Friday, 24 October 2014

First Ground Breaking Transfer made to the Players Fund !









It is with great pleasure and pride that the blog reproduces here the statement released by Stockport County Football Club just a short while ago, relating to the Players Fund.

In doing so we extend congratulations to the supporters of Stockport County upon taking the first step and achieving supporters share ownership in the Club. In this respect all concerned, particularly Help the Hatters , the Supporters Cooperative and the Club, are to be warmly congratulated, along with the man who`s brain child this was- Steve Gibbons.

A first step very definitely, but one that confirms that `Stronger Together' is more than just a nifty tag line!

The Club statement reads.......





FANS STRENGTHEN COUNTY CAUSE!

Stockport County manager Alan Lord has received a major boost on the eve of the club’s FA cup fixture against Chester FC.

The Hatters boss has received the first donation from the recently launched ‘Players Fund’ to help strengthen the playing squad at Edgeley Park.

The ‘Players Fund’ is the brainchild of County fan, Steve Gibbon and has been created in collaboration with two other independent supporter’s organisations, namely, Help the Hatters and the Supporters Co-operative whose motto, appropriately reads ‘Stronger Together’.

Following a number of recent meetings with shareholders, directors and officials at the club, the supporters groups have pledged to add to the playing budget through a series of co-ordinated events aimed at securing donations from the fans.

This includes a terrific initiative with the Bungalow club, situated adjacent to Edgeley Park. The supporters have developed a partnership with the committee of the Bungalow which facilitates a 50 pence donation to the Players Fund from every pint sold by the club on match days and at specific County events. Fans can also donate directly via a number of branded pods that have been strategically donated around Edgeley Park.

In return, one of the club’s shareholders, has agreed to gift the supporters one share for every two pounds raised by the scheme.

One of County’s senior board advisers, Steve Bellis, was quick to praise the initiative and the first donation, he said ‘As a club, we are privileged to have such fantastic levels of support but our fans continue to go above and beyond what is expected. The boards, committees and members of the Supporters Co-operative and Help the Hatters have made it very clear that they are prepared to go the extra mile to support the club both practically and financially.

County fanatic Steve Gibbon is especially worthy of praise for his tireless efforts getting the Players Fund off the ground.

I can assure our fans that every penny donated will go directly to Alan’s playing budget starting with this initial significant donation. There is a genuine mood of optimism around the club at the moment proving that we really are stronger together’.


STOCKPORT COUNTY

Hyde FC 2 County Development Squad 2 ( Lancashire League West) 23 October 2014







Last night`s game between Hyde FC and Stockport County Development Squads, was into its dying embers at the neat Abbey Hey stadium......County were 2-1 up in a closely fought encounter, and looking winners, when the referee awarded Hyde a free kick in a very scoreable position, from which they unsurprisingly scored, albeit at the second attempt! More about this later....for now I will content myself by saying the game ended 2-2 ,as the official blew for time directly the ball was played off at the re-start and the points were thus shared.
 
Lee Stevenson,Mike Hampson & Damani Holness ready for the off!
On the balance of play the result was not all that bad a reflection of how things went. County went into an early lead as Jordan Young`s brilliant finish added the necessary gloss to an inch perfect ball from Jordan Lazenbury ,who went on to add a second notable assist late on when teeing Lee Stevenson ( playing for fitness and match time)for County`s second. Before this, Hyde had scored a belter themselves through Marcus Dibble who capitalised on excellent work by Rob Swallow, and our Tameside neighbours made a real game of it until the Stevenson goal that seemed to have settled matters. This proved not to be the case and it was a great pity that such an otherwise decent game should finish on such a sour note!
Despite the obvious disappointment, Alan Lord, who`s team were held up on the M60 due to a crash, will have gained much from this. He will have seen Stevenson get his ` match time’ and despite taking a time to get used to things at this level, score a typical sniffers effort. 
 
Glenn Belezika
Another experienced County head on show was Glenn Belezika, and I was really impressed with Glenn`s input...constantly encouraging his young team mates off the ball.....always firm and sharp with it! Alongside Glenn in a back four, I made Dave Moran the pick and vying with Jordan Lazenbury for the M.O.M!
Much of the early play took place in the Hyde half where new signing Damani Holness ,Lazenbury and Stevenson busied themselves trying to prise the home defence apart, with Charlie Russell and Jordan Lazenbury providing the ammo.

 
Charlie Russell to the fore.....
 Leon O`Malley added useful support down the right, but both Lazenbury and Mike Hampson were unlucky with a couple of efforts- the only response from Hyde being a shot by George West that Josh Powell covered nicely.
This took us to the 11th minute when County`s pressure paid off thanks to a quality ball from Jordan Lazenbury that landed at the feet of Jordan Young on the edge of the box. Young had plenty of red shirted company around him and a few bodies twixt self and goal, but a neat swivel and turn saw him unleash a lethal cross shot that crashed into the far corner of keeper Josh Broadbent`s net!

 
George Mason / Jordan Lazenbury.....
For some 15  or 20 minutes after this the pattern  repeated itself pretty much ...with Jack Mason, Big Wamasule and Lee Gregory doing their best to offer a threat , but the bulk of play being at the other end, where Gregory and Marcus Dibble were working hard to stem the tide. This hard work eventually paid off with a goal. Any pressure seemed to have been nullified as Powell`s firm punch cleared the ball out of the box for County, but Hyde were determined to not be denied, and within a minute were probing the box via Rob Swallow who only just failed to get a shot in. The angst just would not subside for County though... as Swallow tried again.....was blocked ...sending the ball out to Marcus Dibble who unleashed the fiercest of drives way past Powell`s dive into the net for the equaliser.


 
Connor Hancock.

This enlivened Hyde no end and only an excellent last ditcher by Connor Hancock, saw off Jack Mason on the end of a fine ball from Gregory.

 
First half action .
That was a warning for County ,and they seemed to be heeding it as a series of corners looked to have them a whisker away from getting a second goal- but instead Broadbent dealt with Hampson`s header well and it stayed 1-1.
All this time however...Hyde were keeping their powder dry and content to hit County on the break – West doing just this ,on 38 minutes, but lifting his shot over the bar.  If West was at all dismayed by this...it did not show ,as he ran at the yellow shirted blue back line with a purpose next ,before passing inside to Mason who`s shot thudded into the post with Powell beaten!
After this.....for Hyde .....Swallow saw a decent run and cross come to nothing for lack of support, and Russell, Lazenbury and Stevenson all had efforts charged down for County as , what seemed an overly long first half eventually ended with it still 1-1.

 
Dean Hitchen into the action.....
With Dean Hitchin on after the break for Leon O`Malley, who had taken a knock, County set about regaining their lead , but Hampson was denied by a good stop by Broadbent after Damani Holness had set him up. 

 
New signing Damani Holness
Holness  was getting forward to good effect and this would continue in what was a good game from him, but he was faced by determined defending from Hyde most notably from Dibble and Gregory ,so for County...a second goal had to wait!
Having said that Dibble and Gregory had defended well.....they also offered something going forward and Dibble was unlucky to see his shot deflected for a corner from Gregory`s free kick.




 
Late action......
It went end to end for a bit now with Swallow providing threat and width down the right for Hyde, whilst Holness and Lazenbury did likewise for County – just a finish was missing for both outfits, and when at last it looked like County had produced one..Holness`s brilliant run to the by-line ended with his shot coming back out off one of a line of defenders on the line!
County were possibly shell shocked at this last disappointment, and were massively indebted to Dave Moran who was on hand to stop the rot as George West scuttled clear with every intent to score!
After this....Lazenbury and Hampson both went close for County, whilst Moran was again called on to work wonders as Swallow threatened to latch onto a route one ball from Broadbent!
Callum Cooke came on  for goal scorer Jordan Young for County ,and slightly later Hampson gave way to George Blackwell, as they tried to counter  Hyde`s increasingly lively work , largely involving Swallow and Mason...but not exclusively- Nang Assan going close with one effort as a series of free kicks pushed County back.
Slowly but surely County managed to get back a measure of control – Holness doing really well again down the left but having to be content with a corner after a  fine blocking tackle by Jack Pritchard stopped  his run. Enter Jordan Lazenbury stage left, and his kick landed in a bunch of players clustered on the goal line. One was keeper Broadbent who grabbed the ball and then spilled it.....the other was ace sniffer of goals Lee Stevenson and the rest was a formality as he forced the ball home to make it 2-1 to County!


Lees Walshaw and Stevenson in the thick of it......

Another Lazenbury/ Stevenson combo followed on from the last action as Hyde seemingly wilted, and County looked to capitalise on this, but Lazenbury`s final ball bounced agonisingly wide of the far post with the Tamesider`s on the rack!
It was at this point that an element of the surreal took over proceedings. All seemed well.....a late Hyde raid had ended with Josh Powell making a stop and then regaining his footing before lumping the ball skyward in our direction on the far touchline. End of story ...except no.......the referee had blown his whistle....not for the end of the game but for........................ well no one immediately could guess precisely what the kick was for, but it emerged later that the referee gave it for the County keeper holding onto the ball too long! “ Twelve seconds” he defiantly snorted as he made for the dressing rooms at game`s end , but I saw no such expanse of time  twixt Josh getting and getting rid of the ball! Any way ... when was the last time Law 12 of FIFA`s Laws of the Game, was last invoked by a referee? Way back I would vouch, and the Rule is in fact intended to be discretionary and not called on except for ` egregious exceptions’-FIFA advice! Again I saw no such element. In addition the 6 seconds mentioned in the rule  ,as I understand it, starts not the second the keeper grabs the ball...but when he /she gathers himself/herself....gets up ...looks around and  finds someone to pass to- in other words the referee has to use his common sense!
Despite all the above ...the referee was adamant and the kick was in a position almost impossible to miss...but Hyde  took it early and did miss, only for the referee to allow a re-take which  duly went in taking a deflection en-route.
It was 2-2.... and seconds later....after County had kicked off again....that was the final score as the referee had blown for time!
As I say a sad end to what had been a decent game!

County line up:

Josh Powell, Leon O`Malley ( Dean Hitchen 48), Glenn Belezika, Connor Hancock, Dave Moran, Charlie Russell, Damani Holness, Mike Hampson ( George Blackwell 75), Lee Stevenson, Jordan Lazenbury, Jordan Young(Callum Cooke 67).

Hyde line up:

Josh Broadbent, Lee Walshaw, George Mannion, Lee Gregory( Dan Judge 60), Jack Pritchard, Marcus Dibble, Rob Swallow, George Riley, Jack Mason( Wjani Evans 85), Big Wamasula( Nana Assan 75), George West.


Ian Brown       

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Chester FC, FA Cup preview

Saturday sees a second consecutive Cup game against a club formed on the demise of its predecessor and a chance to make it to the First Round Proper.


OPPOSITION FORM

Chester have recently been climbing the table after an indifferent start and now just below the half way point.

DateOpponentResult
30 Sep A v AFC Telford United Won 2-1
4 Oct H v Welling United Drew 1-1
7 Oct H v Aldershot Town Won 1-0
11 Oct A v Dover Athletic Lost 0-2
18 Oct H v Alfreton Town Won 2-1

Their best result of the season came in an away game when they recorded a 3-1 win at Braintree back on 16 August. They have won one more away game since and lost 5 of the other 6.

OPPOSITION PLAYERS

The Chester team that beat Alfreton Town 2-1 last Saturday was:

NamePosKnown Past Clubs
Jon Worsnop G Bradford C, Chester C, Aberystwyth T, Leigh Genesis, Droylsden, Mossley, Witton A, Ossett T, Bradford PA, Worksop T, FCU Manchester
Ben Heneghan CD Everton, Droylsden(L), Stoke C
Michael Kay D Sunderland, Gateshead(L), Tranmere Rov(L), Tranmere Rov
Kieran Charnock CD Northwich Vic, Peterborough U, Morecameb(L), Torquay U, Morecambe, Fleetwood T(L), Fleetwood T, Macclesfield T, COUNTY(L), COUNTY
Gareth Roberts D Tranmere Rov, Bury, Derby Co, Doncaster Rov, Notts Co
Craig Mahon M Salford C, Burscough, Vauxhall Motors, L to AFC Fylde(L)
John Rooney F Macclesfield T, Barnsley, Bury, Chester(L)
Kingsley James D/M Sheffield U, Port Vale, Chasetown(L), Hereford U(L), Hereford U
Sean McConville F Skelmersdale U, Accrington S, COUNTY, Rochdale(L),  Barrow, Stalybridge Cel
Craig Hobson F Peterborough U, Accrington S, Torquay U, Fleetwood T, Macclesfield T, Northwich Vic, Kendal T, Stalybridge Cel, COUNTY, Lincoln C(L), Guiseley
Matty Hughes F Wigan Ath, Everton, Skelmersdale U, Fleetwood T
Jamie Menagh F Blackpool, Prescot Cables

Chester's side is peppered with recent County players in Craig Hobson, Sean McConville and Kieran Charnock. They also have our old Youth player John Disney and trialist Matthew Brown on their books. Since joining the Bumpers Lane side McConville has not missed a game, and Chester have three other ever present men.


Kieran Charnock.
Chester are averaging just over a goal a game and their top scorer is Craig Hobson with 4 - a couple behind his total tally for County in the 21+7 games he played in the 2012-13 season. Craig played in County's most recent First Round Proper game at Southend United two years ago.


Craig Hobson.

 He will be looking for his first goals against us as he failed to hit the net for Stalybridge Celtic in the Trophy the season before he came to EP.

THE COUNTY SIDE

One certainty is that Alan Lord will be without Chris Sharp - following his red card, and presumably Lee Stevenson, unless Alfreton have changed their mind about letting him play. So it seems likely the back four (or five) will not change and the positions further forward will be adjusted. With 7 substitute spots available good performances in Thursday night's Lancashire League game against Hyde at Abbey Hey could well move some players forward in the reckoning.



Lee Stevenson -likely to feature tonight at Abbey Hey !
However, the management team still have to cope with a few injury problems so it's unlikely you'll be seeing any brand new names on the team sheet.



MATCH PROSPECTS

The game sees County back to underdog status but Chester's away records isn't the best. If we can put on one of our good attacking performances the win should be achievable. At least we can hope for a draw and a few drinks in Chester with a match thrown in has never been much of a chore.

OTHER CUP MATCHES

The other Vanarama Conference North teams in FA Cup action this weekend are:

Chorley v FC Halifax Town, Gateshead v Gainsborough Trinity, Gloucester City v Forest Green Rovers, Grimsby Town v Guiseley, Kings Lynn Town v AFC Fylde, Tamworth v Southport, Warrington Town v North Ferriby United, Worcester City v Greenwich Borough.

VANARAMA CONFERENCE NORTH

Given the Cup ties listed above there is a reduced set of games this weekend, although some clubs have manage to re-arrange games from alter in the season to fill the empty Saturday. After checking a few sites the matches that appear to be taking place are listed below along with the part of the table around County that could be directly affected by the results.

Boston United v Solihull Moors, Colwyn Bay v Barrow, Harrogate Town v Brackley Town, Hyde v Leamington, Oxford City v Hednesford Town.

Pos PL W D L F A GD PT
6 COUNTY 13 7 2 4 25 18 7 23
7 Boston U 13 6 3 4 21 21 0 21
8 Solihull Moors 12 6 2 4 29 17 12 20


Monday, 20 October 2014

County Supporter Conquers Kilimanjaro !






Long standing County supporter Paul Fedyniek, was on the Fingerpost Flyer bound for Leamington on Saturday. “So what?” you might be tempted to exclaim “ he usually is!”, but what was particularly interesting was that Paul had just returned from Africa where he had succeeded in taming the continent`s highest peak- the 19341 foot Mount Kilimanjaro!  The blog sent Nigel Farago(our man with a pencil and a crass line in repartee) to talk to Paul and find out how it went!



“ The whole trip was simply fantastic” Paul offered “ lasting 3 weeks ,which contained 5 and a half days climbing and 1 and a half descending- hard going for a party that included people from USA, Oz, Ireland as well as the U.K.”



Training for this epic `once in a life time’ effort, consisted of several go`s at Kinder. These training stints were vital in ensuring that Paul stayed the trip and made it to the summit in Tanzania, but there was just no comparison between the two mountains.....Kinder being pussy cat to Kilimanjaro`s tiger!



Banter between Paul`s party and the locals was good....


..... and as you would expect loads of photos were taken, some of which are reproduced here.



 In this respect note the County scarf seen at various points going up the mountain! Reaching the summit was obviously the pinnacle moment for Paul, but not far behind was the sight of a massive glacier that seemed to stretch from the summit to the base of Kilimanjaro. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Paul opted not to try to slide down it!







If gob smacking views and wildlife encounters abounded.....unfortunately news about County was not forthcoming throughout the 3 weeks, and Paul was glad to reacquaint himself with things blue and white as County accounted for Ilkeston FC in the F.A. Cup.  He was full of praise for County`s performance particularly that of captain Jamie Milligan who he described as “ a great player!”




Paul`s effort was all in aid of Cancer Research UK, and he has thus far collected over £400 for the charity, so if you see Paul....probably in the Cheadle End.....on the Flyer....anywhere don’t forget to congratulate him ,and maybe stick a quid or so the Charity`s way!

Meanwhile the blog offers Paul its warmest congratulations on achieving a brilliant feet!

N Farago