Stoke City XI 5-1 Altrincham match report

Altrincham’s penultimate game in this season’s pre-season schedule ended in a 5-1 defeat against a very strong Stoke City side.

This fixture was originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday evening at The J. Davidson Stadium but was moved to an afternoon kick-off at Stoke City’s Clayton Wood Training Ground, the same venue as last year’s pre-season fixture, which also ended with the same scoreline.

Altrincham’s starting line-up:-

Oliver Byrne, Aiden Roxburgh, Liam Brockbank, Toby Mullarkey, Lewis Baines, Elliot Osborne, Trialist, Ben Pringle, Chris Conn-Clarke, Ryan Colclough, Jordan Hulme

Stoke, with their new coach, John O’Shea, the former Manchester United & Republic of Ireland international, on the side-line, fielded a very strong & experienced side in the first half, ahead of their Championship opening fixture at Millwall on Saturday.

The first half was an even affair, with the Robins achieving a much higher percentage of the ball than would have been expected. Chris Conn-Clarke scored his first goal for the club with a tremendous dipping shot from outside the area to put Alty ahead in the 34th minute, just as Marcus Dinanga had done last August when the Robins were fully in charge of the opening exchanges.

Stoke levelled within a couple of minutes, as a long diagonal cross was headed into the path of Dwight Gayle, who side footed the equaliser from 6 yards. It was not the first time that Gayle, who signed a 2 year deal this week for the Staffordshire club, following six years at Newcastle United, has scored against us.

The 32 year-old was on the mark in a National League North encounter at The J.Davidson Stadium for Bishop’s Stortford in a 2-0 victory for the Hertfordshire side in March 2012. Gayle, who played in the 2016 FA Cup Final for Crystal Palace against Manchester United, also saw a late penalty saved by the legendary Stuart Coburn in that game.

Stoke rang the changes at half-time, whilst Alty brought on a couple of trialists to play in the full-back positions.

Things soon went wrong for Alty as Stoke’s less experienced line-up scored three times in five minutes through Emre Tezgel, Jack Griffiths and Will Smallbone, who signed last week from Southampton.

At 4-1, Phil Parkinson & Neil Sorvel introduced Marcus Dinanga, Jake Cooper, Matt Gould, Amaar Hussain, Ryan Morton, Harlan Rodgers-Morris & a number of trialists, before D’Margio Wright-Phillips converted a low left-wing cross at the far post to complete the scoring.

Manchester United U23s visit The J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday as the Robins complete their pre-season match schedule. A big crowd is expected & kick-off is at 3pm.