Harrogate Town 3 County 1 ; Conference North 31.8.2013
Scientists ,we are told, are close to creating a pill to cure jet lag, after research on mice had revealed a possible mechanism for speeding up the body`s response to movement across time zones. There were no time zones for County to cross today, just a 66 mile journey to North Yorkshire to take on Harrogate Town, but ,for sure, there was a pressing need for their circadian clocks to be better regulated than they apparently have been thus far this season, but there was no sign of this happening at Wetherby Road where they slumped to ignominious defeat in alarming style.
It was another abject exhibition of how not to win football matches as with the game stuck at 0-0, and half time just 8 minutes away, County suddenly lapsed into doze mode, conceding 3 goals in a 5 minute spell that sent them in at the break 3-0 down. This was reduced by one , late on in the second half, when substitute Iain Howard forced one in with 3 minutes left, but it looked like too little too late and that`s how it proved. Another desultory chapter in the continuing saga of County`s decline had been concluded, or so we thought, until news came in on the way home, that Ian Bogie had resigned opening yet another can of worms for County and their long suffering supporters.
Tunnicliffe was in at the start, and Jevons replaced the injured Dennis, but the rest of the team was as per Monday`s starting eleven at Edgeley Park- neither of County`s most recent signings having been cleared by the F.A.
The game opened with Harrogate testing the blue back line with a couple of high one`s- both dealt with by Charnock. That was interesting, but slightly alarming too as, a minute later, Ashley Worsfold sneaked his way to the by-line before planting the ball into the box. It looked iffy as Michael Woods latched onto the ball, but County`s luck held as the shot that followed went wide.
A long throw from Leigh Franks kept the pressure on forcing Jacobs to belt the ball clear in a hurry, but it came straight back via Adam Bolder who sent Chris Hall dashing clear. O`Halloran did well to block Hall`s shot ,and when Fagbola managed to head the corner that followed out, the first 5 minutes had passed with Harrogate constantly on the attack.
The next 4 or 5 minutes thankfully confirmed that County had attacking ideas of their own It began with the previously mentioned clearance from Fagbola and was taken on by Turner whose speed took him to the by-line where Mathew Bloomer was happy to concede a corner. This dropped at Fagbola`s feet but his shot on the turn was charged down by a bevy of yellow and black shirts.
The improvement continued as good work by Moke saw Turner head over the bar from close in, but it was not long before Ormson was in action diving to his left to prevent Craig Nelthorpe`s cross from causing problems.
Harrogate thus far were looking well organised and neat in their approach play, but Worsfold overdid a bit of `fancy danning’ to ruin what was building into a decent move for the home side.
County had not opened all that confidently, but were showing signs of getting to grips with the situation a bit, with Moke and Turner`s pace being possibly their trump cards. Certainly Moke was getting involved and a link up with O`Halloran brought County a free kick in a reasonable position ,when Turner was fouled by Anton Brown. Moke took the kick, but Harrogate defended in numbers and well, and it stayed 0-0.
Charnock then did well with a neat bit of work at the back which was followed by a long ball into the box where Jevons went for it. He made a decent fist of trying, but the bounce beat him allowing home keeper Craig Macgillivray to gather the ball to him.
It was beginning to look a bit better from a County perspective, especially when Verma won the ball neatly in mid field. A fine move followed, but when Turner set a scoring chance up for Verma by heading Moke`s cross back into his path, he missed the target by a distance with a really poor effort!
That was just not what was required, we needed County to take every chance that came their way, but I cheered up as Moke darted down the left onto Jevons flick on, only to go on a downer once more as he ran into Bloomer!
That was 21 minutes gone......another 60 seconds saw County almost torn asunder by Woods who sent Worsfold surging through what looked suddenly threadbare blue back line. He was clear....well clear and Ormson was home alone as he stuck out a despairing leg as the shot thudded into his near post before going out of play.
That looked really iffy, but County came back offering some hope as a series of corners pinned the Yorkshire team back in their last third. O`Halloran...Jevons and Moke all did well and Turner saw two headers go close, but it remained 0-0 , and County were almost caught out midst all this attacking when Chris Hall beat our offside trap on the break. It was another dicey moment until O`Halloran earned applause by tracking back and ushering the ball back to Ormson.
Again, however, I consoled myself with the thought that overall County were beginning to shape up and Harrogate`s break out`s were lesser in number, albeit distinctly sharp. This view seemed to gain credence when Verma was bundled down by Franks and Brown and County had a free kick, and looked to be underlined as Jevons` sent a thunderously powerful kick heading for the far corner. It was a goal obviously......except it wasn`t because Macgillivray flung himself to his left to beat the shot out brilliantly!
At this point I felt( irony alert!) that the midfield was looking a tad better with the addition of Tunnicliffe to their numbers! Hmmm......
Well......it looked that way at that point and I looked on quite pleased to see a nice flick on by Turner send Verma racing clear. It was another definite chance, but with Macgillivray beaten for once, the shot drifted wide of the post.
I wasn`t at all fazed even when Woods darted clear and we were only saved by a late flag from the linesman, or when Craney lost possession to Brown and O`Halloran had to work his socks off to retrieve the situation.
No......I was really quite happy with things as a flowing move involving Jevons, Moke and Verma ended with a Moke shot that looked like opening the scoring until Macgillivray pushed the ball over the bar with another spectacular dive!
Then it all went pear shaped ,on 37 minutes, when Bolder stole clear from deep in his own half....was allowed to do so....was then allowed to run on and on.....and then lash a speculative effort in from 25 unchallenged yards out!
Still reeling from that trauma and within 60 seconds of the last action...0-1 became 0-2 as the very next attack from Harrogate saw Woods blast another home from close in!
If that was unbelievable, more of the same followed, just 3 minutes on from this as Woods charged past 3 half hearted pseudo challenges from County to slip the ball to Hall who slotted the third home.
That was about that for the first 45 minutes as we looked around in horror for none existent explanation or comfort, in the sure knowledge that, with Galnsborough leading in their game, we were notionally bottom of the league!
A foul by Charnock on Brown ushered in the second half, and the free kick saw the dangerous Woods on the ball again slipping a neat one through to Westfold whose shot came back out off a defender.
I was looking for a miracle I suppose.....a small one would do......a shot maybe......but when one materialised for the blues ( who irritatingly turned out in the home kit after I had lashed out on the away one!)after Mike and Verma had done well, the latter rather spoilt it with the tamest of shots that failed completely to unsettle Mcgillivray.
Turner looked slightly more likely to upset Harrogate`s apple cart as he darted to the edge of the box down the right, but when there were no takers for his cross, it was err.......panic stations as that man Woods was on the ball once more and running deep into blue territory. A tasty cross exactly matched the forward`s run, and Hall met it firmly with his head, only to see the ball miss the target by a foot or so.
Harrogate continued to press through Woods, but County eventually replied through Craney who sent it long to Jevens who held play up whilst Verma joined him. Jevens then played it back to O`Halloran who tried his best to make something of it , but the final ball whizzed some 10 feet or so over the waiting Verma`s head!
There seemed no lack of effort from County, but a distinct lack of cohesive action however and twice in rapid succession moves broke down when players ( Jevons once ...then Verma) worked themselves into promising positions only to find no one in the same coloured shirt around to take a pass or make a run- disappointing just doesn`t cover it!
Lofthouse came on for Craney , on 60 minutes, and did well straight off lifting the ball nicely into the box for Jevons to go for. The shot went over the top but at least it was a shot!
A double switch came next......Howard for Jevons( who had shaped up a tad better than previously) and Windsor for Moke who presumably looked tired to IB.
Harrogate had made a change or two themselves too and one of them Dominic Rowe, was on hand , with 20 minutes left, to receive a pass from Craig Nolthorp who surged clear in a 3 man break. County were all over the place in response and perhaps Rowe should have done better, but instead his shot climbed over the bar and County were off the hook.
Then they weren`t......................and once more it was Woods doing the damage with another devastating run, that had the blues again trailing in his wake. He should have scored..............he looked as though he had scored.......the shot was on its way in when Fagbola arrived at the last moment to boot it clear off the line! As escapes go that was definitely one...and Hall did his best to add to County`s discomfiture as his run took him clear down the right. There was a queue of black/yellow shirts forming beyond Ormson, but the County keeper`s dive saw him clutch the ball and make their journey up field a wasted one.
They continued to look for a fourth though, none more so than Ashley Worsfold who entertained us grandly with a most fulsome dive just inside the box. I almost forgot myself and rose out of my seat to applaud him, but I resisted the temptation and contented myself with the sight of the referee waving play on !
What I really .....really wanted though was for him to blow the whistle and end the game and this humiliating nonsense, but instead I peered to my left to see Ormson dive to punch clear to keep a long throw from Franks out.
Yes it was not great at all, and what was coming from County was sadly lacking in the oomph factor- although, that said, Howard did go close with a header, and Verma closer still with a long rage effort that the keeper needed two go`s to hold, but still we knew the game was pretty much over ...the result a mere formality! Or ....was it................well yes it was but for the dreamers amongst us the next action offered something to cling onto.
It was started by Jacobs whose determined work not only won him the ball but allowed him to exchange passes with Turner and ping a tasty morsel into the box. It was a fine effort , but Howard, for a moment, looked about to fluff it, but in an instant the situation was rectified as Howard turned to face goal before lashing the ball way beyond the keeper`s dive into the net.
Apart from one run from Woods for Town and a couple from Turner for the blues the rest of what remained of the game was largely unremarkable and un-reportable- only the referee`s whistle could save us from further torment and eventually it did and we trouped off to the coach.
The news that Ian Bogie had resigned was sad, but I found summing up my reaction to it rather hard. Was I disappointed?.......no........glad?......no, instead I found myself feeling rather like one of the two men in that Monty Python Fish Sketch as a series of large wet fishes thudded into his face. Bogies going was but another rotten fish thrust into County`s face and the faces of their supporters.
As usual the sole constant, and this week`s events show, the sole source of sanity at the Club remains the supporters. Oh for a response we can warm too from those in charge!
County line up:
Ormson, Jacobs, Fagbola, Charnock, O`Halloran, Tunnicliffe, Turner, Verma,Craney ( Lofthouse 60) Moke( Windsor 66),Jevons( Howard 66).
Subs not used ; Hand, Duxbury.
Harrogate Town line up:
Macgillivray, Bloomer, Merris, Bolder, Franks, Killock, Westfold, Brown, Hall, Woods, Nolthrop.
Attendance : 918