County’s Development Squad gave Director of Football, Alan Lord, just the response he needed at Edgeley Park last night, as they romped home to an emphatic 5-2 victory against Padiham FC.
Padiham, with Sam Langford in the van, looked a lively outfit, but were no match for a County side marshalled solidly at the back by captain Connor Hancock and Wes Benjamin, and laced throughout with speedy, high octane performers!
The nap hand of goals, shared between Joe Noblett, George Blackwell, Mike Hampson and Ryan Hanson, were all snorters, and just reward for the efforts of 4 really excellent performers. Jahsiah Donaldson did not score, but was unlucky in this respect, and his speed and strength mark him out as one to watch for the future none the less. I was impressed with the cohesion of the team .Lordy had got them playing some magic stuff at times, and ,as usual, I had my eye on the full backs and I was particularly impressed by the work of Elliott Watson and Jordyn Fitton, who defended well, and time after time gave County’s forward push that extra bit!
A small crowd was on site to see the start of this one, and within a couple of minutes the lightning speed of Mike Hampson almost saw him open his account…..harrying the keeper first off, before unluckily missing out at the far post from a Ryan Hanson cross.
|Mike Hampson - simply flying !|
There was some early work for County`s defence to do, and it looked like Padiham would give a good account of themselves, however Elliott Watson responded admirably as Langford and Trickett engineered a break for the visitors, snuffing the raid out with the minimum of fuss. Padiham kept the pressure up though and a cross from the right by Corry Cook caused a flutter or two for County, and Jake Leigh ( a fresh face to me) between the sticks for County pulled off a vital save to deny Langford from close in!
That save was probably a crucial moment in the game as it signalled the end of Padiham’s early burst, and County hit them hard with Jahsiah Donaldson and Mike Hampson testing the visitors to the full with their pace and energy. Donaldson took a hefty knock midst all this and it was troubling to see the referee not respond and admonish the offender. He did so moments later though when Jordyn Fitton`s pacy run down the left was cut short by another peremptory intervention from a harassed defender.
This heralded a free kick for County, albeit one not a yard or two away from where I sat near the half way line. Cue the arrival of Joe Noblett who promptly lifted a gem of a kick past the keeper into the far corner of the net, with Hancock on hand sniffing for triffles! It was 1-0, and the small crowd made the noise of a thousand in response!
County turned it on after this……Hanson and Hampson unlucky with incisive runs. Charlie Russell was in there too, his shot deflected for a corner that saw two or three shots come out off defenders.
Fitton was doing well, driving forward down the left, whilst Hanson did likewise on the other flank, sending Donaldson clear around 25 minutes. Noblett meanwhile….prompted by Wes Benjamin, put the skids under the visitors with a neat cross from the right. Somehow Padiham held out in the face of all this, even surviving a Louis Suarez type run from Mike Hampson that saw their defences well and truly filleted at one point!
The speed and constant switching of positions by County’s forwards severely tested Padiham, but again they held out as shots from George Blackwell, Donaldson and Hampson rained in. It was excellent stuff from the young County side, and went on with a terrific run and cross from Hanson that set Blackwell up for an effort that was only just kept out by Padiham.
Corners came and went for County without further success, but the feeling persisted that it was only a matter of time before the blues progressive play would be rewarded. And so it was, and it was Donaldson who started it with brilliant work to snaffle possession from Padiham. From the corner that followed the ball ran wide to Blackwell who lashed a screamer past the keeper into the net!
That was a superb strike!
There was just time for a spirited response from Padiham, which saw Mike Hampson in workaholic mode tracking back to rob Trickett near the by-line, whereupon County added to their lead!
It was another beauty as well…..this time engineered by Joe Noblett who won the ball in great style before sending Hanson clear. There was nothing on at all from the distance, but no one had told Hanson and he smashed another pearler into the net to make it 3-0.
Donaldson was unlucky with an `unfortunate’ offside flag after this, but 3-0 was a decent score to go in at the break with.
The second half opened with Alex Golbourn kicking lumps out of Jahsiah Donaldson. Again there was no protection from the officials which was disappointing.
Substitute Liam Cole, for a time seemed to offer Padiham an additional outlet, but with Benjamin having a shot saved by the keeper , and Noblett missing one from under the bar from Hampson`s pass, it was still a surprise when the visitors pulled one back- Langford doing the deed with a neat finish on the break.
It took County 5 minutes to respond to Lordy`s impassioned plea for them to ` put back the quality’, and there was an abundance of it, starting with Watson`s cross, which was superbly put away by Hampson whose sublime finish gave the keeper no chance whatsoever!
County were rampant now …..Donaldson won possession with amazing confidence, sending Noblett clear. With Hancock holding the fort, Benjamin joined in winning a corner, but the move ended with Charlie Russell’s shot carrying the bar.
AL made a triple change of personnel bringing Jordan Young, Jordan Rogers and George McGinery on for Russell, Watson and Donaldson.
Hanson continued to trouble Padiham with his pace and power, and Jordan Young joined him, the pair winning a corner that keeper Jake Chadwick could only parry. Hanson was again on it in an instant and it was not entirely clear whether the resultant shot had hit a defender’s hand or not. The referee thought not, so it stayed 4-1.
Padiham made spirited efforts after this to get back into it, but County’s defensive work, with Hancock and Benjamin as cool as you like, remained in immaculate nick.
Benjamin and Blackwell did good work under pressure at this point, whilst at the other end the speed of Hanson and Hampson continued to irk Padiham, and it was no surprise when County added a fifth goal, when Hanson fired in another fizzing rocket from way out on Moscow Road East. I threw away my 2015 copy of `The Bumper Book of Footballing Clichés and Superlatives’ at this juncture, as words were now failing me….superb…..excellent hardly covered it!
Jordan Rogers had a run blocked……a Noblett/ Young/ Hampson cooperation was unkindly dealt with by the near side liner, and Blackwell went close after more good work by Hanson, as County strove to build on already rock solid foundations.
Padiham meanwhile kept trying, and Jordan Young did well to deny Langford as he hit us on the break, and it was probably fitting that they sneaked one at the death, through Trickett who forced the ball home from close in.
Young went close side stepping a couple of defenders in the box after this, but before the corner that this effort had won could be taken, the referee blew for time and County had won 5-2.
Much applause at the end, and deservedly so- there is much to admire in this County side, which deserves better support.
The next game is again at Edgeley Park on 22 April ( k.o 8 p.m.) why not come and support them!
County line up:
Jake Leigh, Elliot Watson( George McGinery 60), Jordyn Fitton, Charlie Russell( Jordan Young 60), Wes Benjamin, Connor Hancock, Joe Noblett, George Blackwell, Ryan Hanson, Mike Hampson, Jahsiah Donaldson( Jordan Rogers 60).
Oh…..and a word for `Unused Sub’ Dan Havern , who stepped in to run the line in the second half- nice one Dan!
Padiham line up:
Jake Chadwick, Stuart Craig( Liam Cole 50), Alex Goulbourn, Mat Turner, Dan Turner, William Irvine, Corry Cook, Josh Emmutt, Martin Trickett, Sam Langford, Chris Dwyer( William Higginson 33).
Subs not used:
Abidur Kabir, Nathan Egan.