Hot and sunny afternoon doesn’t resemble footballing weather; But Alton Town started their Pre-Season friendly against local football League outfit Aldershot from league division 2.
Aldershot fielded a team of trialists who where made up of mostly football league players from club such as Swindon, Plymouth, Wycombe & Tiverton amongst some who’s contracts have ended and looking for a new club for the coming seasons, so a team of great quality and ability.
Today’s game was a great chance for myself, Clive & Kevin to see what our players are capable of in match condition as from up until now Both Kevin and myself had not really seen these guys play other than in training sessions.
As a new manager in a club it is difficult sometimes to know what kind of response you may get from your players through training sessions and match instruction, received, I got great attitude and when giving instructions on how I wanted them to play they were exemplarily and could not fault them. The result of the game was not that important but every player had to show the management staff what they could do and how they could jell as a unit. In both half’s of the game I can safely say that all the players gave 100% and a little more, they also demonstrated their passion to get a place in the first team squad for the coming season.
Both Myself, Clive & Kevin wanted to get them to play a passing game along the ground and open up the gaps to play through and that’s what we started to play. Right from the start we had a battle on our hands but no means did we look out of place. We looked strong at the back with some new faces in the ranks, Burton, Hibbert, Read & Midge all stood up to a hard fought test in the first half and with great courage at times made some important tackles to prevent Aldershot from opening the scoring. In fact it was Alton Town that had the best chance in the first 30 mins of the game when a clearance from Aldershot fell to Matt Rayner 30 yards from goal who sweetly struck the ball which looked like it was heading for the top right corner of the Aldershot goal only to see the goalkeeper tip the ball over for a corner. Aldershot continued to put pressure on us and 10 minutes before half time opened up the scoring after Dan Hill had made a good save from the initial shot only to see his save not cleared probably and fell to the Aldershot striker who calmly passed the ball into an open net. A couple of minutes later an error in the Alton Back line opened up a chance again for the Aldershot Striker to curl a right footed shoot past Dan Hill in to the goal.
At the break both Aldershot and Alton made several changes again Aldershot were strong in all areas of the field and pushed Alton to the max. Luke Theakston who took over from Dan in the Alton goal pulled off some great saves to keep us in the game, at no point did my players give up and battled throughout playing some nice football. It was with 5 minutes to go after a hard battle when Alton Town for all their determination bought a massive cheer around Anstey Park when the ball in the Aldershot box wasn’t cleared probably and fell just outside the box to John Gray who smashed the ball into the top right hand corner of the Aldershot goal to bring the game back to 2-1 but unfortunately time had run out for the players as the final whilst went. The game was played in Great Spirit and I would like to congratulate my players for a well fought game against some high class players, they have also now set the standard to move forward and areas that we can work on so that it will make us a better and stronger team for the coming season in the Wessex league, I think that if anything like today game is looked upon then we will give those teams that are always at the top of the Wessex league a run for there money this year and Alton Town will vastly improve on their position in the league from recent years.
Alton Town 1st Team Manager
» Click here for video of Jonny Gray's goal for Alton
» See all the photos in the Gallery