New Mills wanted this one, and it showed, as a team strengthened by a number of first teamers gave a decent County Development side a real test, in an interesting encounter at Edgeley Park last night.
It ended 2-2, and County held the lead twice via two superb goals from Jordan Rogers, but strikes by New Mills from set pieces twice pulled them back to level terms, and in the end a draw was just about right!
Scott Duxbury was in for a rare start for County ,and so was Saturday`s debut game scorer Jordan Lazenbury,along with captain for the night Bobby Lofthouse, but Jordan lasted only 20 odd minutes before coming off as a precaution having picked up a back problem early on. If Rogers was M.O.M, others did well too....Charlie Russell worked like a beaver and simply oozed skill and ideas, and I thought that Elliott Dickson showed up well too, under quite a bit of pressure , especially in the second half, from the visitors.
As early as the second minute Billy Worthington, who had his best game between the sticks for County that I have seen, had to beat out a fierce shot. Ross Needham was offside, but Billy did not know this, and I liked what I had seen.
Tony Williamson looked lively early on, and Wes Benjamin did well to usher him from the danger zone next, repeating the action on the same player just a short while later. The New Mills intent looked clear........they would attack! Duxbury looked unconcerned however, thwarting a run by Andy Ramwell with some cool play.
Meanwhile Charlie Russell was trying his best to turn defence into attack, and he started to make some impression getting into the visitors last third nicely before finding Lofthouse with a neat pass. Bobby`s shot was on target, but took a deflection. A corner followed....then another, but not a goal, as the New Mills defence marshalled by no nonsense captain Jamie Kay defended diligently.
This brought the pressure back on County, and after Benjamin had dealt with a cross from Williamson, it was on again as Duxbury was forced, under pressure from Deren Bozhurt ( the New Mills M.O.M by a country mile for me), to concede a corner. Billy Worthington punched this one out from a goal mouth melee, and in a trice Russell had it and County were off on the counter! Russell was quick to pick Jordan Lazenbury out and his pacy run saw him one on one with keeper Jack Barlow. There was a fearful crunch as the pair came together – the keeper had done his job , but the ball ran clear to Russell who did his by pinging in a shot that had goal written all over it. It wasn`t one however as somehow Aaron Bird( stationed on the line) kept it out. Jordan Lazenbury meanwhile had issues following the clash with the keeper, but these did not stop him getting a shot off shortly after- it was saved by Barlow, but it was a statement of intent never the less.
|Charlie Russell in possession.|
This intent declared a dividend on 14 minutes, as a tasty move down the right saw Barlow in action stopping Dean Hitchens on the edge of the box. The County move still had legs though and with the ball at Jordan Rogers` feet it was time to cheer as he then lashed it past Barlow into the net, to give his team the lead.
Russell had a shot bravely saved by Barlow next, and went close with another not long after, but Billy Worthington had work to do as well, and he made a good stop to deny the increasingly impressive Bozhurt.
It was a decent game, but it was disappointing to see a terrific shot from Bobby Lofthouse crash into the post with the keeper beaten.
At this point Lazenbury went off, replaced by Duncan Caprioti, as a header by Jordyn Fitton took wings and flew just over the top.
Caprioti was quickly in the swing of things and a couple of good tackles earned him applause from the small crowd. Benjamin got in what I deemed to be a good tackle too, but the referee did not see it quite the same and as a result New Mills had a free kick in a central position just outside the box. Captain Kay duly stepped up to welly a fierce drive past Billy`s dive into the net- the scores were level!
Not for long though.....perhaps 4.....or 5 minutes maybe, and a County raid seemed to have petered out, but no one had told Jordan Rogers who nipped in to interrupt a spate of inter passing twixt New Mills defenders to snaffle the ball and slot it home. Jimmy Greaves would have been proud of that one.....a typical sniffers goal.....a belter!
Another 5 minutes however, saw the lead disappear and another set piece was central to the action. A corner this time....two actually.....County saw off the first but not the second which saw substitute Dave Whelan rise to head home in front of goal.
The rest of the half was somewhat one way traffic with County defending deep under much pressure ......Bozhurt a real threat fed by Williamson, whilst Whelan and Kay both made attempts to add to their personal goal tally. The best of these efforts was a shot from Bozhurt, but Worthington kept it out with a decent save!
2-2 at half time looked about to get worse for County on the re-start as New Mills piled forward , and Benjamin did well to hook the ball clear with Whelan in his face. It went on with a shot from Needham screaming across goal after Kerrigan and Bozhurt had toiled manfully to set the move in motion.
On...on it continued with Dean Hitchen doing well to stop the dangerous Bozhurt, on one of his trademark runs. County were under the cosh now, and Bozhurt was the main threat still, but not the only one, and Whelan looked aghast to see a shot from him ushered for a corner by the watchful Benjamin.
Ramwell was getting into the game now down the right for New Mills and County were severely stretched at times to keep them out, they did the biz however Benjamin.....Dickson, and Hitchin working their socks off to deny their opponents, whilst Billy Worthington chipped in with a neat save to keep Luke Kerrigan`s shot out.
Free kicks....corners...all added to the pressure on County, and it was alarming to see Needham allowed to skip clear whilst palpably offside. His shot went wide, but.................
Rogers during all this, was notionally County`s sole attacking outlet and he did well carrying the ball clear a time or two, but that third goal would not come for him.
Past the hour and Duxbury was replaced by Kieron Crosthwaite who quickly tasted mud courtesy of the none too particular Kay ( later booked). The pressure remained on County however and Worthington did well to stop substitute Rick Glen, bravely dashing from goal to grab the ball from the forward.
Into the last 15 minutes and County did work a move or two – Joe Noblett seeing a shot climb a foot over, after Lofthouse and Rogers had exchanged passes nicely in the build up. A better chance followed on a minute or so later and again Lofthouse was involved with a slide rule pass that saw Caprioti nip clear. As I say.....he was clear.....it was a chance......but Barlow did his job brilliantly- somehow keeping Caprioti`s shot out with his legs! A goal for County then...and would it have been `game over’?.......possibly....but in the real world New Mills were still in there with a shout and needed watching- Glen missing out with one shot , and Bozhurt denied by Worthington from another!
|Captain Bobby Lofthouse.|
Bozhurt was a top performer there was no doubt at all about it in my mind, and Billy Worthington earned massive praise for another brave save with the lanky forward charging through at speed. The two came together in eye watering fashion, but the New Mills number 9 fared the worst, and had to be substituted, which was disappointing for him, but something of a relief from my view point!
County tried hard in the closing stages.....Rogers working hard without luck for that hat trick goal, and Lofthouse unlucky also with a late free kick courtesy of some more rough stuff from Kay.
Game over...spoils shared......justice done probably!
I do hope that the Club will be ensuring that A.L. can continue next season with this Development Squad, which is so obviously paying off in terms of providing match fit and ready players for the first team. A fan did the biz dosh wise last term.....an early word that the Club will be funding the Squad next term would be most welcome news. Meanwhile why on earth are you not watching this team.....goals....good football....exciting games....wots not to like?
County line up:
Billy Worthington, Dean Hitchens, Scott Duxbury ( Kieron Crosthwaite 64),Charlie Russell, Wes Benjamin, Elliott Dickson, Jordan Lazenbury ( Duncan Caprioti 23),Joe Noblett, Jordan Rogers, Bobby Lofthouse, Jordyn Fitton.
New Mills line up;
Jack Barlow, Aaron Bird, Luke Kerrigan, Jamie Kay, Jordan Cooper, Harry Rippon, Andy Ramwell, Mike Crosby( Dave Whelan 24), Deren Bozhurt( Jacob Kelly 84), Tony Williamson(Rick Glen 68), Ross Needham.
Subs not used:
Rhys Crossland, Daniel Jackson.