County pitched their pre-season tent at Silverlands last night, where they were met with a feisty Buxton side that made life decidedly difficult for them.
The crowd was smaller than the last time we were in these parts, but a nostalgic whiff of Flynny`s do last Friday lingered in the air nevertheless, with Martin McIntosh locking metaphorical horns in the tech area ,with Alan Lord.
The result was a 1-1 draw, which on the surface might seem disappointing, but in fact on balance County will feel reasonably happy with the result whilst their hosts would not, Buxton having been the livelier outfit throughout much of the game.
County fielded another pre season mix at kick off time , on this occasion featuring a defence loaded with experience with Fagbola, , Gregson , Lees and O`Halloran lining up in front of Ormson, with Tunji Moses parked in front of them.
The only other remotely familiar faces at the start for the white shirted blues, were Lofthouse , Sharp, and Danny Murray, with strangers Adam Baker and Franny Smith getting a run out .
The fact that much of County`s fire power ( Lazenbury, Spencer, and Dennis) was on the bench , rather showed, as home keeper Stuart Jameson, was hardly troubled in the first half- a free kick by Lofthouse being his sole action in the first half and on through the second, until County rallied rather late in proceedings.
|First half action.|
County defended well enough, but in response Buxton just would not go away and a number of miss placed passes only added to our discomfiture and Buxton`s growing confidence.
For the home side I thought Shaun Tuton was the key player, being constantly in County`s faces, and it was fitting that he should open the scoring in the first half with a neat strike.
Eventually County found their feet and hit back with a close range effort from Dennis after Spencer had hit the bar, but it was not very pretty and they had a scare or two to cope with before they could head back up the A6.
The start was decidedly frenetic as Buxton looked determined to run the legs off County, but faced with a series of home raids, County emerged intact if not in charge, with Ormson much busier than his opposite number.
It was 15 minutes before County managed a shot in reply, but Danny Murray was off balance when the chance arrived ,and he sent his shot wide.
This only served to encourage Buxton, and a break by Tuton, followed by a decent through ball saw local hot shot , Mark Reed through on goal. He was also 3 or 4 yards offside but ,with the near side liner a similar distance and more behind play, this fact ensured Reed ran on ,and a rant was only avoided when he beat Ormson but put his shot inches wide!
Hmm........there was food for thought there alright as, irrespective of whether or not it was offside( it was!)our previously serene defence was starkly filleted by a simple through ball........ and within a couple of minutes it happened again as Tuton slipped one to Neil Stevens who was in the clear. Thankfully, this time Ian Ormson did the biz and Buxton were denied, but , this was not a great start.
Did I say it was not a great start? Well....it got worse quickly, as with just 29 minutes gone Buxton took the lead when Tuton darted through the middle before drawing Ormson, and firing a decent finish home!
That was not a great surprise based on the run of play, but County did move to give us reason to hope for better shortly after , when Moses was fouled just outside the box, and Lofthouse fired in a tasty free kick.
Yep...it was a good one alright, but so was the response from Jameson, who rose to push the ball over the bar. He caught the incoming corner too, and that was that, as far as County chances were concerned until the 38th minute when a cross from Lofthouse set Murray up with a bit of a belter at the back post, but somehow he fluffed it and the chance was gone.
That was about it for the first half, and with Dennis, Lazenbury, Duxbury, Spencer, Hurst and Churchman on at the re-start I was tempted to cheer up!
I was still wondering just what our defensive line up was a couple of minutes into the second half( it was Lees RB, O`Halloran and Gregson CB, Duxbury wide left)when Hurst, who had replaced Ormson, spilled the ball to Tuton who somehow managed to shoot wide!
This was not the improved display I was wanting to see, and with Jamie Green taking the ball to the by-line, things looked about to get worse. They didn`t simply because when Reed took the pass from Green, his shot failed to hit the target. But the pressure from the home side continued unabated with County just able to contain Tuton on another surging run, and it took a decent bit of work by Franny Smith to stop Reed moments later, when the forward was presented with a real chance by some loose play.
With Lees and Sharp pushing forward down the right, County did start to look for a decent response, but they were still being undone by a loose pass here and there and ,as a result, pressure was on them down the flanks,
and O`Halloran was in regular gainful employ heading and kicking a succession of crosses and corners out. Smith tried to break the mould with an enterprising through ball, but it proved too strong for Spencer and the score stayed 0-1.
The first 70 odd minutes had seen but one shot on target from County, the Lofthouse free kick, and in the 75th minute they nearly went further behind as the white shirted back line failed to clear the ball allowing Alastair Taylor to steal clear down the right and blast a corker of an effort against the bar with Hurst well beaten!
Bugger.....that was very nearly bad news, but.....hey...ho...., the happy pills suddenly became a none requirement barely 60 seconds later, as Spencer ran at the home back line to set up a strike for Dennis. Things didn`t quite happen as planned however ,and the ball ricoceted back to Spencer whose header rattled the bar and bounced downwards ,where a clutch of blue shirts flailed about at it in real desperation. It looked over the line anyway to me, but any debate was immediately rendered useless when Dennis latched onto the ball and slotted it home!
Another Dennis effort...a header just over the bar....signalled a possible improvement in County`s play, as another new face, Michael Brewster came on for a late County cameo. More decisively I thought was the fact that Shaun Tuton was also subbed, leaving the scene to a decent ovation.
Buxton had their sub keeper on now as well, so there was perhaps a renewed need for County to test his metal.
They certainly tried, but then so did the Derbyshire side and a terrific run from Josh Davies received scant reward when Stuart Ludlam sent his shot wide.
Pressure and corners followed from County , and the keeper did look a tad flustered at one point, but it stayed 1-1, and pre season hurdle had been surmounted by AL`s charges.
Two more to come before Saturday`s encounter with Airbus. See you at E.P tonight!
County line up:
Ormson, Fagbola,O`Halloran, Moses , Lees, Gregson, Sharp, Smith, Baker, Murray, Lofthouse.
Hurst, Duxbury Lazenbury,Spencer, Dennis, Brewster, Churchman.
Buxton lione up:
Jameson, Ludlam, Green, Niven, Palmer, Young, Stevens, Williams, Reed, Tuton, King.
Taylor, Davies, Ryan, Amesbury, Reay.