Northwich Victoria 2 County 1
County`s pre season got off to something less than a flyer in the blistering summer sunshine at Valley Road yesterday.
It was an interesting encounter but one that County lost, however ........that does not quite tell the whole story, as the flow and first team significance was, in routine pre-season style, diluted by County, who had dominated the first half, making wholesale changes at half time, and thereafter losing the plot and the game to a well drilled Vics side inspired by the stand out man of the match- Scott Harries.
Ian Bogie would have learned some useful things from the encounter hopefully.
In the first half, County lined up 3/5/2, and County`s Manager will want another look probably at Ross Fisher who took Charnock`s place at the back alongside Fagbola and Tunnicliffe. He played the whole 90 minutes but without ever being wholly convincing, whereas fullbacks O`Halloran and Jacobs again looked the part getting up the park at regular intervals to reasonably good effect. Top man in blue for me however was new signing Jamie Hands who took up position in front of the back three, and commanded the middle of the park with some style and to good effect .The rest were a work in progress I suppose, except for Kristian Dennis who took O`Halloran`s pass before leathering an unstoppable shot beyond keeper Conor Wearing`s dive on 32 minutes to give County a deserved 1-0 lead.
County made 8 changes for the second 45 minutes, and it showed as their play fell apart and possession was squandered with regularity. Northwich were buoyed by this, and, urged on by Scott Harries who menaced the blue back line as a ravenous lion would yer bewildered wildebeest, they were level when Hibbert felled Harries in the box teeing Alex Taylor up to beat Ormson from the spot! Within a minute, Hibbert cleared another Harries effort off the line after County`s cover had again been laid to waste by the home number seven.
We had escaped ....but not for long as...with possession thrown away again, and Ormson making something of a meal of pushing Tony Evans shot around the post, the same forward was on hand to power a header in from close range from the corner, and it was 1-2 and the game was lost.
It had been a disappointing second half to say the least even taking account of the fact that it was the first game of our close season. Particularly alarming was the ease with which possession was given away by the likes of Paris Bateman, Tom Donegan and Sam Hibbert and others in midfield. Only Ali Traore showed up to any degree and he disappeared almost completely after being mugged by Chris Smalley, whose `tackle’ was worthy of a booking in my view. Turner and Windsor up front were never in it after the first 5 minutes of the half whilst the back 3 were never `out of it` with the midfield constantly giving the ball away.
Nil desperandum though.....................first outing and all that.....let`s hope for better at Cheadle this Wednesday!
County line up ( names in brackets indicate players on after 45 mins)
King ( Ormson), Fagbola ( Hibbert), Tunnicliffe, Fisher, Jacobs (Brooke), O`Halloran , Hands ( Bateman), Craney ( Donegan)Howard ( Traore) Jevens ( Turner), Dennis ( Windsor).
Wearing, Smalley, Horrocks, Humphreys, Mercer,Summerskill,Harries, Taylor,Kenworthy,Garner, Beattie.