Saturday, 28 November 2015

Stockport County 0 Nantwich Town 2 ( F.A Trophy 3rd QR) 28 November 2015

I suppose you might expect `Black Saturday’ to follow swiftly on after `Black Friday' ,but really  this was a desperately bad performance by County and one that deservedly saw them depart the F.A. Trophy at the first hurdle at the hands of Nantwich Town of the Evo Stik Premier League.

Just 3 of the 145 Dabbers who supported their team brilliantly!
Edgeley Park was a cold….cold place today, and not a spot to be in if you were a long suffering County fan, as Nantwich ran out convincing 2-0 winners , brushing aside the lamentably poor attempts by County to see them off, and give the home support something to cheer. In reality we were never in it with a decent shout throughout the 90 odd minutes, Kristian Burzynski the Dabbers’ keeper was hardly tested all afternoon, as NY’s re-shuffled pack struggled for coherence from first kick to last!
County made 5 changes, but the result was far from satisfactory….OK…the schoolboy goal keeping errors were cut out, and I thought Arestidou did pretty well, but having said that and subtracted Garvin’s energy, and the quiet command of Connolly and O’Hanlon ,and you’ve said all the good things you possible could about the performance. Morton worked hard and got more than one vital last ditcher in, especially early on, and Baggie tried intermittently to do a bit,   but going forward out of defence we were a mess for the most part….. we needed all 11 to be in attendance and firing on all cylinders, instead….the midfield, with Tonge covering ground in front of the back four, was almost totally unable to get a grip on proceedings, whilst the forwards…..were as insipid a bunch as I have seen in blue this term. As a result the Dabbers bided their time before hitting us where it hurt when it was becoming too late to do anything about it. The late penalty surprised me a bit…..but being in the Cheadle End maybe my view was not the best, anyway the referee gave it and Shotton duly buried the kick in match winning style to seal what was a deserved victory for Phil Parkinson’s  side.  
Back to 3 o’clock and I took my seat to see County kick off with Garvin at LB and the returning Morton….. RB, and Danny was soon called into action hooking a dangerous ball from Steve Jones out from under the bar. New keeper Andreus Arestidou was busy too, making a good stop to keep an effort from Lewis Short out.  Short was there again within minutes and again Morton did well to ensure that County’s new keeper was spared embarrassment.

Arestidou out to grab the ball....

Nantwich  looked lively and the sharper of the two sides and it took 15 minutes for County to offer anything up in the way of a response , through a run by Morton, but this was dealt with well by Kristian Burzynski  ,just beyond his near post and that brief flicker from the blues ended disappointingly.
It has to be said that the game was not 100% the best game I had ever watched , in fact it was a touch soporific at times, but I was disappointed in wishing for something from County to rectify matters, as it was the Dabbers who next showed some fire, and it took a decent double save from Arestidou to keep it at 0-0, as shots from Short and Hall came at him through the crowded box. 

Shot on the way from Short....
Arestidou repeated the recipe in dealing with a shot from distance by Darren Thornton, and we were now well past half way in the first half with precious little from County to point to as worthwhile.

County under pressure/Andrew Machin.
Margetts had a chance to put things to rights, on 25 minutes, but he totally fluffed it sending the weakest of efforts straight to the keeper from Baggie’s neat prompt. For a time after this County maintained some pressure on Town, only for pretty much the identical outcome to emerge from more work by Baggie, as Margetts again failed to apply the required finish.

O'Hanlon sees something as County dig in.....
It was high time that County asserted themselves, and pushed on, but there was no sign so far of this happening at all, indeed the Dabbers were the one’s on the front foot mostly, and Jones’ cross induced an error from Morton, who thankfully managed to recover sufficiently to concede a corner rather than anything more lethal. This resulted in a second when Hall’s shot ricocheted over the bar off Connolly. A tense moment followed for the blues, but one rapidly put to bed by Arestidou who did well when the kick came over!

Arestidou does well....
I had just finished applauding County’s latest keeper when he was there again ,doing really well to keep Shotton from a dangerous ball from Thornton smack in front of goal.
We were past the 30 minute mark now, and so far I had been quietly impressed by Baggie, who was at least trying to create something , but I also wondered how long this might continue as his best efforts were invariably spurned by his colleagues, as did another cross  that went entirely unattended by forward or defender, after Abs had built on good defensive work from Connolly.
Play got a touch lively after this for a time….Jones scuttling to the by-line before seeing his cross snaffled by Arestidou who looked completely at home between the sticks for the blues. County responded through Baggie ….and for a time…Burzynski was under pressure as County forwards laid siege to his goal, and the best effort from County of the entire match came in this period as a bit of a bomb from Margetts thundered out off a defender after good work by Garvin.
and so does Burzynski !
We were heading for the break now….and I was tempted to start getting all optimistic again, and I inched forward in my seat as Garvin pinged over another pretty decent cross in to the box. OK….it was a belter…..and tailor made for Ledsham to apply the required finish….but…horror of horrors….he heads the ball away from goal and what had seemed a good chance had disappeared as quickly as it had arrived!
County were pushed back on the defensive after this by a series of corners, and it was a bit of a struggle to hold out …but they did….and….having made the final block at one end…Morton was in position at the other to launch a break. It did look good did this one, but only until the cross came in and it went behind the advancing Margetts  and again the chance was gone.

The Away End/ Andrew Machin.
That was it for the first half too, and Nantwich would feel happy with their performance I guess, whereas County perhaps would look to NY for inspiration for the second half.
County tried to up the tempo somewhat as play re-started….Baggie missing out narrowly with a shot that drifted just wide …….. Ledsham  went one on one with the keeper at one point, and a promising cooperation between Odejayi and Baggie was curtailed by excellent work from Matt Bell.
Baggie just misses out/ Andrew Machin

Yes….I was allowing myself to think positive thoughts again…, with Evans now on for Odejayi, Bell had again to pull out all the stops to thwart Margetts’ efforts to reach a Baggie cross. Ledsham and Baggie both had follow up efforts  dealt with by the Nantwich back line, which was doing extremely well under the circumstances.
Rule had two efforts miss out narrowly, and Evans found the route to goal cut off by ex Hatters Matt Bailey, who was looking settled in his central defensive role. 

Matt Bailey comfy at the back.....
Add a Garvin cross to which there were no takers….a brief display of Baggie magic sadly without the added sparkle of someone to add something lethal to it.. and frustration was beginning to overtake my optimism, thus….. when the keeper fumbled Rule’s shot and Magretts was first onto the ball a yard out, I thought we were in Redemption City, but alas……not so… was time to don the wire underwear as the Tranmere man contrived not to force the ball home, allowing the defender to recover and block his shot… awful, possibly match turning, miss!

Rule shot on its way......
Well I think that Nantwich took heart from that escape, and County were fortunate to survive intact almost immediately as no one could finish off Jones’ good work after he had scooted up the park on the break. The Dabbers actually had the ball in the net, with less than 20 minutes left, but the flag had gone up long before and no one really showed any surprise at that outcome, except possibly the 145 from Nantwich folk corralled into the far corner of the Pop Side. They gave lively support to their team all afternoon and just might have thought that their chance had just gone!
Into the last 15 minutes we went, and with the sight of Burzynski smothering a Ledsham shot, and Baggie spoiling a promising run by shooting straight at the keeper….a drizzly dank Tuesday replay at their place began to look a distinct possibility!
Hmmm…maybe….but Nantwich were showing every indication of not wanting to bother with another tilt on Tuesday…they wanted a win today and County did well for a time to keep them out.
Good stop by Burzynski./ Andrew Machin.

There was time for a response from the blues, for sure, and if Baggie’s finish to Garvin’s latest cross was disappointing…..the same could not be said of a shot shortly after from Evans ,and it took an excellent save from Burzynski to keep him out- the keeper spreading himself magnificently to make the save with his legs!

Burzynski saves with legs !
Baggie was replaced by Colley with 8 minutes left to play, and within a minute we were one down!
I had just asked myself `which of the two teams wanted this most?’ when I got an answer of sorts from Andy White who cut inside from the right to unleash an unstoppable drive past the County keeper’s dive into the net.
145 travelling Dabbers went wild in the Pop Side, and who could blame them, their team now had a lead and we were within sniffing distance of the end of the game!
County did try to reply, but Rule found Bailey and Hall too quick for him, and Thornton did well to nullify the threat from Evans as he attempted to link up with Margetts. 

As in too many games of recent days, good approach play was being nullified by lack of quality at the sharp end.
Nantwich…meanwhile…..kept working at hitting us on the break and Bell was not that far away with one strike with barely a minute of normal time remaining to play.
Ledsham saw a shot fly up and over the bar smack on 90 minutes, but the more lethal stuff continued to come at the other end where I looked on in disbelief to see Shotton thoroughly fillet County’s defensive cover before shooting against the post when it looked easier to score. When a clutch of forwards tried…and failed to put the follow up away….perhaps….I thought….this was County’s lifeline!
Well……………it wasn`t…..indeed with time ticking away…deep into 4 minutes added ……Nantwich made the game safe with a second. As I said earlier I was unclear as to the validity of the penalty award, but Arestidou dived full stretch to rob Shotton of the ball, and down he went….but……anyway…the referee pointed to the spot, and a Tuesday night at the Weaver’s in the cold and wet was avoided, when Shotton resumed the vertical and thumped the ball down the centre of the goal into the net to make it 2-0 to the Dabbers.
Not long after it was `game over’…a game which Nantwich thoroughly deserved to win. We wish the Dabbers every success in the competition and for the rest of the season!
For County it’s back to that drawing board again, in the hope that this faltering season can be somehow turned around!

Stockport County line up:

Arestidou, Tonge, Ledsham, Connolly, O’Hanlon, Rule, Baggie( Collie 82), Morton, Odejayi( Evans 57), Margetts, Garvin.

Subs not used:

O’Hara, Joyce, Ellison.

Nantwich Town line up:

Burzynski, White, Thornton, Moran, Bailey, Osbourne( Cooke 78), Jones(Gordon 68), Hall, Shotton, Bell, Short( Hancock 48).

Subs not used:

Smith, Harrison.

Attendance:  1066

Ian Brown

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Stockport County 2 Solihull Moors 4 ( Vanarama National League North) 24 November 2015

County slumped to a disheartening defeat last night at Edgeley Park, where Solihull Moors had little difficulty in maintaining their unbeaten record, cruising at times to what in the end proved a pretty comfortable 4-2 win.
After Saturdays late collapse at Lowestoft, County needed to produce something altogether better, albeit against one of the division’s tastier sides, to reassure their supporters. Well…..they did score two goals, and one of them was another absolute corker from Jake Kirby, but try as they might to make an impression with neat football, and for the first 15 minutes they at least looked like making a game of it….it did not amount to the proverbial hill of beans in the end as it was all undermined by mayhem at the back where young Kieran O’Hara had a nightmare debut being directly responsible for three of the goals. I do not think there was anyone in the ground who did not feel sorry for the lad, but the 19 year old quite simply should not have been thrust into the firing line so soon in my view!

Debut boy- Kieran O'Hara.

The response from Moors was measured, and superbly marshalled by Theo Streete. In short….they just kept it simple and took what chances came their way- that’s what good football teams do, and they also keep mistakes to a minimum, something that County found impossible to do, making Moors job that much easier on the dampest of nights in SK3.
Even taking into account his parent club, and making allowances for a moment for the fact that he might just be another gem awaiting some final cutting into shape, I was surprised to see Kieran O’Hara’s name in County’s starting eleven. Ormson was fit enough to be on the bench and should have played in my view- playing a totally unknown quantity between the sticks was a high risk strategy!
Annoyingly…County were kicking towards the Cheadle End first, and my distress at realising this, was only slightly assuaged by the sight of Odejayi darting clear, just 2 minutes into the game, as the liner’s flag was up and he was offside.
Unlucky?.....possibly….but County were angst ridden again ,within a further 2 minutes, as a neat ball by Rule , headed for Kirby, was cut out by Liam Daly’s last gasper.
County persisted though, and Moors keeper Ben Siegrist did well under pressure, after Roberts had won a corner for the blues.

Siegrist does well....
Baggie had started on the left flank and was looking fairly lively at this point, but another block by Daly saw to it that his work went un-rewarded. Kirby did win County another corner shortly after this, but once again the Moors defence in the shape of Siegrist had the answer….the keeper again doing well under pressure.
Connolly went close with one effort, and Baggie did good work in sending Evans heading Siegrist’s way, but this was snuffed out via a Connor Franklin / Gareth Dean combo that saw the County man progressed no further than the edge of the box.
The first 14- 15 minutes had seen Moors soak up a fair bit of pressure- the first hint of anything at all in the way of an attacking response from them, came in the 15th minute when Stefan Moore darted clear down the right. He looked a tad determined and Roberts was in trouble, electing to pull his man down as he went past, a fact that earned him a card from the excitable Scott Oldham. It was a yellow …but was I alone in holding my breath as the man in black deliberated?

County under pressure.
Moore made it to the by-line not long after, and his cross maybe deserved better than it received from the other Moors forwards. A period of pressure from Moors hinted at what was possibly on the cards later on, but it ended with O’Hara emerging with the ball to applause from the home specs.

O'Hara emerges with the ball.
The pattern of play remained much the same however …County pressing…..Moors soaking it up, and O’Hanlon will consider himself unlucky to see his header go the wrong side of the post, after Odejayi had won his side a corner.
We reached the 20 minute mark with it still 0-0, but we received another warning shot across our bows, again via Moore who linked up with Jack Byrne to cause issues for County down the right flank.
County survived this examination, and looked on to maybe hit their opponents  hard on the break via Tonge and Baggie whose neat work won County another corner.  Unfortunately the flag kick was nullified as Streete and Knights combined to excellent affect at the near post- Knights running the ball clear. A series of raids followed from Moors, who with Streete majestic at the back, looked sufficiently well equipped to cause us a serious issue or two.
Streete picked up a yellow along the way, but it did not seem to impinge on his work ethic and along with Daly he kept the door shut to all County’s advances. Daly doing particularly well to deny Odejayi access to a Baggie ball after the diminutive wide man had sparkled briefly.

Yellow for Streete.
That was good work…and possibly another example of ill fortune for County, and straight from Daly’s clearance we were wading shoulder deep in the brown stuff, with the sight of Mike Nottingham carrying the ball up the park at speed. An  archetypal smash and grab raid followed ,as with County still thinking about snatching one in front of the Cheadle End,  Akwasi Asanti ended the swiftest of breaks by applying a goal scorers finish to  Michael Nottingham’s cross…. sliding in to beat O’Hara, who perhaps should have done better, and give the visitors the lead.
Competetive stuff....

Half an hour gone, and one down……not great, and O’Hara, to his credit, reacted quickly next to thwart Moore who was causing County problems galore, but his next action was to cost his team a goal as an iffy clearance from him went straight to Asanti who promptly doubled his and his teams tally by slotting a precise finish home.
Moors piled forward after this, and who could blame them, Asanti seeing a shot on the turn deflected wide, and Moore possibly unlucky to be flagged offside with County staring down the barrel in extremis.
On it went…..Moore to Franklin….another cross….but thankfully no one there to round it all off on this occasion!
Twice after this Baggie joined Kirby in an attempt to prise something from the ashes of impending defeat, but there was no precision on show at the death, thus all the neat work in build up was nullified.
This last point was fully emphasised, with 2 minutes left of the half. Moore had just gone close again at the other end when County responded through Baggie who darted clear with the ball. From Baggie the ball went wide right to Rule from whom came a terrific ball into the box…one which most strikers would give their back teeth for. Anyway they would at least go for it…instead this potentially lethal delivery whizzed across goal with no takers….absolutely awful stuff!
We might have paid for our largess as well……had Moore not momentarily acquired the sort of shooting skills I myself displayed with regularity ( back around the Napoleonic Wars I think)way back when, after Tonge had surrendered possession. O’Hara  had no problems dealing with  the poorest of efforts from the forward, but he had loads to do  shortly after  as Asanti came at him on the break, looking for his hat-trick. It looked on as well, but O’Hara made a good stop with his legs and it stayed 2-0, and kept the game notionally alive.
The second half saw Odejayi hit the keeper with a header( from an offside position)within seconds……within a minute County had a corner, and after the passage of another 60 seconds…a goal….as O’Hanlon forced the ball home from close in!
County’s boat had wind in its sails now, but it was disappointing to see Baggie `air-kick’ after Rule and Kirby had tried and failed to grab that equaliser. County were certainly trying and some of their work was neat and good to watch, but midst all the good work….it was essential to keep the back door tightly shut, and concentration levels high which is precisely what County didn’t do. Everyone and his dog seemed to think that an apparently innocuous effort from Moore would be snaffled by O'Hara, but instead ,and bafflingly, the lad let  it  sneak in past him. To add a touch of panto to it….the moan stand liner flagged for a corner even as O’Hara turned dejectedly to pick the ball up from the back of the net! It was now 3-1 to Moors and for all intents and purposes it was `game over’ now.
There was moment of refereeing whimsy( I am resolved to be kind)next as a blatant foul on Kirby left him in a heap on the ground. The liner saw it and clearly flagged for a County free kick, only for the hapless Oldham to play …err……’advantage?’…..allowing Moors to break and come within a whisker of scoring a fourth. End of……for him ….this was one of Mr O’s better games, but that was distinctly not his best moment!  
It got interesting again for a time next with the crowd now roused by the man in blacks antics, but despite a series of corners County could not reduce the arrears, indeed it was Asanti who came closest to increasing the score line, only a good save from O’Hara preventing this from happening.
Andy Robinson came on for Joyce with 20 minutes left, and this certainly appeared to improve the cohesiveness of County’s play. County’s play in the last third however remained problematical and Robinson himself came as close as anyone in blue to changing things, his snap shot missing out narrowly.
Morton came on next replacing Rule, and Morton too had a positive influence getting forward with gusto, prompting the question `why does he not get a start?’
County were trying, for sure, but again we squandered our chance when it came……a cross by Robinson landing nicely on Evans’ head. It was easier to score than to miss it, but instead of planting his header in the back of the net, Evans sent it flying wide! Absolute….agony…..and it was Micah’s last act of the game as he was replaced by Lamin Colley.
Buoyed by this let off….Moors went for the jugular and only the bravest of saves by O’Hara stopped a fourth going in as Knights bore down on goal.

O'Hara gets treatment after that save.
Despair and despondency were just about to take over my usually cheery outlook, when it happened……County scored…..and it was a belter! Baggie started it playing the neatest of balls inside to Kirby, who despatched a sensational( goal of the season?) shot into the net from way outside the box…excellent stuff. Now…could County build on that….snatch an equaliser?
Well ……..O’Hara did go long teeing Baggie up to win a corner, but when this came to nought, the obvious lack of quality at one end was underlined by a startling abundance of it at the other where…chasing a long high one and getting the better of Roberts in the process, Knights crowned a top night for Moors by lifting a delicious lob over the advancing O’Hara’s head into the net….a poor goal to concede…but a bit of a peach as well!
At this point a fair number headed for the exits.
County kept trying, right into added time, but we are back to that hill of beans again…..all their good work had been sadly undermined by a lack of quality at both ends of the park.
Nantwich for us next on Saturday in the F.A.Trophy….and I hear that their two strikers have scored 40 goals between them this season.      
A good contest beckons then, but we need an altogether better showing from County if we are to progress in that competition.

Stockport County line up:

O’Hara, Tonge, Roberts, Connolly, O’Hanlon, Joyce( Robinson 68), Baggie, Rule(Morton 71), Odejayi, Evans ( Colley 75), Kirby.

Subs not used;

Ormson, Ellison.

Solihull Moors line up:

Siegrist, Nottingham, Franklin, Daly, Streete, Dean, Moore( Walker 75), Byrne( English 84), Asanti, Beswick, Knights( Gittings 93). 

Subs not used:

Armson, Cowan.

Attendance: 2437

Ian Brown

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Lowestoft Town 2 Stockport County 2( Vanarama National League North) 21 November 2015

This…..from every conceivable angle was pure torture…..the journey from SK3 to the far east a mind numbing 6 hours long…..the weather on arrival fit to discourage  even the most stubbornly optimistic of supporters….the rain sledging down relentlessly to the unwelcome accompaniment of Hurricane Herbert that looked fit to lift the old main stand from its foundations!
Right up to the kick off …the game was in doubt, but, credit to the referee Mr Betts, it went ahead, and although the playing surface was lumpy as hell…it was eminently playable throughout.
For a time it looked as though County had the measure of their opponents…going into the lead within 4 minutes through a strike by Kirby , a lead that was doubled 8 minutes into the second half. It proved to be illusory however, as a 2-0 lead they still held with 15 minutes left was surrendered meekly first when Hurst palmed a ball tamely out to Dean Mason who scored from no distance at all, and the equaliser came via the very last action in 6 long minutes of added time.
Unfortunate? Probably…..( Lame Cliché Alert !)…..but you make your own luck and this game could and should have been put beyond Lowestoft long before half time never mind the time added on, but chances came …and went without being taken! Oh…..and we had a pretty decent referee in Mr Betts, who did not miss a lot and was generally even handed, so we had every chance to make up some lost ground…..but we fluffed it!
Back to 3 o’clock and it was positively taters stood about on the Crown Meadow terracing. I was in full Arctic kit, supplemented by some upper lip lagging courtesy of                                      , and had fed myself suitably via 2 of 4 separate food outlets on the ground, but the cold was still penetrating well beyond the layers!
That said, it was good to see the players emerge with the officials, and the game commence on time, and it was soon apparent that County were the first to look to make the conditions irrelevant, and Roberts was in the van of a number of penetrating moves down the left in the opening couple of minutes, the best of these seeing Kirby on the end of the fullback’s ball.

Early pressure from County
The raid ended at the by-line but it was a promising start.
Less promisingly…..Lowestoft broke almost immediately from that last action through Mason, and only good work by Connolly prevented an early disappointment for County.

Connolly emerges with the ball.

Hmmm….an interesting opening …….but it got even more interesting , on 4 minutes, as  with County piling forward into the box,  Jake Kirby  slammed the ball home from close in to give County a welcome early lead.

The pressure from County continued, mostly through Roberts who continues to belie his age with some excellent performances. First off he linked up with Odejayi forcing a corner. Keeper Ben Killip did well to punch clear from Roberts’ follow up cross, and punch out again a couple of minutes later as another Roberts cross pinged in.

It was all County at this point and a second goal would not have been a tremendous surprise, but despite good approach play by Odejayi and Garvin, nothing emerged on the end of it to make my dream reality!
Mason led posse thwarts Odejayi.

Evans did look to have sneaked clear, on 10 minutes, but Jack Ainsley conceded a corner when much worse threatened, and it was there that this break broke down, as the poorest of corners from Kirby failed to test Killip.
A second goal at that point might have had a severely deleterious effect on the Tractor Boys morale, instead the opposite happened and they attacked us, and for a time the pressure was on Hurst and company. Thankfully County’s cover held and Town’s proficiency at corners proved no better than ours, so it stayed 1-0.

County defend.
County weathered perhaps 3 minutes of pressure from the home team, emerging to hit their opponents on the break, and Kirby was unlucky to see Killip dive to keep his strike out in the 17th minute. The 18th ushered in a Roberts free kick and it was a decent one, but although Odejayi got to it, his header was ushered clear by Ross Jarvis, who had tracked back to do some defending.
Encouraging?.....yes…and more followed, but Evans nippy run was cut abruptly short by a foul, but County ‘s set piece proved not to be up to scratch.
This continued with neat play by Evans seeing Odejayi go close, but Kirby went even closer…..stinging Killip’s fingers with an on target effort just about 30 minutes in.
We were into the last 15 minutes of the half now, and County were making great headway down the flanks…as usual however….the finish was lacking, but perhaps……today….maybe……

A nice thought for sure, and Evans again managed to turn his man inside out in concert with the excellent Roberts, only to ruin his own good work by lifting his shot over the bar. This was from a teasing angle it must be admitted, but sooner rather than later we have got to start converting this type of chance/half chance.
The 33rd minute saw Garvin replaced by Lamin Colley, having sustained an injury earlier.
Colley on for some rare game time.

I am not sure that the personnel change was responsible, but within a couple of minutes  County had themselves a gilt edged chance, set up by Tonge’s cross from the right and advanced by Ainsleys total inability to clear his lines. It really was a good chance…the ball was on the deck and within a yard of Evans, but he failed to take advantage of the confusion in the midst of Town’s defenders, dithering long enough to allow a clearance to be made!
That was dismaying, but more followed and not long after….
Killip had just flapped and punched, one of a series of corners clear, when again the ball came back his way via Evans who destroyed the cover down the right before sending a cross over that seemed to totally bamboozle Killip…Ainsley and company, so much so that both the aforementioned missed it…the ball coming to rest alongside Colley about a yard out. It was clear however that the young forward did not know where the ball was, and before he could sort himself out, the ball had been belted clear…chance gone…travelling fans utterly beside themselves with frustration!

That really should have seen County cruise clear….but it was still 1-0, and stayed that way until half time despite a couple of decent breaks initiated by Mason. A neat stop from Hurst, and an optimistic `handball’ cry from the locals at one point, that Mr Betts rightfully ignored, served to enliven the last few minutes of the half, but it stayed 1-0.
Lowestoft opened the second half on the attack, getting forward far more than in the whole of the first half, but the end product was not great from them and although Hurst had an increased work load to cope with, there was nothing untoward at all about Town’s work, and the County keeper looked untroubled.
By contrast County looked better organised at the other end, and Evans was making a mug of the fullback a time or two. Indeed 8 minutes into the half the Evans handiwork declared a dividend , his pull back teeing  Joyce up to slam a belter beyond Killip’s dive into the net!
Lowestoft looked shell shocked at this point- Evans and Kirby combining to terrorise the home defence, that somehow survived, and they survived again a couple of minutes later ,Colley looking aghast to see his shot drift past the post with Killip a helpless spectator.

Options for Kirby/ Roberts ?
It went on….a Roberts/ Kirby free kick promising much…but not delivering. Kirby looked about to make amends shortly after ,but his lively run was halted by a foul, and the free kick on this occasion saw the liners flag come to Town’s aid.
With hail pinging down on us under doom laden clouds ,County’s fortunes took a turn for the worst as Lady Luck’s fashion accessory hit us amidships again, when Hurst let a cross slip from his grasp into the path of Dean Mason who gleefully toe poked it over the line from half a yard out!
Bugger……and to make matters worse, Hurst had to go off injured, being replaced by Ian Ormson.

Hurst off......
Lowestoft continued to press after the goal, but much as before, County’s attacking looked to have more threat about it, but frustratingly after Rule had set Colley up with a powerful run and pass, he elected to pass to Joyce rather than shoot himself, and the mid fielder’s shot thudded into the advertising hoardings inches wide rather than the net.

That was another crucial moment in the game, and seemed to instil fresh hope in the home side who pushed on lumping a series of high ones into the maelstrom above our heads towards Ormson.

Lowestoft press late on....
County coped OK…..despite the odd outbreak of handbags at one point, but there were 6 whole minutes of added time to endure, and in the last of these the ball reached Shaun Bammant, standing in splendid isolation beyond the last County outfield player. He headed home to the utter joy of the locals and our absolute dismay!
Almost straight away the final whistle went and that was that…what had looked to be a comfortable victory turned out to be nothing of the kind!
It was ever thus I am told, but I couldn`t possibly comment on that one,except to say  here’s to Tuesday and the chance to put things right!

Lowestoft Town line up:

Killip, Barker, Smith, Fisk, Ainsley, Spillane,Mason, Jarvis( Woods –Garness 83), Reed, Crow, Henderson( Bammant 69).

Subs not used:

Marsden,Nunn, Jessup.

Stockport County line up:

Hurst ( Ormson 75), Tonge, Roberts, Connolly, O’Hanlon, Joyce, Evans, Rule, Odejayi, Garvin( Colley 33/ Killock 88), Kirby.

Subs not used:

Morton, Baggie.

Attendance: 704     

Ian Brown