|Burnley defending a corner in the second half|
As promised, Eddie Howe gave a total of 22 players half a game each. We knew that Marvin Bartley had been ruled out but we were also without Brian Jensen and David Edgar which meant Steven Hewitt and Joe Jackson, who have played both development squad games this week, were drafted in.
Both of them played in the first half in a team that was captained by new signing Jason Shackell despite Chris McCann being on the pitch. It wasn't a surprise and manager Eddie Howe confirmed after the game that Shackell, who has previously been captain at both Norwich and Barnsley, is the new club captain.
As for McCann; I felt he was one of our stand out players in the first half and I was also very impressed with new left back Joseph Mills. He looked very assured coming forward but didn't have much to do in the way of defending.
We made a really good start to the game. We looked sharp going forward with the first real effort on goal coming via a long range shot from Junior Stanislas. But we didn't have a long wait for the first goal and it came from former skipper McCann.
An Altrincham defender got a block in but the ball run loose to McCann on the edge of the box and he drilled a shot into the corner, leaving the home goalkeeper with no hope of keeping it out.
Martin Paterson, sporting yet another new haircut and with a beard, was lively but it was Jackson who came closest to doubling the lead when he was really unfortunate to see his shot on the turn, and from a sharp angle, come back off the foot of the post.
|Two goals for Charlie Austin|
Paterson hit a shot wide and defender Kevin Long, up for a corner, was just beaten by a Peter Zelem like clearance from the home side.
It had, for the most part, been one way traffic but just before half time they hit the post with long range effort in what was the last real action of the half.
If we thought Pato's hair was strange there was worse to come with Charlie Austin appearing for the second half sporting a mohawk as Burnley made their eleven changes. Athough the second half showing didn't really live up to the first half, we took the game right out of Altrincham's reach in the first six minutes of the half.
Danny Ings and Austin both quickly found the net. Ings was first with the goal of the game, making a run into the box before unleashing his shot. Austin quickly followed suit, latching on to a ball from Danny Lafferty and hammering it home.
Unfortunately, it slowed down after that and there were some very drab periods during the second half. There was even a goal back for Alty. Goalkeeper Jon Stewart dropped a cross and allowed John McCarten the easiest of chances.
Things might have been worse too. Altrincham scored again only for the assistant's flag to go up for offside.
The game then seemed to peter out totally and another goal looked very unlikely, that was until Austin got his second with a very good header following a superb cross from Keith Treacy.
So, 4-1 in the end, but more importantly most of our players have got out there and played some football and I'm sure most of them will get another run out at Bury on Tuesday.
The teams were;
Altrincham: Adam Reid, Scott Leather, Gianluca Havern, Danny Hall, Shaun Densmore, Nicky Clee, Duncan Watmore, Simon Richman, Scott Phelan, James Lawrie, Danny Mitchley. Subs: Matt Doughty, John McCarten, Ashley Young, Ryan Brooke, Adam Mather, Sam Grimshaw, Steve Downs.
Burnley (first half): Lee Grant, Luke O'Neill, Kevin Long, Jason Shackell, Joseph Mills, Junior Stanislas, Steven Hewitt, Chris McCann, Ross Wallace, Martin Paterson, Joe Jackson.
Burnley (second half): Jon Stewart, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Ben Mee, Danny Lafferty, George Porter, Alex MacDonald, Dean Marney, Keith Treacy, Danny Ings, Charlie Austin.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Manchester).