Congleton Town Reserves 1
Altrincham Reserves 1
Altrincham’s young reserve side started their Cheshire League campaign against another young reserve side at Congleton Town.
Altrincham started the game in a commanding fashion, putting Congleton’s back line under early pressure, and it paid off quickly when captain Josh Jordan won the ball high up the pitch to cross in for veteran striker Max Pouncey to open the scoring after only three minutes.
Continuing on the front foot, the Robins should have added to their lead, with Sharif Islam working the hosts' goalkeeper twice in quick succession.
Altrincham had to be patient in possession, as Congleton were very well organised and worked their visitors hard on the ball.
But they were creating opportunities, not least when Academy player Liam Evans played a fantastic ball into Dion Bohe, who was thwarted by Congleton’s goalkeeper.
Scott Johnson then threaded the ball into Islam's run, but his shot hammered off the crossbar. Lewis Billingsley was next to try his luck on goal, and he went agonisingly close to doubling Altrincham's lead.
In the second half, Altrincham found it difficult to repeat the attacking rhythm of the first 45 minutes, and Congleton started to get a foothold in the game.
It duly led to an equaliser for the home side soon after, with a neat finish inside the box.
This kicked Altrincham back into life as they kept better possession in Congleton’s half, and chances soon started to materialise, with Bohe and Billingsley both hitting the post.
Zaid Smith came on as a substitute, and he was very positive in the final third, creating chances and almost converting one himself.
Another Academy player, Yusuf Adeniyi, came off the bench and almost won the game for the Robins, but his effort was well saved by the goalkeeper.
Congleton also had their moments and almost snatched all three points with a thunderous effort that crashed off the post from 30 yards.
“It was an encouraging start to the season after a solid pre season," said Reserves manager Ross Speight. "Congleton Town were excellent off the ball and you can tell they are well coached, so we had to work very hard to create chances at times.
"I do feel it’s two points dropped, as we had number plus chances especially in the first half. It’s good to see players being creative in the final third, but we must be more ruthless in future, as we played well but only came out with a point.
"The next few games will provide different tests, and it will be interesting to see how some of our younger players cope as they step up from the Academy and youth teams.”
The young Robins host Winnington Avenue at Egerton on Wednesday, kick-off 6:30pm.
** Picture by Paul Webster