Thursday, 16 April 2015

County Development Squad 5 Padiham FC 2 ( Lancashire League West) 15 April 2015

County’s Development Squad gave Director of Football, Alan Lord, just the response he needed at Edgeley Park last night, as they romped home to an emphatic 5-2 victory against Padiham FC.
Padiham, with Sam Langford in the van, looked a lively outfit, but were no match for a County side marshalled solidly at the back by captain Connor Hancock and Wes Benjamin, and laced throughout with speedy, high octane performers!
The nap hand of goals, shared between Joe Noblett, George Blackwell, Mike Hampson and Ryan Hanson, were all snorters, and just reward for the efforts of 4 really excellent performers. Jahsiah Donaldson did not score, but was unlucky in this respect, and his speed and strength mark him out as one to watch for the future none the less. I was impressed with the cohesion of the team .Lordy had got them playing some magic stuff at times, and ,as usual, I had my eye on the full backs and I was particularly impressed by the work of Elliott Watson and Jordyn Fitton, who defended well, and time after time gave County’s forward push that extra bit!

Ready for the off........
A small crowd was on site to see the start of this one, and within a couple of minutes the lightning speed of Mike Hampson  almost saw him open his account…..harrying the keeper first off, before unluckily missing out at the far post  from a Ryan Hanson cross.

Mike Hampson - simply flying  !

There was some early work for County`s defence to do, and it looked like Padiham would give a good account of themselves, however Elliott Watson responded  admirably as Langford and  Trickett engineered a break for the visitors, snuffing the raid out with  the minimum of fuss.  Padiham kept the pressure up though and a cross from the right by Corry Cook caused a flutter or two for County, and Jake Leigh ( a fresh face to me) between the sticks for County pulled off a vital save to deny Langford from close in!

Hancock & Hanson stand guard.

That save was probably a crucial moment in the game as it signalled the end of Padiham’s  early burst, and County hit them hard with Jahsiah Donaldson and Mike Hampson testing the visitors to the full with their pace and energy. Donaldson took a hefty knock midst all this and it was troubling to see the referee not respond and admonish the offender. He did so moments later though when Jordyn Fitton`s pacy run down the left was cut short by another peremptory intervention from a harassed defender. 

Jordyn Fitton on the ball.
This heralded a free kick for County, albeit one not a yard or two away from where I sat near the half way line. Cue the arrival of Joe Noblett who promptly lifted a gem of a kick past the keeper into the far corner of the net, with Hancock on hand sniffing for triffles! It was 1-0, and the small crowd made the noise of a thousand in response!

Keeper, under pressure from Hancock, cannot stop Joe Noblett`s kick !
County turned it on after this……Hanson and Hampson unlucky with incisive runs. Charlie Russell was in there too, his shot deflected for a corner that saw two or three shots come out off defenders.
Fitton was doing well, driving forward down the left, whilst Hanson did likewise on the other flank, sending Donaldson clear around 25 minutes. Noblett meanwhile….prompted by Wes Benjamin, put the skids under the visitors with a neat cross from the right.  Somehow Padiham held out in the face of all this, even surviving a Louis Suarez type run from Mike Hampson that saw their defences well and truly filleted at one point!

Joe Noblett wins it.
The speed and constant switching of positions by County’s forwards severely tested Padiham, but again they held out as shots from George Blackwell, Donaldson and Hampson rained in. It was excellent stuff from the young County side, and went on with a terrific run and cross from Hanson   that set Blackwell up for an effort that was only just kept out by Padiham.

Pressure from County.
Corners came and went for County without further success, but the feeling persisted that it was only a matter of time before the blues progressive play would be rewarded. And so it was, and it was Donaldson who started it with brilliant work to snaffle possession from Padiham.  From the corner that followed the ball ran wide to Blackwell who lashed a screamer past the keeper into the net!
That was a superb strike!
There was just time for a spirited response from Padiham, which saw Mike Hampson in workaholic mode tracking back to rob Trickett near the by-line, whereupon County added to their lead!
It was another beauty as well…..this time engineered by Joe Noblett who won the ball in great style before sending Hanson clear. There was nothing on at all from the distance, but no one had told Hanson and he smashed another pearler into the net to make it 3-0.
Donaldson was unlucky with an `unfortunate’ offside flag after this, but 3-0 was a decent score to go in at the break with.
The second half opened with Alex Golbourn kicking lumps out of Jahsiah Donaldson. Again there was no protection from the officials which was disappointing.
Substitute Liam Cole, for a time seemed to offer Padiham an additional outlet, but  with Benjamin having a shot saved by the keeper , and Noblett missing one from under the bar from Hampson`s pass, it was still a surprise when the visitors pulled one back- Langford doing the deed with a neat finish on the break.
It took County 5 minutes to respond to Lordy`s impassioned plea for them to ` put back the quality’, and there was an abundance of it, starting with Watson`s cross, which was superbly put away by Hampson whose sublime finish gave the keeper no chance whatsoever!

Donaldson gets stuck in......
County were rampant now …..Donaldson won possession with amazing confidence, sending Noblett clear. With Hancock holding the fort, Benjamin joined in winning a corner, but the move ended with Charlie Russell’s shot carrying the bar.
AL made a triple change of personnel bringing Jordan Young, Jordan Rogers and George McGinery on for Russell, Watson and Donaldson.
Hanson continued to trouble Padiham with his pace and power, and Jordan Young joined him, the pair winning a corner that keeper Jake Chadwick could only parry. Hanson was again on it in an instant and it was not entirely clear whether the resultant shot had hit a defender’s hand or not. The referee thought not, so it stayed 4-1.
Padiham made spirited efforts after this to get back into it, but County’s defensive work, with Hancock and Benjamin as cool as you like, remained in immaculate nick. 

Hancock, Benjamin, Mc Ginery- solid!
Benjamin and Blackwell did good work under pressure at this point, whilst at the other end  the speed of Hanson and Hampson continued to irk Padiham, and it was no surprise when County added a fifth goal, when Hanson fired in another fizzing rocket from way out on Moscow Road East. I threw away my 2015 copy of `The Bumper Book of Footballing Clich├ęs and Superlatives’ at this juncture, as words were now failing me….superb…..excellent hardly covered it!

Jordan Rogers watches Ryan Hanson direct traffic!
Jordan Rogers  had a run blocked……a Noblett/ Young/ Hampson cooperation was unkindly dealt with by the near side liner, and Blackwell went close after more good work by Hanson, as County strove to build on already rock solid foundations.

Hampson looking for scraps....
Padiham meanwhile kept trying, and Jordan Young did well to deny Langford  as he hit us on the break, and it was probably fitting that they sneaked one at the death, through Trickett who forced the ball home from close in.

Late County pressure !
Young went close side stepping a couple of defenders in the box after this, but before the corner that this effort had won could be taken, the referee blew for time and County had won 5-2.           
Much applause at the end, and deservedly so- there is much to admire in this County side, which deserves better support.
The next game is again at Edgeley Park on 22 April ( k.o 8 p.m.) why not come and support them!

County line up:

Jake Leigh, Elliot Watson( George McGinery 60), Jordyn Fitton, Charlie Russell( Jordan Young 60), Wes Benjamin, Connor Hancock, Joe Noblett, George Blackwell, Ryan Hanson, Mike Hampson, Jahsiah Donaldson( Jordan Rogers 60).

Oh…..and a word for `Unused Sub’ Dan Havern , who stepped in to run the line in the second half- nice one Dan!

Padiham line up:

Jake Chadwick, Stuart Craig( Liam Cole 50), Alex Goulbourn, Mat Turner, Dan Turner, William Irvine, Corry Cook, Josh Emmutt, Martin Trickett, Sam Langford, Chris Dwyer( William Higginson 33).

Subs not used:

Abidur Kabir, Nathan Egan. 

Ian Brown

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Hyde FC 1 County1 ( Conference North) 14 April 2015

Following the volume of water that had bucketed down upon us just a few short weeks ago in `The Game that never Was’, it was irritating to find, about 10 minutes before the off at Ewen Fields, that Hyde FC had chosen to deploy a battery of powerful sprinklers on the pitch, you simply could not even dream of making this stuff up could you!  

Not only Mr Hunt likes a puddle it seems!

Lots of metaphorical water has flowed under the bridge since referee Jonathan Hunt had his 15 minutes of shame, and called the match off, whilst simultaneously auditioning for the Widow Twanky roll in the Hyde Theatre Royal Xmas Panto. At the time we thought we had secured 3 valuable points( 87 minutes into the game) , and County still had a chance of securing a play-off place, but this went west with the three points when the Conference North suits compounded the Hunt nonsense and ordered this ludicrously unfair replay.
Since then, and sadly, Alan Lord has vacated the Manager’s seat and moved over to be Director of Football. The good news then is that Alan’s excellence will still be deployed in County’s  cause….the bad news is, another , possibly expensive, leap into the unknown is upon us. This could be unceremoniously cut short, and at least some of the wrongs from the past addressed, by the appointment of James Gannon to the post, but I will not hold my breath waiting for confirmation of that one!
All the above, and more, swirled around in my addled brain as kick off time neared. George the First used to preface his big events with stuff like Handel`s Water Music , but here , as the teams emerged to dodge the violent volleys from the sprinklers, I think I could only detect the strains of a tired old Lulu ditty, that Hyde just refuse to let die.

Teams out and avoiding a dousing!

No matter…..I was awaiting the start when ….horror of horrors….it became apparent that tonight`s referee was none other than Paul Marsden , another vaudevillian talent who had reduced County ( who were then top of the Non League Paper Fair Play League) to 9 men, at Gainsborough earlier this season. Wow …let’s here it for the suits at Conference North….they really like us do they not!
The game started with images of Mr Marsden sat in the bar at Gainsborough, after the game, laughing and joking with the victorious home team( fact), still in my mind. It was hard to concentrate, but Chris Sharp helped a bit with an early shot that crashed into one of a line of defenders at the far end. A corner followed, and both O`Halloran and Sharp went for it, but keeper Ed Wilczynski was not tested by the shot that followed.

Early pressure on Hyde.

Hyde replied via Connor Hughes, who once again was to prove to be their best hope of salvation. The liner to my left helped the Hughes cause no end by keeping his flag down as the winger romped clear whilst a yard or more offside. Duxbury, who was to have a better game than he has had of late, sorted the situation with some neat work. Hurst was in action next, as a shot from Pete Boyle thudded into his chest.
It was to be a busy night for Hurst, whose performance included at least one world class save. At this juncture though…he was tasked only with dealing with a series of Hyde corners, and the County defence held up well- Duxbury ensuring that Masterson`s header went un-rewarded.

O`Halloran & Moses to the fore.

The Hyde pressure continued…..O`Halloran coolly blocking Hughes……Lees ensuring that a pass from Jake Hibbs did not reach Masterson. 

Supremely confident catch by Hurst.

Another confident catch by Hurst came next, but he stood and watched 10 minutes in as a speculative effort from Hibbs found its way into the bottom left hand corner of the County net. The home specs went AS……in celebration at first, and then in angry exasperation as the strike was ruled out for an infringement that I confess I did not see.
On it went…the first 15 minutes pretty much all Hyde, as Hughes probed for openings and Lees and company strove to frustrate him- this frustration no doubt the inspiration for a hopeful dive in the box, when under pressure from Jacobs, but even Mr Marsden saw through this and waved play on.

County under pressure.

The first real response from County came 20 minutes in, and it maybe should have resulted in more than it did. Bobby Lofthouse, who had a decent game, started it with a lovely ball that sent Dennis clear. Wilczynski looked exposed, and a goal looked a distinct possibility, but Dennis, after rounding the keeper, went left instead of right, and by the time he had decided a shot wasn’t on, the pass that was came to nothing.
The game then resumed its earlier pattern, as Hyde took the game to County- Hurst and O`Halloran doing well to deny Hibbs and Boyle in rapid succession. Lees did even better as Hughes bore down on goal, blocking the forward’s goal bound shot at the last gasp.
Credit to County though…..they did reply through Lofthouse, and the keeper took two attempts to hold his shot as County did their best to dent the Hyde confidence.
The Hyde confidence continued to look high however….only a decent final ball was lacking. Jacobs had just denied Hughes room to work in the last third, when Hibbs put the pressure back on with a ball into the box.  County seemed to have it covered but we had not reckoned with the considerable thesbian talents of Masterson, who promptly fell down, triggering the awful Mr Marsden to point with indecent haste to the spot. This looked as iffy a decision as you could have wished not to see! The home specs were exultant…….they were about to take the lead….except they didn’t…..up stepped Hughes who sent his kick thudding into Hurst`s left hand post.....

Hurst sees penalty thud into post !

................. it was the decent away contingent who did the celebrating, as the ball was cleared up field!

Slightly iffy pic, but you get the idea.....

The support from the County faithful was loud now, and the keeper did well to keep a shot from Dennis out. Then…with 5 minutes left of the half Hyde mounted another assault on County’s defences. It was a decent attack as well, and Hibbs’ inch perfect cross picked out Boyle with pin point accuracy in front of goal. He was less than half a yard out and his header was delivered with force and precision, but Hurst chose the moment to produce a save of stupendous brilliance- his strong hands keeping the header out whilst simultaneously spoiling Boyle`s night completely.

O`Halloran in control.

That was quite simply superb , but County had to continue to work hard to maintain the status quo in the time that remained of the half…..Lees heading Hughes cross out…….Hurst dealing , albeit less spectacularly, with a Pearson effort, and Jacobs doing well to stop Masterson who had been sent clear by a neat ball from Brizell. The best bit of work though came from Lofthouse, who was having as good a game as I can recall him having at this level, and he did superbly well to block Giverin who had been teed up for a shot at goal by the ever dangerous Hughes.
Masterson v Duxbury .

Soon ,the first half was over, and in truth County could have gone in at the break 2 or 3 down, but…as it was they were on equal terms with their opponents and there was still all to play for.
County opened the second half brightly with Dennis snaffling possession cheekily allowing Sharp a shot on goal that was deflected wide. More followed from Sharp in the shape of a cross that just missed out, and Dennis was not far short of reaching Glover`s pass in the box. Indeed things looked to be going the blues way. I would have liked to have seen Mr Marsden show the same steely determination to stamp out wrongdoing, as he had shown at Gainsborough, but I looked in vain as Giverin went straight through Lofthouse from behind only to get the verbals from the referee. To add insult etc….Glover`s free kick found Churchman unable to make anything of it, and the next action was not great for County……
Hughes had the ball way….way out wide. There seemed no danger at all , and then we were one down as a speculative effort from the number eleven sneaked inside Hurst’s right hand post ,to the utter delight of the home specs.
This delight however lasted around sixty seconds….long enough for Sharp to steal clear down the right and fire in a fizzing bomb of a cross that no one in red could handle. It almost went in….but instead it carried to Lofthouse just beyond the far post, and from the acutest of angles he smashed his shot home off the far post!

Cue celebrations….cue smoke bombs ( see previous match report for my view on these)…..and brilliant play from Jacobs and Sharp  pushed Hyde back again, and with Dennis going close as well, and Hyde beginning to look not overly confident, things looked suddenly better for County! There was a new zing in their play and Burke did well to deny Glover, as did Brizell who lumped the ball over the stand as O`Halloran threatened on one of his surging runs.
Yes…..County’s second half performance was much improved on the first 45 minutes, and on 67 minutes I thought their play had reaped a reward, when a neat one/two twixt Jacobs and Dennis saw the former power into the box  where he was promptly upended by Burke. It was a nailed down spot kick, but neither liner nor referee would have it so, and we had been dished!
That was disappointing to say the least, and maybe County’s new found concentration slipped a tad because Brizell and substitute Sousa were allowed to dart clear and set Hughes up with a decent chance. It was a chance too……but he fluffed it dragging his shot wide!
At the other end County kept at it, and Sharp’s energy and pace forced yet another foul from Hyde as the County number 10 was comprehensively mugged by the none too particular Giverin. How…why was he still on the pitch? We will have to await Mr Marsden`s memoirs for the answer to that one! I shall not be in the queue to buy it!
The free kick that followed saw a shot from Dennis fly clear off a defender, and County pile forward in an effort to snatch that winner. There were 3 or 4 blue shirts queuing for a shot as Churchman’s cross pinged in. They all missed it, but it ran on to Jacobs who again was in a decent position either to shoot or pick out one of 3 or 4 blue shirts. He did neither…instead passing to someone in red, and what had been a good opening was no more!

Home keeper under pressure.

Sharp ,aided by Moses, forced a couple of corners that maintained decent pressure on Hyde, but that was Sharp’s last contribution as Ryan came on for him with less than 20 minutes left.
County continued to press, but Hyde came closest to adding another goal when, with 12 minutes left, Hughes went past Lees setting Brizell up with a real chance. A good strike came next, as did an even better response from Hurst who somehow kept it out with the bravest of dives!
Spurred on….inspired  even…by that latest Hurst magic….County hit back, and Wilczynski flapped alarmingly at one of a series of County corners ,after a snap shot by Dennis had taken an unlucky deflection. Ryan…..Lees….Dennis….all tried to force the flag kicks home, but to no reward, it stayed 1-1.
County free kick.....

Hyde were leaking free kicks for fun now, and the latest saw Dennis lift a shot a foot or so over the bar from a Ryan knock down, but generally Ryan seemed slow to react and frequently on his heels when needing to be on his toes- thus it was that keeper Wilczynski was able to beat him to a tasty through ball with 5 minutes left.
A few minutes pressure came from Hyde next, and several corners. Hughes was still a thorn in County’s side but his good work came to nought as Sousa leaned back and lifted a shot high into the night and off into deepest East Cheshire!
There was still time for County to create chances……the ninetieth minute seeing Duxbury combine with Churchman to send him darting into the box. He did well, but the run required a shot on the end of it but one never came, and the chance was gone.
There was time for more ,officials induced, frustration as well, as Ryan was pulled up for a none existent foul as he was in the clear……and then almost immediately ….with County hitting back again…..Dennis was flagged `offside’ when quite obviously not!
I was glad when the final whistle signalled we could board the Flyer and head off back to SK3. It had not been a bad match, and County had improved somewhat in the second half, but the constant search for a level Conference North Playing Field goes on. As stated earlier, on a different issue….. I shall not be holding my breath at all!
See you at Cheltenham on Saturday then…..the Flyer leaves at 10.00 –to book ring Lou  on 07896 536757 to book.

Hyde FC line up;

Wilczynski, Riley, Burke, Brizell, Ng, Giverin( Thurston 80), Hibbs, Boyle, Masterson( Sousa 65), Pearson, Hughes.

Subs not used:

Pritchard, Broadbent, Gregory   

County line up;

Hurst, Jacobs, Lees, O`Halloran, Duxbury, Moses, Churchman, Lofthouse, Glover, Sharp( Ryan 72), Dennis.

Subs not used:

Ormson, Russell, Benjamin, Hampson.

Attendance: 704

Ian Brown

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Help the Hatters End of Season Update.

With the season drawing to a close, it is perhaps time to catch up with recent happenings involving Help the Hatters.
The season has been a momentous one for supporters of Stockport County, who, via the Supporters Cooperative now have a share holding in their great Club, along with representation at future Club Board Meetings.
The share holding element reflects great credit on County fans, who have responded generously all season to appeals to put wind in the sails of Steve Gibbon`s Players Fund initiative.
Help the Hatters were happy to join Steve and help manage the initiative which has contributed £15000 to Alan Lord`s playing budget over the season.

Part of the successful story for County supporters, in a season of relative disappointment on the field, has been the effort to transform the Bungalow into somewhere County supporters want to frequent pre and post match, in the knowledge that by so doing the Players Fund gets a boost.



The Bung is transformed into a rather neat place to go now….and a regular venue for top bands. This is entirely due to the hard work of our Working Parties which have been a twice ( sometimes three time) feature of weekly HtH life throughout 2014/15.
`The Show Must Go On’ as the man said….and Help the Hatters are determined that it will……

Two new species of aquatic life were discovered on Bank Holiday Friday

.Recently, brilliantly organised by Angela Moore, we held our first Car Boot Sale of the year on Booth Street Car Park, and the earnest band of HtH supporters who turned out( some as early as 06.00 ) on the coolest and wettest of Stockport days, are to be commended. 

...and a few land locked vertibrates after bargains too......

There`s another one coming up soon, so please respond positively to Angela`s plaintive appeals for help, if you can, the Car Boot`s are a valuable fund raiser for us and ensure we can keep on doing what we do!
Meanwhile, back at the Bung Help the Hatters laid on free food as a thank you to County supporters who had helped throughout the season- Barbara, Karen and Natalie ensuring absolutely nobody went to the game v Oxford City hungry. Well done ladies!

Food....Give me Food  !!!!

With the interior of the Bung pretty much ship shape now, eyes turned back to the exterior of the property. Ralph is just awaiting materials to enable him to sort the roof tiles issue, so Sunday 12 th saw the first Outdoor Bung Working Party of the season take place.

Fitzy & Biggles fan the flames......

Only 7 turned out, but `its quality not quantity that counts’ I think that man said again, and he`s right as the WP did some great stuff…….
Fitzy was well on burning rubbish before anyone arrived…..

Ralph, giving it some !

Ralph turned his hand to grass cutting allied to a bit of fire raising as he burnt off the excess grass….

Jules fencing with Biggles !

Biggles set about painting the fence at the rear, joined by Jules, who had previously tidied up the Bung Car Park.

This weeks great comp...`who is this ?'

A shed load of litter was removed from around the bowling green along with a massive amount of heavy duty but time ravaged building paper, and  various unusable chairs and tables!
The object is to make the exterior a good place to go to on a warm summers evening, and this was a good start.
The next Bung Outdoor Working Party will take place on Sunday next 19 April at 10 a.m- please consider joining us!

Ian Brown