Thursday, 24 April 2014

Report of Supporters Cooperative Meeting (these are not minutes)

A well attended meeting of the Stockport County Supporters Cooperative took place at the Bungalow adjacent to Edgeley Park tonight.
Chairman Pete Towey opened proceedings and gave an overview of contacts with the new people charged with running of the Club. Steve Bellis and George Hudson had the full backing of active shareholders , and had written to those shareholders not committed to debt w/o or share relinquishment requiring a response within 7 to 10 days. In answer to questions on the subject later, the Chairman confirmed that should the minority shareholders not respond positively, within the mentioned time scale, a further meeting of the Supporters Cooperative would be called and a mandate for action put to it by the Coop Board. In his opinion this action would not include not buying a season ticket.
 On the question of EP ownership, both the Club and the Supporters Coop were confirmed as committed to working towards purchase of the football ground from its current owners. The possibilities were numerous it was felt upon regaining ownership.....EP could be a Community Hub....a far cry from the neglected gem it is now!
As far as supporters representation on the Board of the Club, it appears that the new people are not as keen on this as we are. For now we will accept this situation, and concentrate on other things.
Regarding the newly appointed Vice Presidents,  these were  looked on as `speed bumps' in the event of issues that might crop up....
Supporters Cooperative Board Members.

Board members each addressed the meeting in turn....
Billy Byrne confirmed membership as having exceeded 500.Members  will receive a certificate confirming a share in the Coop( paid for by the first £1 of fee). Cards will be issued as soon as database up dated , and the Coop will have a stall at pre season games to push membership.
Dave Marchbank called for support for various upcoming events most notably the `Comedy Night' at Edgeley Park on 21st June. Teams were needed for the 5 a side football tournament being organised at the Power League . Thanks were given to organisers of `Band Night' which was in support of the Coop. Dave finished by saying that we were  negotiating with possible sponsors watch this space!
Lee Townley`s Treasurers report confirmed finances as healthy, and he was hopeful of producing a detailed budget for 2014-15 which he would present to a future meeting.

John Fitzpatrick/ John Gaskin

John Gaskin outlined plans for pre season action ,spearheaded by the Supporters Cooperative and Help the Hatters. To this effect HtH   Edgeley Park Working Parties would recommence soon.
Russ Johnson  confirmed that coverage was regularly given to Coop items via the Supporters Coop web site along with media outlets Marionsboard, County Heaven and Yellowboard. Anyone not receiving a Newsletter should contact Russ.

Russ Johnson on mike,flanked by John Gaskin & Dave Marchbank.

Mike Davies  called for greater use of social media outlets and whilst doing so praised Stockport Express journo Gavin Browne for his top rate County and Supporters Coop, coverage.
A question and answer session followed.....

Q   How much does BK want for Edgeley Park?
A:  We do not know price. We are committed to being a major stakeholder in EP, possibly via a `Community  Share Scheme, but definite proposals are needed before we approach BK- in this respect a feasibility study is being undertaken via Supporters Direct,

Q; Is it worth getting an independent valuation?

A;  Club thinks so....we agree.

Q;  Who do five a side teams go to?
A:  Paul Charnock agreed to take same, but details are on the Supporters Coop web site.
Q: Have we met the Council yet?

A; We have contacted all leaders who are broadly supportive, but there is an agreed need for a proper business plan, from the Club and thus far this has not been forthcoming.

Q: Whose coming/ going?
A : A small minority remain un decided- they have 7/10 days to do so.
Q; Is the Coop going to take action  after 10 day period if no response received?

A; Yes....if shareholders still not moving then a further Coop meeting will be called and a mandate for action put to it by the Board.

Q; Are the Chinese still interested?
A; Yes, but do not expect  early moves, their interest is more long term , but not 100% certain, so we must keep working at it meanwhile
Q; How`s the Club to be run now?

A; There will be no CEO....this function will be divided up and at no salaries being drawn by SB and GH. It was also stated that the modus operandi as far as it was known seemed to approximate closely to the proposals of the SK Group ( Editors comments; surely a pure coincidence!)

Q:  Who`s on the Club Board now?
A; 3 see the programme.

Q;  Could we ask that the ST  Early Bird initiative be extended?
A;  Will approach the Club.
Q ; Have we complained about stewards
A: This issue was raised last night with the Club.

Q ; Could we run coaches to away games?

A;   This  would need careful thought being fraught with difficulties , not least considering Peels on Wheels and Fingerpost  .

With a rallying call from the Chairman to reignite that old County spirit the meeting closed  circa 21.30.

Ian Brown

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Ho hum.............................

Prior to today, County`s Youth Team , with games in hand on all teams ahead of them, were fourth, in the table, and with today`s opponents FC Halifax having racked up two straight wins lately and scored 10 without reply ,it was plain that the young blues had a game on their hands.
In the event they came away with a praiseworthy 2-2 draw, with captain Leon Murphy apparently scoring the goal of his life in the shape of an overhead kick in the dying minutes of the game- the best sort Leon!
Leon Murphy....Library pic by Sue Cordon.

I would have liked to have provided my usual detailed report with copious pics, but  turned up at the advertised venue ( Brighouse Town FC)  to find no one about except the groundsman busily mowing the grass. He was a real gent ,but unaware of just where the game was going to be played. It was apparent it was not going on at that venue or any of several other spots, throughout Yorkshire, we tried out afterwards.
Nice ground....well maintained...a picture...but no game !

The Brighouse Town teams washing......

Meanwhile, with apologies, I offer the two above pics, taken and provided by Sue Cordon at Brighouse.

Ian Brown

Monday, 21 April 2014

Colwyn Bay 0 County 0 ; Conference North`s 630+ minutes now, since County scored in  a match, after today`s hard fought goal less draw away to Colwyn Bay. It was pretty much a repeat of recent performances with the defence in rock solid form never really looking troubled, and ably assisted by Jamie Milligan who did his best, along with workaholic Phil Jevons, to forge a link twixt defence and attack. Moke gave us  a pretty decent 90 minutes as well, and if Kristian Dennis tends to disappoint somewhat , he none the less will feel aggrieved to have seen keeper Chris Sanna claw his header from the line with time running out and the blues getting ever more confident as the game went on.  
Alan Lord before the start.

County had looked confident all game long, playing some reasonable football, but it usually fell down in the last third where the ideas ran out. That said Sanna had a couple of more than routine saves to make before the break, and a crucial one late on, so being too critical is perhaps not called for- they were working hard and I will take that!
There were 2 County changes at 3 o`clock as the teams came out- Platt for Moses and Lofthouse in place of Churchman. 
Kyle Jacobs.

The Platt move was to work well enough, but young Lofthouse disappointed , and like Churchman the game before looked ready for a rest.
Play opened with Jacobs and Lees in the thick of the action, and Duxbury likewise ushering Gareth Evans out of harm`s way. From this County went long – Moke a whisker away from embarrassing Sanna on the charge.County persisted, or rather....Jevons did ,and things looked on the up as he picked Dennis out, and again as County`s number nine forced a corner off Danny Taylor. The kick whizzed over, and a  further cross from the right, before  the ball fell nicely for Platt  whose shot unfortunately went wide.
That was a decent start , but what followed wasn`t by anyone`s yardstick as the ball was played out of defence by the Welsh side – reaching the County box , where Ormson was advancing for it. Ormson`s advance gained him the ball, but this fact looked not to concern Evans who ,with the ball not remotely at issue, swung his boot smack into Ormson`s face! 
Evans takes the Pistorius Defence ` I didn`t mean to guv'
It was a crudely unacceptable assault, and should have seen Evans walking, but instead referee Robert Jones bottled it and waved a spineless yellow at him! The `Chelsea Rent Boy’ chants that followed, aimed at the official, were amusing, but hardly enough of a rebuke for such an awful decision.
Lees was to the fore next, blocking a run by Sean Williams and then heading clear from the resultant corner, as Colwyn Bay, with Williams and ex Hatter Cameron Darkwah looking lively, pressed the blues back. In response O`Halloran joined the fray  and ended the County angst, but when Jevons and Moke worked it clear, and the ball reached Platt, the move broke down when he lost himself in a brief orgy of over elaboration.
Darkwah v Lees.

Darkwah meanwhile  was giving every indication of wanting to embarrass County , but despite another energetic run from Cameron, O`Halloran.....Lees and company remained pretty much untroubled. Indeed, with 10 minutes gone the action was at  Sanna`s end  where the keeper did brilliantly to keep a mighty strike from Moke out. It was a belter....and a good save too! Then Jevons had a go, but his volley met the same fate with Sanna again emerging , feathers unruffled, with the ball.
Ist half action.

It was end to end after this, and the 12th minute saw Jamie Tolley head over the bar after a loose ball from Duxbury had set him up. A storming run by O`Halloran then saw Sanna thwart Jevons again with a decent save.....followed by a break by Darkwah for Bay that ended on the edge of the County box.
If the football was perhaps less than wonderful, it was a pretty competitive affair, and with 15 minutes gone, the home side thought they had a chance of sneaking one. It stemmed from another Darkwah run, and he did well to ping a cross over on the end of it.In a flash Robert Hopley was onto it, but in another the liners flag was up and relief was palpable for County.

More action from ist half.

Back came County via Moke , but his left footed strike climbed over the bar. Moke was looking lively...very lively in fact, and aided by Kyle Jacobs offered a potentially potent option for AL`s side, but they still had to concentrate and ensure the back door remained locked, and OHalloran did particularly well in this respect blocking the route to goal before joining Duxbury in keeping Evans quiet. Lees did likewise, but one bit of work saw him run into trouble ,giving Darkwah another chance to show his hand- he lifted his shot wide however.

Long throw ahoy!

Bay`s best option in this period seemed to be the long throw and a couple succeeded in pushing County onto the back foot, but without ever suggesting that they would crumble. The response from County ,usually had Milligan at its source and Moke and Jacobs charged with turning defence into attack, but ,like Bay, they ran out of ideas the closer they were to seeing the white`s of Sanna`s eyes. Instance the 27th minute when a foul on Platt by Jamie Crowther ushered in a welcome free kick. Milligan played this sideways to Jevons only for Dennis to fail to make anything of it. Were County over anxious? Perhaps well aware of the long goal drought? That may be so as Platt snatched at a shot 30 minutes in ,lifting it high and wide of goal.....then Dennis did the same when a little composure would have gone far. Again....Moke and Jacobs offered hope of something better, more so when Jevons joined in, but when it reached Dennis , he lost the ball and there the move ended.
A series of County throws ensured that they gained ground after this , but with the inevitable breakdown of the move that followed, our hosts had it on the break, and for a moment or so, things looked better for them until Williams firmly struck effort carried the bar! Darkwah did his best to lift home gloom after this , but Jacobs waited his moment and timed his challenge to perfection- danger over! We were 5 minutes from the break now  and Hopley did well to send Evans clear ,but the County middle held and the threat disappeared.
Once more County replied with Mulligan orchestrating things nicely .....yes.....the move was building well ,and Moke again looked on the verge of something, when Hopley laid him out with as slack jawed a challenge as I have seen for some time. It was depressing  to see such obnoxious crudity, and the depression only increased when Milligan`s kick hit the wall and Lofthouse lifted his follow up high into the crowd. 
Milligan`s free kick......

The last minute of the half was lit up by Duxbury who went on a Bale type run that carried him from deep ,well into the Colwyn Bay half. Into the box he went ending it all with a decent strike, but Sanna was equal to it and his dive kept it at 0-0 as the referee blew for the break.      
The Drum and sundry County supporters!

585+ minutes had now elapsed  since County had scored in a game,but Police and Stewards, who generally had an easy time of it, spent the break `dealing with’ about 2 dozen travelling fans who were viewing proceedings from a vantage point outside the ground. Some element of illegality was no doubt involved but I cared not and left them to it.
Straight off upon the re-start Colwyn Bay had themselves a chance ,thanks to Tom Smyth having lumped a high one into the County box from distance. It looked to be a chance anyway , but Evans, who should by rights have been viewing proceedings from beyond the touchline, fluffed his lines sending the poorest of shots wide.The quality from Bay did not noticeably improve either even when assisted when the referee obliged them with a ludicrously iffy free kick. It was nicely placed as well, and Tony Stephens definitely fancied it, only to send his kick hopelessly wide of the target! 
Moke on the charge !

Moke then took matters in hand – creasing Bay with a cross that Smyth did well to head clear. Then he treated us to a real dazzler of a run, going past 4 men before veering inside at speed.   Bay responded through Royle who lumped the pill out of the ground. The mother of all scrambles followed, with County just unable to apply that final touch. Then.......they could( apply that touch) as Jevons slid the ball into Dennis`s path and he leathered it home. Joy was short lived however as referee brought play back for a Bay free kick for......err......offside?.....foul by Jevons ? It matters not ,it was still 0-0!

Duxbury and Crowther get acquainted !

It got a tad lively after this, with Darkwah running at us again, and Duxbury sparring in lively fashion with Crowther, who came off rather the worse.............. Dennis had a shot saved by Sanna, and O`Halloran stopped Williams with an excellent saving tackle, but County were not being faced with overwhelmingly good opposition, in fact I felt that the Welsh side were pretty ordinary, so maybe something slightly special might be possible later on! Meanwhile I looked on to see another Moke run ended with a tug of his shirt from Tolley,which earned County a free kick ,but the offender not so much as a gentle rebuke from the referee, whose mind I felt was now probably occupied on the perils of the traffic on the M53 etc between the ground and the Wirral rather than a rigorous punishment of felons, and seeing the free kick come to nought only served to increase my cynicism! The mood improved slightly on seeing another magic tackle by O`Halloran stop substitute James Ellison in his tracks. Jevons waited his moment and with Mulligan in tow forced Bay back again, and I was aghast to see the referee signal a corner after the outstretched leg of Danny Taylor had sent Jevons sprawling in the box. I should have known really....we do not get them do we? Jevons  and O`Halloran both tried to make the corner count, but then exchanged strong words having each felt impeded by the other- Jevons getting to the ball but heading over the bar. County were playing some OK stuff , but it all prompted the rather obvious question......” where`s the meat?” Well...young Payne was on the bench....could he not have something to contribute? 
County press !

This was distracting stuff to ponder on, but matters got temporarily iffy on the pitch next as following good work by O`Halloran the otherwise excellent Jacobs upended a forward giving Bay a free kick in a scoreable position. Again Stephens fancied it and lined up accordingly, but so did Ellison and he took it ,and Ormson did not have to budge as the kick went well wide.
There really wasn`t that much of substance coming at County from their opponents, the trouble was that County were struggling themselves to make anything from some promising approach play, which made the continued absence of Payne all the more puzzling.

2nd half action.

Colwyn Bay did keep trying to breach the County back line, but the closest they came was a back header ,after 80 minutes, from Williams which Ormson dealt with comfortably. Then it attack of real penetration from the blues and it was started by Milligan who kept pegging away until he could get a cross in. It was a belter too and so was Dennis`s response. Dennis had been disappointing but the header that followed was spot on and on target. It was going in for sure ,but Sanna, who was falling backwards towards goal, stretched out a hand to somehow keep it out. County thought it over the line....unsurprisingly I agreed, but liner and referee did not and it stayed 0-0!
That last action seemed to have unnerved Bay and both Lofthouse and Duxbury saw shots charged down with the home defence in disarray, not long after. Then Moke applied the pressure via a lively run that ended with Dennis picking Platt out, but watching aghast as he was blocked on trying in vain to turn and shoot in the box. Jacobs, Moke and Jevons kept the momentum going, pushing Bay ever further back, but the ball just would not oblige and nestle in Sanna`s net, and the keeper was obliged to thump the ball over the stand with a minute or so left, when Platt sent Jevons scooting clear!
Late surge from County.

A Dennis shot that just cleared the bar......a corner and some excellent defensive work from O`Halloran and that was that....the game was over.
County left the field to generous applause from over 800 supporters. I felt that that was the right response......OK.....the quality of the football on show was not that great, but County were trying...working hard...and their defensive excellence is there for all to see! Here`s to next Saturday and a goal or two against Harrogate at Edgeley Park in front of a bumper crowd!

County line up :
Ormson, Jacobs, Duxbury, Lees, O`Halloran,Mulligan,Lofthouse, Platt, Jevons, Moke, Dennis.

Subs not used; Charnock, Payne, Todd, Howard, Churchman

Colwyn Bay line up:
Sanna,Taylor, Stephens,Royle,Smyth,Crowther,Evans,S Williams,Hopley, Tolley, Darkwah.

Attendance : 1056

Ian Brown

Additional Gallery;

Saturday, 19 April 2014

County 0 Altrincham 0 ; Conference North

County made it six games, last night, without so much as one goal to show for all the effort expended during the 540 + minutes. It therefore seems ridiculous to say it, but County were probably happy with last night`s 0-0 draw, as indeed they may well be with the previous two. Both these had been against promotion contenders , and Altrincham were the latest ,and the third of that ilk to contest the points with the Hatters, so blue pleasure can perhaps be understood.

Eight months ago Altrincham, with Walshaw and Reeves  running the show, had given County a thorough lesson , and indeed for long periods last night County were very much second best, against an Alty side that looked sharp, incisive, well drilled and full of ideas- in short promotion material! There was however altogether more heart in County`s performance in response this time, and immense credit must go to the whole back four, Ormson and Moses and Milligan too, for a thoroughly disciplined professional showing. Maybe a free kick or two too many was conceded ,and Moses` booking rather than any form lapse probably forced his substitution at half time, but there was solidity there in shed loads and that was encouraging, and referee Ryan Johnson was a long way from being 100% correct a lot of the time. Jevons gave 100% as usual and Moke offered a first 45 with some threat about it, but, apart from 2 saves that veteran keeper Stuart Coburn made before the break, there was little fire power up front from County.
Altrincham by way of contrast had Walshaw and Reeves and they were and energetic all over the front line, and with Nicky Clee also in prime form, and Jake Moult attack prompter in chief, County were frequently stretched to near breaking point. Add a constant flow of dangerous crosses from ex Hatter Adam Griffin into the mix, and it was plain to see why County`s preoccupation was over long concerned with matters defensive! For the most part they did this well, and with a small amount of good fortune thrown in took a point and the applause at the end.

The away support, not all here but beginning to arrive....
From Northern Ireland supporting County Jackson Massey and son Jack!

There were not far short of 4000 on site at 19.45, and the old place throbbed with excitement with the away support populating the Railway End for a change in good numbers.
County opened brightly with Dennis slinging a cross over from the right, and Moke harassing Shaun Densmore into conceding an early corner, but when this came over, there was no one in blue at the back post to apply a finish and any threat dissipated 
with the sight of Jevons lifting his eventual shot high into the away support. A shot not long after, from Milligan, albeit a fairly tame one, kept Coburn interested, but he was untroubled , and the first 3 minutes has passed with the game goal less.
Twice after this, Clee probed the County back line......Jacobs ...then Lees in position to deal , but when Reeves went down under pressure from Moses, I thought that we had trouble because it was in a decent position for a pot on goal. In the event the kick emphasised one weakness in Alty`s make up, namely the set pieces, and this one had Row R ducking  hurriedly as it whistled past my left ear.
Free kick joins me in Row R.

That was 5 minutes gone....the sixth saw County respond as Moke and Jevons combined to good effect, but when the ball reached Dennis, he lifted his shot wide of goal. You had the feeling that there was a great need for County to take what chances that came their way, with the visitors already hinting at a steely determination to win, so the last outcome was disappointing.
A corner for County to defend.

Altrincham came back at County, and Jacobs did well to stop Jake Moult reaching Reeves with a neat pass. Alty still had a corner though, but again they wasted it and it stayed 0-0. The pressure remained on the blues however and intensified when Reeves went down for a rest and Mr Johnson obliged with a free kick and a school masterly look in the direction of Mark Lees. Within a minute though, another school masterly look was called for as the free kick  whizzed to the back of the box where Walshaw climbed to punch the ball into the net. Credit to the referee, he spotted it, and saved an ugly incident by showing the free scoring forward a yellow card( I will spare you my standard Fagbola/ Eaton rant, but you know by now how it goes!).

Walshaw shows his Harlem Globetrotter technique, and punches the ball home!
Moke offered relief for the blues with a couple of tasty runs, but the Alty defence held firm and they were soon pushing County back again through Reeves and Walshaw,  who exchanged passes with precision. Duxbury did enough to see this threat off, and had to do it again almost immediately as James Lawrie entered the fray looking to cross the ball to a clutch of red/ white shirts queuing in front of goal. Duxbury blocked this effort too, but just as County thought the danger was wasn`t as O`Halloran was penalised just outside the box for a tackle on Walshaw, and Ormson did well to keep a strike by Reeves out following the kick.
Ormson punches out.

So far was still 0-0 ,and Moke and Jevons were showing signs of a promising partnership , and a neat 1....2 twixt the pair set Dennis up nicely, with 12 minutes gone, only for keeper Stuart Coburn to deny the ex Ashton man with his legs! One shot on target in 12 minutes is way better than one in 90( our recent diet) so there was hope of better things, at least from the occupant of Row R seat 53! Another Moke run relieved pressure from Alty`s latest free kick, but offered little in the way of threat, and consequently County were faced with Reeves latching onto a through ball at the sharp end. A turn......a shot, and it looked all over 0-1, until Ormson`s dive saw him snaffle the ball before it could roll over the line- the save took 2 goes, but a save it was we`ll take it, wont we!
With Reeves, Walshaw and Clee on song and urged on by Moult, Altrincham looked every bit as useful as in August, and it was a relief to see the Pop Side liner`s flag up as Reeves darted clear onto a pass by Clee.
It was beyond half way now in the first half and time for a reply from County, but when it came a decent dummy from Milligan, just inside the box, just failed to round off a good cooperation with Jevons- that was unlucky, but the boot was on the other foot shortly after as Walshaw slipped clear bringing an excellent saving tackle from Lees that prevented County shipping that vital first goal! As before Alty wasted the corner, but it did not matter that much as a tasty diagonal ball from Griffin saw Lawrie in on goal. Churchman and Ormson were in the vicinity but looked seriously challenged, and it was a considerable relief when County`s young keeper managed to grab the ball and end the angst, if only temporarily.
County responded  with a couple of mazy runs from Moke, and a free kick from Jevons, but this was sent straight down Coburn`s throat, ushering in a break by Reeves which thankfully Duxbury saw off. I was just congratulating County for still looking solid in the face of some lively opposition play, when I gasped to see Ormson plant the poorest of kicks right at Reeves` feet! It was a lulu, and Reeves was probably taken by surprise by it all and thus sent his shot heading our way to sounds of raucous laughter from in and around Row R.
Again County tried to take the game to Altrincham, but Churchman`s shot was charged down, and there were now 2 men on Moke and one of them( Carl Rodgers)brought him down as he went by him. Milligan whipped the free kick in, but this and Duxbury`s follow up effort were both dealt with easily enough by the visitors back line. Dennis then shot well wide, and Moke was once more upended, earning Densmore a booking, but although Milligan again sent in a decent kick, Jevons diving header saw the ball fly up and over the bar.
There were less than 10 minutes of the half left now and plenty of time for either side to snatch one, and Alty  almost did so, on 37 minutes, as Clee shielded the ball brilliantly before turning and firing a fierce shot on target. It was a good strike, but Ormson proved equal to it and his dive kept it out to great applause. The pressure remained on County for a while after this however, and O`Halloran did well to stop Walshaw after Churchman lost possession for the first of several times in the game. Still Alty surged on, and Moses went into the referee`s book for a perceived foul on Reeves. 
Free kick to defend for County.
This was annoying to say the least because with Reeves on the ground and County in possession he allowed play to continue and apparently had no intent to even give a free kick....and then he did ...and more.....aaaaaarrrrrrrgghhhhhhhhhh! Lees headed the kick out but I now had the referee in the Roger Dixon mode for reliability and was every thus I suppose!
Tussle in blue box.....

In the minutes that remained of the half....keeper Coburn again saved with his legs after Jevons had been sent clear by Milligan, whilst at the other end Walshaw was foiled first by Duxbury and then O`Halloran as he tore into the blue back line.     
Halt time then.......0-0.....and two shots on target...not bad!
Part view of C.E ( top) and Sanchez Payne( below) at H.T

AL swapped Platt for Moses for the re-start- which I took as a precautionary measure taking the Moses booking into account. Would we miss the Moses midfield bite?
Altrincham set off at a pace in the second half with Moult sending Walshaw dashing clear, but he was flagged offside, so no damage was incurred. I was in rant mode however straight after this as a long throw sent Walshaw clear in the box- he had company and went to ground for no apparent reason. The referee saw it as a dive( correctly) but presumably remembering Walshaw`s earlier yellow opted for leniency!
Alty attack the nicely full Railway End.

The Cheadle End were in excellent voice now encouraged by Jevons who forced a decent block from Scott Leather, with Dennis waiting to his left to pounce. For a time County were on the up and twice Milligan  applied the cosh to Alty – first with a free kick that Leather was happy to lump into the Pop Side, and then via a shot that only just drifted wide of goal with Coburn looking on anxiously!
Veteran Alty keeper Stuart Coburn.

It was a decent game was this, and despite Altrincham`s obvious quality, to their credit, County were very much still in it!
Inevitably Altrincham applied the pressure again- Leather heading wide from one of several corners, and Moult continued to try to coax something more from his forwards- unlucky to see Walshaw flagged offside on the end of one pass , and firmly blocked by O`Halloran latching onto another.
Moke continued to run at the visitors, but these excursions were getting less frequent as Alty applied the pressure, and an interception by Lawrie , saw him link up with Walshaw and then Densmore, whose cross fizzed like a bomb across the face of goal where absolutely no one, defender or forward, managed a touch! Chance gone!
Densmore and Griffin were finding time now to get forward , and the Alty captain`s cross on 72 minutes had County grateful for Ormson`s alert responses with 3 or 4 red/white shirts lurking in the box.

County on the attack.

Moke did have another run after this but after his shot climbed disappointingly over the bar, another break was on for the visitors from the goal kick as Clee and Lawrie made light of the County cover to bear down on goal. Lawrie it was who took the final ball, and his shot was a good one, but not good enough and Ormson emerged with the ball, albeit after needing two goes at it.
County keeper Ian Ormson.

Crosses were now whizzing over like promises at election time, and Walshaw was only denied by excellent work by Ormson who punched the ball out for a corner under much pressure. The kick went to the back post, and again Leather looked to have a free header, but once more planted his effort wide! Chance gone again!
County were battling hard , and they needed to as Alty were looking hell bent on all 3 points, and Ormson was exposed as Moult threaded a decent ball to Walshaw in the box. A goal looked a possibility, but Duxbury did enough to stop the forward getting a shot off, which was excellent stuff, and no mistake!
With 11 minutes left- Jevons was inches away from reaching a tempting bouncer in the box, and a minute later Leather was likewise thwarted trying to apply a finish to a Densmore ball. It was nip and tuck now and still County had a fighters chance, and a tad unlucky as a corner, set up by a Moke run, ended with the mother of all scrambles in front of Coburn`s goal- Alty held out, and I felt that that was probably County`s last chance of taking all 3 points. Could they survive though?
Smoke gets in your eyes !

Well......they were making a decent fist of it and both Reeves and Lawrie were thwarted by good work from Ormson . Altrincham were getting loads of possession now with the last 5 minute beckoning, and with County still scoreless I found myself again wondering why young Sanchez Payne was still languishing on the bench when something different was  needed!
Altrincham piled into the attack, and crosses fizzed across the face of the County goal with no takers still as the minutes ticked away with Milligan and Duxbury making vital interventions. Ormson too was still on his toes and had to make a truly excellent save to stop Lawrie from getting that crucial winner with barely a minute left of normal time.
At last AL rang the changes bringing Payne and Howard on for Milligan and Churchman, who seconds earlier had lumped a free kick over the bar.
Jevons went close with a header after this, but it was still Altrincham , now urged on by a feisty display from Adam Griffin, who looked the more likely to.....
Griffin lifted one over......blocked....then another, and a scramble ensued followed by a welcome free kick to County that offered some respite. But there was all of 4 added minutes to contend with – time enough for us to leak a late one, but instead another nippy run by Clee ended with his cross again finding no takers as it flew across goal!
County did manage to reply and Moke was just short of getting to a Jevons pass. The ball was lifted back into the box and I convinced myself that I saw a hand to ball moment from a defender, but you know me, and there was not much of a response along those lines from others around me so.......
Late action.

The game ended with Havern launching one from distance hopefully and County defending it with characteristic application, and the points were shared.
It`s off to the seaside on Monday then, and the hope is for a goal or two, but then you know me, and I will meanwhile keep taking the tablets!

County line up;
Ormson, Jacobs, Lees, O`Halloran, Duxbury, Moses( Platt 45), Milligan ( Howard 89),Churchman ( Payne 89), Moke, Jevons, Dennis.
Subs not used : Charnock, Lofthouse.

Altrincham line up:
Coburn, Densmore, Griffin, Rodgers, Havern , Leather, Lawrie, Moult, Walshaw, Reeves, Clee.

Attendance; 3770

Ian Brown

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Nine Months On, and it still seems outrageous !

It is nine months , on 11 July 2013 to be precise, that this blog published an article by myself  outlining the situation that pioneers of Women`s Football in the UK , Doncaster Rovers Belles, found themselves in.
In short they had been advised ,prior to last season`s start, that irrespective of where they finished in the league table that season, they would be relegated, and Manchester City, who were not even top of the lower division, would automatically replace them!
 City were newcomers to the women`s game, in sharp contrast to  Doncaster Rovers Belles, who had been serious contenders  for 44 years( 45 now).
Doncaster tried to appeal, but they were refused this basic right-  I said at the time that disgraceful hardly covered the situation, and 9 months on the sense of outrage still lingers, and was only intensified with the news that Lincoln Ladies  have been allowed to change their name to Notts County, completely ignoring the views of Nottingham Forest Ladies- the City`s only resident women`s team!
I would like to think that the women`s game is in good hands nationally, but instead see the birth of another monster of Premier League proportions raising its head.
Doncaster Rovers Belles meanwhile  start  their new season, in WSL 2, tonight at Sutton Coldfield against Aston Villa Ladies. I hope that you join with me in wishing them well for the season !
I have included a link to the Belles site under the `Favourite Sites' ,so why not give it a visit, and keep an eye on their progress.

Ian Brown