Town and Chorley (loan) as his most recent destinations.

Manager Craig Elliott said, 'Shaun is a player I have tried to sign several times. I feel he’s not had a consistent opportunity during the last few seasons in what I consider his best position. He proved in a short time on trial how much hunger and talent he still possesses. He’s still at a great age to get back to the Shaun Tuton I remember watching playing for Halifax, Matlock and Buxton not so long ago.'"

Meanwhile, York Press informs us that "Steve Watson has bemoaned York City's wastefulness following their 2-1 win over Scarborough Athletic. Alex Kempster scored his third goal of pre-season just two minutes into the game and Kieran Green netted the winner from range after James Walshaw had equalised.

But City could have been out of sight by the break as they enjoyed a near monopoly going forward and good chances went begging.

'We did a lot of good things,' the manager said. 'We got ourselves into very good attacking positions but our end product was poor. A bit like the Bolton game, if we had come in at half-time three or four nil up, it would have been more realistic, but the final pass, the final shot, the final decision needs to be better... The game should have been out of sight at the end of the first half.'

On goalscorer Kempster, who has netted in each of the last three games, Watson said 'He and Dan caused problems in the first half without getting the goal, but the more they play together, the better they'll get'. Watson reckons Green, 'has got a great strike and he's a powerful boy. Once he gets in the area he can finish off '...

Other stand-outs for Watson included veteran centre-back Steve McNulty and flying right-back Nathan Dyer, though, with Josh King going off injured during the warm-up, the injury list continues to grow... 'Our fitness levels are better but we had eight unavailable, which is a nightmare situation pre-season', Watson added... 'Nathan looked good but his end product needs to be better. It wasn't a bad performance but we weren't as clinical as we need to be. What I took out of the game is that we were wasteful'.

Watson was reluctant to name the two trialists, but was pleased to have them available for cover. Triallist 'A' is known to Watson from his time at Gateshead while Triallist 'B' comes highly recommended from a friend of Watson's."

Chester FC report that "Game five of a busy pre-season schdule for the Blues saw them fall to defeat at Colne. A goal in each half from [ex-Alty signing] Sefton Gonzales and Tony Donaldson secured the win in a good pre-season workout for both sides. Anthony Dudley added from the penalty spot for the Blues with the last kick of the game...

The home side, attacking down the hill and with a wind advantage, showed the early promise... The home side went in front. On 38 minutes, striker Sefton Gonzales brilliantly steered his header into the bottom corner to give the Northern Premier Division One North side an interval lead...

On 56 minutes, and against the run of play in the second half, the hosts doubled their lead. The Blues failed to clear their lines following a ball in fron the left and Tony Donaldson stabbed home from 10 yards via the underside of the crossbar. Chester continued to pile on pressure without reward... Dudley then did get a penalty in stoppage time, and the forward dusted himself off then buried the spot kick before the final whistle sounded."

Guiseley report that "After making a good impression in our pre-season friendlies midfielder Aram Soleman has signed a one-year contract with The Lions. The 19 year-old midfielder is another product of Joint Manager Marcus Bignot’s Solihull College Academy and he joins his fellow college players Dylan Barkers and Reiss McNally at Nethermoor.

Soleman was with West Brom as a youngster, playing for their Under-18 and Under-23 sides in 2017 and 2018... On his release by The Baggies he joined Rushall Olympic but has also spent some time at Coventry City and Solihull Moors."

In the Daily Post we read that Curzon Ashton lost 0-2 at home to Wrexham, which it describes as a "low key victory".

"Wrexham boss Bryan Hughes was true to his word as he made 10 changes to the side that had started in midweek against Stoke City, only goalkeeper Christian Dibble in the starting XI as he looked to give more valuable minutes to his squad...

Wrexham started slowly against their hosts... and needed a second half revival and clinical finishes from McIntosh and Oswell to ensure the win. Curzon had much the better of the opening exchanges...

CURZON ASHTON (4-3-3): Mason (Lovell 83); Askew (Sloan 46), Samassa, Shaw, Cooke (Wallen 69); Evans, Wroe (Butterworth 72), Merrill (Worrall 62); Bannister, Elstone (Sinclair 62), Mantack."

Coventry City "continued their season preparations with a draw against AFC Telford United at the New Buck's Head...

25 minutes in the Sky Blues took the lead as Sam McCallum broke down the left and found Trialist who made a jinking run inside and slotted past Andy Wycherley....

Telford hit the bar for the second time... Twelve minutes before time Telford equalised through Trialist after a free kick rebounded off the player and looped into the top corner...

AFC Telford XI: Andy Wycherley (GK), Ross White, Adam Walker, Ellis Deeney, Shane Sutton, Theo Streete, Henry Cowans, James McQuilkin, Andre Brown, Marcus Dinanga, Chris Lait".

King's Lynn News reports that "King’s Lynn Town boss Ian Culverhouse is prepared to tinker with his best laid plans, if it means bringing the club better results in the National North next season. Culverhouse has brought a whole new tactical mindset to Lynn since his return to the dugout last season...

Managers have different formations, different tactical ideas and different ways of evaluating players and Culverhouse is no exception. Speaking after the 5-1 victory at Stamford on Saturday, Culverhouse said 'We are looking at things. I don’t want to be predictable, so we need a plan B up there. We will have a look at things in the five games we have got'".

20 July, 2019


Altrincham put in their best performance of pre-season, so far, to secure a 2-1 win in an entertaining and largely end to end game at the J. Davidson Stadium. Left-winger Lewis Walters was the only trialist in the squad and both he, and fellow winger Matt Chadwick impressed in a lively first half.

Altrincham fell behind to a well-worked goal by Tollett in the 23rd minute. The excellent Liam Feeney's slide-rule pass set Devitt advancing towards goal and, from the right, his low cross was tapped home by Tollitt.

The hosts equalised in the 35th minute with an excellent move. Densmore's impressive crossfield ball located Hampson and, via Williams and Hancock, the ball was crossed from the right byline by Chadwick for Walters to head into the net.

Just six minutes afterwards, Richman made a fine interception in midfield and played in Chadwick who was brought down as he advanced up the middle of the penalty area. Chadwick himself converted the penalty with a firm spot-kick.

Above: Matt Chadwick (far left, no.7) converts his penalty.

At the break, Tony Thompson replaced Steven Drench in goal and, in the second half, Alty lost Walters to injury, with Arnold replacing him. Soon afterwards seven more Altrincham substitutes were deployed. Although there was plenty of attacking movement from both sides there were to be no more goals before the final whistle.

For their part, Blackpool used former Alty loanee Yusifu Ceesay as a second-half substitute.

Match report here


Altrincham welcome Blackpool to the J. Davidson Stadium today (3pm) for the first of three home matches in a week.

League One Blackpool are likely to field a young side as they have a simultaneous fixture scheduled at Barrow. For the same reason there are unlikely to be huge numbers of Blackpool supporters travelling to Altrincham and new Seasiders' manager Simon Grayson may well be travelling north rather than south from Bloomfield Road if he opts to field his stronger side at Holker Street.

Altrincham fans will be hopeful of seeing both goalkeeper Steven Drench and defender Andy White getting their first game-time of the summer, having been sidelined by injury to date.


Altrincham's second away game of the new season will be at Evesham against GLoucester City. From Gloucestershire Live we learn that "Two former Cheltenham Town scholars are among five new signings for Gloucester City.

Defenders Ioan Richards and Tom Handley have been with the Tigers in pre-season after failing to earn professional contracts at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium [Cheltenham Town]. Richards got experience on loan with Slimbridge last season in the Southern League, while Handley had a spell with Lydney Town in the Hellenic League Premier Division.

Central defender Richards is from South Wales and joined the club as an Under-16 player and had to battle back from two ankle injuries during his scholarship with the Robins.

Handley, a right back, is also a budding referee having officiated in the Cheltenham Youth League.

Former Bristol Rovers defender Jamie Bremner has also joined the club, along with Jack Spark, an 18-year-old former Bristol City youngster. Spark played in their Under 18 and 23 set ups and is no stranger to National League football, he joined the Tigers at the end of last season in the National League South.

The final arrival is James Spruce, a striker who joined Bristol Rovers academy in May 2016. He was called up to the Wales Under-19’s squad in September last year for games against Iceland and has since been a a part of the Welsh youth set up.

A club statement said 'It’s great for these lads to come into the first team and shows that the approach we’ve developed at the club is hopefully now starting to work... We’ll be looking to get the lads as much first team minutes as possible, so we might look at linking in with some other local teams to try and fast track their development.'

Manager Mike Cook has now signed nine players this summer, with Birmingham City loan goalkeeper Zach Jeacock coming to the club alongside former Cheltenham Town loanees Jennison Myrie-Williams and Marlon Jackson and the permanent arrival of Fabien Robert from Forest Green after his successful loan spells last season.

On Thursday night, City beat Welsh Premier League side Aberystwyth Town 4-0 at the Jubilee Stadium. Jackson scored twice either side of goals from Robert and Joe Parker.

Cook told the club's website 'I was really pleased with the performance. We are trying to play a bit more football this year but with a lot of triallists it has been difficult to work on patterns of play... We may let the odd one or two go but we are trying different systems so we don't want to be too rash and get rid of people who might fit in so we are taking our time at the moment.'

It was another clean sheet for new arrival Jeacock, and Cook is delighted to have landed the 18-year-old goalkeeper. 'He can play the ball out and he is very good with his passing,' said Cook. 'He has a good pedigree and used to be a centre-half before switching to goalkeeping. Birmingham highly recommended him to us... He is only 18 and will make mistakes as we go on, but we have a no-blame culture in our dressing room so we will go with it.'"

Middlesbrough report that their player, "Tyrone O’Neill, has joined Darlington on a six-month loan, subject to FA clearance. The Academy striker moves to the National League North side, who are under the stewardship of new manager and former Boro forward Alun Armstrong.

As well as being a regular for Boro’s Under-23s last season, 19-year-old O’Neill had a stint on loan at Hartlepool last season, scoring once in five appearances."

And the Northern Echo adds that "Darlington's next signing will get his first run-out for the club in tomorrow's home friendly with FC Halifax Town. A teenage striker is arriving on loan from a Championship club, a player that will bring competition to the forward line as well as a different set of attributes to pacey and diminutive forward Adam Campbell.

Armstrong has wanted to bring the player in for several weeks, but has had to be patient as he was involved in his own club’s pre-season. Quakers have now been given the go-ahead to take him on loan, he trained last night and will become Armstrong’s tenth signing.

Trialist Justin Donowa will also feature at Blackwell Meadows tomorrow, the Bermudan having shown flashes of his ability in Monday’s 4-1 win at Bishop Auckland. Armstrong is looking forward to his players being challenged tomorrow against National League opposition, as he wants his team 'to be tested, I want them to have problems to deal with, like we will have during the season'.

Cedwyn Scott remains hopeful of being offered a deal by Darlington, a 20-striker who played the first 45 minutes on Monday, while 17-year-old ex-Sunderland winger Lucas Bell continues to train with Quakers having chosen to leave the Black Cats last season.

Tomorrow’s game has been switched to Blackwell Meadows due to pitch problems at Halifax, and comes a fortnight before the season opener away to Farsley Celtic.

Farsley have also endured issues with their playing surface. Tuesday’s game against Rotherham United postponed an hour before kick-off with the League One club saying 'It became clear that the playing surface would pose a potential risk to players' safety and it is with regret that we made the decision to cancel the fixture.'

Farsley chairman Paul Barthorpe, however, has since said 'We played there last Saturday with no issues, and the feedback we received from the players was that it actually played well. Rotherham’s decision not to play on the pitch is of course their decision to make, and if that’s the course of action they chose to take then so-be-it, we respect their decision to do so.'

While Darlington’s first team are at Blackwell Meadows, tomorrow Quakers will also send a largely youthful XI to play at Richmond Town (2pm). Jonny Burn and Mitchell Glover, who are both available for loan, will be in the squad for the match against the Wearside League club".

We learn from Lynn News that "King's Lynn Town have strengthened their squad by bringing in one of their main summer targets. The Linnets have swooped to sign former Ipswich Town defender Chris Smith... Smith, 21, joined his hometown side in 2006 and progressed through the Tractorboys' Academy to make his first-team debut in the Carabao Cup tie against Crystal Palace in August 2017.

Linnets' director of football Robbie Back said, 'Ian (Culverhouse) and myself have been talking to Chris since the beginning of the summer. It is fair to say that he was one of our main targets. He's really impressed us and his aim is get to get back into the Football League'...

The centre half spent his youth career with the Blues, spending a number of seasons at Portman Road prior to moving to National League South side Chelmsford City on loan in September 2017. The youngster made 31 appearances for the Clarets across two spells either side of a brief return to Suffolk during an injury crisis in the January. Smith, who has played in the Linnets' first two pre-season friendlies, then made the switch to Aldershot Town on a youth loan last season".

Blyth Spartans' "latest signing, Craig Spooner, spoke of his delight to ‘get out there’ and play at Croft Park in front of the Spartans fans this week against Morpeth Town. Despite losing 4-2 and three of the goals coming from set-pieces Spooner was upbeat...

He said 'I thought the fans were great, I thought we were a bit unlucky to get beat off three set plays and a goal late on but it was really good to get out there.'

Spooner was dominant in the midfield starting up attacks and switching Spartans from defence to attack efficiently and he admitted getting more minutes is the key to improving. The new signing said 'Yeah we’ve been playing loads of games, loads of minutes I think that’s the key to get loads of minutes before the season starts.'

Clark has changed the way Spartans have played compared to last season and Spooner believes the ex-Newcastle player has helped him adapt his game already. Spooner said...'He’s helped a lot with my positional side of the game playing in the centre midfield role.'”

Kidderminster Harriers "host Bromsgrove Sporting at Aggborough on Saturday, with boss John Pemberton keeping a firm focus on the new season...

'We’ve got a few things still ongoing, hopefully they will come off and we will see some new faces coming in to add to what we’ve got,' revealed the gaffer. 'I did say right at the start that it will take time, I don’t mind spending the time and I don’t want to panic into bringing someone else in and not get the one we want. One of the big things as well for me is with the old faces that have been here, I think you’ll see a different mentality and a different side to them at the moment, and long may that continue'.

Pemberton has been pleased with the impact made by young players coming through the Academy and U23s setup, who’ve [sic] he’s given good opportunities to so far in pre-season. 'I also said that everybody would have a chance, I’ve had the opportunity to look at everybody that’s here, including the U23s team,' said Pemberton. 'If you look at young Knory Scott, he’s come in and is now training with us full time, he has quality that I like, and I think that can be added to what we’ve got...

'Bromsgrove Sporting will be a different style of game, possibly a lot more similar to the kind of teams that we will be facing,' he added. 'The games against Aston Villa and Bristol Rovers have given us a different kind of problem, I think we’ve acquitted ourselves really well in both... We’re not anywhere near where I want us to be, but the lads are really working hard'".

Chester FC report that "It’s a double header for the Blues to kick off the weekend, as we head to Cheadle Town this evening [Friday]; before a visit to Colne FC tomorrow afternoon.

At Cheadle Town... Chester are expected to field an XI with several of the younger stars getting an opportunity, as well as some trialists under the watchful eye of our management duo. The side will then travel to Bet Victor Division One West side Colne FC tomorrow... Blues' Player of the Season Gary Stopforth signed from the Reds last summer.

It is expected that a strong line-up will be named in Lancashire tomorrow. It could prove to be vital minutes for the likes of Akwasi Asante and Joel Taylor, who have been missing from the last few friendlies due to injury.

Pre-Season Results So Far

  • Wigan Athletic (h) | Lost 1-7 | Scorer: Danny Elliott
  • Newquay AFC (a) | Won 9-1 | Scorers: George Waring, Trialist (3), Anthony Dudley, Lloyd Marsh-Hughes, Iwan Murray, Simon Grand, Gary Roberts (pen).
  • Dulwich Hamlet (h) | Lost 1-2 | Scorer: Anthony Dudley
  • Carlisle United (h) | Drew 0-0 | Scorers: None"

In the Shropshire Star we learn that "AFC Telford United will continue monitoring the progress of young Coventry City goalkeeper Corey Addai. The 21-year-old has been between the sticks on trial for Telford during their last two pre-season clashes against Wrexham and Solihull Moors. Addai, a former Arsenal youngster, has also been training with the New Buck's Head club.

Telford welcome League One Coventry tomorrow, where Addai is unlikely to feature...

'We’re just having a look at him after hearing good things,' said Cowan. 'He’s looked good and will continue to be with us. We’re acclimatising him into the group. He’s still their player with another year left on his deal, we’ll know more in a couple of weeks'.

Telford are also running the rule over Tyrell McFarlane, a defender or midfielder, who impressed while with Market Drayton Town last tern. Defender Keith Lowe, however, will not be staying at Telford after making an appearance as a trialist. The experienced defender, 33, left Macclesfield in the summer and featured for the Bucks against Wrexham. But the former Wolves stopper is expected to sign for another club."

York Press informs us that "Assistant manager Micky Cummins has suggested that summer signing Kieran Green could be handed a start for York City against Scarborough Athletic tomorrow.

Triallist Liam Smith and centre-back Tom Allan are also in line to get more time on the field, with the former sitting out Wednesday's game against Hartlepool United. Ex-Gateshead midfielder Green played the first half against Leeds United, the second against Bolton and the final half-hour against Pools.

Allan has had the most extended run-out so far, featuring for an hour in both of the opening two fixtures and half an hour midweek...

City were knocked out of the North Riding County FA Senior Cup semi-final in March by Boro, who went on to win the competition... Boro, who compete in the top tier of the Northern Premier League premier division, will be the lowest-tier opposition City have faced yet.

Cummins predicted... 'Their style of play is similar to what we're going to face this season'".

19 July 2019


Blackpool bring a team to Moss Lane on Saturday for Altrincham's fourth pre-season game against external opposition. To date there has been a 1-0 away win at Whitchurch Alport, a heavy 0-6 home defeat by Crewe Alexandra and a 2-2 draw in midweek at Atherton Collieries.

The club has intimated that both defender Andy White and goalkeeper Steven Drench may be making their first bows of the summer as they return from injury. It is also thought likely that trialist Lewis Walters (ex-AFC Fylde) may again figure in the match after making his debut in the second half at Atherton on Tuesday.

Right: Conor Hampson wore the captain's armband against Crewe Alexandra last Saturday.

On Saturday against Blackpool, Jake Moult will be an absentee as he recovers from his operation so left-back Connor Hampson is likely to captain the side as he has done already in pre-season. Pre-season games have also seen Shaun Densmore and Sean Williams wear the armband at various stages of those encounters.

Nine trialists have been deployed so far in pre-season, namely goalkeeper Dan Gyollai, defender Zac Corbett, midfielder/forward Lewis Salmon, winger/full-back Jamal Crawford, midfielder Tom Whelan, winger Lewis Walters as well as Shakeel Jones, Darren McKnight and Ethan Cartwright. Aside from any remaining decisions to be made about trialists, manager Phil Parkinson will also be assessing Matt Chadwick's form. The former Ashton United forward, who joined Alty towards the end of last season, is recovering from injury and hoping to earn a place in the 2019-20 squad.

Saturday's game is the first of three home matches in the coming week, with Stockport County the visitors on Tuesday night, followed by AFC Fylde on Saturday, 27th July. Pre-season concludes with a short trip to our neighbours, Trafford FC, on Tuesday 30th July.


The list of players who have played both for Saturday's visitors, Blackpool, and for Altrincham is fairly lengthy.

The most recent member of this group of players is, of course, Yusifu Ceesay who spent a loan spell at the J. Davidson Stadium last season. He arrived on loan from Blackpool on 6 February 2019 and went on to make 13(+2) appearances for Altrincham, netting three goals in the process.

But, perhaps the best known player to appear for both clubs in the last twenty-five years is striker Keith Russell, who was the club's record signing, when he signed from Blackpool for a five-figure sum, believed to be £15,000. He had played for Tamworth and Atherstone before moving to the Seasiders for £50,000 in 1997. In 1998-99 Keith averaged a goal a game at Moss Lane, helping the club regain its Conference status for 1999-2000.

Back in 1998, Keith had scored to help Alty lift the UniBond Challenge Cup against Gainsborough Trinity at Chesterfield. In the semi-final against Chorley, the Magpies had written that "Ebullient Robins' chairman Gerry Berman regards the Russell deal as a 'massive signing' for the club and 'the biggest non-league transfer I know of in the last couple of years'. Berman reckons Altrincham have the highest wage-bill in the UniBond League and he is prepared to find the money to bring in more quality players for next season".

Sadly Russell [pictured left] was unable to repeat his 1998-99 goalscoring in the Conference in 1999-2000 as the Robins slid from mid-table safety to relegation after a disastrous run-in to the season.

Also in the late 1990s, goalkeeper Matt Dickens was another former Seasider at Moss Lane. He signed for Alty in August 1996 from Stockport County but earlier in his career had been at Blackpool.

A few years later, defender Neil Murphy made his Robins' debut as right-back in August 2002. He had recently been released by Blackpool where he had played for their first team.

David Beckham's best man, Dave Gardner re-signed for Alty from then NW Counties side Salford City just before Christmas 2002. He had previously had a brief spell with The Robins but played just one Conference game for them in October 1999 at Welling. Dave started as a Manchester United junior before he joined Manchester City on 1 July 1995. He was released from Maine Road in the 1996 close season and went, on Pontins' League forms, to Blackpool.

Another ex-Blackpool player to shine at Altrincham was tenacious midfielder Steve Bushell who joined Alty on loan from Halifax Town, where he was team captain, on 24 November 2005. From 1998 he had played at Blackpool for three years before, in August 2001, he signed for Stalybridge Celtic (then in the Conference). For Blackpool his league appearances alone comprised 64(+14) games.

More recently, in December, 2011, Blackpool loanee Adam Dodd, a left-sided midfielder/defender, arrived at Altrincham on a month's loan. Born in nearby Kirkham, he had been at Bloomfield Road from under-10 level and had signed a contract for Blackpool in May, 2011. He made 3(+2) appearances for Altrincham.

And, likewise in December 2011, Altrincham FC signed Liam Tomsett on a one-month loan from Blackpool; he returned to Bloomfield Road at the end of that period. A central midfielder, Liam had signed with Blackpool's youth department in May, 2009 and had made his first-team debut for the Seasiders in the third round of the 2010–11 FA Cup in January, 2011.

Subsequently, Liam played against Altrincham for several clubs, including Curzon Ashton and, most recently, Ashton United.

Going back in time midfielder Les Campbell [right] joined Preston North End as an 18 year-old in June 1953. After seven seasons at Deepdale he moved to the coast for a season with Blackpool and played 11 League games for them. In July 1961 he moved on to Tranmere Rovers.

One of the best-known players to appear for both clubs was Ernie Taylor. He had joined the Seasiders in 1951 and was a team-mate of the legendary Stanley Matthews. As "The Best of Charles Buchan's Football Monthly", a compilation from the top-selling football magazine of the 1950s to 1970s related "By 1961 the club [Altrincham] was in a bad way financially, the ground was in bad shape, the team doing badly and the future gloomy. They [White and Swales] decided to step in... They loaned £6,000 to the club to clear its immediate debts. They·took up £2,000-worth of unissued shares and by guaranteeing wages, they succeeded in preventing the club's complete professional staff from walking out... Knowing only too well that names make news, they brought in ex-Newcastle.and Manchester United inside forward Ernie Taylor".

Striker John Hughes, who arrived at Moss Lane for the 1974-75 season, will always be remembered for the goal that he scored at Goodison Park against Everton in the 1-1 Third Round FA Cup tie in 1975. He had started out as a junior with Blackpool, signing professional terms in July 1969. During his time at Blackpool he played 5(+3) league games and had a loan spell at Southport in March 1971 where he played a further 7(+1) league games and scored his first league goal.


The BBC reports that "Connah's Quay Nomads embarrassed Kilmarnock 2-0 in Ayrshire to earn a stunning Europa League first qualifying round aggregate victory.

Callum Morris's penalty proved decisive for the Welsh side, who recovered from a 2-1 first leg defeat to earn an unlikely aggregate win and set up a tie with Partizan Belgrade of Serbia.

Ryan Wignall gave the part-time visitors the lead and was later sent off after Kilmarnock's Stuart Findlay had been dismissed for conceding the penalty that Morris converted.

It was a first defeat for new Kilmarnock manager Angelo Alessio and was greeted by jeers by supporters who had celebrated a third-place Scottish Premiership finish last season.

But it was a glorious night for Welsh Premier League runners-up Connah's Quay and their Scots-born manager Andy Morrison".

In the Nomads' team was former Alty defender John Disney [above, right] whose career at Altrincham was sadly cut short by a pre-season injury and he made just 1(+1) appearance in competitive Alty games.


There's a quite bizarre analogy in the National League report that "Sunday’s eventful Cricket World Cup Final saw England claim glory in the narrowest of margins over their opponents New Zealand. After a tied match and Super Over, Eoin Morgan’s side earned the title based on boundaries scored.

In many ways, the situation faced by the Kiwis was a reminder to those connected to AFC Telford United of just how cruel sport can sometimes be. Having been heavily involved in the Vanarama National League North play-off race for much of the campaign, the Bucks fell short on the final day due to goal difference.

But boss Gavin Cowan is never one to dwell on the negatives. After all, he was a part of Solihull Moors’ squad three years ago who were crowned champions of this very division.

Preparation is already underway at New Bucks Head. The aims are orientated around bridging that minute gap between themselves and the top seven. Cowan said 'We’ll never stand still. I’ll always remain at the Club as long as we’re improving in all aspects on a day-to-day basis, with long-term ambitions. The desire is to be better and that’s what I challenge the players to do in every training session and every match'.

Despite losing three out of four games in pre-season so far, all three defeats coming against higher level opposition, Cowan maintains his ethos of 'Trust the Process', which played a crucial role in galvanising the Club and support base last term. He added 'We’re getting the work outs we need to. From a fitness perspective, it’s all going to plan. There’s a lot to work on, but that’s something we envisaged. We’re comfortable with where we are and where the group is.

'These last two matches have been extremely useful. We’ve tried new formations and can now go away and analyse our work of transferring information from training into our match play. It’s a big part of what we do and we’ll sit with the players and go through our findings, which is hugely beneficial for all concerned. It’s a case of refreshing the group from what we achieved last year, then ensuring... we have surpassed that'.

Replacing the goals of striker Daniel Udoh... was always going to be a tough task. But Cowan managed to secure the signing of a frontman at the top of his wish list, the much sought-after Aaron Williams. The Bucks have also drafted in Adam Walker and Chris Lait to add more experience in midfield...

The Telford boss admitted, 'We’re very strategic in our play, both in and out of possession. It’s going to take a bit of time to get used to it but, once they do, that’s when we’ll see the best of them'".

And from the Shropshire Star comes news that "AFC Telford United deputy Phil Trainer believes the club’s three new additions will make a telling difference in the new season. Gavin Cowan... who also works alongside popular former Telford midfielder Trainer in their line of work at Crossbar Coaching, has made few changes this summer.

But Trainer believes the additions of Chris Lait, Adam Walker and Aaron Williams will be decisive.

'I thought we had a very good team last season with a very good core,' said Trainer. 'It was just a case of adding a few here and there, which is what we have done. The signings the gaffer has made have been very good'... On the new additions Trainer added 'They’ll definitely make a difference and add to the quality... It’s three very good signings, I’m sure Aaron Williams would walk into most teams in the National North.

'Adam Walker is similar, very experienced. I’ve played with Adam and he’s a very good player. “Chris Lait was one of the top players in the league below last season. A winger that not just gets assists but scores goals. I think they’re very good additions and I take my hat off to the gaffer.'"

From NL Daily we learn that "Birmingham City’s young goalkeeper Zach Jeacock has agreed to join Gloucester City on a season-long loan deal. Jeacock made ten appearances for Birmingham’s Under-23 side last season, keeping clean sheets in five of them, and signed his first senior contract with them in May. The 18-year-old was also included in an England training camp and was named in the LFE (League Football Education) team of the season.

Scott Bevan, Blues' Under-23s Goalkeeper Coach, commented... 'He has shown great development over the last 18 months with our Under-23 teams and proven [sic] that he can handle, plus excel, in Academy football. The chance to now get him out at National North Level and playing competitive men’s football to a team the size of Gloucester City was too good to turn down and we feel it will help further aid his evolution as a goalkeeper'".

We learn from the Chester Standard that "Chester could bolster their squad with further signings if there are funds available, says Bernard Morley.

The Blues have already made a raft of new additions to their squad this summer... Morley and joint-manager Anthony Johnson have hailed the balance of their current squad, which was bolstered with the signing of goalkeeper Russ Griffiths just hours before their friendly with Carlisle United. The 23-year-old stopper became the club’s sixth permanent signing...

'I’m sure we’ll be knocking on the board’s door and seeing what we’ve got left', he said... 'If we have got to be ruthless with some people who’ve signed and get them out on loan then we’ll do that. The three central midfielders, for the majority of the season, there will only be two of them playing. We’ve got Iwan Murray who’s shown class again, we’ve got Anthony Dudley who has played in that number 10 role and has shown [himself] to be better than anyone in our league.

'Then there is Craig Mahon who was absolutely unbelievable in that number 10 role (against Carlisle). In terms of balance I think it is there. However, you don’t know what’s around the corner or who might become available from a Blackburn or a Fleetwood, so we’ll sit tight with that and continue to work with what we have got and we’re happy with what we’ve got... In terms of the difference between last year I think there is a massive improvement.'

Among those under consideration for deals is trialist striker Rhys Oates, who impressed in the Blues' first three summer friendlies. Oates, who has since returned to his native Isle of Man where he plays for Peel FC, fired a hat-trick for Chester in their 9-1 friendly win at Newquay last week... 'Rhys has gone back to the Isle of Man and he impressed us massively,' said Morley.

'We’ve had a conversation with Rhys about how it can happen and what type of money it’s going to be. He just wants an opportunity to be in this league and I think he has done enough to be given that opportunity. However, money talks, and if we can work it we'll work it and, if not, we'll do our best to get him somewhere located round here so we can keep an eye on him.'"

At Southport "The club can confirm that striker Jason Gilchrist has completed a permanent transfer to South Shields. Jason, who joined Southport from FC United of Manchester in November 2017, has signed for the BetVictor Northern Premier League side. The 24-year-old leaves having scored 19 league goals for the Port, including hat-tricks against Tamworth and Gainsborough Trinity in the 2017/18 season.

Jason also represented England C during his time with Southport and spent the final part of last season on loan at Stockport County".

18 July 2019


Blackpool bring a team to Altrincham on Saturday, despite having a fixture at the same time at Barrow. On Tuesday night they defeated neighbours AFC Fylde 2-0 in a friendly.

New Blackpool owner, Simon Stadler told the Blackpool Gazette this week that "He’s taken on the club with his 'eyes wide open' and is prepared to invest what is required.

Even with larger attendances next season, the Seasiders are expected to make a loss, which will only grow over the coming years with capital expenditure projects planned... When asked if the prospect of losing money scares him, Sadler said 'I knew exactly what I was getting myself into... I know a large amount of investment is needed and I will step up and do it, but at the same time revenue will need to increase...

'I’m sure some people will want me to spend a lot of money to get us out of League One this season but I don’t think that’s the right thing for the future of the club'... Sadler has, however, stated it is his aim to get out of League One within the next two seasons and admits he would be 'gutted' if it wasn’t achieved in three".

As usual admission for Altrincham FC season ticket holders will be free for this pre-season game whilst prices on the turnstiles will be:

  • Adults - £8
  • Concessionaries - £5
  • Under-16s - £2
  • Under-12s - Free

From the Blackpool Gazette, we learn that "Ryan Hardie says he’s looking forward to rekindling his friendship with former Rangers teammate Jordan Thompson at Blackpool... The striker, who today [Wednesday] became Pool’s sixth signing of the summer, came through the youth ranks at Ibrox alongside Thompson...

Thompson, a Northern Ireland international, made the move south of the border this time last year... The 6ft 2ins striker has made the move to Blackpool for an undisclosed fee, penning a two-year deal with the option to extend by a further 12 months".


Altrincham had never previously visited Atherton Collieries before the 2-2 draw there on Tuesday at the Skuna Stadium.

Off the field it was also an enjoyable evening, with sunny weather and friendly club officials and spectators.

Above: Phil Parkinson addresses his players before kick off at Atherton.

In addition to a clubhouse, Atherton Collieries hosted an outdoor Skuna cider bar, courtesy of their stadium sponsors, and a visiting ice cream van was a further welcome feature on a warm evening.

A twelve-page, all colour programme, "The Carbon", at just £1 was a bonus at a pre-season game and its content was informative and well written.

The club has just been promoted to the highest level in its history, the Bet Victor Northern Premier League, and on Tuesday's showing the Colls should certainly prove competitive at that level.

The club has a fascinating series of friendly fixtures in 2019. After the Alty game, The Colls visit their fellow mining town of Hemsworth in Yorkshire to face Hemsworth Miners' Welfare, for what will be the club's 10th annual Jolly Boys' Outing. Since 2008 the club has undertaken an annual Jolly Boys trip to a variety of clubs that they would not normally meet, often at locations with a shared mining heritage.

In 2018, for instance, they played for a Collieries Cup trophy at Pontefract Collieries who won the match and will defend the trophy at Atherton on 3 August.

After their trip to Yorkshire mining country next Saturday, Atherton have an exotic home friendly against eight-times Saudi Arabian champions al-Ittihad who have even competed in the FIFA World Club Cup twice. The fixture came about through the Colls links to local club Bolton Wanderers.

Before The Colls kick off their league campaign against Ashton United on 17 August, the Skuna welcomes another visiting club, like the Saudis, rarely seen in the North West, but slightly less exotic, in the shape of Southern League Division One team, Bedworth United".

This website has a match report on Tuesday's game, here and both Altrincham FC and Atherton Collieries also have reports on the fixture.


None of the trialists used in earlier pre-season games by Altrincham was in evidence at Atherton on Tuesday night but a new face did appear. Lewis Walters [right] played the second half on the left wing. He is a former AFC Fylde player, whose previous clubs were Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Barrow and Guiseley. Harrogate-based, Walters had trials at Carlisle United last summer.

Walters is also expected to figure in Saturday's clash with Blackpool.


Altrincham's final pre-season game will be on 30 July at Shawe View, against Trafford.

On Tuesday the Bet Victor NPL reported that "Trafford boss Tom Baker has handed the captaincy to defender Sam Egerton, with goalkeeper Matt Cooper reverting to vice-captain. Egerton, 28, suffered a broken leg last summer and sat out the campaign through injury.

Baker said 'Sam is a natural born leader and was a candidate last season to be captain, prior to breaking his leg. He echoes me as a manager and is fully on board with the direction of the group! He is a really mentally strong character who will lead by example on and off the field. Matt Cooper did a fantastic job last season of being Captain and will ably assist Sam. It’s no slight on Matt. I just feel it’s better to have an outfield player as captain.'

Egerton said 'I am extremely proud to be captaining the club for the coming season; after a difficult first year at the club with injury, I’m grateful for the trust the Gaffer has put in me in offering me this role. We have an exciting group of players going into the new season with a good blend of youth and experience. I feel the mentality of the group that has been created by each individual will take us a long way this season.

'On behalf of the group, I’d like to thank the fans for their continued and unconditional support; it doesn’t go unnoticed.'

Meanwhile, Trafford have signed wideman Sam Grimshaw, whose former clubs include Hednesford Town, Glossop North End and Radcliffe. The club has also confirmed the return of Harry Sheridan, re-joining on a dual-registration deal with National League North side Altrincham."


Chester FC "can confirm that Friday’s planned pre-season friendly at the Deva Stadium against Bolton Wanderers has now unfortunately been called off". This is reportedly a consequence of the Bolton players again not being paid.

The Chester Standard elaborates, saying that "Chester's scheduled pre-season friendly against Bolton Wanderers is off. The Blues were due to host the crisis-hit League One club at the Deva on Friday evening, but the visitors have pulled out of the clash. Wanderers' player have refused to play in the fixtures, citing ongoing issues with pay and a lack of communication from the club during the administration process.

The squad has become increasingly concerned by the speed at which the takeover process is happening and met this morning at the training ground to confirm they would not play at Chester.

A joint player statement released to the media read 'The players and coaching staff have not been paid by the club for 20 weeks and the administrators have not offered any financial assistance. It is our understanding that there are sufficient funds to provide financial help immediately but there has been none... With the new season looming it is becoming impossible to prepare correctly for the challenge ahead...

A Blues statement said... 'We would now encourage Chester FC supporters to attend the games this Friday and Saturday away at Cheadle Town and Colne respectively. "The Blues are fielding an XI at home to newly formed CPD Bangor 1876 next Thursday (25th) in our final match at the Deva before the new National League North campaign gets underway.'"

The Shropshire Star informs us that "A solitary strike from Jamie Reckord condemned AFC Telford to a 1-0 defeat in their pre-season friendly against Solihull Moors at the New Buck's Head.

Gavin Cowan’s side lost to National League opposition for the second time in four days... The only goal arrived on 27 minutes as Reckord, who trained with the Bucks when Rob Edwards was in charge, stepped inside a challenge and drilled in past keeper Corey Addai.

Cowan made several changes to the team that lost to Wrexham on Saturday and Marcus Dinanga had their first chance but fired wide when he could have squared to Andre Brown... A host of substitutions midway through the second period disrupted the flow of the game for the 448 fans who had turned out to watch.

And the visitors almost doubled their advantage eight minutes from time when Matt Stenson got in behind the defence and hit a shot that rattled the woodwork, while Alex Gudger clipped the top of the bar with a header."

At Southport, "Dean Winnard has signed a contract extension with Southport for the 2019/20 season. Dean, who joined the Port last summer from Morecambe, will continue to combine his playing role with a coaching capacity.

The 29-year-old defender was a key part of the Port team last season, starting 28 games and scoring two goals from his position at the back. Dean, who also holds a Uefa B coaching license, possesses a wealth of experience which has already proved invaluable during his time at Southport. With almost 300 appearances in the EFL to his name, he began his career with Blackburn Rovers and spent seven years at Accrington Stanley before moving to Morecambe.

'I’m delighted to be able to extend my contract with the club. I really enjoyed my first season here, we’ve got a great group of players and it’s fantastic being around them every day... I’ve learnt a lot from working alongside Liam (Watson) and Jon (McCarthy) over the past season and the lads work well together as a group' said Dean on extending his stay."

According to the Boston Standard, "George Green wants the Boston United fans to see him at his best, with the former Everton youngster promising he will not let his talent go to waste. Green, who moved to Goodison Park from Bradford City for a £2m fee as a 15-year-old, has spoken openly about his well-documented battles with mental health, alcohol and cocaine in the past.

But the summer signing arrives at Boston feeling very much like a player on the up, believing he has put his off-field problems behind him. 'I’m doing the right things off the pitch, which I keep reverting to,' 23-year-old Green said. 'I know that’s right. Now it’s about getting sharpness and minutes and working hard in training. It’s got to come together. My talent’s not going to waste. That’s not what I’m out to do, I’m here to work hard.'

Green, whose former clubs include Tranmere Rovers, Oldham Athletic, Burnley and Kilmarnock, arrived at York Street something as an outsider as the majority of Craig Elliott’s newly-assembled squad know each other well, many from their times together with Harrogate and the Pilgrims.

'The lads do know each other and you can tell they’ve all got good relationships,' added Green, who missed large chunks of last season with Chester due to injury. 'But I’ve been welcomed in with open arms and you can tell that out on the pitch with the team cohesion we’ve got... last year it was a drag going in and knowing I was injured. But this year I’m embracing it... I think we can go on and achieve big things this year.'”

Y Clwb Pel-Droed reports that "Barry Town United have signed Keyon Reffell following his departure from Hereford. The 28-year-old joins the Jenner Park club as their fifth signing of the summer.

The attacking midfielder rejected a new deal at Hereford, despite Marc Richards's best attempts to keep him at the Vanarama National League North side. He revealed he wanted to be closer to his family in South Wales, hence his decision to move to Barry...

Barry’s new addition had an injury-ravaged season last year, having been sidelined by injury, making just six league appearances. Reffell links up with former Bulls teammate Callum Sainty, who had a brief spell at Edgar Street last season."

Crewe Alexandra, fresh from their 6-0 win at Altrincham, had another big win over a National League North side on Tuesday as they report that manager "David Artell was pleased that most of his squad got 90 minutes under their belts in last night’s 3-0 win over Witton Albion. The Alex boss made the trip to Northwich whilst his assistant Kenny Lunt oversaw the 5-1 win at Curzon Ashton."

And Curzon had also lost on Saturday to another pre-season visitor to Moss Lane, Stockport County, who play at the J. Davidson Stadium next Tuesday.

Stockport County report on the game saying that "The Hatters stepped a short distance beyond the Stockport postcode area, as well as four non-league tiers up in terms of opposition, for their third friendly match of the summer but still succeeded in dominating play as they recorded a hat-trick of pre-season wins at Curzon Ashton.

Having scored 18 times in the two local fixtures at Cheadle Heath Nomads and Stockport Town, both from Division One South of the North West Counties League, County added two more to the July tally against the National League North ‘Nash’, courtesy of a goal in each half for Jake Kirby.

But the Hatters will be pleased with a performance at the Tameside Stadium that saw them enjoy by far the greater shares of possession and chances, as well as a fifth clean sheet in a series of matches that stretches back to their home NLN fixture against the same opponents during April.

County took to the pristine-looking pitch in a new white and dark navy alternate away kit, showing just one change from the first 11 at Stockport Sports Village four days earlier, with Connor Dimaio, in place of Alex Curran, making his first start of the pre-season campaign. Sam Minihan... was to be the only Hatter to complete the full 90 minutes...

The Hatters’ early superiority was rewarded with a goal as Kirby advanced towards the edge of the area before firing a low drive past home goalkeeper Cam Mason... Mason proceeded to keep the Nash in the contest...

All 21 players in the the Hatters’ squad, including three trialists who had appeared during the previous week, would enjoy some game time in OL7, although the 10 substitutes were to be brought on in four separate tranches rather than all at once...

Kirby headed in Walker’s corner from the right to double the lead... Another home player once (albeit briefly) of the Edgeley parish almost halved the arrears in spectacular fashion, as left-back Josh Askew, on loan in SK3 from Salford City for four matches last August, hit County’s right post with a 30-yard pile-driver".


Welsh Premier reports that "Substitute Dean Ebbe scored minutes after coming on to the pitch to give The New Saints a 1-0 win over Feronikeli in their UEFA Champions' League QR1 second leg.

Saints needed to score having drawn last week's first leg at Park Hall 2-2, but it was the home side who came out early on with intent... The killer strike came midway through the second half, Ebbe heading in a cross from Simon Spender two minutes after replacing Adrian Cieslewicz.

That pressed the Kosovan champions into action, but they were unable to find a response, and Saints progress into QR2 where they will meet Danish champions FC Copenhagen."

17 July 2019


An entertaining match at the Skuna Stadium ended in a draw for Altrincham against the newly promoted NPL side, Atherton Collieries. With no trialists in their starting eleven, Altrincham fell behind to a seventh-minute penalty when Mullarkey was judged to have brought down Bentham. The home striker got up to convert the spot-kick.

Altrincham levelled the score in the 34th minute when Tom Peers back-heeled the ball home after it had been played into the goalmouth by Toby Mullarkey at an Alty corner.

Right: Max Harrop's freekick beats keeper Hartley.

Alty made half a dozen changes at the interval, one of whom was a trialist, Lewis Walters from AFC Fylde, who played on the left-wing. In the 69th minute, another of the second-half substitutes, Max Harrop, hit the net with a superb freekick from outside the box after a foul on Matt Chadwick.

Just four minutes later, the hosts came back strongly and scored a deserved equalizer, albeit thanks to an Altrincham defensive lapse. James Jones tried to shepherd a ball back to his keeper, Tony Thompson, only for Hardcastle to nip in and take the ball round the keeper and score.

Match report here.


Following news that Blackpool, who visit Altrincham on Saturday, had postponed their planned friendly at Spennymoor Town, as their new manager wanted a different pre-season schedule, we learn from the Blackpool Gazette that the Seasiders have now got another planned friendly fixture against a National North club in jeopardy, as "Blackpool's pre-season friendly against Southport has been cancelled due to concerns over the non-league side's pitch. The Seasiders were due to travel to Haig Avenue next Tuesday...

Southport have recently re-laid their pitch and, having taken advice from a pitch consultant, have decided it would be too soon to play a game on the new surface. However, both clubs remain in discussions regarding the potential to play the friendly elsewhere, although there is a possibility this could be behind closed doors.

Blackpool said 'The club has been informed that the playing surface at the ground requires further root growth and will no longer hold any pre-season fixtures prior to the new season. Both clubs remain in discussions with a view to holding the game at an alternative venue, with a further update to be provided in due course'...

Pitch consultant Alan Lewis informed Southport that playing any pre-season games on the surface could put it in doubt for the remainder of the campaign. The Sandgrounders have also been forced to cancel a friendly against Blackburn Rovers.

Southport director Ian Kyle said 'We are extremely pleased with how the pitch has come on and we’re sure that those fans who come to the ground every Tuesday will have enjoyed seeing the work that has gone on to get it to the high standard it is now. Mr Lewis has assured us that it will be one of the best surfaces in the league. Much as we would like to play the games against Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers at the ground, as much for financial reasons as anything else, we also want to give the players every opportunity for the season ahead.

'We all witnessed how well the team played last season against Curzon Ashton and Colne, and it was no coincidence that these performances were on pitches that allowed us to play good football. It will be great to give the players that opportunity to play on a great surface at every home game. The last thing we would want to do is to sacrifice that at this late stage.'"


Altrincham's remaining pre-season matches are...

  • Sat. 20 July HOME Blackpool XI 3pm
  • Tue. 23 July HOME Stockport County 7.45pm
  • Sat. 27 July HOME AFC Fylde 3pm
  • Tue. 30 July AWAY Trafford 7.45pm


Crewe Alexandra boss Dave Artell gave his club website an interview after defeating Altrincham last Saturday.

And Crewe Alexandra report that "Josh Lundstram emerges as possible right-back cover. The Academy graduate certainly caught the eye with his half an hour at right-back in 6-0 in over Altrincham.

Josh Lundstram’s impressive cameo performance at right-back at Altrincham last Saturday certainly caught the eye of many, none more so than his manager David Artell. The versatile Academy product usually plays in central midfield but he showed another string to his bow by slotting in at right full-back with ease.

Eager to press forward and competitive enough to steal possession back on a number of occasions, Lundstram has enchanced his chances of making his senior debut sooner rather than later no harm at all.

Artell said, 'Wherever he plays on the pitch, not a lot gets past him and it was the same against Altrincham when he came on and played at right-back. Could he get in the first team playing that position? Maybe, maybe not. But it is another string to his bow and he has shown that he could be good enough to play right-back if we need him to.'".


The Shropshire Star tells us that "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan is looking forward to another tough New Buck's Head test as they welcome Solihull Moors for a friendly tonight [Tuesday]... after losing 2-0 to Wrexham on Saturday.

And although results are not the be-all and end-all at this point, Cowan wants to be build momentum ahead of the new National League North season...

'We’ll start focusing on other parts of our game now,' said Cowan, with a home friendly against Coventry City taking place this Saturday too. 'We’ve got really tough games against competitive opposition, which is exactly what we want'...

As well as the loss to Wrexham, Telford have had a 4-3 defeat in a behind-closed-doors game against a West Brom XI and a 3-1 win at Market Drayton Town so far in pre-season...

Former Wolves, Kidderminster and Macclesfield defender Keith Lowe could feature after playing against Wrexham, as could goalkeeper Corey Addai who is currently contracted at Coventry but came off the bench for the Bucks against the Red Dragons as well. 'The line-ups have already been picked, but obviously we will manage as we go along,' added Cowan. 'Results are still immaterial, though it would be good to get that winning mentality but, all in all, we’re ahead of schedule.'”

Southport report that "Manager Liam Watson has strengthened his defensive options with the signing of Zehn Mohammed. Zehn, who spent a brief period with Southport last season, re-joins on a youth loan from Accrington Stanley until January.

The 19-year-old full-back spent two months with the Port during the winter before finishing the season at FC United of Manchester, making 15 appearances in the Vanarama National League North. Zehn has already featured for Southport during pre-season and scored our third goal in the friendly win against the Fleetwood Town Development Squad.

Born in Blackburn, Zehn signed a professional contract with Accrington in the summer of 2017, and has also spent time on loan at Ramsbottom United and Clitheroe in a bid to assist his development".

Rotherham United "confirm that all 22 first team players will travel to the friendlies at Farsley Celtic and Bradford Park Avenue on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

The Millers returned to English shores in the early hours of Tuesday morning and will regroup this evening as Paul Warne looks to maximise game time for his players ahead of the new season. It is once again likely that, as in Germany, players involved for around 60 minutes tonight, will play less in the other fixture and vice versa."

Altrincham's first guests of the new season are the subject of news from York Press which tells us that "City manager Steve Watson predicts tomorrow evening’s game against Hartlepool United will be the most appropriate test of pre-season... The Minstermen have already come up against last season’s Championship play-off contenders Leeds United and League One outfit Bolton Wanderers. Still to come are Notts County, who were relegated from League Two last season, and BetVictor Northern Premier League sides Scarborough Athletic, South Shields and Pickering Town.

Pools, meanwhile, have finished their last two seasons in the National League 15th and 16th following their 2017 relegation from League Two.

'I think the Hartlepool game will be a lot closer to what we’re going to face on a weekly basis', Watson said. 'They’re still a very good National League side and they will be very competitive against us...

He added, on the variety of pre-season opposition, 'It’s three very different games and I expect Hartlepool will be the closest of who we will face all pre-season'...

Watson is still looking to give players match experience, though the Leeds and Bolton games have already given him food for thought. Centre-back Steve McNulty and midfielder Billy Beresford missed out on Sunday against the Trotters but Watson was confident of them being fit enough for tonight. 'I wouldn’t be thinking about playing the team I’ll play at the start of the season until the last couple of games of pre-season,' Watson said.

'But, even after two games, I’ve got an idea of what I want to do. The lads who didn’t play (against Leeds) will be involved on Wednesday. It’s a chance to get minutes under their belts and to make my mind up for me.'

Striker Alex Kempster has also praised the Minstermen's pre-season schedule. The 23-year-old got his first full 90 minutes of the campaign on Sunday against Bolton, netting the first-half winner. 'I got a good run-out, created a lot of chances and I'm glad I got the goal,' he said".

16 July 2019


Altrincham play their first ever match at Atherton Collieries tonight (Tuesday). The Colls won the EvoStik First (West) last season, the division they shared in 2018-19 with our neighbours Trafford, whom we meet on 30 July. So Atherton now meet Altrincham with just one step of the Pyramid between them.

In their pre-season home games in 2019 the Colls have lost 0-2 to a strong Chorley side, last week, before trouncing Ashton Town 5-0 last Saturday.

The Colls play at the Skuna Stadium, Alder Street, Atherton, Manchester M46 9EY. Admission for the game against Altrincham will be £5 for adults and £3 for concessionariess. A match programme will be available for £1.50.

Despite not having met previously, Altrincham and Atherton Collieries have several ex-players in common. One such link between Altrincham and Atherton Collieries (and, coincidentally, with Alty's next opponents, Blackpool), comes through Derek Halliwell, who played in the successful mid-sixties Altrincham team and who was a regular spectator at Moss Lane before his sad death in 2016. Not only was Derek born in Atherton, but he had also played for Atherton Collieries before joining Alty. In addition he had enjoyed a seven-month spell on the ground staff at Blackpool.

Right: Derek Halliwell at Moss Lane, February 2015.

Other players to have donned the shirts of both Altrincham and The Colls include former Alty defender Chris Lynch, who moved from Moss Lane to Atherton Collieries in 2018. Likewise, Lloyd Bannister, who spent pre-season at Altrincham in 2018, moved on to the Colls, whilst former Alty reserve, Keith Wedge had made a similar move some years earlier.

Another player who has been on both clubs' books is a Robins' youth team graduate and first-teamer, striker Mario Daniel. Likewise former Alty goalkeeper, Adam Reid, also played for the Atherton club.

Tonight, Altrincham will be looking for an improved outcome compared with their last pre-season outing, a 0-6 defeat to Crewe Alexandra last Saturday.


More on last Saturday's game at the JDS comes from Crewe Alexandra, whose "boss David Artell says that the tactical work and sharpness we worked on last week showed at Altrincham at the weekend. Crewe romped to a 6-0 win with Oli Finney grabbing a hat-trick at Moss Lane and, although it was a comfortable afternoon for the Railwaymen, Artell says there is a room for improvement in all aspects.

Artell said, 'We did more work on our sharpness last week and you could see it start to the effect it had at Altrincham. It was pleasing to see the players create numerous chance and score goals but there is a long way to go. There is room for improvement and plenty left but I think the fans could see the difference between the Nantwich performance and that one on Saturday.

'They had being doing a lot of running in those first 10 days of pre-season and were a bit leggy at Nantwich but working on those short and sharper stuff made a difference to us in the final third at Altrincham. It was another step in the right direction and all minutes under the belt for most of them.'”

And Crewe Alexandra add that they "are set to split the first team squad right down the middle for friendlies at Witton Albion an Curzon Ashton... Both games take place on Tuesday 16 July... The Alex boss is set to send evenly matched sides to Wincham Park and the Tameside Stadium as he looks to get a full 90 minutes of pre-season match fitness into the legs of his squad."


Membership of the Altrincham FC Patrons' scheme for 2019/20 is heading towards the two-hundred mark.

For the cost of £50 your name will appear throughout the coming season in the matchday programme as a Patron of Altrincham Football Club.

Every member will be entered into a prize draw, which this year will be made at the Stockport County pre-season game on 23rd July, with the prize being hospitality packages for four people at the Alfreton Town league fixture on Tuesday 13th August.

If you are interested in becoming a Patron for next season, please forward a cheque, payable to Altrincham Football Club, for £50. Alternatively, you can pay by card by phoning the office. If you require any further information please do not hesitate to enquire by e-mail. More details are on the Altrincham FC official website.


Dulwich Hamlet report that "Manager Gavin Rose was in good spirits after a productive pre-season tour to Chester and Liverpool

Dulwich Hamlet returned from their first away games of preseason with two victories: a 2-1 win against Chester and a 4-2 comeback over Marine. Given that Chester compete at the same level as us, it was a good opportunity to see how this newly assembled Dulwich side is coming along and for Gavin Rose this was perfect preparation for the upcoming season.

'They were very fit and they moved the ball well and they were aggressive. I felt like that was good for us because we reacted quite well to it', Rose said of our first opponents. 'I think at the start we were probably quite surprised at their approach but we reacted really well and competed well, and we started to pass the ball'...

Dulwich preserved a clean sheet in the first half and it took two second half goals from new striker Danny Mills to secure the win over Chester... Rose continued 'That game could have easily been a league game. We’re only two weeks into the preseason so I think it’s a credit to both teams in terms of our fitness levels on the day.'"

According to the Birmingham Mail "Birmingham City are tracking Kidderminster Harriers midfielder Ed Williams. Birmingham are keen to strengthen this summer with head coach Pep Clotet chasing several new recruits...

Attacking midfielder Williams has scored 13 times and grabbed six assists in 36 appearances for Harriers since joining the club from Gloucester City last year. Blues’ Championship rivals Swansea City are also reported to have shown interest in the 23-year-old, as have League One promotion hopefuls Peterborough United.

Speaking about transfers from Blues’ training camp in Portugal last week, Clotet said, 'We know exactly what we need, we know that we are a solid team and we know what we are lacking. What we are lacking is really what we lost, a little bit of creativity, a bit of goals with Che and that’s what we need to improve. “We need players that are going to come here with hunger to keep the team progressing.'”

Kettering Town advise that "The Poppies are on the road Tuesday night as they take on Jon Taylor's new look Bedford Town at the Bright Management Eyrie. The Eagles lost 1-2 to Luton Town last Saturday, Tre Mitford scoring their goal after 87 minutes. Former Poppy Nathan Abbey is the Eagles' assistant manager, with Bed Ford and Nick Bennion in the ranks of ex-Kettering players."

Alty renew acquaintance with Farsley Celtic in the coming season and we get a reminder of their history from Rotherham Vital Football, which informs us that "Rotherham United... take on Farsley Celtic at the Throstle Nest tomorrow (Tuesday, 16 July).

Founded in 1908 Farsley joined the West Riding County Amateur League eighteen years later. 1949 saw them join the Yorkshire League Division Two getting promoted to Division One at the end of the 1951/2 season. They were champions and runners-up a number of times and the 1974/5 season saw them reach the FA Cup first round for the first time taking on Tranmere Rovers who won two-nil. They had a few seasons of yo-yoing between Division One and Two and after the Yorkshire League and the Midland League combined 1982 saw them in the Division One North of the Northern Counties East League getting promoted to the Premier Division at the end of the 1984/5 season.

Two years later they were promoted to the newly formed Division One of the Northern Premier League and seventeen years later were promoted to the Premier Division. After Spennymoor United failed to fulfil their fixtures, the League took their results away, leaving Farsley champions until the FA stepped in and gave all teams who hadn’t played Spennymoor three points meaning Farsley ended up in third place losing to Workington in the play-off final. The end of the 2005/6 season saw Farsley promoted via the play-offs to the Conference North and [they] got another promotion, again via the play-offs, the following season but were relegated after just one season.

Financial problems saw the club expelled from the league before the start of the 2009/10 season although, being re-admitted, they went into administration and, when they couldn’t finish their fixtures, March 2010 saw them expelled from the Conference and [they] were disbanded.

They reformed as Farsley AFC for the 2010/11 season joining the Premier Division of the Northern Counties East League and, after winning the title, gained promotion to Division One North of the Northern Premier League. 2015 saw them return to the name Farsley Celtic and [they] were promoted via the 2017 play-offs to the Premier Division.

Last season the Celt Army took the Premier Division title and they will start the coming season in the National League North."


The Halifax Courier informs us that "FC Halifax Town have announced the departure of manager Jamie Fullarton after 17 months in charge. The 44-year-old Scot, who took charge of Halifax’s 1-0 friendly win at Farsley Celtic on Saturday, succeeded Billy Heath in February last year and helped Town avoid relegation during the 2017-18 campaign.

After the club’s transition from part-time to a hybrid version of full-time last summer, Fullarton guided them to a 15th placed finish in the National League last season. Of Fullarton’s 67 games in charge (not including West Riding County Cup but including the 2-0 win over Hartlepool on the day of his appointment), Town won 21, lost 18 and drew 28.

Halifax are now without a manager with just 19 days to go until the start of the new campaign."

15 July 2019


The official Altrincham FC website has a post-match interview by press officer, Brian Flynn, with manager Phil Parkinson following the 6-0 defeat by Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.


Atherton Collieries entertain Altrincham on Tuesday. They play at the Skuna Stadium, Alder St, Atherton, Manchester M46 9EY

Atherton Collieries report that on Saturday, "Two goals inside a minute early in the first half set the tone as Colls coasted to a 5-0 victory over Ashton Town at the Skuna Stadium on Saturday morning.

Following Tuesday’s 2-0 home defeat to Vanarama National League newcomers Chorley, Colls’ preparations for the new BetVictor Northern Premier League Premier Division campaign continued with this encounter, Town finishing ninth on their return to the North West Counties League First Division North after promotion from the Cheshire League.

Colls went in front on ten minutes when Marcus Perry fired the ball in to the bottom right-hand corner of the net, and it was almost in exactly the same spot that the lead was doubled by a trialist barely a minute later.

With the hosts 2-0 in front at the break, a third goal was added on 54 minutes when some lovely build-up play saw Jack Egan exchange passes on the edge of the box before finishing from ten yards out.

The two sides last met three years ago in a friendly at Edge Green Street... In goal for Colls that day was youngster Paul Foster, and he lined up in goal for the visitors this afternoon for the second half, but there was nothing he could do about a fourth goal for the hosts on 71 minutes as Oliver Roberts curled a delightful free kick in to the top left hand corner of the goal before another trialist completed the scoring on 83 minutes with a deflected effort.

Pre-season action continues for Colls this coming Tuesday (16th July) when Vanarama National League North side Altrincham are the visitors to the Skuna Stadium for a 7.45pm kick off".

In their previous game, Atherton Colieries reported that "Colls faced another very tough pre-season test as newly promoted National League side Chorley brought a strong side featuring trialists from league clubs.. Colls had to wait until the 30th minute before launching an attack of note, Ben Hardcastle shooting wide from the edge of the box.

Tom Bentham created Colls best chance of the half on 39 minutes when he won two 50/50 tackles in the midfield area, rode a third challenge before playing the ball to Danny Lambert who crossed for Bentham himself to nod narrowly wide inside the box.

The game then turned in Chorley’s favour, [ex-Alty loanee] Elliot Newby was adjudged to have been fouled in the box, stepping up himself for the spot kick, only for Chris Cheetam to pull off a great save. However, minutes later, just before the break, Chorley came again and [ex-Alty midfielder] Josh O’Keefe was able to finish after a header back across the box to open the scoring.

The second half saw a couple of changes for both teams and Chorley were soon on the scoresheet again, Elliot Newby making amends for that earlier missed penalty.

From then on, Colls had some great chances to get on the scoreboard, Tom Bentham unable to direct a cross from Trialist on target and Jordan Cover being denied by a point blank reflex save onto the bar after heading a Gaz Peet cross goalwards from 4 yards out...

The pace of Colls attack continued to cause Chorley problems, Cover and Trialist on the left going past defenders with ease, to the delight of the crowd, but unable to put the icing on the cake. With Chorley looking dangerous each time they attacked, the game provided another decent run out for the squad".


As reported earlier, Altrincham's guests next Saturday, Blackpool, recently cancelled another planned pre-season game against National League North opposition, in the shape of Spennymoor Town. The Blackpool Gazette elaborates on this, stating that new manager "Simon Grayson has explained his reasoning behind cancelling Blackpool’s scheduled pre-season friendly at Spennymoor Town. The Seasiders were due to take on the non-league side at Shildon AFC’s ground on Saturday to coincide with the end of their six-day training camp in Scotland.

It had been arranged that the Pool players would get on the coach from St Andrew's to the stadium, a journey that would have taken around four hours. However, Grayson believed that wasn’t the right preparation for his squad and decided to cancel the match, taking charge of an inter-squad 11 v 11 game instead.

'I looked at the schedule and I thought going to Spennymoor was a long way out of our way really,' Grayson told The Gazette. 'Geographically it didn’t work and Spennymoor were fine with that. Instead we’ll do a session in the morning, we’ll do a double session Thursday and Friday and we’ll have an 11-a-side game, an in-house game which I can control a little bit more. If I go to Spennymoor I can’t really stop and start it like I want to do, so that will be the schedule.'"


NL Daily reports that "Bradford (Park Avenue) have announced the signing of experienced defender Ryan Cresswell. The 31-year-old has notably represented the likes of Bury, Rotherham United, Southend United and Northampton Town in his career, most recently spending the end of last season at Boston United.

He becomes the latest signing for Bradford player/manager Garry Thompson, alongside Shaun Gardner, Mitchell Lund and Ben Hedley.

Thompson said, 'We’re really happy with the squad we are building and have had a few options for a player of Ryan’s experience and background which we have been considering. The support we have from the directors is excellent and getting Ryan finalised today was a big part of that squad balance we have been focusing on.'

Cresswell said 'Speaking with Garry and the club has been really positive... The pre-season schedule the club has is very strong and I can’t wait to get game time against Brighouse, and then it’s my old club Rotherham on Wednesday night.“

Chester City "announce the signing of ‘Trialist B’ – forward Danny Elliott. The 23-year-old has already made his mark at the Deva,scoring a fantastic solo goal at home to Wigan Athletic last Saturday.

Elliott spent time at Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa during his youth days, before playing college football for Hofstra Pride in New York. He made 68 appearances and scored 14 goals. Danny was most recently at Port Vale, after training with the club and earning a deal in January 2019. He features again for the Blues against Dulwich Hamlet" in a home match which Chester lost, "two-one in a closely fought friendly".

The Eastern Daily Press tells us that "Football managers say they take little notice of the early pre-season friendlies but, if King's Lynn Town's opener proved anything, it was that summer transfer business appears to have been astute.

There have been three additions to the squad which won promotion; Sam Kelly, Sonny Carey and Nathan Fox, and all three showed exactly why manager Ian Culverhouse wants them in his squad. Culverhouse's recruitment hasn't finished yet - he's in the market for a defender and Saturday's two Lynn teams, one for each half, included a raft of the ubiquitous summer player, A Triallist, including one Chris Smith, a free agent centre-half after leaving Ipswich Town.

Culverhouse has five more friendlies to work out who he wants before the big kick-off... time is short, but the build-up needs to be sweet. And at the Zeeco Stadium, it was.

Yes, the scoreline gives him nothing tangible, but it allowed the master craftsmen to tinker with pairings, formations and players. Fox was given the first half to show what he can do as he tries to fill the large boots of Frazer Blake-Tracy, while Kelly and Carey appeared after the break with Lynn 2-0 up and cruising.

Carey is one for the future, but has an air of confidence, carries the ball well, is confident in possession and, judging by what happened in the 57th minute, a bit handy in front of goal; he pulled out a screamer from just outside the area to make it 3-0.

Kelly may well be the cleverest acquisition of the lot. He has some pedigree at Football League level, and he showed it; a turn of pace that raises the eyebrows, an eye for an opening and another who is comfortable in possession...

'We handled the ball okay,' said Culverhouse. 'I am not that bothered about scores... It is just looking at combinations and the way we are passing the ball. The pitch was a bit sticky, but I was pleased with them. Their work rate was very good. You are just looking at fitness levels and things like that.'

Culverhouse is likely to field two teams on Tuesday when Lynn go to Bury Town, but after that it begins to get a bit more serious as he looks to ensure Lynn are competitive at the higher level, and that will mean having plenty of tricks up his sleeve."

Bulls' News reports that "Simeon Maye has signed for Hereford after impressing while on trial. The 24-year-old midfielder, who has previously starred for Rushall Olympic, Solihull Moors, Redditch United and Boldmere St Michaels, played against both Wellington and Cinderford, but was unavailable for Friday night's match against Yeovil.

However, he linked up with his new team mates yesterday... Hereford Head Coach Marc Richards said 'Simeon has been with us from the start of pre-season. He brings energy, quality and he has the legs to get around the park. I’ve been really pleased with his attitude and character, he’s been great to have around and has an infectious personality. He’s fitted in well with the boys which is really important'".

According to Bolton Vital Football, "A bunch of kids few will have heard of represented Bolton Wanderers as they lost their opening pre-season friendly to York City by a goal to nil.

Although, in theory, our senior players could have featured, none did. Amongst the 23-man (or boy) squad, the only senior involvement was literally in name-only, with Adam Senior named on the bench. Connor Hall and Ronan Darcy were the only players who had played for the first team in an official game, while Dennis Politic and Yoann Zouma were two of the more familiar names. Phil Parkinson was in the stands, leaving Nicky Spooner and Julian Darby to it, so maybe this was a calculated thing to play the kids.

In the end, one mistake seemed to be the difference between the two sides, with Kempster scoring the only goal of the game, capitalising on an interception... You would expect, and hope, that the team in 20 days time against Wycombe is stronger and has a bit more experience in it".

Meanwhile, York Press report that "Manager Steve Watson reckons York City could have finished with a 'very healthy' scoreline against Bolton Wanderers had they been more clinical but he is not overly concerned about that at this stage.

The Minstermen were in control from start the finish against their League One opponents at Bootham Crescent, racking up four times as many shots as the Trotters. Alex Kempster got the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win, however, as good chances went begging...

Watson said 'I don't want anybody peaking in the middle of July. I want everybody coming into form, fitness and sharpness at the start of August... We created plenty and it could have been a very, very healthy score... After a comprehensive defeat against Leeds, it was a lot more controlled; the only downside was the quality of finishing'...

In contrast to Wednesday night against Leeds, when all of the squad played a part, Ryan Whitley, Sean Newton, Josh King and Kempster all played the full 90 minutes, though Watson is keen to avoid doing so again against Hartlepool on Wednesday. Along side King, fellow youngster Nathan Dyer, Reiss Harrison, Jake Watson and Kiari Ventura also got run-outs, impressing in the victory.

'Our team didn't look any worse for having the young players in,' Watson said. 'Kiari stretched them and Jake Watson did well before he unfortunately got injured'"

The Daily Post informs us that "Bryan Hughes felt Saturday’s match at AFC Telford United was the perfect run out for Wrexham...

After opening their pre-season schedule with a 4-0 win at Welsh Premier League side Cefn Druids, Wrexham have put in promising displays against League One side Fleetwood Town and Portuguese Primeira Liga outfit Portimonense SC, but lost both games 1-0.

Wrexham were back in action on Saturday as they claimed a 2-0 win at the New Buck's Head... thanks to clinical finishes from Leighton McIntosh and Bobby Grant...

'It was perfect for us,' said Hughes. 'It has been a long week, being in Portugal and getting back and the travel arrangements, so this was the perfect test for us. It is a bit more realistic to when we go into the National League. Telford caused us a few problems, turned us many times, so it got us into that defensive structure which at times we are going to have to deal with, but I thought we dealt with it really well'".

The Northern Echo informs us that "Alun Armtrong has brought in nine players to Darlington so far and wants two or three more to bolster his new-look squad.

Bringing in a striker, likely to be on loan from a Championship club, is among his priorities. 'It’s ongoing,' he said. 'Loans will probably happen in the last week before the season starts. I still want one or two players if I can. I would like three in, but finances will dictate that. I don’t want to blow the money too early because it’s the fans’ money and I want to protect it.'

All nine of his new additions started on Friday when Quakers lost 2-1 at Harrogate Town, and most will be involved in some capacity in Monday evening’s friendly at Bishop Auckland. Ex-Sunderland winger Lucas Bell will play as will a couple of players from the academy, while a handful [of] Bermudan players remain on trial including Justin Donowa, who made a favourable impression when used as a substitute against Harrogate.

The match at Heritage Park, where Darlington played 109 games as tenants from the beginning of the 2012-13 season, will be Armstrong’s third game at the helm and he has been pleased with the progress made so far... He said 'The Motherwell match was the first time these lads had played together at 11-a-side, we hadn’t had chance to do any shape, it had all been focused on fitness. You could see in the final third we need a lot of work there, but everyone could see how exciting we’re going to be, how hard working we’re going to be and I think the fans will enjoy it'".

14 July 2019


Above: Alty centre-back Toby Mullarkey clears as Crewe threaten Tony Thompson's goal in the second half.

Match report here.

From the opposition, Crewe Alexandra report that they "ramped up their pre-season with a really positive outing at Altrincham. The Alex were in the mood to create chances and threaten the opposition goal and we took the game for Alty from the off. It ended 6-0 and it could have been more...

Right: Alty's Tom Peers, who has returned to the club after leaving last season, and Crewe's Billy Sass-Davies, who had a loan spell at Altrincham last season.

First half goals from Paul Green, a penalty from Charlie Kirk and one from Perry Ng gave us the cushion of a 3-0 lead and we continued to be on the front foot in our second friendly of the summer.

After David Artell made 11 changes just before the hour mark, midfielder Ollie Finney did his chances of a first team start no harm whatsoever with a quick fire hat-trick. His first one should perhaps had been saved by the Altrincham keeper Tony Thompson but his other two strikes demonstrated his finishing ability.

Crewe Alexandra’s second pre-season fixture allowed boss David Artell to give most of his first team squad another sufficient run out at Moss Lane. The majority who started the game against Phil Parkinson’s Altrincham side were given an hour of playing time before they were replaced...

Chris Porter was a late withdrawal after suffering a slight knee injury so youngster Connor Heath stepped in. New signing Olly Lancashire made his first appearance since joining us but Daniel Powell did not feature due to a sore back. Summer trialists, centre-half Christian Mbulu and forward Paul Taylor were provided with another opportunity to impress after both being retained from the opening friendly at Nantwich.

There was certainly a greater intensity to Crewe’s play and the attacks soon flowed towards the Altrincham goal... With Crewe doing most of the early attacking, the home side were reliant on the counter attack and they nearly caught us out from one of our own corners. Kirk put a shift in to get back and that allowed Ng to position himself to block from winger Nathan Arnold and Matt Chadwick could only fire wide on the rebound...

Crewe finally took the lead on 22 minutes. More good work down the left by Kirk and Pickering gave Green the opportunity to bend a powerful bending shot past the helpless Tony Thompson. Veteran Green was then quickly involved again to help make it 2-0 within two minutes of his own opener. Crewe were awarded a penalty when Shaun Densmore’s last ditch tackle to prevent Green making it 2-0 caught the Alex midfielder. With Porter missing, Kirk stepped up and rolled the spot kick past Thompson with relative ease.

At the other end, Richards was hardly troubled... Crewe went in 3-0 ahead at the break, Lowery’s cross was met by the head of Kirk and his powerful header hit the crossbar and Ng helped himself to the rebound for the goal he had threatened all afternoon.

The Alex continued to look for more goals... There was [sic] 11 changes made by Artell just before the hour mark... Finney notched his first after being found by Regan Griffiths. The keeper should have kept it out with his powerful shot really going through his grip and into the net.

Soon after Finney made it 5-0 with his second goal of the afternoon. He evaded a couple of defenders coming towards him inside a crowded box, before picking his spot for a fine finish... Finney completed the scoring in emphatic fashion. The midfielder was really positive with his run forward and at the end, he emphatically smashed it out of Thompson’s reach for his third goal of the game and Crewe had six goals on what proved a warm afternoon in Altrincham".


On Tuesday night Altrincham travel to Atherton Collieries for their next pre-season friendly (7.45pm). On Saturday Atherton Collieries warmed up with a 5-0 home win over Ashton Town.


Former Alty striker Damian Reeves has joined Yorkshire club Ossett United after spending last season at Gainsborough Trinity.


In Saturday's game with Crewe Alexandra, three trialists from previous pre-season games were included in the second-half squad. These were defender Zac Corbett (ex-Southport), wide man Jamal Crawford (ex-FCUM and Chester FC), and Lewis Salmon (Hanley Town), though Lewis did not get onto the pitch. A fourth trialist also featured, who had not played for Altrincham this summer. He was Darren McKnight, a midfielder, who started out at Barnsley but later played for Shrewsbury Town, Morecambe, Glossop NE, Bamber Bridge, Hyde United and Stalybridge Celtic.

Also in the squad on Saturday were youth graduates Dontai Gabidon (left-winger/left-back) and goalkeeper Oliver Culkin.


Altrincham were not the only National North club on the wrong end of a scoreline on Saturday as Gateshead report that "Player-manager Mike Williamson thought the scoreline gave a harsh reflection on his young Gateshead side as Consett ran out 4-1 winners on Saturday afternoon. The Heed fielded no first-team players at Belle View Stadium in their second friendly of pre-season as a number of trialists and youth players were handed a chance to impress against the Northern League Division One side.

[Former Altrincham man] Mason Fawns put Williamson’s side in the lead after 14 minutes from close range before goals from Ali Alshabeeb and Luke Carr handed Consett the advantage at the break.

A two-minute quickfire double in the second half from Carr’s penalty and Michael Brown ensured the hosts won by a comfortable margin... 'It was a good run out, I thought it was a worthy [worthwhile] exercise,' he said. 'We got a chance to look at a few of the lads. As a new team it’s obviously hard to come and play a game like this as a one-off but there were some very good performances.

'We looked strong in the first half and got into some good positions, and the second half we just looked as though our inexperience got the better of us in the end'...

The Heed are now almost midway through the pre-season schedule... Hebburn and Harrogate Town are next up for Williamson and his men...

'It was a tough test for us today,' added Williamson... 'We picked up a couple of little niggles in training this week and I didn’t want to risk any of the first-team lads. We’ve obviously got a small squad as it is so today was about looking at a few other lads. We’ll certainly be going with our first team squad moving forward. It’s pre-season so there’s a lot of load inside our legs on the training field, but we need to get minutes on the pitch so it will be full-strength from now on.'”

According to the Grimsby Telegraph, "Scunthorpe United started their UK pre-season schedule off with a 2-0 victory over Guiseley.

First half goals from Lee Novak and John McAtee gave the Iron the victory in what was a solid display".

And yet another of Alty's divisional rivals, also lost as Mansfield Town tell us that "Stags’ manager John Dempster says that alongside being pleased with Mansfield’s ‘combination play’ in today’s 1-0 win over Alfreton, he confirmed his men came through the game ‘unscathed.’

Under-21s’ midfielder Alistair Smith scored the game’s only goal late on, with his excellent first-time finish at the back post. The Mansfield boss described this afternoon’s clash as a ‘really good exercise’ for his players... The pitch was immaculate, so credit to Alfreton for that...

'It was brilliant for Alistair [Smith] to get a goal... We came through unscathed, with minutes in the bank for the boys. If you look at the Bradford [Park Avenue] game and the Alfreton game, there are glimpses [of patterns]... and you look at Cooky [Andy Cook] in the second-half, with the problems he caused Alfreton’s centre-halves through physical dominance'".

At Halifax Town "The long wait is over, and football is back as FC Halifax Town got their pre-season underway in a short away trip to Conference North newbies Farsley Celtic. An impressive performance in the first pre-season game seen [sic] the Shaymen come away with a 1-0 win with a goal from Josh Staunton inside the first ten minutes.

The first scare of the game came inside the first minute for the Shaymen when a cross was met by Farsley Striker Nathan Cartman who was free inside the six-yard area, but he handled the ball before putting it into the net, and the referee was in the correct position to easily disallow the goal...

The attack kept coming from the Shaymen and on nine minutes the goal came, after two unsuccessful corners, one paid off. Earing whipped in the cross to find Josh Staunton completely unmarked inside the six-yard box to head the ball past Farsley goalkeeper Elliot Wynne.

FC Halifax Town were going all guns blazing inside the first 20 minutes, playing exciting football and really worrying the Farsley defence... The Farsley Attack struggled to offer much, as the Shaymen’s defence stood firm...

Farsley Celtic FC Line-up: 1. Elliot Wynne 2. Jordan Richards 3. Isaac Baldwin 4. Chris Atkinson 5. Jack Higgins 6. Adam Clayton (C) 7. Ben Atkinson 8. Tyler Walton 9. Paul Walker 10. Nathan Cartman 11. Will Hayhurst. Subs: 12. Luke Parkin 13. Kyle Trennery 14. Kwame Boateng 15. Mark Bett 16. Danny Ellis".

Stockport County visit Moss Lane a week on Tuesday. But, on Saturday, Curzon Ashton conceded that "Stockport County proved too strong as Curzon fell to a 2-0 defeat in their first pre-season appearance at the Tameside Stadium. Two goals from Jake Kirby provided the foundation for the visitors’ victory as they showed exactly why they won the National League North last season, but Curzon can take encouragement from their defensive resilience and an improved second half showing.

After a scrappy opening, Stockport gradually began to control possession and Frank Mulhern cracked the game into life, 12 minutes in, when his 25-yard effort battered the crossbar. From that point on the visitors dominated the rest of the half and took the lead ten minutes later when Kirby drove forward unchallenged and struck a low shot past the despairing dive of Cam Mason and into the bottom corner.

Mark Bradshaw had nominally begun with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Sean Miller pushing high up in support of Callum Saunders. But those plans had to be altered when Saunders was forced off less than 20 minutes in to be replaced by a trialist. After scoring 18 goals in their two pre-season games thus far, there was no let up from the Hatters as they pushed to extend their lead... and the Nash could consider themselves fortunate to only be trailing by a goal going into half time.

The second goal did arrive only two minutes after the restart, though; Kirby doubling his tally for the day with a firm header from a corner. Curzon introduced Liam Davies, Jack Banister, Danny O’Brien, Elliott Cooke and Luke Merrill in the second half and the longer the half went on the more they grew into the contest...

With the game slipping away, Curzon started throwing more bodies forward and were nearly caught out on a subsequent counter-attack. Nyal Bell burst through one-on-one but Mason stared him down and parried his shot away to keep the score respectable."

From The Leader we learn that "Leighton McIntosh and Bobby Grant were on target as Wrexham beat Telford United 2-0 at The New Buck's Head Stadium in their latest friendly.

Summer signing McIntosh's early strike proved to be the difference between the sides in the first half of Wrexham's fourth pre-season outing. National League North outfit Telford were the better side after the break and missed a penalty before substitute Grant scored a late second for Bryan Hughes' men to seal victory...

Telford had a goal disallowed when Ellis Deeney converted a corner after Dibble was adjudged to have been fouled but the Wrexham goalkeeper did well to punch away Brendon Daniels's dangerous cross with team-mates ready to pounce...

Telford came close to an equaliser at the start of the second half as Dinanga got ahead of Dibble and the ball reached Aaron Williams whose headed was cleared off the line by Jake Lawlor... Telford continued to threaten and Theo Streete's penalty was brilliant saved by Dibble who then conceded a penalty as he brought down Dinanga in the area.

However, Dibble redeemed himself and guessed the right way to keep out Dinanga's spot kick... But the Reds made it 2-0 in the 88th minute as a corner wasn't cleared and Shaun Pearson fed Grant who fired home.

Telford United: Wycherley, Streete, Sutton, White, Daniels, Cowans, Deeney, Walker, Knights, Williams, Dinanga. Subs: Lowe, Addai, Morley, McQuilkin, Barnes-Homer, Brown, Royle, Lilly, Lait".

And another losing club from the National North on Saturday was Leamington who went down 1-3 to Solihull Moors.

"Brakes endured another tough afternoon against a very good Solihull Moors side who took the opportunity to use a large number of their first team squad... Despite not facing the Moors for four years there are still plenty of connections between the two clubs, with Tony Breeden, Junior English, Callum Gittings and Jack Edwards having turned out for Solihull in the past, while Liam Daly and more recent Brakes players Matt Stenson and Jordan Murphy were on the visiting side.

Breeden was up to his usual antics outside of his penalty box early on, trying to take the ball past Murphy to clear only to be penalised...

Tim Flowers’ men opened the scoring inside the opening ten minutes, and on the day that last season’s top scorer Colby Bishop left the club to sign for Accrington Stanley, Matt Stenson returned to find the net against his old team mates, pouncing on a poor kick out from Breeden to flight the ball perfectly over the backpeddaling keeper and into the net.

Having smashed in seven goals in five pre season games for Brakes 12 months ago, Stenson clearly had the bit between his teeth as he looks to prove that he is worthy of a regular place in Solihull’s starting eleven, but he had nothing to prove to his old supporters, who are well aware of how good he is... The visitors picked up the pace after the goal, but they were rocked back on their heels on 23 minutes as they inexplicably shot themselves in the foot... Brakes new boy Cieron Keane on the left put a low ball across the face of goal from the touchline that Harry Flowers turned into his own net under no pressure from anyone...

Solihull were ahead for a second time seven minutes into the second half, however. Murphy was brought down just outside the box and Hawkridge took full advantage, steering a powerful low free kick in off the post... With just over twenty minutes to play Murphy became the second former Leamington man of the afternoon to score as he finished from close range... In Paul Holleran’s absence Martyn Naylor and Tom James used all their available substitutes including three trialists. This has been a testing week for Leamington, with three tough warm up fixtures, and they will surely enjoy more of the ball and more scoring opportunities in their next couple of games.

Life after Colby Bishop starts here, the manager has developed a habit of unearthing strikers with potential who have all gone on to better things. The challenge now is to do it once more.

Leamington: Tony Breeden © (13 Ben Newey, 80), Junior English, Jack Lane, Joe Clarke (17 Trialist, 80), Jamie Hood, James Mace (18 Trialist, 66), Josh March (15 Connor Taylor, 75), Callum Gittings (12 Reece King, 47), Kaiman Anderson (16 Trialist, 75), Jack Edwards, Cieron Keane (14 Kian Taylor, 66)."

Kidderminster Harriers "continued pre-season with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against League 1 Bristol Rovers. Ashley Chambers had Harriers ahead at the break with a well-taken goal, with Tom Nichols notching an equaliser for The Gas at the end.

Harriers began the game the brightest of the two teams, and hit the woodwork inside seven minutes as a well-struck free-kick thumped off the post and away with the goalkeeper beaten.

Chambers opened the scoring with nine to go until the break when Austin’s expert pass released the striker, the former Nuneaton man tucking the ball beyond the keeper and into the back of the net.

Six after the restart Rovers were level when Nichols met a good cross with a strong header from eight yards that beat the goalkeeper..

With the entire outfield consisting of players to have played, or be playing, in the Harriers Academy, the finish was a tough work-out for the Aggborough youngsters but they showed their own mettle superbly, blocking and tackling their way to a deserved draw."

And, finally, news of a winner, at last, in National North as Bradford (Park Avenue) won 3-2 as "Garry Thompson’s side travelled to Brighouse for their final away game before the commencement of the 2019/20 season. The match ended in a 3-2 victory to Bradford (Park Avenue) in a strong hit-out for both teams.

Bradford Park Avenue opened the scoring after three minutes thanks to Sean Gardner who chipped the keeper from an inch perfect pass from Ben Hedley. Despite conceding, Brighouse continued to keep the pressure on Bradford Park Avenue and made it difficult for them to move the ball about as the play became more fast paced and less structured. This change in pace allowed Ben Hedley to pounce on a loose ball in the Brighouse box that came about from a defensive error and slot it past the Trialist between the sticks.

A period of possession by the hosts in attack led to a Trialist finding space and firing home to bring the deficit to one goal. Within ten minutes, a piercing cross delivered into the away team's box was met by the head of Carl Stewart who glanced it into the top right corner ten minutes before the half-time whistle...

Three minutes into the second half a Bradford shot was palmed away by the keeper into the path of a Trialist who gently guided the ball into the bottom corner and capitalised on the handling error... Garry Thompson and Shaun Gardner were pleased with the performance and combinations being built throughout the squad...

Bradford (Park Avenue): ‪1-Charlie Andrew ‪2-Trialist‬ ‪3-Matty Clarke‬ ‪4-Mitchell Lund‬ ‪5-Ryan Cresswell (C)‬ ‪6-Trialist‬ ‪7-Trialist‬ ‪8-Ben Heddley‬ ‪9-Shaun Gardner‬ ‪10-Elliot Holmes‬ ‪11-Trialist‬. ‪Subs‬: ‪12-Garry Thompson ‬-65’- Shaun Gardner ‪13-Trialist‬ -65’- Charlie Andrew ‪14-Lewis Rathbone -62’- Ben Hedley ‪15-Jon Moran -62’- Ryan Cresswell".

13 July, 2019


Crewe Alexandra gave their Cheshire neighbours a footballing lesson in a match which featured no fewer than forty-three players!

Both sides fielded their stronger elevens in the first half before Alty made ten changes at the break. Crewe changed all eleven of their players just before the hour mark.

Two goals in as many minutes midway through the first half set Alex on the way to victory. The opener was a well-struck effort from left of goal by Green, which found the far corner of the net. Barely a minute later, a challenge by Densmore on Green conceded a penalty, which Kirk converted (24 mins).

Just before half-time, Crewe captain Perry Ng scored the visitors' third goal after a thunderous header by the visitors' number ten had come back off the crossbar from an Owen Dale cross.

Soon after Crewe had made a complete change of team, one of the new eleven, Finney scored with a shot which was touched but not stopped by Thompson (62 mins). Four minutes later it was 5-0 as Finney drove home a low shot. The sixth and final goal arrived nine minutes from time when Peers's mis-pass led to Finney completing his hat-trick emphatically.

Match report here


Altrincham welcome a Crewe Alexandra XI to the J. Davidson Stadium today (Saturday, 3pm). As usual entry is free to Altrincham season-ticket holders and prices at the turnstile are as follows:
  • Adults - £8
  • Concessionaries - £5
  • Under-16s - £2
  • Under-12s - Free

On the eve of the match Crewe Alexandra reported that "First-team coach Alex Morris says now is the time for the latest crop of Crewe youngsters to prosper at first team level and not just survive. Morris believes that another 12 months of maturity for the likes of Charlie Kirk, Ryan Wintle, Callum Ainley and Harry Pickering will see them make even more of an impact this coming season. The likes of Oli Finney and Tom Lowery also caught the eye at the back end of last season with their performances, with Finney winning the Breakthrough Player Award.

Ahead of this weekend’s pre-season game at Altrincham, Morris said 'There is a responsibility on them not just to survive this year, but to prosper. Those players are reaching the top of a cycle where we are hoping they will attract interest from other clubs, because of the volume of appearances they have made.

'If you are attracting interest that hopefully means you are having success on the pitch, because clubs will look at players who are in winning teams. So it is important we develop that winning mentality. That could get us in position to win promotion, and players could be sold on for fees we think reflect the time and effort we have put into them'. The coach added: 'This season will be very important in that sense, and next season too. It’s a two-year window of real importance'".

Crewe Alexandra also report that they " action on Saturday 13 July with a trip to Altrincham FC, 3pm kick-off. The match is The Alex's second pre-season match of the summer after the opening contest at Nantwich Town last weekend...

Crewe lost out 2-1 at Nantwich in what was a thoroughly useful fitness test after just one week back in pre-season training. The match at Moss Lane will be every bit as tough, with Alty playing a league higher than The Dabbers in the National League North. The Alex won 3-0 at Altrincham in pre-season last summer thanks to goals from Perry Ng, Jordan Bowery & Ryan Wintle".

Above: Sean Miller leads the retreat after a ball into the Crewe box had been cleared in last summer's meeting with Crewe Alexandra. The Alty man with no.4 on his shorts is actually no.5, Liam Goudling.

The teams on 20 July 2018 were:

ALTRINCHAM: 1. Anthony THOMPSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON (capt), 4. Ben HARRISON, 5. Liam GOULDING, 6. Sean WILLIAMS, 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Simon RICHMAN, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Josh HANCOCK, 11. Sean MILLER,. Subs: 12 Elliot ROKKA, 14. Jake MOULT, 15. James JONES, 16. Tom HANNIGAN, 17. Max HARROP, 18. Tom PEERS, 19. Lloyd BANNISTER, 20. Andrew JONES, 21. Bay DOWNING.

CREWE ALEXANDRA: Dave RICHARDS, 2. Nicky HUNT, 3. Harry PICKERING, 4. Paul GREEN, 6. Perry NG, 7. Charlie KIRK, 8. Ryan WINTLE, 9. Alex NICHOLS, 10. Jordan BOWERY, 11. Tommy LOWERY, 12. Eddie NOLAN. Subs: Ben GARRETT, Billy SASS-DAVIS, Chris PORTER, Finney DAVIES, Calum AINLEY, Brad WALKER, Josh LUNDSTRUM.


Altrincham FC Youth (under-18s) have been drawn at home in the FA Youth Cup.

In the Preliminary Round Qualifying, to be played in w/c 2 September 2019, they will host Curzon Ashton at the J. Davidson Stadium.

The winners of that tie progress to the First Round Qualifying, to be played in w/c 16 September 2019, where they will be at home to the winners of the Ashton Town v Vauxhall Motors tie from the Preliminary Round Qualifying.


Blyth Spartans "have agreed deals for next season with midfielders Damen Mullen and Craig Spooner. Mullen, 30, is no stranger to Croft Park, having played for a number of years, surpassing 200 appearances for the club and was a vital cog in last season play-off contending side:

'It’s been a long summer,' said Mullen on signing the new deal, 'Obviously it was a bit up and down at the end of the season, but good to get it sorted now. I’ve missed the first couple of weeks of pre-season, to be fair my wife has just had our first child, hence I’ve come in a bit later than I expected'.

Mullen lauded the signings Lee Clark has made this summer... 'There is a lot of young lads in the dressing room, loads of energy in the side and pace, there is no point on dwelling on what happened, we’ve got a new team. It’s a new start and we’ve just got to get going into the new season'.

After a successful trial with the club, Clark has also secured the services of Craig Spooner, a Newcastle United product who played his football at North Shields last season".

And Blyth Spartans also announce that "forward Dale Pearson has signed a contract with the club. The 24-year-old was one of Lee Clark’s first signings, joining from Newcastle Benfield on a league registration deal, but the potent forward has impressed during pre-season and earned himself a contract at Croft Park. The former Ashington, Morpeth Town and West Allotment Celtic striker netted twice in Blyth’s 3-0 win over North Shields on Tuesday night and was pleased with the form he had shown to date.

'The whole team has just gelled really well. With only five players being here from last season, obviously it has taken a bit of time to gel together but I think it’s coming along nicely. Hopefully by the time the season starts, we’ll have that chemistry and be able to hit the ground running.'

The striker has formed good partnerships with fellow forwards Scott Fenwick and Michael Sweet and believes they’ll only get better as a unit:

'Scotty is good to play off, he’s got a lot of experience. He’s a big strong lad so hopefully as time goes on we can score plenty of goals. Sweety has scored for fun everywhere he has been, I believe as a unit we’ve got all the characteristics to keep the fans entertained this season.'”

According to the Northern Echo, "Darlington have their second run-out of pre-season this evening when they go to Harrogate Town, about as close to home as Yorkshireman Will Hatfield will play now that he has signed for Quakers. The 27-year-old lives in Leeds and for the past four years was playing for Guiseley...

He made his first appearance in Quakers colours last Saturday in a friendly with Motherwell, making an immediate impression, and said 'It was my first run-out because I hadn’t trained with the lads, I’ve been doing my own fitness work at home. To come in and play 70 odd minutes, I was happy with and I thought I did okay.'

Hatfield came through the youth ranks with Leeds but has played most of his football with Accrington Stanley and Guiseley, while he also had a spell with Halifax Town... 'I’ve got a lot of experience in this division, and the one above, and hopefully I can bring that to the team. I like to get in the box and score, but I also like to be disciplined and break things up; a bit of everything in midfield, attacking and defending. I had two years in the National League when I first signed for Guiseley and really enjoyed it, and then we dropped into the National League North.

'They’re both really tough leagues and I want to bring my experience to this team and I want to be aiming for promotion. I was at Guiseley four years and enjoyed my time there, but Darlington showed a bit of interest and a club of this size made it a no-brainer for me. I was looking for a new challenge and I’m certainly going to get one here'".

The Grimsby Telegraph tells us that "Grimsby Town tasted defeat for the first time this summer as they continued their pre-season preparations at Boston United... The Mariners fell to a 2-1 loss at York Street, with Matt Green getting on the scoresheet as a brilliant strike late on from one of the hosts’ trialists proved to be the winner".

The Shropshire Star informs us that "'Ruthless’ Marcus Dinanga can be a massive player for AFC Telford United this season, according to boss Gavin Cowan. The 22-year-old striker was overshadowed by Daniel Udoh on his return to the club last season, having netted 25 goals on loan at the New Buck's Head from Burton Albion in 2017/18.

And Cowan wants Dinanga to get back to that level as he battles fellow new-boy Aaron Williams, as well as Andre Brown, for a place in the Bucks’ starting XI.

'He comes alive when we’ve got the ball,' said Cowan after watching Dinanga score twice in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Market Drayton Town. 'We know he’s still got to work hard with things to work on. He’s a player that has knack scoring goals, if he gets chance he puts them away. He’s a massive player for us, as is Andre (Brown) and Aaron (Williams).

'They all need coaching because they can always be better. We can all get better, I ask my staff on what I can improve on. There’s one specific thing we want to work him on but when he gets the ball he comes alive. The one word I would use with Marcus is ruthless. He has a ruthless mentality. That is a massive positive in so many ways for us and we want to get him ruthless in other ways'".

Kettering Town announce that "After discussions with Peterborough United and the FA, tomorrow's game will now be a normal two halves of 45 minutes and NOT 4 x 30 minutes. The Posh first team squad will be attending and many are expected to play some part in the game."

The Telegraph & Argus reports that "Garry Thompson rolled back the years to score in Bradford (Park Avenue's) defeat to EFL opposition in his first home game in charge. The former Bradford City winger, now 38, gave his side an early lead but they ultimately succumbed to a 4-2 loss to Mansfield Town at the Horsfall Stadium.

Despite the defeat to the League Two side, Thompson will be pleased with how his new-look Avenue side played. It was Thompson himself who gave his side a 12th-minute lead after Lewis Knight went on a dazzling run... The start of the second half saw a host of changes for Mansfield as manager John Dempster changed his entire starting line-up.

The universal changes worked for the visitors four minutes into the second period as Mitchell Lund scored an own goal. Mansfield soon showed the gulf between the two sides as substitute Danny Rose scored from a tap-in. Mansfield enhanced their lead in the 61st minute...

Following some changes for Avenue they nearly managed to find a way back into the match... Avenue pulled a goal back in the 75th minute through Elliot Holmes, but it would only prove to be a consolation strike.

Mansfield further extended their lead seven minutes from time when Maynard completed his brace... Avenue's busy pre-season continues when they travel to Brighouse Town ... before they host League One Rotherham United next Wednesday at the Horsfall Stadium".

The Eastern Daily Press reports that "King's Lynn Town step up their preparation for the new season on Saturday with their first friendly game of the summer. The newly-promoted Linnets head to the Zeeco Stadium, home of Step Four side Stamford Town (3pm).

Linnets boss Ian Culverhouse is expected to use all of his available squad, which means travelling fans will get their first look at new signings Sam Kelly, Nathan Fox and Sonny Carey.

Kelly has league experience with Port Vale and Grimsby Town and was at Norwich City when Culverhouse was the Canaries assistant manager. Fox is likely to be asked to fill the vacancy left by Frazer Blake-Tracy's departure for Legaue One Peterborough United, while former Canaries' Academy player Sonny Carey steps up from Wroxham.

Carey is, understandably, excited about the move and the prospect of pitting his wits against National League North company in the new season. Carey, 18, said 'Now they've been promoted, there will be a lot of eyes on the club, so I'm looking forward to show what I've got. I think I will bring good energy to the team with me being a young and fit lad... Towards the back end of the season, I was coming over and training with the boys once a week on the Thursday.

'Training was a lot quicker and the intensity was also higher and I had less time on the ball, but I really enjoyed stepping it up with better players. They obviously liked what I saw and now I'm here. I loved it at Wroxham last season and Jordan (Southgate) showed great faith in me by giving me my chance in the first team at 17, but now I want to improve myself even more.'"

12 July 2019


The NL Daily reports that "Neil Sorvel struck a defiant note as he reflected on the toughest of starts for Altrincham in their quest to go one better than last season’s promotion near-miss in the National League North.

Alty... open up with an attractive but distinctly difficult test at home to big-spending, full-time former Football League outfit York City on Saturday, August 3 and follow up with a trip to Chester three days later.

Both opponents are strongly tipped to be at the forefront of this coming season’s promotion race, but Sorvel turned any sense of apprehension on its head and said 'It’s a tough one, but they will be saying exactly the same about having to face us.'

Alty’s assistant manager took charge of the team for their opening pre-season friendly at Whitchurch Alport, in the absence of boss Phil Parkinson, and was impressed with what he saw in a 1-0 win... He said, 'It was a good workout, and it showed there is going to be real competition for places in all areas, which is what we want'.

Read more in the Sale & Altrincham Messenger.


The Blackpool website still indicates that the Seasiders are visiting Altrincham for a pre-season game on 20 September. But one of Alty's league rivals Spennymoor Town is "disappointed to announce today that Blackpool FC have advised that they will not fulfil the previously agreed friendly with Spennymoor Town.

The game was scheduled for this Saturday (13th July) at Shildon’s Dene Street whilst pitch works took place at The Brewery Field. But a change of management at Bloomfield Road has seen Simon Grayson take charge of the Tangerines and commit to a series of friendlies in Scotland, which will make the trip to the North East impossible.

Managing Director Tony Wilson, First Team Manager Jason Ainsley and Club Secretary David Leitch have been scrambling to arrange a replacement fixture at extremely short notice and have managed to secure a trip to North Yorkshire to face Evo Stik Northern Premier League North West Division side Tadcaster Albion.

Tony Wilson said, 'Obviously we’re very disappointed for our supporters and also for Shildon, who were looking forward to hosting a Football League side at the weekend. I understand Blackpool are going through a period of change, which has now unfortunately had an impact on our preparations for the season...

'Due to the extremely short notice, we regret that we will not be able to provide a supporters’ coach for the trip. We won’t even be able to provide a team coach due to availability, so we’re making the trip in cars'...

Jason Ainsley said, 'Of course we were looking forward to playing a side of Blackpool’s calibre, but we won’t let this derail our preparations for the season, which have been going well. The squad looks very strong and the lads are preparing diligently for the campaign ahead. We’ll take this in our stride and focus on what we can control'...


Altrincham FC has announced that its 2019-20 season tickets are now available to purchase online as well as in person or by post.

Prices for the tickets, which include free admission to the home pre-season matches are:

  • Adults £235
  • Concessionaries (65+ or students) £185
  • Juniors (12-16) £55
  • Under 12s £25


The National League reports that "New Bradford (Park Avenue) boss Garry Thompson wants to make the Horsfall Stadium a place where other teams hate to play.

Avenue boasted one of the better away records last season with their home form middle of the road. And ex-Bradford City player Thompson isn't hanging around; he wants his new team to start as they mean to go on as they prepare to face Mansfield Town in what will be Thompson's home management debut.

'We want to have good home form because I think it will take us a long way this season', he told the Telegraph & Argus. 'We want it to be that family feel, but we want it to be a fortress... That comes from our intensity on the pitch, it comes from us having the full backing from the fans. I think we'll have that.'"

Leamington have issued a "Revised History".

It includes, "There is a common misconception that Lockheed/AP Leamington are not the same club as Leamington FC because of the 12 year gap in our playing record, which is emphatically NOT the case.

The origins of Leamington FC are ingrained in Tachbrook Road, which runs out of the town to the South. Just before you pass the Windmill pub on the left is where The Windmill Ground was sited, and opposite was the enormous Lockheed car parts factory that employed so many of the townsfolk and would become the driving force behind the football club and its many successes until things unfortunately turned sour in the 1980s. It is here that our club was born, in 1933, as Lockheed, Borg & Beck...

The nickname ‘The Brakes’ was adopted by virtue of the car products the company manufactured.

The club underwent a name change in 1973 as Lockheed became Automotive Products, and AP Leamington, as we are more widely remembered, entered another boom period in their history... [Brakes were] founder members of the Alliance Premier League (Now the National League) in 1979...

Leamington spent three seasons in this new league before being relegated in 1982, but... the following season saw them win the Southern League Championship and with it promotion back to the APL, or so they thought.

Promotion was refused by the APL on supposed ground grading issues while, with the club at its playing pinnacle, Automotive Products decided to sell the club’s Windmill Ground on Tachbrook Road for housing, leading to the break up of one of the most exciting teams in non league football...

The fight to find a new stadium for the club dominated the next few years as the club tumbled down and out of the Southern League. Leamington FC Limited was formed on September 6th 1983 with the intention of purchasing the Windmill Ground. Our association with Automotive Products ended on July 1st 1985, and the name of the club reverted to Leamington FC... By 1988, now in the Midland Combination and at its lowest ebb, the decision was made to place the club in mothballs while the search for a new stadium site continued...

In 1990 a field was purchased in Harbury Lane from a local farmer and a rudimentary ground was created. Re-launched in 2000, and playing at what was called the New Windmill Ground".

King's Lynn Town "begin their pre-season campaign on Saturday with a visit to The Zeeco Stadium, home of step four outfit Stamford.

Manager Ian Culverhouse is expected to use all of his available squad with the likes of Sam Kelly, Nathan Fox and Sonny Carey expected to be in a Linnets shirt for the first time".

At Gateshead "Connor Thomson was pleased to get back into the swing of things as Gateshead fell to defeat in their pre-season opener against Middlesbrough. The Heed went a goal down on the stroke of half-time through Jonny Howson’s 25-yard effort but managed to draw level shortly after the break, as Thomson slotted home from the penalty spot following an infringement from Brad James.

The Championship side regained the advantage through Ashley Fletcher after 66 minutes, before Marvin Johnson’s 25-yarder crashed in off the post to hand the visitors their first pre-season victory...

'It was always going to be tough, they’re a Championship side with a strong team' he said. 'I think we did very well considering we have a brand new squad and nobody really knows each other on the pitch yet, but I think we looked good overall'...

The 23-year-old... started the game and was brought off just after the hour mark as Mike Williamson made wholesale changes. He was glad to get his name on the scoresheet and draw his side level in the pre-season opener, adding... 'If a penalty is there to be taken then it obviously gets the confidence going straight away'".

Brackley Town "announce the signing of defender Kelvin Langmead... from Harrogate Town.

Defender Kelvin was previously with Shrewsbury Town and Northampton Town and has played over 300 EFL games."

Blyth Spartans "have completed the signing of central midfielder Ursene Mouanda on a season-long loan deal from South Shields.

The 20-year-old joins from the Evo-Stik Premier side having made 26 appearances for Graham Fenton and Lee Picton’s men last season. Born in Ivory Coast, Mouanda moved to the North East when he was five years old and had previously trained with Newcastle and Sunderland.

However, it was the Monkseaton Football Academy where Mouanda caught the eye, prompting Rangers into taking the youngster north of the border in 2016... After spending a year in the Gers’ development squad, Mouanda remained in Scotland but joined Kilmarnock, manager Lee Clark’s former club...

The Ivorian has been described as 'particularly adept at breaking up play and helping his team launch attacks'. While Clark and Mouanda’s paths did not pass at Kille, the pair will link up at Croft Park this season".


"The fixtures for the new BetVictor Northern Premier League season have been released.

On the opening day, in the BetVictor Northern Premier League Premier Division play-off champions Warrington Town host Morpeth Town, with runners-up South Shields travelling to newly promoted Radcliffe.

FC United’s first match back in the NPL takes them to Grantham Town, while Atherton Collieries’ first game at this level takes them to relegated Ashton United.

After suffering their first-ever relegation, Marine start life at step four with a home game against NPL new boys Dunston."

Premier Division - August 17

  • Ashton United v Atherton Collieries
  • Grantham Town v FC United of MAnchester
  • Hyde United v Basford United
  • Matlock Town v Bamber Bridge
  • Mickleover Sports v Stalybridge Celtic
  • Lancaster City v Stafford Rangers
  • Nantwich Town v Gainsborough Trinity
  • Radcliffe v South Shields
  • Scarborough Athletic v Buxton
  • Warrington Town v Morpeth Town
  • Whitby Town v Witton Albion

In the North/West Division our neighbours and pre-season opponents, Trafford, kick off away to Tadcaster Albion.

11 July 2019


Former Liverpool, Watford and England star John Barnes is the guest at the latest Altrincham FC sporting dinner, details of which are to be found, right.


On Tuesday, York Press reported that "York City manager Steve Watson is not overly concerned about the result tonight as his side start building towards next campaign. Championship outfit and Yorkshire rivals Leeds United are the visitors to Bootham Crescent (7pm), where both sides kick off their pre-season fixture lists.

Despite a couple of twinges... the boss is hopeful nearly all of his squad will be fit. With an eye on the 2019/20 National League North season-opener at Altrincham on August 3, Watson is looking to mix youth and experience to get as many minutes as possible into his side to precipitate a positive start to the season.

'The whole of pre-season is getting geared up towards playing Altrincham,' said Watson. 'So we're doing all we can to make sure everyone is firing for that day and if we have to give people a chance to get injuries right, we'll have to do that.

'Every manager will tell you they want a full pre-season out of everybody but you rarely get that. My plan for tomorrow, because it's our first game, is... get half a game into most people...

'I wouldn't say the result is ever irrelevant but, for me, tomorrow is more about getting valuable minutes and valuable experience into the lads... As pre-season wears on, you'll see me looking closer to what I'm hoping to start with...

'You'll see me getting minutes into everyone. Everybody, from tomorrow, is trying to to do everything they can to get into the team against Altrincham. We had a good pre-season last year at Gateshead and started the season well, in and around the play-offs most of the season. That has to be the aim for York.

'But at Gateshead, we didn't play anybody that much higher than us; Blyth, North Shields, (Newcastle) Benfield. Teams you would expect a National League team to do well against.

'This year, we're playing Leeds, Bolton, Notts County, Hartlepool. They're all above us so it's a different kind of pre-season but that's not to say we won't, maybe in another week's time, put out a strong team and absolutely have a go at pre-season...

In this fixture last pre-season... the 1-1 draw was probably the fair outcome of a game where a sub-par Leeds were pressured well by York, for whom triallist Joe Tait scored the goal...

Watson added 'I wouldn't want to put my most experienced 11 out and leave a lot of inexperienced kids to play a half on their own. It wouldn't be fair or a good reflection of the squad we've got.'"

The 2019 match on Wednsday night ended in a 5-0 win for Leeds United. York City report that "Steve Watson opted for two different sides in either half of City’s first pre-season friendly against their fellow Yorkshiremen who started with a strong first team to contest the new-face York squad...

Leeds scored number three on 32 minutes... The Minstermen had their first effort of the game just before half time with Kallum Griffiths curling a free kick over the bar from 25 yards before Leeds went down the other end and scored a thunderbolt through Jack Harrison, his second of the game.

With City 4-0 down at the interval it was time for Steve Watson to play his second half eleven for the final 45 minutes which featured eight changes.

Pete Jameson was named between the sticks in the second half team... But the new signing couldn’t keep out Adam Forshaw on 53 minutes as the midfielder beat the offside trap and neatly chipped over the former Blyth Spartans goalkeeper to make it 5-0...

Leeds made a total of ten changes on 62 minutes, bringing on a whole new outfield set of personnel which included former York player Ryan Edmondson...

York City (first half): Whitley, Griffiths, McNulty, Allen, Ferguson, Trialist 1, Trialist 2, Green, McLaughlin, Burrow, Maguire. Unused substitutes: Moke, Tait, Newton, Wright, Jameson

York City (Second Half): Jameson, Dyer, Tait, Ferguson (Jebson-King 62’), Newton, Allan (Watson 62’), Moke, Bond, Kempster, Maguire (Wright 62’), Longstaff. Unused substitutes: Harrison, Ventura, Whitley...

Referee: Ross Joyce. Attendance: 5,180".


Alty travel to Shawe View on 30 July, from where comes news of two players with Altrincham connections as Trafford announce that former Robins' defender Sam Grimshaw and current defender Harry Sheridan have signed for Trafford. In the latter case, Harry "re-joins us on dual registration with Altrincham. Harry was with us for a short time last season, so it’s 'welcome back' Harry".

Harry Sheridan took part in the recent pre-season friendly, playing at right-back for the Altrincham First Team Squad against their Youth Team counterparts.


NL Daily reports that "Long-time former Curzon Ashton manager John Flanagan has joined the coaching staff at his former club Mossley.

Flanagan enjoyed a very successful tenure as Curzon Ashton boss, guiding the club to two promotions and leaving them in 14th place in the National League North at the time of his departure last November... Flanagan... previously managed the Lilywhites himself in 2010."

And Curzon Ashton report that "A Liam Davies double ensured Curzon’s pre-season continued with a battling win over Stalybridge Celtic in a physical encounter at Bower Fold

Mark Bradshaw again rotated his side after Saturday’s defeat against Wigan U23’s. Matt Regan was set to return to the starting line-up after missing that game, but an injury picked up in the warm up meant he wasn’t risked with Jack O’Leary taking his place. Nicky Wroe, who has captained the side in pre-season so far, was another absentee and so it was Andy Halls who wore the armband.

Both sides struggled to create chances in the opening half hour and the flow of the game wasn’t helped by a lengthy stoppage so Stalybridge’s Ross Killock could be treated and stretchered off after a collision with one of the Nash’s trialists.

But the game burst into life shortly before half time when Davies curled a magnificent free kick into the top corner past the despairing dive of the Stalybridge goalkeeper Winterbottom...

The lead was doubled, though, five minutes into the second half – and in slightly fortuitous circumstances. Davies’ cross from wide on the touchline was aimed for the back post but ended up floating over the head of the helpless Winterbottom and under the crossbar.

Stalybridge set up a nervy finale when Declan Walker, who had only signed for the club in the morning, blasted a free kick past Cam Mason with ten minutes remaining.

But Curzon stayed calm and with almost the last kick of the game when Brad Lynch burst through and slotted the home to wrap up an impressive win ahead of a bigger test on Saturday against Stockport County in our first friendly of pre-season at the Tameside Stadium."

Guiseley inform us that they "have dipped into Joint Manager Marcus Bignot’s talented Academy pool at his Full time Football and Education Degree Programme at Solihull College and University Centre to bring two young prospects to Nethermoor on contract.

He is joined at Guiseley by right-back Reiss McNally, who along with Barkers figured in Guiseley’s pre-season friendly against Bradford City. The 18 year-old stands at 6ft 2ins with his main attributes being in his 1 v 1 defending and [he] will add some height, pace and power to the defensive line-up.

Both will remain on their full time football programme and continue to pursue their Degrees in Sport Science at Solihull College and University Centre as well as playing in the Vanarama National League North as semi-professional footballers with Guiseley AFC."

10 July 2019


Altrincham visit Atherton Collieries next Tuesday night for what will be the first meeting of the two clubs. Atherton were promoted last season to the EvoStik Premier, so will operate at just one step below Altrincham next season. Above, we see the outside of the ground in Atherton and, below, how the stadium looked yesterday.


Cheshire Live tells us that "Chester FC joint-manager has explained why the trialist striker who impressed against Wigan Athletic on Saturday has not travelled with his and Bernard Morley's side to Newquay.

Johnson had said after Saturday's pre-season opener, a 7-1 loss to the Latics, that 'Trialist B' was one of three players to head down to Cornwall for the five-day camp with a view to earning a deal. The striker caught the eye at the weekend with a superbly taken goal and impressed with his pace and intelligent forward play. But when the Blues players arrived in Newquay on Monday, following an eight-hour coach journey from Cheshire, there was one notable absentee, with 'Trialist B' not among the squad that trained on Newquay AFC's Mount Wise pitch.

And at an informal fans' forum on Monday night in the social club at the Peppermints, who Chester play this evening in their second pre-season friendly (7.45pm kick off), Johnson explained why.

He said, 'He's not come down. We invited him but he has got other options. We knew that to be honest. We kind of used each other. He came in the back end of the week, and you talk about that raw pace and ability and his finish was unbelievable. He was a great kid but he has other options and other irons in the fire. We don't dwell on things like that and we just have to move on'.

'We're looking at other players but the option is still there from both sides'".

Confirmation of earlier rumours comes from Darlington that the "Quakers have completed the signing of midfielder Will Hatfield. Will, 27, started his career at Leeds United, and joined Accrington Stanley in 2012. He made 90 appearances for Stanley in three years, scoring nine times... He left Stanley in 2015 and joined Guiseley, making around 150 appearances...

He left Guiseley during the summer. Darlington manager Alun Armstrong said 'Will is a good pro and a leader who works very hard. He’s got experience of this league, and is a real leader in the changing room. He’s capable of scoring top notch goals'".

Meanwhile, Guiseley report that "After four years with The Lions Hatfield appeared in Darlington’s friendly with Motherwell on Saturday before sealing a move in the North East, after having failed to agree further terms with ourselves. Will arrived at the club in 2015 after a loan spell at FC Halifax Town and immediately became a fans' favourite...

Signed by Mark Bower, Will became a regular and won the Craig Shearstone Guiseley AFC Supporters’ Club Player of the Season for the 15/16 campaign and continued to be selected by Adam Lockwood, Paul Cox, Sean St Ledger and finally Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill. Will departs having made 163 appearances, scoring 20 goals with one Player of the Season award to his name and first and second place in the 18/19 Goal of the Season vote...

On his departure Will said 'There’s been lots of ups and downs and some amazing memories these last four years. I hope I showed you what the club meant to me... Guiseley will always be a club very close to me.'"

According to the National League "Gavin Cowan says he doesn't like being realistic when talking about goals for his AFC Telford side...

'I think [the expectation] has shifted slightly,' he told the club's video service. 'I don’t like being realistic because I always say there’s no roof on anything. But we have to find a balance between extreme optimism and realism. Last season it was about making sure we weren’t relegated.'

AFC Telford will however have to adjust to life without 19-goal man Daniel Udoh who left for Shrewsbury Town last month. But, after adding three new additions, including goal-getting Tamworth winger Chris Lait, Cowan is confident. He said 'This year we can be slightly more optimistic. I think the expectation we can have of ourselves as a football club of looking to reach mid-table and then looking from there. The short-term aim was to stabilise the club and try to get us into a place where people believe in us again and I feel we’ve done that.

'I believe we can surpass any expectations but whether we do that or not is left to us to work hard and go above and beyond.'"

And the Shropshire Star adds that "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan is still learning after a successful first season in management and will keep his inner circle as small as possible...

'You’re always learning,' said Cowan, whose side face Market Drayton Town at Greenfields in a friendly. 'A big part of what I like to do is assume I know nothing. I try to listen to everybody’s input but try to divulge it within my own mentality. I keep my circle very small in terms of taking on opinions. I don’t think you can do what I do if you take everybody’s opinion on and listen to all praise and criticism. I have a very, very small circle of people I liaise with and listen to but I am my own man and make my own decisions.

'That’ll either be the success or downfall but I’m working at success.'"

Kettering Town inform us that "Darren Ferguson's Peterborough United visit Latimer Park on Saturday, fresh from a training camp in La Manga, Spain, where they beat St Mirren 2-0 in a friendly...

This will be a chance for Posh fans to see all their new signings for the first time this season, also new Poppies manager Nicky Eaden facing one of his former clubs. Poppies fans that didn't travel to Wellingborough Whitworths on Thursday night will also be able to see our squad / trialists in action. The game will consist of four quarters of 30 mins, so all the Peterborough first team players will get match time on the park".

Gloucester City "confirm that a deal has been agreed for the transfer of defender Noah Smerdon to League Two’s Exeter City, on an initial two-year deal. The 18 year-old’s superb form for the Tigers last season saw him make 36 National League South appearances, attracting the attention of Premier League sides including Watford, whom he spent a week on trial with last year.

In his final interview for the Tigers Noah expressed his 'thanks to everyone at Gloucester City for all their support over the past two years, helping me achieve my full time football dream. It was the best introduction to senior football I could have had! I’m looking forward to coming back to Meadow Park with Exeter!'

Noah was offered a 2019/20 contract by the Tigers, but City boss Mike Cook believes Noah [added]... 'We would never stand in the way of somebody like that who’s done really well for us progressing... Noah had some stand out performances in the National League South so I have no doubt he will be able to make the step up into the Football League and we wish him all the best...Noah has been great for Gloucester and is a role model for those coming up through the youth set up...

Ever since I’ve been at the club there’s been transfer rumours around Noah and he’s managed to stay very level headed throughout. Due to the contract Noah was on at West Brom and with his City contract ending at the end of May 2019, we’ve not received any cash in the deal, with an undisclosed figure being agreed between Exeter and West Brom. But we are pleased to be able to announce that Exeter will be bring their first team to City for the next two pre-seasons'"

The BBC adds that "Exeter City have signed former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Noah Smerdon for an undisclosed fee, funded by fans. The 18-year-old began his career as a youth with Albion before joining non-league side Gloucester City in 2017."

9 July 2019


On 20 July, Blackpool are the visitors to the J. Davidson Stadium. And they will have a new manager as the Blackpool website announces "that Simon Grayson is to return as first-team manager on a two-year contract. The 49-year-old, who started his managerial career with the Seasiders, guided the club to promotion from League One in 2007...

Since leaving the club in December 2008, Grayson has added a further three League One promotions to his CV with Leeds United, Huddersfield Town and Preston North End, as well as spent time managing Sunderland and Bradford City.

Blackpool FC Owner Simon Sadler said, 'It was important to act swiftly and appoint a new manager who can hit the ground running. Simon’s achievements at this level and above speak for themselves. He has a proven track record of getting teams promoted from this division and had great success at this club previously, building a team full of winners and leaders who set the platform for the years that followed'...

Simon Grayson added 'When Terry made the decision on Tuesday that he wanted to leave, the club contacted me to see whether I would be interested in coming back... I thought it was an exciting project to come back to Blackpool and try and take the club forward, especially with the brand new optimism under the new owner'.

As previously reported, Blackpool are scheduled to play at Barrow as well as at Altrincham on 20 July, so it is not likely that Moss Lane will see too many of the first-team squad.

Altrincham have played Blackpool twice competitively. On both occasions the fixtures were in the FA Cup and were both played at Bloomfield Road. In 1984, in the First Round, Alty won 1-0 and the Robins repeated the act the following season in the Second Round, winning on that occasion 2-1.


On Saturday, Crewe Alexandra visit Moss Lane. After their game last Saturday, Crewe Alexandra manager "David Artell was pleased that summer signing Daniel Powell was able to net on his first outing for the club in the 2-1 defeat at Nantwich Town on Saturday. Powell was in the right place at the right time to convert a drilled cross from Perry Ng to level things up at the Weaver Stadium.

The summer signing from Northampton showed his versatility by operating through the middle with trialist Paul Taylor. Artell agreed that the former MK Dons wide man showed promising glimpses of his power and pace. He said 'Daniel showed that he has power and pace and hopefully we will see a lot of more of it. That is why we bought him into the club... He made a good start and he got his first goal... and took it well after a good move. That has to continue but the fans could see what we can offer us in the final third.'”


The Eastern Daily Press reports that "Ian Culverhouse says his King's Lynn Town team will not be scared by the daunting challenge of National League North football in the new season. The Linnets began planning their itinerary on Wednesday when the fixtures were released, handing them a trip to Guiseley on opening day before a huge week at The Walks when they face Kettering and then Hereford.

The road trips include such non-league big names as York City, Chester and Darlington, but Culverhouse says the Linnets won't be overawed. Lynn won promotion from the Southern Premier Central in May following an epic play-off final win at Warrington, and Culverhouse has kept faith with the bulk of his squad for the new campaign; it's a squad he says he has the right balance to compete at the higher level.

'The core of the group has stayed together, which is really pleasing,' said Culverhouse. 'If you go through the squad we have got great experience in there with players who have played at this level or even above. I was really pleased to keep the majority of the squad together because most of them have already been there and it is nothing new to them and with that experience it will help the younger ones and those who haven't played at that level come through.

'It is going to be a hard challenge for us, but it is something we can really look forward to. We can go into it and really relish it. We are going to attack it that's for sure. We are not going to be apprehensive, we will be competitive in every game we go into. We are going into a league with some old established football clubs, but as the old saying goes, we will take it every game as it comes. We won't be scared of it, that's for sure.'

The Linnets have a busy pre-season schedule, starting a week on Saturday at Stamford, before the opening game.

'It's an early start, August 3, but it gives us a real intense month of preparation and within that we have six games as well. It will be intense for the boys, but they would rather have it that way so we can crack on and get ourselves stuck into it'".

At the geographically opposite end of the division, the Chronicle Live tells us that "Hebburn Town manager Kevin Bolam believes former Newcastle United midfielder Lee Clark will be a success during his time at Blyth Spartans... Clark is currently putting together a new-look Spartans squad after several key players departed the club during the summer.

A number of trialists, including former Magpies' youngster Craig Spooner played a part in Spartans' 2-1 win over Hebburn on Saturday as they made it three wins out of three pre-season fixtures thanks to Tom Devitt’s late headed winner. Hornets boss Bolam believes that Clark will get it right at Croft Park despite watching his own side go close to claiming a notable draw...

Bolam said 'To be fair, Spartans were two games ahead of us in terms of pre-season and we have more than matched them... We can take heart from the fact we deserved at least a draw against a very good side. I am sure Lee will do a good job at Spartans and they have some top players. He’s been there and done it and his attention to detail was obvious during spells of the game.'”

Also from the Chronicle Live we learn that "Darlington manager Alun Armstrong believes he can help former Newcastle United striker Adam Campbell back into the professional game. The former Toon youngster was hailed as one of the brightest prospects in the club’s recent history when he broke through into the first-team set-up under Alan Pardew in 2012... A much-anticipated debut came in August 2012. He became the youngest player to star for Newcastle in a European competition when he appeared as a substitute in a 1-1 draw against Greek side Atromitos in the Europa League.

A Premier League debut followed in March 2013... but Campbell would go on to make just five substitute appearances for the Magpies before eventually joining St Mirren, Hartlepool United and Gateshead. He left St James Park in 2015 before joining Notts County but spent last season with Morecambe. He now becomes Armstrong’s latest eye-catching addition by joining Darlington and the former Blyth Spartans boss believes... 'Adam is massively motivated to get back into the professional game and I think we can help him do that. I have asked him about why he has dropped to our level so quickly. He believes it is just because others have seen him as a winger and played him out of position on a regular basis.

'Everyone raved about him as a kid and rightly so because he was electric. I think he has been over-coached as a youngster and that has maybe taken something away from him but my players are always allowed to express themselves and I think we can help him regain that spark he had as a kid. He has been signed as a No 9, that is the only position he will play, and we can get him back scoring goals. He will catch the eye if he does that and he can reach those levels once again.

'We can get him there. It will not happen overnight but he can do it'...

It has been a busy summer for the former Ipswich Town and Middlesbrough striker as he moulds a squad capable of improving on a lacklustre performance... last season. Armstrong has plundered former club Blyth Spartans for the likes of winger Jarrett Rivers, centre-back Louis Laing and defender Jordan Watson. The club are targeting a return to the Football League in the long term...

The Quakers’ boss added 'My big criteria [sic] for signing players has been about if they can go on to the next level and beyond. We are bringing the likes of Adam, Jarrett and Jordan in because we know they can play higher. That can backfire and they can become too comfortable at a club but, hopefully, having a fresh start can reinvigorate them'"

Meanwhile Bermuda's Royal Gazette reports that "Tevahn Tyrell, the Bermuda forward, played for English non-League side Darlington in a pre-season friendly at home to Scottish Premiership side Motherwell on Saturday. Tyrell, who is on trial at the club, came on as a second-half substitute in the match, which Motherwell won 3-0.

Osagi Bascome, the Bermuda midfielder, is also trying to win a contract at Darlington, where he spent two months at the end of last season".

On Tyneside, the Shields Gazette informs us that "Former Newcastle United manager Chris Hughton has backed Mike Williamson to succeed in his first managerial role at Gateshead. It was Hughton that brought the former Portsmouth defender to Tyneside back in January 2010...

The centre-back went on to make 16 appearances as United ended the season 11 points clear of their closest rivals... Promotion gave Williamson a chance to make his first ever appearance in the Premier League and he did so when Hughton named him... in the opening game of the campaign. Hughton left United in December 2010 with the Magpies safely in mid-table, but his former defender would go on to make over 150 appearances and represent the club in Europe before moving on to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2015.

Williamson returned to Tyneside last summer as former Magpies star Steve Watson made him a key part of an inexperienced Gateshead squad and he helped the club defy the odds to finish in mid-table in the National League. The 35-year-old moved into a player-coach role working under Ben Clark when Watson departed for York City in January and he now succeeds the Heed legend in the main role.

Williamson’s appointment as Gateshead player-manager means that he becomes the third member of Hughton’s promotion-winning side to go into club management, as he follows in the footsteps of midfield duo Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan. And his former manager believes that Williamson’s 'work ethic and willingness to learn' will help him overcome the challenges he will face...

'When Mike came into Newcastle, he played alongside two established centre-backs in Coloccini and Steven Taylor. It can’t have been easy coming into a club like Newcastle, because other players had come from so-called bigger clubs. He had come from a different background in football, but he quickly showed that he wanted to learn, and he trained fantastically well. He was inquisitive, he took interest in everything and showed a real desire to improve and establish himself within the squad... Although he was quiet, he became a leader' said Hughton...

'Man-management is more and more prominent these days and there will be big decisions to make and ones that Mike hasn’t had to make as a player. The big thing I would tell him is not to put off anything until tomorrow that can be done today'...

Williamson will get his managerial career underway next Wednesday when fellow former Newcastle United defender Jonathan Woodgate takes his Middlesbrough side to the International Stadium for a pre-season friendly... Williamson’s first competitive game in charge will come when Southport visit the International Stadium on the opening day of the National League North season".

8 July 2019


There were plenty of smiles from Altrincham players at Whitchurch Alport on Saturday. Above, left, we see trialist goalkeeper Dan Gyollai, who has been with Stoke City, and right, Matt Chadwick, who joined Alty last season and is aiming to stay for 2019-20 too.

Altrincham FC reports on the match.


As shown, right, before kick off at Whitchurch on Saturday, Andy White modelled the new Altrincham away kit, produced by Ian Senior's SK Kits.


The Memorial Funeral Service for Noel White will take place on Wednesday, 24 July at 1.30pm at Bowdon Church, WA14 2TP. Afterwards the family will greet mourners at Dunham Forest Golf Club, WA14 4TY.

All who knew Noel are welcome. Family flowers only. Donations if desired in Noel’s memory to MACMILLAN NURSES or Cancer Research.


Welsh club Newtown "confirm that defender Lewis Short has signed for the Robins from Leek Town.

Lewis brings a wealth of experience having also previously played for English sides Congleton, Crewe Alexandra, Nantwich, Northwich, Altrincham and Chorley. He is not a newcomer to the Welsh Premier League after spells at Connah's Quay, Bala and Airbus. During his time at Connahs Quay and Airbus, he gained European experience playing in the Europa League qualifiers...

Predominantly a leftback, Lewis will hopefully be a great addition to the squad and welcome him to the club."


Atherton Collieries entertain Altrincham a week on Tuesday. Last Saturday they played at Prestwich Heys and emerged winners, 3-0.


Midfield trialist Tom Whelan impressed during his half an hour or so on the field as a trialist for Altrincham on Saturday.

Tom was born in Liverpool but his family emigrated to Spain when he was aged two. He returned to be educated at Millfield School in Somerset, where he captained the side to success in the Independent Schools' Cup Final.

He was recruited by Salisbury City but the club went bust before he could join them. Instead, he played for Verwood in the Wessex League before joining Poole Town. He left Poole to join Steve Claridge's reincarnated Salisbury FC for their inaugural 2015-16 season.

He remained there for 2017-18 and moved north but, in August 2018, he re-signed for Salisbury. At that time Claridge said, "He was with us since the start of our new club and had been one of our best players. He will take us to a new level."

At Salisbury he was a team-mate of Bay Downing, who trialled for Altrincham last summer, and also attended Millfield School. Indeed, both the players were the Salisbury's scorers in a 2-1 win over East Thurrock in November 2018.

Summer 2018 found him on trial at Gigg Lane with Bury FC.


The Northern Echo reports that "Will Hatfield has become Darlington’s ninth summer arrival, a player who will add steel to midfield. That is the verdict of manager Alun Armstrong, who talked glowingly of the 27 year-old after bringing him to Blackwell Meadows.

Hatfield has left Guiseley after four seasons with the Yorkshire club and he looked the part during Saturday’s friendly against Motherwell, a 3-0 win for the Scottish Premiership side.

'Will’s going to be a really good signing for this club,' said the manager. 'He’s good friends with Michael Liddle and as soon as I knew he was available I wanted him. He gives us a bit of steel in there, he anticipates things, he’s on the front foot and he’s a leader. He started at Leeds and played league football with Accrington, so he’s got plenty of experience behind him.

'He’s got a real desire and work ethic, a bit of metal and he doesn’t give in... I watched him last year against Spenny, I think he’d just come back from an injury, and he rifled a free-kick into the top bin to bring it back to 3-2,' added Armstrong.

'I’d never seen Spenny so rattled, he was right in among them and Guiseley should’ve got something from the game, they hit the bar late on. He’s got a real desire and worth ethic, a bit of metal and he doesn’t give in.'

Quakers’ next first-team fixture is on Friday away to Harrogate Town (7.30pm), though they also play on Tuesday at Eastbourne Sports Complex against Darlington Town (7pm)...

Armstrong said, 'Tuesday will be the lads who were on the bench on Saturday, but I’ll speak to Tez and Lidds to see if they want to get involved rather than going straight into the Harrogate game, because that will be a tough game.'”

Meanwhile, Guiseley informs that "Goals from new signing Clayton Donaldson and trialist [and ex-Alty trialist] Mason Fawns either side of half-time gave near neighbours Bradford City a two-nil win in a pre-season opener at Nethermoor.

The Lions fielded two different side in each half as joint managers Russ O’Niell and Marcus Bignot ran the rule over several trialists.

Lions first half line-up: Trialist; George Cantrill, Scott Garner, Hamza Bencherif, Trialist; Gabriel Johnson, Trialist, Jamie Spencer, Trialist; Kaine Felix, Aaron Martin.

Lions second half line-up: Trialist; Trialist, Trialist, Will Thornton, Trialist (booked 77’); Kennedy Digie, Aleks Starcenko, Trialist; Tabish Hussain; Paul Clayton; Scott Smith."

Southport tell us that "It will be a case of readjusting to life in the Vanarama National League North for Gloucester City who join the division after being transferred from the southern equivalent.

The Tigers, led by manager Mike Cook, finished in 17th place in in the National League South last campaign. Former Coventry midfielder, Cook, took over as Gloucester boss in January, replacing Chris Todd, who could only manage four points during his three months at the helm.

Up until 2009 the Yellows had spent 70 years competing in the Southern Football League, before a play-off victory over Farnborough earned them promotion to the sixth tier of English football. The club were placed in National League North, and competed in the competition up until 2017 when they were relocated to the southern counterpart...

Throughout their history Gloucester have had multiple homes. Currently they play at the Jubilee Stadium in Evesham, after previously ground sharing with Cheltenham between 2010 and 2017.

A key player for the Tigers this year could be attacking midfielder, Fabien Robert. The Frenchman spent last season on loan at the club from Forest Green Rovers, scoring ten goals in 23 games, before making the move permanent this summer.

His displays in the back end of last season saw him named as the National League South’s player of the month for April.

Cook will be hoping that the new additions can be part of an improved Gloucester attack this term, after only registering 35 league goals last season, the lowest in the division. Meanwhile, at the other end of the field, the Yellows were pretty stable, having the second-best defence in the bottom half of the table, conceding 54 goals.

At the end of last season, Gloucester avoided relegation by eight points, but certainly won’t want to be in another battle at the bottom this time around."

According to the Telegraph & Argus "Bradford (Park Avenue) made the trip to the outskirts of Wakefield to the Fitzwilliam Stadium, home to the Hemsworth Miners for the first game of both sides’ pre-season.

The afternoon ended in a 2-2 draw with plenty of positives to be taken away and reflected in both dressing rooms.

Avenue manager Garry Thompson, who named himself as a second-half substitute, took the opportunity to see how his players and trialists performed given solid game time, opting to field two different sides for each half...

Hemsworth took the lead before half-time with a well taken header by Harry Viggars who was unmarked at the far post... A long switch pass from Ben Hedley before half-time was delivered into the box for trialist Brad Dockerty whose deflected shot earned him a goal on visiting his home club, leading to honours even at the interval.

Visiting goalkeeper Charlie Andrew, who played both halves, made a number of good saves in the first half while Jon Moran, Hedley and Clarke all gave solid first appearances for Bradford. Andrew re-joined Avenue on loan until January last Friday. The 19-year-old signed a new one-year deal with Championship side Hull City this summer.

Andrew impressed between the posts in a five-month temporary spell with Avenue last season, making 15 appearances and keeping four clean sheets. His arrival saw the start of a seven-game unbeaten run and he went on to help Avenue reach the Vanarama National League North play-offs after securing a seventh-place finish.

The second half against Hemsworth saw Bradford more dominant in possession, making a concerted effort to play out from the back and increase the tempo. One of these moves saw Lewis Knight... slotting his shot home to take the lead for the visitors.

A lovely team goal from the hosts was finished by Adam Knight to make it 2-2 at full-time... Garry Thompson reported his side was injury free... Avenue continue their pre-season friendly programme on Thursday night when they host League Two side Mansfield Town"

The Boston Standard says that "Jordan Thewlis is tipping Boston United to have their say in the National League North promotion scrap. The summer signing... believes Craig Elliott has built a strong squad...

'We have to try to get in the play-offs, but it will be tough as there’s probably 12 teams who are realistically looking to get promoted,' Thewlis told The Standard. 'There’s a lot of big, full-time teams in the league. But with the squad we have we should be looking at a play-off challenge. It goes down to seventh place and once you get there it’s an absolute lottery.'

Thewlis joined United on loan last December, but suffered ankle ligament damage less than 20 minutes into his debut at Chorley, seeing him miss nearly all the rest of the campaign.

'I’m really looking forward to playing again,' said Thewlis, who returned for the final four games of the previous campaign to aid Harrogate Town’s National League play-off push. 'It was a frustrating season, and definitely one to forget. I came back for the last four games and I just wanted to keep playing so it was disappointing to stop'...

Thewlis is one of nine players in the United squad to have previously played for Harrogate, something he believes will aid the club’s quest to return to the top tier of non-league football. He added 'There’s lot of familiar faces here, and it helps when the lads know each other. There can’t be any excuses or talk of taking about three or four months to gel. We know each other and we need to hit the ground running.'”

From the Chronicle Live we learn that "Former Sunderland youngster Rees Greenwood is hoping to reinvigorate his 'flagging' career after joining Spennymoor Town.

The winger made one Premier League appearance for the Black Cats... and moves to Gateshead and Scottish club Falkirk failed to give the Winlaton-born regular first-team action. He left Falkirk in October 2018 but now returns as Jason Ainsley’s latest signing...

The 22-year-old admitted... 'It has been good to join the club and it has been easy to settle in because the lads are great here. I just want to get myself fit and get through pre-season... I have come here to try and get my career going again.

'Since I left Sunderland it has been flagging a bit and I wanted to go somewhere to play regular football and enjoy it again. I want to get back to the Football League and back into the professional game... I want to play at the highest level possible in the game and I think Spennymoor can help me get back there'...

Only a penalty shoot-out defeat in the play-off final against Chorley in May prevented the club from securing a first season in non-league’s top tier. Greenwood revealed... 'As soon as I came in to have a chat with the manager, he said last season was forgotten about. He wants to move on and try to help this club to achieve what they almost achieved last year'"

7 July 2019


Above: Trialist centre-back Zac Corbett threatens the Alport goal on Saturday.

Altrincham secured a single-goal victory against their hosts from the Hallmark Security League (NW Counties) Premier (Step 5). Starting with three trialists in their line-up, Altrincham took the lead in the 15th minute when summer signing Nathan Arnold's low ball from the left was met at the back post by the incoming Conor Branson and trialist Lewis Salmon. It was unclear which of the two got the final touch, though Branson appeared to be credited with the goal ahead of the youngster from Hanley Town.

Just before the hour mark, Altrincham introduced seven substitutes, who included two more trialists, Matt Chadwick and reserves' striker Ben Elliott. For their part Alport made several changes, too, and were more in the game in the second-half and at one stage earned four corners in as many minutes. Tom Whelan (ex-Bury) was the only Alty trialist not to have appeared in last Saturday's game against the Youth team and he looked impressive in midfield.

Absentees for Altrincham were injured captain Jake Moult and Jordan Hulme, who was apparently at a funeral. Andy White and Steven Drench were at the game but did not take part. Familiar faces in the Alport squad were ex-Alty goalkeeper Dave Parton and midfielder Kevin Street. Alport's players also included the experienced former Northern Ireland international and former Leigh RMI, Crewe Alexandra and Walsall player Steve Jones, now aged 42.

Match report here.


From the National League comes news that "Altrincham have received an award from Cheshire FA for their fight against homophobia. The National League North club wore a special one-off rainbow shirt for their game against Bradford (Park Avenue) last season...

After taking home the award at last night's grass-roots heroes awards, Altrincham tweeted their gratitude. 'Thank you, Cheshire_FA!', the club wrote on their official Twitter account. 'Football is a sport to be played and enjoyed by everyone on the planet, we just pushed that conversation along.'"


Altrincham's first home friendly of summer is next Saturday against a Crewe Alexandra XI. Cheshire Live reports that "Crewe Alex manager David Artell said it was a 'perfect start' to pre-season at Nantwich Town on Saturday, despite his side losing the game 2-1.

The Dabbers emerged as victors thanks to Sean Cooke's brilliant opener and James Lawrie's winning penalty, which sandwiched a Daniel Powell goal for the Alex. The Railwaymen looked decidedly below par at times, especially in the first half, but improved as it went on and perhaps should have come out on top.

Either way, Artell was happy with the run out. He said 'I thought it was a perfect start for us. We lost the game but it's not about that. We only lost one lad to injury, Travis (Johnson), who had a niggle anyway and perhaps shouldn't have played. And when you get a team like Nantwich, who aren't going to whack us but will get right in your face, then it's the perfect start to pre-season. Everyone got 45 minutes virtually, so it has been a good day.

'For all the training and running we've done, we haven't done any team shape or patterns. I think we have done one session on shooting, so it's all been physical work and getting their legs back. We'll ramp that up now, get the patterns and the shape started, and we'll be up and running. It's not about catching the eye, it's about staying injury-free while looking competent and being professional. One lad didn't warm up properly so he's going to get it in the neck on Monday, it's stuff like that at this stage of the season. That's the kind of thing that catches my eye.'

Crewe were forced into an early change due to Johnson's injury, and they made 10 more changes at the break. Four of them, Lassana Mendes, Charlie Fox, Christian Mbulu and Paul Taylor, were involved. Artell spoke to them one by one afterwards, but did not reveal the nature of the conversations... This was a bit of a jolt and a welcome back, but it's the first game of pre-season and you just want minutes under the belt.'".


In Saturday's pre-season games, results for teams in National League North included Vauxhall Motors 3-1 Curzon Ashton.

And Chester FC 1 – 7 Wigan Athletic, on which Wigan Athletic report that "Joe Garner’s second-half hat-trick rounds off professional and quality performance from Latics in first pre-season friendly at Chester FC. Josh Windass, Kal Naismith, Callum Lang and Charlie Jolley also on the scoresheet".

Chester's goal was scored by the ubiquitous "Trialist B" in front of an attendance of 1,277.

"Wigan Athletic kicked off their 2019-20 pre-season schedule with a comprehensive 7-1 victory at Chester FC. A second-half hat-trick from Joe Garner followed first-half efforts from Josh Windass, Kal Naismith and Callum Lang, before Charlie Jolley rounded off the win with a late effort of his own...

Latics were dominant and treated the friendly with the utmost professionalism". Already three down, "Chester’s ‘Trialist B’ got a goal back for the hosts on the stroke of half-time with an excellent finish before both sides switched their line-ups for the second-half. It was 4-1 soon after as Garner got in behind Chester’s defence and fired in after just a matter of seconds on the pitch.

He got his second 12 minutes later as he was fouled in the area by James Jones before picking himself up to fire home the resulting spot-kick. Garner’s third and Latics’ sixth came just after the hour mark as Michael Jacobs drove well from midfield before playing the striker in to chip past Chester’s substitute goalkeeper, Trialist D.

It took until the closing stages for Latics to add a seventh as Jensen Weir played in Jolley to power past Chester’s goalkeeper from inside the penalty area".

From the home side, Chester FC tell us that they "got their pre-season off to a losing start... The Blues got off to the worst possible start as Trialist A lost the ball in the centre of the park... to give Wigan the lead after just three minutes...

Wigan’s class began to show though and they were playing some really good football... Chester’s best spell of pressure came after half an hour, when Jamie Morgan found Trialist B in space in the penalty area, but his shot on the turn was just wide of the post...

The class of the visitors showed as left back Kai Naismith controlled a ball well on his chest before coolly beating Roberts in the Chester goal. Two quickly became three as Anthony Pilkington’s good work down the right led to a pass to Callum Lang, who controlled the ball inside the six yard box and fired past Theo Roberts.

Wigan looked potent... The Blues got one back on the stroke of half time due to a superb piece of play from Trialist B, controlling the ball, turning into space and using his pace to get away from the Wigan defence and firing a really good effort into the bottom corner with his left foot...

Within the first minute of the second half, James Jones’ backpass sold Trialist D short and Joe Garner got in and finished well. Joe Garner continued to cause problems for the Blues defence and won a penalty for his side, Garner stepped up to take it and sent Trialist D the wrong way for his second and Wigan’s fifth. Wigan added a sixth in the sixty-fourth minute ...

With five minutes remaining Wigan added a seventh.

First Half: Roberts, Morgan, Taylor, Jones, Livesey, Grand, Roberts, Burton (c), Trialist A, Trialist B, Trialist C.

Second Half: Trialist D, Thomson, Jones (Macready 83), Grand, Waters, Jackson, Trialist E, Stopforth, Mahon, Dudley, Waring. Substitutes: Murray, Marsh-Hughes...

Attendance: 1,277"

According to the Coventry Telegraph "New-look Coventry City got their pre-season programme off to a winning start against non-league neighbours Leamington.

First half goals from new signings Gervane Kastaneer and Josh Pask, and Academy graduate Jordan Shipley, put the Sky Blues firmly in control at The Phillips 66 community Stadium where Mark Robins gave friendly debuts to all nine of his senior summer captures.

The City boss played two different sides in each half of what amounted to a fitness exercise in their opening fixture of the friendly campaign...

Robins set out his players in a changed 4-3-3 formation... City continued to dominate with their fresh eleven in the second half when goals were harder to come by, despite several chances... The Brakes almost pulled a goal back when star man Bishop sent a diving header towards the bottom corner, only for City keeper Marko Marosi to deny his effort with a decent save...

Coventry looked for a fourth goal. And that finally came in the dying minutes from the penalty spot when Bayliss was brought down by the keeper after the Leamington stopper had denied Biamou."

Alfreton Town defeated a Walsall XI. After falling behind The Reds levelled just befor half-time with thier first effort on target, Clackstone being the scorer. In front of 511 spectators, an Alfreton side incuding several unnamed trialists netted the winner.

Bulls' News reports on a comfortable win for Hereford FC as they "got their pre-season campaign off to a flier after a Rowan Liburd brace saw them beat near neighbours Wellington 4-0. Liburd could easily have scored four or five in the end, with the Bulls' class evident throughout the game.

To their credit, Wellington perservered and had chances in the end, but Hereford Head Coach Marc Richards will be happy with how the match went, with a lot of players getting minutes under the belt... They took the lead in the 31st minute. Tom Owen-Evans... was upended in the area and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Reece Styche, who made no mistake.

Hereford then ran away with the game after the break. Liburd made it 2-0 in the 51st minute, tapping home a Keiron Thomas cross from close range before the Bulls marksman added another 14 minutes later; Thomas again doing well on the right-hand side... In the 76th minute, Paul Jones had a chance for Wellington, but his effort was charged down. Just two minutes later and Hereford made it 4-0.

This time, Alex Bray set up an unnamed trialist, who drilled the ball home... Overall, it was a comfortable win for Hereford against a side who play four leagues below them. Next up is Cinderford Town on Monday night.

First-half team: Brandon Hall, Trialist, Rhys Davies, Jacob Jagger Cane, Jordan Cullinane-Liburd, Martin Riley, Keyon Reffell, Tommy O'Sullivan, Reece Styche, Tom Owen-Evans, Jordan Nicholson. Subs: Keiran Thomas, Bisensio Kamilo, Alex Bray, Trialist, Rowan Liburd, Jahquil Hill.

Second-half team: Jahquil Hill, Keiran Thomas, Connor Austin-Davies, Josh Gowling, Trailist, Trialist, Alex Bray, Kyle Finn, Bisensio Kamilo, Trialist, Rowan Liburd. Subs: Rhys Davies, Jacob Jagger Cane, Jordan Cullinane-Liburd, Keyon Reffell, Tommy O'Sullivan, Brandon Powell".

Farsley Celtic report that they "made it two wins from two so far this pre-season after a 3-1 win away at Brighouse Town. Three first half goals from Jimmy Spencer, Chris Atkinson and Ben Atkinson were enough to ensure Farsley walked away from a sunny Brighouse with a win.

Head Coach Adam Lakeland named three changes to the starting eleven from the team we saw start in Farsley’s 5-0 win away at Eccleshill United on Tuesday night. Kyle Trenerry replaced Elliott Wynne in goal, Ben Atkinson was in for Tyler Walton, whilst Paul Walker played up front for the absent Nathan Cartman.

The visitors struggled to get going early on, finding it hard to adapt to the warm weather conditions. Brighouse pressed at the Celts but failed to create any clear cut chances. Farsley broke deadlock after seven minutes against the run of play, as a long ball over the top was met by Jimmy Spencer who lifted the ball over the keeper and into the back of the net with one touch.

Despite the game being fairly even, the Celts made it 2-0 ten minutes later after nice link up play set up Chris Atkinson, who made no mistake in finding the target from distance.

And, after taking control of the game, Farsley then made it 3-0 on 34 minutes, when Ben Atkinson cut in onto his left foot and curled the ball into the far left hand corner of the net... The second half was fairly even with both sides struggling to create any chances... Brighouse, however, did pull one back with 20 minutes to go through a well taken goal by one of their trialists....

Farsley were able to hold on to pick up a 3-1 win, and after the game Head Coach Adam Lakeland told us 'I think the weather made it very tough for both sets of players. We only have a small squad so they were probably able to make a few more subs than we were able to. I thought we scored three very good goals in the first half. It was a good work out and it was competitive. It’s good to win but we were disappointed with the goal we conceded. It was poor; a catalogue of errors, but it’s better to get them out of the way now come August 3rd.'

Farsley Celtic (3-4-3): Trenerry, Richards, Hayhurst, Higgins, Ellis ©, Clayton, B. Atkinson, C. Atkinson, Spencer, Parkin, Walker. Subs: Baldwin, Elliott, Walton, Boeteng, Bett."

Curzon Ashton report that "With 'Super Saturday' in full swing at Wimbledon, the Nash endured a not-so-super Saturday of their own after suffering defeats against Wigan Athletic u23s and Vauxhall Motors.

The first team squad made the early start with an 11am kick off at the Christopher Park training ground in Wigan. There were six changes made from the team started against Cheadle on Tuesday. Andy Halls, Robbie Evans, Kallum Mantack, Brad Lynch and Callum Saunders all played from the off along with Cam Mason in goal after his return from Australia.

Curzon made a blistering start... A well-drilled Wigan grew into the game but the Nash finished the half strongly... A slew of substitutions disrupted the flow of the second half, until Wigan capitalised on a mix-up in the Curzon defence to grab what would turn out to be the winning goal.

The response in the final ten minutes was positive and only some great goalkeeping denied the Nash a deserved equaliser in a game which drew plenty positives despite the final score.

Then, a quick dash across to the other side of the Mersey where a group of youth players and trialists took on Vauxhall Motors. After a hard fought first half, it was left to the most experienced head in the squad, Danny Shaw, to put Curzon ahead just before the break when his cross took a deflection and squirmed in at the near post.

But the lead lasted less than ten minutes of the second half when Vauxhall smartly worked the ball into the box and finished clinically. After changing their strip at half time, Vauxhall seemed like a totally new team and two goals in quick succession put the game out of reach for the Nash.

Despite the results, these were two very useful outings as Mark Bradshaw continues to hone together his new look squad ahead of the beginning of the new campaign in a month's time."

Motherwell inform us that they "wrapped up their pre-season preparations with a 3-0 victory at Darlington. First half goals from Christopher Long and Liam Donnelly, followed by Jamie Semple’s free kick late on, sealed the win at Blackwell Meadows...

A strong Steelmen side started in the north east of England. Their hosts were fairly settled early on, keeping a pacy visiting front three at bay and looking to build through midfield. Darlo’s resistance was broken with five minutes left in the half. Declan Gallagher saw his netbound header from a corner cleared off the line, and Long was on hand instinctively to fire home.

Just before the break, it was two. From Campbell’s cutback, Donnelly fired into the net from 25 yards, taking a nick on the way through to the top corner. A raft of second half changes saw the game struggle to find much rhythm but Motherwell were largely untroubled, before Semple stepped up at the death to drill home a free kick from 20 yards."

6 July, 2019


Above: Alport's former Alty keeper, Dave Parton, collects the ball ahead of Alty's trialist Lewis Salmon and Conor Branson (far right). Josh Hancock and James Jones are the other Alty players in the picture.


Altrincham travel, today (Saturday), to Whitchurch in Shropshire for their first pre-season friendly against external opposition in the shape of Hallmark Security League Premier club Whitchurch Alport.

Their ground is at Yokings Park, Whitchurch, SY13 1PG. However, supporters should note that the hosts have announced that "Due to the renovation of our bar and toilets, the Cadstones Clubhouse will not be open for Saturday’s friendly. However the ALPORT LOUNGE BAR will be open as usual and the delicious Alport Cafe, served from the TEA BAR".

Above, Alty line up before the kick off in the 2017 friendly against Whitchurch Alport. The visitors fielded a different eleven in each half.

First Half: 1. Tim DEASY, 2. A TRIALIST, 3. A TRIALIST, 4. Chris LYNCH, 5. Clayton McDONALD, 6. Jake MOULT (capt), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Laurence TAYLOR, 9. Josh HANCOCK, 10. James POOLE, 11. Jerome WRIGHT.

Second Half: The team wore a mixture of unnumbered shirts and shirts with numbers which in many cases did not match the 1-11 listing so the following numbers may not be totally accurate! 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Lewis SHORT, No Number: Ben HARRISON, 4. Sam HEATHCOTE, 3. John DISNEY, 19. A TRIALIST 7. A TRIALIST, 18. Kyle BROWNHILL, No Number: Sam SHERIDAN, 9. A TRIALIST, 17. A TRIALIST

Of the non-trialists, with Jake Moult injured, only John Johnston, Josh Hancock, Tony Thompson and Ben Harrison from the 2017 squad can possibly play in this 2019 encounter.


Altrincham FC's pre-season games include four at home, all of which are free to holders of the club's 2019-20 season tickets. For those paying at the turnstiles, the admission prices are as follow... Adults - £8 Concessionaries - £5 U16s - £2 U12s - Free

Altrincham's pre-season matches are...

  • Sat. 6 July AWAY Whitchurch Alport 3pm
  • Sat. 13 July HOME Crewe Alexandra 3pm
  • Tue. 16 July AWAY Atherton Collieries 7.45pm
  • Sat. 20 July HOME Blackpool XI 3pm
  • Tue. 23 July HOME Stockport County 7.45pm
  • Sat. 27 July HOME AFC Fylde 3pm
  • Tue. 30 July AWAY Trafford 7.45pm


On 20 July, Blackpool visit Altrincham for a pre-season game. However, on Friday evening the Blackpool Gazette reported that "Terry McPhillips has this evening stepped down as manager of Blackpool Football Club. The 50-year-old, who led the club to a 10th place finish in League One last season, his first job in management, informed the board of his decision on Tuesday. The Gazette understands the club are expecting to make a swift appointment.

'While discussing the option of a new contract, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on things and feel that the time is now right for me to step aside,' McPhillips said. 'I never really had any intention of becoming a manager, yet I stepped up in difficult circumstances last season because the club needed some stability. That stability has now been achieved and an exciting future awaits under Simon’s ownership'...

McPhillips, a former assistant at Bloomfield Road, took charge of Pool on a permanent basis back in September following Gary Bowyer's surprise departure just one game into the new season... Owner Simon Sadler added 'Terry has been very gracious in his discussions with the board... He did a very good job in guiding the club to a top-half finish last season after quickly going from assistant to manager. We’re all appreciative of his efforts.'"


"Midfielder Greg Olley has agreed a new one-year deal at Gateshead Football Club... The 23-year-old was a standout performer for the Heed in the National League last season, scoring seven goals in 38 league appearances from midfield.

Prior to arriving at the International Stadium, Olley began his career in the youth setup at Newcastle United and appeared for the club’s under-23 side. A move to Hull City followed, where the Durham-born midfielder made two Carabao Cup appearances...

He said,'Ever since we split up last season it’s been a long process, but I’m really glad we’ve finally got it done. Mike and Busted have been on the phone quite a lot, I’ve got a lot of respect for them both and they’ll go a very long way. It’s got to be a rebuilding year again, it’s in pretty similar circumstances to last year, but hopefully we could go one step better than [then] and get promoted this time.

'We’ve got a good squad coming together... It was my first year in senior football and I think I learned quite a lot from being in and around some good players'".

At Bradford (Park Avenue) "A busy and exciting pre-season for Bradford (Park Avenue) continued with news of a new sponsorship with international oil company Devils River Resources... a Texas-based boutique mining firm who focus on oil retrieval with a specialization on shallow oil reserves.

The sponsorship will see Devils River Resources on the sleeve of the Park Avenue kits... Club CEO Damian Irvine said 'This club has enjoyed the support of the directors' financial contributions and an immense amount of pro bono consultancy. The investment has come at a cost to them, but they do it out of complete belief in the growth and performance of The Avenue and more so the community that the Club represents.

Irvine continued 'We at the club are excited to have this investment alongside Devils River Resources' commitment to the club. The club has a unique logo that definitely adds a bit of Texan style to it. We are excited to be able to give fans proper bespoke kits with actual club partners this season. It is a testament to the commitment to moving the club forward.'"

Meanwhile, the Telegraph & Argus adds that "Bradford (Park Avenue) have signed former Doncaster defender Mitchell Lund. The 22-year-old spent his development years at Rovers before making more than 60 senior appearances at League One and League Two level, including loan spells with Wrexham and Morecambe.

Park Avenue boss Garry Thompson worked with Lund at Morecambe last season. Like Ben Hedley who also joined Bradford this pre-season, Thompson saw enough to pursue the signature of Lund prior to the first pre-season match against Hemsworth Miners tomorrow.

Thompson remarked '“We’re delighted to sign another player of the experience and quality of Mitch. He has an excellent background and experience of playing higher up the pyramid at a very strong period of Doncaster Rovers' history and will provide us with additional quality and poise from the back. I’ve seen first-hand the attitude and character of Mitch whilst at Morecambe. He has been training with us since we came back and fits perfectly the quality of individual we want to represent The Avenue.'"

Also, we learn from Bradford (Park Avenue) that "Goalkeeper Charlie Andrew has re-joined National League North side Bradford Park Avenue on loan. The 19-year-old, who signed a new one-year deal with the Tigers this summer, will stay at the Horsfall Stadium until January.

Andrew impressed between the posts in a five-month temporary spell with The Avenue last season, making 15 appearances and keeping four clean sheets. His arrival saw the start of a seven-game unbeaten run and he went on to help Park Avenue reach the National League North play-offs after securing a seventh-place finish... Bradford (Park Avenue) enjoy a strong working relationship with Hull City and would like to thank their Chairman and the staff for again entrusting us with the development of young stars such as Charlie."

According to the Northern Echo "Darlington's match with Motherwell tomorrow is the first friendly of the Alun Armstrong era and will see a number of new faces in Quakers colours.

Adam Campbell is the latest to join the club. The former Newcastle United striker will be among a handful of new recruits getting a run-out at Blackwell Meadows (2pm) including Chris Elliott, David Atkinson, Jarrett Rivers, Jamie Holmes, Louis Laing and Jordan Watson. They will be joined in the in the squad by a small number of trialists, among them being midfielders Will Hatfield and Omar Holness.

Holness’ short-term contract expired after ending last season with Quakers and his eagerness to impress during training has caught Armstrong’s attention, while Osagi Bascome is also hoping to catch the manager’s eye, and so too is a trialist striker from Bermuda.

Hatfield is from much closer to home, a 27-year-old former Accrington and Guiseley midfielder, and is a player Armstrong wants in his team.

'He started at Leeds and played league football with Accrington, so he’s got plenty of experience behind him,' said the manager. 'He’s got a real desire and worth ethic, a bit of metal and he doesn’t give in'.

Hatfield arriving would compensate for missing out on previous targets Connor Newton and Alex Pattison. Newton went to Whickham, while Wycombe is Pattison’s destination. Armstrong admitted 'When a League 1 clubs comes in you cannot turn that down, but he’s a Darlo lad born and bred and would’ve been ideal.'

New signing Michael Liddle, who is a left-back signed from Blyth, and Terry Galbraith are unavailable, but will return in time for Friday’s friendly at Harrogate Town. Their absence and a lack of numbers in a squad that still needs additions, and [which] this week saw Simon Ainge join Boston United on loan for the season, means Jonny Burn may be involved. The defender has recently been training with Queen of the South but has not been offered a deal and remains under contract with Darlington for another 12 months.

Armstrong said 'At the end of the day he’s a Darlington player, and he’s got to give it his best if he wants to resurrect his career. He wants to fight for his place. You can never say never, but his attitude has got to be right, the application has got be right and he’s got to show a lot more than he did last year.'

Motherwell won comfortably at Blackwell 12 months ago and it would be a surprise if it were not the same outcome bearing in mind Quakers are short on numbers for their first pre-season friendly, while the match is the Scottish Premier League side’s last before their season begins...

'I had wanted to play the starting XI, but it’s not going to be the case,' admitted Armstrong. 'Terry and Michael are both away and we haven’t got the midfield sorted. It’s going to be a tough game for the lads, but we’ll get through it...We haven’t got our first XI together yet. It’s going to be trial and error, and it’s all about fitness for us. The key thing is not to get any injuries, and to have some positive patterns of play. The chemistry with the lads is going to be brand new.

'I want the front four to start and get some chemistry between them, some link-up play. That’s going to be one of the main things from the day, getting them to press as a group. Jarrett and Holmes know each other obviously, but we’ve got Campbell and Thompson in there as well. There’s a bit of work to do there, but this is what pre-season is for, it’s not about results, and you never know it might just click, but there’s always something to work on at this time of year.

'There’s a couple of academy kids that have stood out so they will be involved on Saturday. They’ve done well, their attitude has been smashing so they will be in the squad.'

Armstrong has been pleased with the five training sessions since preparations for 2019-20 began. He added 'The lads have been as good as gold with the workrate they’ve put it. The application, their work ethic has been top notch. The lads are willing to do it. Every single player knew what was coming, they know how hard we’ve got to work, how fit we’ve got to be to play the way I want and the lads have all bought into it.'”

In addition, Darlington have today signed goalkeeper Chris Elliott. Chris, 24, started his career at Bradford City, and went on to play for Harrogate RA and Harrogate Town on loan, before moving to Sweden for three seasons, where he played for IFK Holmsund and Bodens BK.

He rejoined Harrogate Town, and then went on to play for Alfreton and Spennymoor, whom he left during the summer.

Manager Alun Armstrong said 'I tried to sign Chris last year when I was at Blyth as cover for Peter Jameson, as York were after Peter then, but Chris decided to join Spennymoor as Blyth was too far. 'He’s got plenty of experience and has great distribution which is crucial for the way that we want to play.'”

Boston United "thank their pitch sponsors for the 2019-2020 campaign after achieving a complete sell-out of squares. Dan Milgate's pitch fund has been boosted to the tune of £1,170 following the successful sale of 117 squares to a variety of United supporters and sponsors...

In other commercial news, all 21 of the Pilgrims' home National League North match sponsorship packages for 2019-2020 have been sold."

Gloucestershire Live reports that "Gloucester City boss Mike Cook is considering taking Birmingham City youngster Zach Jeacock on loan. Having signed his first professional deal with Birmingham in May, Jeacock has been training with Gloucester and appeared in their opening pre-season friendly last night. Jeacock shared goalkeeping duties in between the sticks with former Halifax Town goalkeeper Sean Rowley as the Tigers ran out 3-0 winners against Fairford Town courtesy of goals from Marlon Jackson, Jennison Myrie-Williams and Jake Jackson.

'We’ve got Sean Rowley who’s one of the trialist goalkeepers. He’s been with us for a couple of weeks. He played 45 last night,' manager Cook said. 'Then we’ve got Zach Jeacock from Birmingham City who’s an 18-year-old lad that they’ve got high hopes for. So we’ve been looking at those two in training and obviously we’ve seen them for the first time in a game last night and they’ve both done really well.'

Cook stated that Gloucester are looking to invest in three more positions, including the goalkeeping department. Further trialists also made outings for Gloucester, including the likes of ex-Cheltenham duo Ioan Richards and Tom Handley, as well as Joe Turley and Jamie Spruce formerly of Evesham and Bristol Rovers respectively.

'We had about eight trialists in the end. We had a good look at them. Some of them did really well, so they’ll be playing next week at Brimscombe and the Slimsbridge game on the Tuesday and the Friday.'

Asked whether he was impressed with all of the trialists on show, Cook admitted... 'I wouldn’t say all of them to be honest. I would say just some of them because there will be a couple tomorrow who are going to get cut... We need to sort out things like deals with Fabian (Robert). We have to talk about what we’ve got the left in the budget.' Former Walsall man and Saint Kitts international Theo Wharton was listed on the squad list prior to kick-off, but failed to turn up due to unforeseen circumstances.

Another name who was absent from Gloucester’s victory was Noah Smerdon, who has been heavily linked with a move to Exeter City, and Cook confirmed it remains highly likely that the talented defender will leave the club.

He said 'He’s on a family holiday at the moment so nothing can be done until he returns back from that anyway. I know that the conversations that Gloucester City are having are three way at the moment with West Brom and Exeter City.'".

According to Insider Media "The takeover of Huddersfield Town by the owner and director of Southport FC has completed. Phil Hodgkinson, who is also the chief executive and founder of PURE Business Group, has passed the EFL's Owners' and Directors' Test and now takes a 75 per cent controlling stake in the club, and becomes chairman, with Dean Hoyle retaining the remaining 25 per cent.

Hodgkinson has also stepped down from his role at National League North side Southport, a post he has held since September 2017. Earlier this year, he confirmed plans to sell his shares to fellow directors Ian Kyle, Liam Watson and Steven Porter".

In the Shropshire Star we learn that "The Bucks' boss is after a goalkeeper and a defender to complete his summer business at the New Buck's Head, but the boss insists he will not be rushed.

Telford have signed three new players this summer and returned to training at Lilleshall last weekend but only have hometown boy Andy Wycherley between the sticks. Cowan has said that he wants two shot-stoppers. Cowan has four centre-backs at the club, including the converted youngster Zak Lilly, so is believed to be after further options.

The boss, recently back from a family holiday, said 'Work never stops, my wife will tell you that! There’s a couple of things. I think there’ll be another two that come in but we’re in no rush. We’re scouring the market, there’s a couple that interest me who I’m in talks with but they’ve got to impress me as much as I impress them.'

The Telford chief, heading into his second season as boss, is thriving now pre-season proper is well under way. He added 'It’s just what you know. It’s everything I’ve done for the last 23 years'"


Gloucestershire Live reports that "Forest Green have unveiled a striking new kit made from bamboo with a zebra stripe design. They have kept the green and black colours for the home strip but have moved away from the traditional hoops, while the away kit adopts a black-on-black zebra look and both will last for two seasons.

The club say the new home and away strips have been 'inspired by nature' and are the first in football to be made from bamboo, a fast growing, sustainable material. It uses a 50 per bamboo mix to significantly reduce the use of plastic. In a statement, Forest Green say the design “comes from chairman Dale Vince’s desire to create an evolution of the club’s now world-famous [sic] green and black hoops.

'The new design is inspired by the animal’s natural camouflage, so effect for a dazzle of zebra [er?] when bamboozling predators and stopping them from attacking. The zebra’s striping also makes it harder for rivals to judge their speed and direction.'

Both kits feature Forest Green’s infamous three stars on the back again, which signify the club’s ambition to reach the Championship, with one coloured in so far to mark promotion to the Football League in 2017, and two greyed out to represent the steps needed to reach its goal. The club came close to filling in another star last season, narrowly missing out on promotion to League One...

Vince said 'I was pretty shocked when I found out that modern sportswear is actually made from plastic; that feels wrong to me, not just from the sustainability point of view, but for performance too'".

5 July 2019


Connor Hampson captained Alty in last Saturday's in-house friendly against Altrincham FC Youth. He is seen (right), with new signing Toby Mullarkey, in that game.

Altrincham's remaining pre-season matches are as listed, below.

  • Sat. 6 July AWAY Whitchurch Alport 3pm
  • Sat. 13 July HOME Crewe Alexandra 3pm
  • Tue. 16 July AWAY Atherton Collieries 7.45pm
  • Sat. 20 July HOME Blackpool XI 3pm
  • Tue. 23 July HOME Stockport County 7.45pm
  • Sat. 27 July HOME AFC Fylde 3pm
  • Tue. 30 July AWAY Trafford 7.45pm


Altrincham's first of this season's summer friendlies against external opposition involves a trip to Whitchurch Alport this Saturday (3pm). From Whitchurch Alport we learn that "Midfielder and vice-skipper Sean Griffiths is joining us again for the upcoming season! Griff joined in Dec 2017, his attitude and commitment make him a firm favourite at Yockings Park. Another key player re-signed"


Alty's final pre-season game will be at Shawe View in the local derby with Trafford, who report "the latest addition to the squad as Bakes [manager Tom Baker] has signed experienced forward Kade Coppin whose former clubs (apart from playing for us some years ago) include Mossley A.F.C. Ashton United F.C. and Buxton F.C. Kade made 54 appearances for Trafford between 2007-2009

More fab news is that Chris Palmer has verbally agreed to stay at the club. Chris is the present-day longest servicing player with 242 appearances from 2012 to 2019

Also, as if that isn’t good news enough, we have retained Darius Palma", the former Altrincham FC wingman.

As previously reported here, Trafford have won the award for best playing surface in the EvoStik First division. The EvoStik League has since added that "As Official Pitch Partners of the Northern Premier League, GreenFields launched the second Pitch of the Year Awards at the start of the season and crowned the winners at the league's prestigious annual End of Season Awards in Blackpool.

WEST DIVISION WINNER: Trafford FC. Trafford FC’s Secretary [and groundsman], Graham Foxall commented on their second successive win of the Pitch of the Year Award 'It’s really great to see that our hard work has once again been recognised by our fellow clubs along with GreenFields for the Pitch of the Year Award for the second season in a row.'"


Apart from Whitchurch Alport and Trafford, Alty's only away friendly this summer is at Atherton Collieries who report that in their opening pre-season fixture, "A late Dieseruvwe goal sees Salford City run out 1-0 victors at the Skuna."


A Crewe Alexandra XI visits the J. Davidson Stadium on 13 July. Before that Alex take on Nantwich Town and will, presumably, field a not dissimilar team for that match from their line-up at Altrincham.

So it may be useful to know that Crewe Alexandra inform us that manager "David Artell will hand his pre-season trialists a chance to impress during Saturday’s pre-season game at Nantwich Town.

The Alex boss is keen to watch the trialists in live action before he decides whether to offer any of them a contract. Four trialists have been training with the club since we started back last week and they will get the opportunity to play some part against the Dabbers this weekend.

Artell said, 'We have a few lads on trial and we’ll try to give everyone a game. They’ll need to play in a game, and we need to see them for long enough to make sure we’ve had a good look at them. I think they understand that. If they don’t and they want to go somewhere else that’s fine too. We are looking at a whole raft of different players and trying to cover as many bases as possible, but the bottom line is whether they are good enough and we have to weigh that up.'".


Gloucester City "announce our third signing of the Summer in Fabien Robert. Fabien played a key role last season and his contribution to the club was recognised by the league, with Fabien picking up several awards at the end of the season and being named in the team of year.

Speaking about his move, Fabien had this to say 'I am very happy to be officially a player of Gloucester City, the entire club has been magnificent since I have joined them last season. The club wants to grow and be more ambitious in the future, which is great, with some exciting days coming with the new stadium. We are building something special that I want to be part of. The fans showed me so much love from day one that I feel like I am coming back home.'

Gloucester City manager Mike Cook was delighted to bring the Frenchman back. 'I am delighted to welcome Fabian back to the club. I look forward to again working with this very special person and talented individual. We know there was keen interest from Football League, National League and other National League North teams... Already I believe the squad to be in a better place than when I took over in January'...

Co-Chairman Alex Petheram said, 'Fabien is a special player. I’ve been speaking with Fabs ever since we heard he was leaving Forest Green. But in truth my 7-year-old needs to take all the credit! Freddie was in the garden playing football with his brother, I heard him shouting and celebrating, pretending to be Fabs in the game, scoring all the goals. That night my boys asked me if we were signing Fabs. I said, "Boys, I’m doing everything I can, I promise I’ll keep pushing".

Following that Fred went to his piggy bank and brought me his £2.50 pocket money, saying "Dad take it", I was completely taken back. From that moment, I knew we had to find a way! The rollercoaster then continued with some big clubs coming in throughout, but we’ve done it and we’ve done it as a solid board and management team, thank you all. And we’re not done yet!”

Fabien joins us on a two-year deal with an option to extend".

NL Daily confirms that "Darlington have completed the signing of striker Adam Campbell. Campbell was released by Morecambe at the end of last season. He started his career at Newcastle United, where he became the youngest player to play for the club in a European competition, aged 17 in the Europa League.

After several loan spells including at Hartlepool United and Gateshead, he signed for Notts County in 2015, where he stayed for two seasons. He moved to Morecambe two seasons ago and last season he had a loan spell with fellow League Two side Carlisle United.

Manager Alun Armstrong said 'Adam is one of those players I am looking for who is wanting to prove a point and get back into the professional game. We’ve done well securing him as he did have offers elsewhere to stay full time as well. He’s lightning quick, works extremely hard, has fantastic technical ability and is a natural goal scorer but, since he left Newcastle, people have played him everywhere except where he is at his best, which is as a number nine playing on the shoulder of the defenders and using his biggest asset, his pace.

'We’ll work with him to give him the confidence and the game time to get his career back on track and I’m sure he’ll become a big player for Darlington FC.'”

The National League says that "Steve Watson thinks York's tough early fixtures are a good chance to lay down a marker to their promotion rivals.

The Minstermen have games against Altrincham, Blyth Spartans, Spennymoor Town and Brackley within the first month of the season; all sides who finished in the top seven. Watson also faces the visit of his previous employers Gateshead.

And although he admits he can't control fixtures, it is a good chance to show what they're about from the off.

'You do [look for certain games] as a fan but, as a manager and players, you see the fixtures and get on with it,' he told the York Press. 'It's a tough league and the start of the season will let everybody know where we're at. Nothing bothers me about the fixtures. They're out of our hands; we'll have to play everybody at some stage'".

AFC Telford United "in partnership with Ticket Co have launched a new online system for purchasing match tickets, commencing with the pre-season fixture against Wrexham on Saturday 13th July.

The simple, quick and secure online process allows fans to order and pay online via a PC/laptop, mobile phone or ipad. The ticket can be scanned at the turnstile from your mobile phone or alternatively a PDF ticket can be printed from the confirmation email and brought with you to the turnstile for scanning.

We would like to thank all those supporters that have already purchased their tickets online and have contacted the club to say how impressed they were with the new system.

We will not be taking cash at the turnstiles. For those who wish to purchase on the day of the game in cash or by card, you can still do so at the new ticket office which will be based outside the East Terrace near to the Learning Centre Building. The Ticket Office will be open on a match day 12.30 until 3.15pm. Tickets can also be purchased in person from the Main Office, 10am until 4pm Monday – Friday or purchased over the phone by calling 01952 640064

It is strongly recommended that you buy a ticket online in advance, to avoid long queues at the ticket office

For those supporters that require disabled access and those with carer assistance, you will be able to pay on the assisted gate which is based next to the club shop.

For the 2019/20 season, the football club will be accepting cash on the turnstiles for away supporters when the fixture is segregated. We will however be in regular communication with those clubs in the build up to the game to encourage away supporters to purchase in advance".

From Chester FC comes news that the "Football Club are delighted to be hosting another pre-season match at the Deva during July, against the newly formed CPD Bangor 1876 FC.

A Chester FC XI will face the supporter-owned Welsh side on Thursday 25th July, with kick off at 7pm.

CFU Vice-Chair Andy Morris said 'As a supporter-owned phoenix club now in our tenth season, we are proud to be supporting another club who is following the model and we are pleased to be offering all of our support to Bangor 1876 as they begin their first season in the Welsh system'. This friendly accompanies our trips to fellow fan-owned clubs FC United of Manchester and 1874 Northwich, the latter of which to contest the Supporters Direct Shield."


It may have been Altrincham FC joint kitman John Skelhorn’s 81st birthday on Thursday but he was, nevertheless, still hard at it decorating the Altrincham FC Boardroom. As chairman Grahame Rowley commented, "John just shows the importance of having volunteers at the Football Club. Thanks, John, and Happy Birthday ".


The National League has announced the following televised matches...
  • 3/8: Stockport County vs Maidenhead United (12:30pm)
  • 10/8: Notts County vs Barnet (5:20pm)
  • 17/8: Barrow vs Yeovil Town (5:20pm)
  • 24/8: Torquay United vs Aldershot Town (5:20pm)
  • 26/8: Solihull Moors vs Eastleigh (7:45pm)
  • 31/8: Chorley vs Boreham Wood (5:20pm)
  • 4/9: Dagenham & Redbridge vs Bromley (7:45pm)
  • 7/9: Hartlepool United vs Woking (7:30pm)
  • 14/9: Wrexham vs Sutton United (5:20pm)
  • 21/9: AFC Fylde vs Eastleigh (5:20pm)
  • 28/9: Dover Athletic vs FC Halifax Town (5:20pm)
  • 5/10: Harrogate Town vs Ebbsfleet United (5:20pm)
  • 9/10: Stockport County vs Hartlepool United (7:45pm)
  • 12/10: Wrexham vs Chesterfield (5:20pm)
All of the above fixtures will be broadcast live on BT Sport 1."
4 July 2019


Alty's opponents this Saturday, Whitchurch Alport report that "19 year-old full back Ben Chilcott has signed forms at Yockings Park for 2019/20. Chilcott arrived in January from Stafford Rangers...

And Alport also "welcome back midfielder Dan Skelton for 2019/20! Popular character within the Club and key midfielder for Luke Goddard's side. Also one of the most intelligent in the squad".


The National League has issued the 2019/20 league fixtures for the Vanarama National League North. The full list of Altrincham's games can be found on the League Fixtures page.

Altrincham start the season, on 3 August, with a home match against York City.

Above: A scene from November 2018, when York City last visited the J. Davidson Stadium, showing Tony Thompson as he keeps an opponent at arm's length. Alty won on that occasion, 3-0.

There are just three scheduled evening fixtures during 2019-20. These comprise two away trips, to Chester FC and Southport, and a home visit from Alfreton Town.

Following a Tuesday trip to Chester FC in the first week of the campaign, Alty's next three away trips are all lengthy; Gloucester City (Evesham), Brackley Town and Boston United.

The club's Christmas/New Year double header is with Curzon Ashton; Alty visit the Tameside Stadium on Boxing Day with The Nash reciprocating the visit on New Year's Day.

The Easter bank holiday sees Boston United visit Altrincham on Good Friday, with a visit to Darlington assigned for Easter Monday.

The season concludes on the road, at Farsley Celtic on 25 April.


From the EvoStik League we learn that "Mickleover Sports have signed experienced former Football League defender Greg Young.

Young, 36, played for Grimsby in the Championship before playing in non-league for Halifax, Altrincham, York, Gainsborough, Buxton and most recently Frickley.

He said, 'I am delighted to be joining such a well established club as Mickleover Sports... I am well aware of the quality of football that the team is encouraged to play. As soon as I was approached by the manager John McGrath I was immediately excited about joining and it was an easy decision to sign.

'I know the league well and what it takes to be successful'...

Manager John McGrath added 'My recruitment was to find a centre half who would seamlessly fit in to an already experienced defensive unit... To get this signing over the line is a massive statement of intent from us as a club...

'He is renowned for his aggression but he also possesses a very talented left foot and is comfortable in possession which really suits our style of play and he will give natural balance down that left side'".


Before the league fixtures were issued, yesterday, Fan Banter reported that "Spennymoor Town have made a request to the league organisation.

The club from County Durham have asked for their first four games to be away from home whilst they continue to work on their soon-to-be Football League standard pitch but also [on] developments taking place at the South end of the ground involving new terracing and turnstiles. Other plans are a new covered stand behind the goal and a ‘modular’ club house on the car park.

The changes are much needed, especially given the many match postponements they’ve had over the last few seasons.

Tony Wilson, Managing Director of Spennymoor Town, said 'I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in our new pitch, which we’re all very excited about. On the advice of our agronomist, we’ve requested our first four games, which will probably be over a three-week period, to be played away from home. This would give the pitch ample time to bed in.

'The other works wouldn’t affect games being played as we could close certain parts of the ground to allow completion whilst games are on. However, the pitch needs to be right... I realise this might seem inconvenient for supporters, but it is a necessary evil to get the stadium to a level that we need to move the club onwards. I’d expect that most people will understand the importance of getting the pitch up-to-scratch, given the recent postponements it has caused over the last two years...

'We’re into the final week of season ticket applications. We’ve done well so far, but we still need more people to buy-in. If anyone is on the fence about whether to take the plunge, I’d urge them to come and join us on our journey at what has become the best value-for-money football club to support in the North East. We’ve done our part by improving the squad; investing heavily in the ground; and improving the match day experience. It’s time for the football fans of Spennymoor, County Durham and the North East to do theirs and help propel this club onwards and upwards.'”

However, their request does not seem to have been heeded as Spennymoor Town reported on Wednesday that "Spennymoor face a trip to Hereford on the opening day of the 2019/20 season... Moors’ first home fixture is scheduled for the following Tuesday against Lee Clark’s Blyth Spartans.

An away trip to Curzon Ashton is sandwiched between two tantalising home fixtures agains York City and Chester to round August off".

Meanwhile Gateshead "announce the signing of former Halifax Town forward Jordan Preston on a one-year deal. The 23-year-old will be a familiar face for Heed fans having spent the 2017/18 season with the club, scoring five goals in 42 National League appearances.

Preston spent last season plying his trade with Halifax and netted three goals in the National League, two of which came in both league fixtures against the Heed. Prior to joining Gateshead, the forward appeared for Guiseley, Ayr United and Blackburn Rovers’ under-21 side.

'I’m looking forward to it, probably more so than the first time,' Preston told 'It’s a bigger challenge and I’m definitely looking forward to getting started... there’s still a few people here that I know and I know the pitch is nice and all about the area so I don’t think it’ll take much settling in'...

He is looking forward to being part of a young Gateshead squad this season, adding, 'I think one of the main things is staying in full-time football. With Mike Williamson now the manager it’s promising and exciting, there’s a good group of young players so I’m hoping that we can all progress together. I think everyone in the league knew that Gateshead were one of the better footballing teams in the league last season, they were exciting to watch'".

And the NL Paper asks us "What have Blackburn Rovers, Preston North End, Huddersfield Town, Reading, Fulham and Middlesbrough got in common?... All six are clubs based in urban areas with a population smaller than Gateshead. Yet the Tyneside town, birthplace of Paul Gascoigne and Chris Waddle, is more famous for the car park featured in Get Carter than the football team it has housed in various guises since 1930.

Elected out of the Football League in 1960, they have threatened to return only once in the subsequent 59 years... Local businessman Graham Wood... who took over in 2006, spent almost £4m hauling Gateshead out of the Northern Premier League, where they had festered for the best part of three decades. Even that put only an extra thousand people on the gate.

Now, after 12 months under the yoke of Hong Kong humbug Ranjan Varghese in which they flirted with financial collapse and were eventually demoted from the National League, the Heed are rebuilding from scratch at Step 2.

So can Trevor Clark and Neil Pinkerton, the figureheads of Gateshead’s new supporter-led board, finally capture the town’s imagination?... Gateshead... are rootless and sterile, a hobby rather than an institution. The current club has existed only since 1977 and on two occasions before that was actually based in South Shields.

For most of the sixties, they pottered around the Northern Regional League, a division comprised of Football League reserve sides that was barely ten-strong. Along the way, they have played at Stanhope Road, Horsley Hill, Redheugh Park and now the International Stadium, a purpose-built athletics facility that has never, despite half a century in residence, felt like anything but a makeshift solution. As a result, nobody has a shred of affection for the place, and you could almost say the same about the club.

To all but a diehard few, supporting Gateshead is like trying to convince yourself a blind date will blossom into romance when, deep down, you know there’s no chemistry... A proper football ground would help and, in truth, is the only long-term solution if the Heed want to lock down a lasting fanbase... Neither Clark nor Pinkerton has spoken of taking up the mantle and the council is unlikely to lend a hand. In the short-term, then, Heed are going nowhere...

If Gateshead can market themselves as a fan-centric club, play attractive football and, crucially, make matchdays fun, this season could represent an unprecedented opportunity to engage with the local community."

According to NL Daily "Alex Purver has joined Swedish club Östersunds FK from Guiseley.... As well as Guiseley, Purver has also played in Leeds United’s Under-18 and Under-23 teams. Purver’s contract is for 18 months...

Purver said 'Östersund are known in England for their game in the Europa League when they beat Arsenal away. I knew of course about Graham Potter, and now also our English coach Ian Burchnall'... ÖFK’s coach Burchnall... said 'He has impressed us during the training period and has a lovely attitude and mentality. In addition, he is a smart player we want to use in the midfield.'".

Closer to home, Cheshire Live reports that "Anthony Johnson did at least get what he had hoped for with the release of the National League North fixtures.. He had been wanting his and Bernard Morley's side to open up their campaign on the road, heading under the Swansway Chester Stadium lights on the Tuesday evening.

An away trip to a revamped Boston United side, complete with ex-Chester midfielder George Green, starts the campaign for Johnson and Morley's men on Saturday, August 3, with a visit from a side with promotion ambitions once more, Altrincham, on Tuesday, August 6. And while pleased with getting what he had hoped for the Blues co-boss admitted it wasn't the easiest of tasks to start the season .

'I'd said before now that I wanted an away game first and a home game second, but one of the longest trips of the season wasn't quite what I had in mind,' said Johnson. 'We've got a really tough start against two sides who will be looking to do well this season, then we face three of the new sides in the division, so an unknown quantity.

'But what is an easy game? There isn't one in this league and we have to play each team twice, home and away. Boston have had a big overhaul of players and brought a lot of new lads in, including George Green. Then you have Alty who have added two or three and will be looking to go one better than last season.

'I'm not sure anyone has a tougher start than us but we are confident and if we can get a good start and a good August then that sets the tone, and it means we would have had a good look at a varied bunch of sides. It's a bit of a mixed bag for us and a tough start but we'll be ready'.

Chester face three sides new to the division in Farsley Celtic, Kettering Town and Gloucester City in the opening five games before clashes with Kidderminster Harriers, Hereford and Spennymoor Town round off a tough August.

'We've got three sides who are new to the league, then you have three sides who have promotion ambitions this season,' said Johnson. 'It's a tough one but if we can get a good August under our belts then we should take a lot of confidence from that moving forward'".

The Boston Standard informs us that "Experienced defender Simon Ainge will link up with Boston United. The central defender, who can also play as a goalscoring attacker, has a wealth of knowledge in the non-league game and will be the latest addition to Craig Elliott’s squad...

'He’s somebody I’ve seen a lot of over the years,' Elliott said. 'I see him as a centre back, really. But he also spent a couple of seasons as a striker and was prolific, scored a lot of goals.'

The 31-year-old, who will arrive on a season-long loan from Darlington, scored 35 times in 53 appearances with Harrogate between 2016-18, where he shared a dressing room with current Pilgrims Luke Shiels, Peter Crook, Andi Thanoj and Ben Middleton at Wetherby Road... Elliott added 'He’s got a decade of experience at this level and I think he also offers us another dimension, something the other players don’t have. I see him as a defender but, if it’s late on and we’re chasing the game, then he’s always another option we can push up there.'

Ainge came through Bradford City’s youth ranks and has featured for the Bantams’ first team, as well as Halifax Town, Cambridge United, Bradford Park Avenue, Guiseley, Luton Town, Wrexham and Darlington."

The EvoStik League reports that "Grantham Town have signed defender Rob Atkinson from Spennymoor Town.

Atkinson, 32, played in the Football League for Barnsley, Rochdale, Grimsby and Accrington, and made 23 appearances in National League North last season".

From the Shropshire Star we learn that "The Bucks chief revealed he was keen to offer the opportunity to homegrown players to impress at the National North club. Telford were put through their paces at Lilleshall for their second session since returning.

Cowan offered Market Drayton Town duo Jud Ellis and Joe Cuff the chance to impress during pre-season training last summer and Ellis caught the eye enough to win himself a deal.

'All of the signed squad players were there on Saturday (Telford’s first training at Lilleshall), there was no one else involved,' said Cowan. 'Last night we invited a couple of trialists on board to give them a chance. There’s a couple of local lads, who I think have impressed locally. I think it’s always important to look locally at the talent and give them an opportunity.'"

3 July 2019


Only nine of Altrincham's first-team squad played in last Saturday's opening pre-season against the club's youth team. They were Connor Hampson, Ben Harrison, Toby Mullarkey [right], John Johnston, Conor Branson, Max Harrop, Nathan Arnold, James Jones and Tony Thompson. In addition, Matt Chadwick was present but injury prevented his participation. So, ten players have yet to make their summer bow; they are Shaun Densmore, Steven Drench, Josh Hancock, Tom Hannigan, Jordan Hulme, Jake Moult, Tom Peers, Simon Richman, Andy White and Sean Williams.

The next opportunity for some of these to get some competitive action will be on Saturday, 6 July, when Altrincham travel to Whitchurch Alport for a repeat of 2017 summer's first competitive friendly, which ended in a 1-1 draw. That was Phil Parkinson's first match as manager of Altrincham.

In the 2017 game Altrincham fielded two completely different starting elevens in each half. Their numbers included six unnamed trialists, nine of the summer's signings and seven of the previous season's squad. In 2019 we can expect fewer new faces, with just three new signings this time around, plus the return of Tom Peers. The three new faces are Toby Mullarkey, Conor Branson and Nathan Arnold. Last Saturday's in-house friendly against the youth team also featured half a dozen trialists, whose numbers may have been reduced by the coming weekend.

In the 2017 game at Whitchurch, both goals were scored in the first half. Altrincham took a 21st minute lead when James Poole's low shot from outside the box left Alport keeper Cooke motionless. Alport replied eleven minutes later when a smart dink over the Alty backline by former Robins' loanee Ben Mills set up Luke Walley for the equalizer.

When the sides met previously there were three steps of the Non-League pyramid between them; Alty were at Step Three and Alport at Step Six. That gap remains the same today but, since they last met, both clubs have been promoted. Alty are at Step Two now, whilst Alport have risen to the Hallmark Security (NW Counties) League Premier division, at Step Five.


It's more than seventy miles from Boston to Doncaster but Lincolnshire Live advises that "Boston United boss Craig Elliott has hailed the club’s new training base at Doncaster Rovers. Having trained in Mansfield in recent seasons, the first-team are now using the impressive facilities at the League One club’s Keepmoat Stadium.

With Elliott and a number of the Pilgrims players based in Yorkshire, the location is also ideal.

'It’s been a great move for us,' said Elliott. 'All the equipment we use is top of the range. There are good hills next to it and there’s a lakeside run as well. There’s a 4G pitch and on Saturday we had use of an athletics track. We don’t have to travel about to use things as it’s all in one place, which is very helpful. We previously trained at a school in Mansfield and it felt a bit remote and tricky to get to, but the Keepmoat has got good links to all major motorways.

'A lot of professional teams probably don’t have the facilities we have got, so we’re very lucky.'

However, the players won’t just be in Boston on match days, with Elliott keen to hold opening training sessions at the Jakemans Stadium which supporters can attend.

Elliott and his players will also continue to mingle with supporters in the Pilgrim Lounge after games, regardless of the result. He says it is important the players interact with fans in what is an historic season for the club, with it being the last at York Street... 'It’s important to show your face to the fans and show that you’re there through thick and thin. It’s a message I keep stressing to the players, this is a big season, it’s an historic season and they need to be aware of that, and I think they are'".

The National League says "Ask yourself, is it possible to suffer play-off heartbreak without even being involved in them? Some would say the very notion of it sounds crazy. Not for Alfreton Town manager Billy Heath though. His first season with the Reds went a little off-piste, ultimately culminating in a bottom-half finish, some 15 points adrift of the top seven.

But for a man who tasted success in two of the three seasons before last, it was a bitter pill to swallow.

'I’ve been fortunate for the last five years to be involved in the play-offs,' Heath told us... 'Even with the first season when I got promoted with North Ferriby we were in the play-offs. It was a bit strange last time with the season just finishing and that being that and it was disappointing and quite tough... A lot of managers don’t get that nowadays in this crazy game,' he added. 'It took us five years to get out of the league with North Ferriby and sometimes it can seem like it takes forever.

'It’s small stepping stones and it is what it is. There’s that many full-time clubs in this league now and the quality is stepping up every single season. But as long as we’ve got players here that want to roll their sleeves up and put a shift in then I’m happy to give it a go'...

Reds' fans saw the good, the bad and at times, the very ugly from their side last season. Impressive wins over would-be champions Stockport County and Chorley were almost wiped from the memory with catastrophic defeats against Spennymoor Town and Altrincham, conceding seven goals in each.

'I think we’ve got the right characters in this year with the right attitude,' Heath admitted. 'It’s what we were missing at times last season... It’s all about hard work and players that have that desire. We might lack quality at times but you’re going to always be on the right side with the effort and commitment. We made a conscious decision this year to get people in the building that that wanted to work hard every week and had a good attitude towards what we want to do.'"

According to Bulls' News "It is being reported that Premier League giants Arsenal are interested in former Hereford United player Jarrod Bowen. According to The Sun, the Gunners are preparing to table a £12 million bid for the 22-year-old Hull winger, who scored 22 goals in the Championship last season.

Tottenham have also apparently been interested in Bowen... According to the newspaper, Hull value him at £15 million, but may be tempted to let him go for £3 million less if Arsenal come calling."

Two Alty "old boys" are involved as Farsley Celtic report that "Preparations for the 2019/20 season get underway this evening as the Celt Army make the short trip to Eccleshill United...

This will be the first chance for supporters to see new signings Elliot Wynne, Tyler Walton and Jordan Richards in action, as Adam Lakeland’s side prepare for life in the Vanarama National League North.

Eccleshill also kick-off their pre-season campaign tonight, and will be getting set for another year in the NCEL Premier Division, under new Manager Lee Elam, following their 10th place finish in 2018/19".

From the Shropshire Star we learn that "AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan has declared the days of running up and down the Wrekin during pre-season are over. Boss Cowan sees no benefit in running his Bucks stars into the ground, or up large hills, this summer and will focus on making training relevant and football dominated.

Cowan’s side returned from their summer break to Lilleshall for a double session on Saturday. The boss explained how players look after themselves throughout summer under the watchful guidance of former Shrewsbury Town sports therapist Aaron Lambley.

'There’ll be less training through the summer. They’ve had a pre pre-season programme which, fortunately, we trust the lads and they’ve all stuck to it,' said Cowan, whose side’s first friendly is Saturday’s trip to Ellesmere Rangers.

'We will find out at training if they have! As long as they all come through the initial testing then the focus is very much on footballs and maximising the small amount of time we have with them. I like to think I’m a bit of a new-age manager with old school mentality, ethics and morals.

'Aaron Lambley is phenomenal for us, he’s working on their loads and will manage each player individually and as a group... It should be footballs and footballs only.'

The Bucks will train at Lilleshall throughout the summer and the boss said the facility’s support is vital... Cowan added 'As a football club we’re still not in that place where we can afford a phenomenal facility. But they’ve been overly accommodating because of the relationship we’ve got'".

2 July 2019


It has been a sad few days at Altrincham FC with the deaths reported of no fewer than three formerly familiar faces at Moss Lane.

They are Club President and former Chairman, Noel White, and former players Gerry Casey and George Smith. The above links will take you to more about each of these men who contributed so much to the Football Club.


Altrincham's opponents on Saturday, Whitchurch Alport announce that "Goalkeeper Dave Parton [right] is the latest player to re-sign for 2019/20! An instant favourite in his debut season at Yockings winning supporters player of the year". Parton (26) was at Altrincham, having joined from Newcastle Town on 6 June 2014. He started out at his home-town club, Stoke City. Whilst at Stoke, Dave had a loan spell with Worcester City in 2010-11 season and made 15(+1) appearances for Alty in 2014-15 in the national level of the National League, when he proved dependable cover for Stuart Coburn.

Alport also "announce 20 year old midfielder Dylan Bath is back for another season at Yockings Park! He signed back in March and has a promising future, hopefully here for a while yet".


The National League welcomes newcomers to its organization. First mention goes to "Kettering Town, (Champions, Southern League Central), another club rehabilitated and back with us, Marcus Law’s Southern League South champions will not just be content with enjoying a nostalgia trip.

Their spiritual home Rockingham Road may be no more but eight years on from relegation they can’t wait to get their claws into the National League North under new boss Nicky Eaden".

And the League goes on to welcome King’s Lynn Town, (Step Three North Super Play-Off Winner), saying "A lot can happen in less than ten years. In 2010, King’s Lynn were wound up and found themselves playing in the Eastern Counties League. That heartbreaking set-back proved to be a spark.

But thanks to their super play-off win over Warrington, the Walks will host National League North football again and manager Ian Culverhouse says they won’t be there to make up the numbers. Farsley Celtic (Champions, Northern League Premier), less than ten years ago they couldn’t complete their fixtures and fears that football may never be seen in Farsley again were growing. But the West Yorkshire diehards refused to give in. Reformed and powered by manager Adam Lakeland and a talented but hard-working team, they will take their place back nearly a decade on from their darkest day".

At another new, albeit returning, member of the National League North, Gloucester City the Gladiators, where everyone seems to have a nickname, proclaim that "The summer break seems to have come and gone very quickly! The lads started pre-season training last week with a number of new faces. We had 32 reporting back for training on Tuesday with the signed players receiving their new Raging Bull training kit.

The summer break has been very different for the management team this year. Cookie has been flying back and forth to France with the PFA reporting on the Women's World Cup, undertaking team strength and weakness reports for session plans. He’s observed all of the England group games and is back out for the semi-final. Hoskey on the other hand didn’t get the Love Island gig, but still managed to spend time in Majorca regardless with a ‘pina colada’ in hand!

We’ve added two new faces to our team thus far with Jenno and Marlon joining us, other than Jake Mawford’s departure the team has remained stable, that said with Noah now technically out of contract we await news on his future but, regardless of the outcome, Noah will always have the full support of the club.

Our new home and away kits have now arrived and we’re very grateful to those of you that have bought kit via the new Raging Bull Shop, the uptake on sales has been great. We’ll be playing in our new away kit when we travel to Fairford on Thursday. We are still waiting for the National League to issue out to all the NL teams their numbering packs, so there’s a very high chance we’ll be playing in un-numbered shirts.

Looking ahead to Thursday, from the 32 players that reported to training, Cookie has already started the very hard job of reducing the squad and sadly ending some players' ambitions of playing for us this coming season. But we’ll be taking a squad of around 22 to Fairford, as the management team want to see trialists in games as well as training. So yes, we’re still very much in the hunt for more signings.

The [return to the old] ground is still progressing behind the scenes; we’re heavily into the detail with the FSIF (Football Stadia Improvement Fund). As you can imagine, the due diligence required for such a, let's face it, complex and unique bid due to the nature, size and timescale of our exile has been a challenge.

Lastly, thank you to everyone that has so far bought a season ticket, last week we matched and then bettered (only by one thus far!) last season's total sale numbers for season tickets".

According to Cheshire Live "Former Everton goalkeeper Russ Griffiths is one of a number of goalkeepers looking to win a deal at Chester FC.

The 23-year-old was one of a number of trialists to join the Blues when they returned for pre-season training last week, with Chester managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley looking to fill the goalkeeping void left by Grant Shenton's summer departure to Buxton.

Griffiths, a former Christleton High School student, spent his formative footballing years at Everton but left in 2017 having been unable to make a breakthrough. He did during that time, however, represent the England under-20 side on a number of occasions. Last season he served as number two at National League side AFC Fylde and found options limited, and Johnson says he has been pleased with what he has seen so far, as he has been with Theo Roberts.

Said Johnson, 'Theo Roberts has come back to us looking superb and has bought right into it, although he is part-time. Theo can only commit to the Tuesday and Thursday evenings because he works. We've got two or three trialists in. Russ Griffiths, who is a Chester boy, has been training with us and looked really good so we will probably give a half each on Saturday (against Wigan Athletic) and then look at who we take down to Newquay.

'But of course everything comes down to cost, it is about using your money properly and not having lads sitting in the stand. But we're pleased and we have a very good calibre of keeper on trial.'

Griffiths had several loan spells away from Goodison Park including stints at Northwich Victoria, Colwyn Bay, FC Halfax Town, Motherwell and Cheltenham Town, where he made 24 appearances. After leaving the Toffees he signed permanently for Motherwell and made six appearances before making the switch to Fylde last summer. Two other goalkeepers are also on trial and fans could get the chance to see Griffiths and Roberts on Saturday as Chester welcome Championship side Wigan Athletic for the first friendly of the Blues' hectic pre-season schedule."

And Cheshire Live adds that "Anthony Johnson revealed that he and Bernard Morley had been frustrated in their attempts to add to their squad in recent days after being unable to meet wage demands.

The Chester FC bosses had been in advanced talks with two midfield players but were stymied in their efforts to bring them to the Swansway Chester Stadium and must now switch their attention to other targets. And while Johnson was disappointed to miss out on the players he stressed that he and Morley, whose side enter their second week of pre-season training this week, were in no rush to add the final pieces to their puzzle.

Johnson said 'We missed out on a midfielder that stayed at the league below in terms of money, there is no hiding that. They offered more money than we could. We missed out on a lad who went to the league above but who Chester are a much bigger club than. Money talks, unfortunately. We bring them down to the club and explain how we think we can make them better and they go away with big smiles on their faces and they get offered an extra £150 a week somewhere else and they go and sign that deal. It's the nature of the beast.

'We missed out on a couple for money, which always disappoints me, but when we talk about irons in the fire, lads like Dudley, Livesey and Mooney we took on loan in the third of fourth week of pre-season last year, so there is no rush for us. We are waiting on seeing other clubs trialists, clubs that want to get loans out, that type of thing. There is no rush signing players for the sake of it.'"

1 July 2019


The death has been announced today of Altrincham FC President, Noel White B.E.M., who was in his ninetieth year. It was under Noel and his business partner Peter Swales that Altrincham enjoyed unprecedented success in the 1960 and 1970s

Left: Noel White in his days as Altrincham FC chairman.

Owners of a (vinyl) record business in Grafton Street, Altrincham, the two businessmen built up the White & Swales brand into leading purveyors of electrical goods in the region. Noel also later owned the Bowdon Hotel, nowadays the Mercure Hotel.

When the duo took over Altrincham FC the club was in the doldrums in the Cheshire County League. Investment turned around the club's fortunes as they became nationally known for their FA Cup exploits and went on to be founder members of the Northern Premier League and the Alliance (Football Conference). Initially, Swales was the Altrincham chairman but, when he moved to perform the same role at Manchester City, Noel assumed the chairmanship, having previously been vice-chairman.

Subsequently, Noel himself moved to a top-flight football role, when he joined the Board of Liverpool FC in 1986. He went on to be chairman of Liverpool in 1990 and was heavily involved in the creation of the Premier League.

From 1976, he also served the Football Association and became chairman of the FA International Committee from 1994 to 2008. Having become President of Altrincham in 1986 he became a Life Vice-President of the FA in 2002.

His services to football were recognised nationally in 2013 when he was awarded the British Empire Medal.


Altrincham FC supporters will be saddened to hear of the death of former goalkeeper, George Smith.

Adjacent is an interview from the Robins' Review of 28 August 1967 which summarises George's career.

Amongst his claims to a place in Alty folklore, George was the Alty goalkeeper in their first major FA Cup match of the 1960s. Having beaten Scarborough 6-0 and Rochdale 3-1, Altrincham reached the Third Round of the FA Cup for the first time in 1965/66, in whuch they drew Wolverhampton Wanderers, who were lying joint second in the old Second Division [Championship nowadays]. Alty had a handled "goal" by Jackie Swindells ruled out but were beaten heavily, losing 5-0 at Molineux.

Altrincham's eleven were: George Smith, Jimmy Brown, George Forrester, Frank Peters, Neil Dewar, Derek Halliwell, Ronnie Taylor, Les Campbell, Pat Connolly, Jack Swindells and Clive Colbridge. The crowd of 30,475 saw Wolves score three times in the first-half. Wolves finally went out of the Cup in Round Five, losing 2-4 at home to Manchester United.

As the Wolves' programme notes mentioned, for that game "In goal, George Smith from Buxton is keeping former Burnley and International player Colin McDonald out of the team".

George made a welcome return to Moss Lane in 2018, with another Alty stalwart in Don Cooke. They are pictured, here, at the match against Barwell.


It was already known that Altrincham no.10, Josh Hancock, would miss the opening of the new season as he will be suspended following his dismissal in the play-off semi-final at Chorley in May. But now it emerges that captain Jake Moult may also miss the start of the campaign after undergoing a hernia operation last week. Manager Phil Parkinson has spoken about this to press officer, John Edwards, on the Altrincham FC website.


Altrincham FC manager Phil Parkinson spoke to club press officer John Edwards after Saturday's friendly against the Alty youth team. The interview is on the Altrincham FC website.

Right: Neil Sorvel, Chris Parkes and Phil Parkinson in the dugout during Saturday's friendly.


Today (Monday), Atherton Collieries, who Alty visit a week on Tuesday (16 July), start their pre-season with a visit from Salford City. Atherton are the champions of the EvoStik First Dvision West so start next season in the EvoStik Premier.

Also, in preparation for the new season, Atherton Collieries announce that "Cameron Foster comes in to become General Manager; responsible for our scouting, match analysis and helping from time to time with training. Fans may be unfamiliar with the work Cameron performed last season, watching and producing reports on our opponents, he was a key figure behind the scenes.

Talking about Cameron, manager Michael Clegg said 'Cameron came in last season with no official role, he did a bit of everything and to be honest he didn’t know what he wanted to do as he had just progressed at work, so commitment was an issue.

'Towards the end of the season he became a lot more familiar with the staff and players and was really keen to get involved. He loves drilling into the detail and as everyone knows behind the scenes now, we are more prepared than ever for games. Our staff now, really are an unbelievable bunch. In Baz (Aktins) we have a coach who has transformed us as a team, he doesn’t get enough credit for that. Then in Cameron we have someone who really wants to work with the analysis guys and the scouts to help build game plans with myself and Healdy. It’s really exciting times here at Colls'...

Cameron himself added 'Planning has gone extremely well so far, both on and off the pitch. Last year was great for me to learn about the club and the people, to now come in from the start of a season is very exciting to see what we can achieve. The lads are quality and the staff have built something special here'".


The Football ManCave reports that "We cover quite a few teams here at the Football Manc Cave, and today we’ve been predicting where these teams will finish in the National League North. It’s been a tough pick with a lot of our teams switching leagues at the end of last season, but this article will focus on Curzon Ashton and Altrincham in the National League.

Both teams no doubt will be focusing on gaining promotion. Altrincham came close last season with a playoff finish, while Curzon had a fantastic turnaround under Mark Bradshaw, however the league form seemed to die off in the latter part of the season.

Curzon Ashton: They managed an 18th place finish last season out of 22 teams which seems quite disappointing, however, we’ve collectively placed them 10th. My personal guess was around the 16th mark so if there’s one thing that has come out of these results, it’s that we all think Curzon will have a better season than last.

Altrincham: They had a great last season and managed to finish 5th. We’ve all put that into consideration and we seem to think they will have a similar campaign in the 19/20 football year. I personally thought that might finish one place higher than last but collectively we have predicted they will come out at 5th again."

One of Saturday's friendlies is the subject of a report from Alfreton Town as they lost 1-2 at home to a Nottingham Forest XI.

"Alfreton Town opened up the 2019/20 pre season campaign with a hard-fought and impressive performance, as Championship neighbours Nottingham Forest claimed the win in blistering heat at the Impact on Saturday.

With a stunning crowd of 1799 in attendance at a sun-bathed Impact Arena, they watched on as both sides produced an entertaining clash despite the extreme heat. With the likes of Lewis Grabban, Joe Lolley and João Carvalho all starting in the first half, Alfreton matched the visitors and stayed organised despite plenty of Forest possession...

Dec Bacon gave the Reds the lead on 16 minutes, capitalising on a Forest mistake at the back from Joe Worrall to finish into the corner past Costel Pantilimon.

Defending came thick and fast for the Reds... Forest did strike back on 40 minutes with Johnson finishing a well worked move inside our box as Grabban and Lolley combined to find Johnson who finished low into the corner past Nicholson...

The second half saw a fresh 11 for Forest with the likes of Tyler Walker, Sammi Ameobi, Ben Osborn and Ben Watson coming into the fray. Danny Clarke and shot-stopper Jack Atkinson came on for us, the second period had less openings...

Bobby Johnson, Morgan Brough and Kieron Hinchley were then introduced in the second half by Billy Heath... However, with 82 gone, the visitors would take the lead as Ansarifard converted a cross from Ameobi from a few yards out. That proved the last action with a brilliant and positive opening account for the Reds, as they fell to a narrow defeat against a squad full of Championship quality...

Next on the pre season schedule is the visit of League Two side Walsall next Saturday...

ATFCXI: Nicholson (Atkinson 45), Clackstone (Hinchley 74), Wilde(c) (Trialist 68), Lynch (Clarke 45), Qualter, Killock, Smith, Trialist, Trialist (Brough 68), Bacon (Trialist 45), East (Johnson 60). Subs Not Used: Trialist".