Report by John Edwards
Picture by Jonathan Moore
Altrincham XI 1 Jake Moult XI 11
It could be argued Altrincham were a little too accommodating to their former skipper by allowing no fewer than 11 goals to find their way into the home net, but that would be churlish in the extreme.
This was Jake Moult's day, an opportunity to highlight, honour and express appreciation for his immense contribution to the Alty cause, and what an afternoon it was as Robins officials, fans and players past and present turned out in numbers to give one of the greats in the club's recent history a send-off his service record deserved.
Testimonials tend to be played at a pedestrian pace, but not this one.
Not by Jake's collection of Alty old boys, anyway, most of them young enough to take exception to being described thus and still playing their football at a competitive level.
There was nothing old or doddery about the way Jake, Dean Furman, Greg Wilkinson and, in particular, Craig Mahon manoeuvred the ball around the centre of the pitch, rolling back the years and providing a riveting reminder of past deeds in Alty colours.
As might be imagined from the scoreline, there was no shortage of goalmouth action, starting as early as the third minute when Mahon turned past Isaac Marriott more easily than he could ever hope to have done in a league match and advanced towards the area before unleashing a shot that crashed against the left post.
Remarkably, given they went on to concede 11 times, it was the Alty XI who scored first, in the fifth minute when Matt Gould, normally between the sticks but revelling in the opportunity to exhibit his footballing skills on the right of midfield, prodded a close-range chance past Stuart Coburn before celebrating with a perfectly-executed forward roll.
The lead didn't last long, as Kyle Perry equalised with a quite brilliant chip that beat Ryan Forde from 20 yards just seconds later.
The burly former Alty striker was always known as a handful in a physical sense, not least for his contribution to Greg Wilkinson's unforgettable last-gasp winner in the play-off final win over Guiseley, but this was pure skill at its exquisite best, the way he looked up and measured a chip that squeezed the ball through the narrowest of gaps between Forde's outstretched gloves and the crossbar.
Showman that he is, the goal had to be celebrated with the same gymnastic flourish as the opener. Emulating Matt's pyrotechnics was too good an opportunity to miss for such a larger-than-life character, though Kyle's attempt wasn't quite so readily identifiable as a forward roll, more a crash landing with legs and arms splayed in different directions, to the delight of everyone.
Another flashback to bygone days followed four minutes later when John Johnston re-enacted a scene witnessed on a regular basis during the early part of Phil Parkinson's reign, cutting in front the left, jinking past his marker and drilling an angled shot into the net.
There was a similar sense of nostalgia about the third goal, Mahon teeing up Wilkinson for a reminder of the midfielder's ability to finish unerringly, a first-time rocket of a shot from a tight angle on the right flying into the roof of the net.
Jake had to get in on the act and did with an 18th-minute strike to make it 4-1, and after James Lawrie added a fifth, it was pantomime time again, with Perry once more centre stage.
A theatrical tumble under a challenge from Matt Gould, followed by a few exaggerated rolls clutching his knee, was enough to hoodwink the referee into pointing to the spot, and after Jake purloined a yellow card from the official's pocket and pointed it at Matt, the former Alty skipper converted the penalty in emphatic style.
All good knockabout stuff in a first half that had its share of light-hearted moments as well as some top-quality passing and movement, particularly from Jake's XI.
Testimonials are usually an opportunity for reflection, but, after goals number seven and eight went in either side of half-time, this one provided a glimpse into the future, with a double substitution that marked the introduction of young Archie Moult and even younger Jude Moult.
It was a lovely touch, sending them on for an embrace from dad Jake and high-fives with his team-mates, but it was more than that. It was also an eye-opening illustration that the football genes have been passed down in the Moult household.
Both youngsters looked completely at home in the surroundings and showed an eagerness to receive the ball and make good use of it that belied their junior school age.
Within a couple of minutes, Archie rolled a pass into the path of Jude, who weaved past a couple of challenges and shot past Forde for the Moult XI's eighth goal. Admittedly, the Alty defenders took it easy and Ryan could have made the save, if need be, but it was hugely impressive from young Moult junior.
Not to be outdone by his young brother, Archie then controlled a pass, turned smartly and played a one-two with Tom Peers before adding his name to the scoresheet with a finish past Ryan.
There could not have been a prouder dad than Jake, who gave both boys an appreciative hug and then, after a classic Peers finish made it 11-1, took to the microphone to express his gratitude to everyone who had gathered to say a final farewell at the ground he graced for so many years.
*Jake looked back over his time as an Alty player in an in-depth first-person piece in the special souvenir brochure that was produced for yesterday's testimonial. W will reproduce it in full here on the club's website tomorrow.