County`s China Tour 2004---Part 5
Military Sports Kazakstan v County
A County party reduced by injuries picked up during a demanding schedule of 5 games in a very short space of time fulfilled their commitment but went out of the competition via a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Kazakhstan side.
Despite the best efforts of the organisers who employed 60 men working on the pitch round the clock since yesterdays game the only change to the naked eye this time was considerable water logging underfoot.
In theory however it would be safer to play on.
Nonetheless County fielded a side that again had a mix of youth team players, first teamers' and golden oldies.
Mc llroy was again in the starting line up and there were more interesting surprises en route for the County fan with a taste for nostalgia as one R Wylde came on for a cameo and Lillis did his level best to join the fray but couldn't persuade the local officials to let him on the pitch despite County being reduced to 9 men through injuries.
The game was a competitive affair and by no means dirty but the busy schedule told on the County youngsters as the army side gained the advantage late on.
Much of the early pressure came from the Kazakhstanis' with Spencer doing particularly well to block a Sergevich run after the nippy number 10 had been allowed to advance from a blatantly offside position.
The 1st corner for County came after just over 10 minutes but the closest early effort for the blues fell to Daly but he failed to reach the through ball from Lambert .
Lambert was prominent again seconds later as the waterlogged pitch failed to stop a flowing ,made in Edgeley, move-a deft side footer almost got the better of Samuratish but the keepers positioning was sound.
County were doing well at this stage with some neat build ups drawing applause from the 6000 plus crowd who sportingly, all night long, applauded/cheered anything of note from either team.
Hardiker, Allen, McLachlan and Mcilroy were all involved in good work with Daly again just short of a decisive finish following a lofted cross from Allen.
A darting run down the middle by Goodwin gave County a glorious chance to open their account as a foul gave them a free kick smack in front.
It was right in Lambert territory but Mcilroy took it and played it out to Allen on the right who again crossed to Daly at the far post but the header cleared the bar.
With half an hour gone the Kazaks sneaked one and the underfoot conditions played a part as Murartule jinked through the static County defence to slot it past Spencer to the dismay of the voluble County following.
County applied them straight away to setting matters right and it was a mere 4 minutes before they were level as Lambert picked out the dangerous Morrison on the left flank.
The County number 7 sent a precision side footer arrowing home past the keepers despairing dive.
Both Iwannovish and Bulegnovish gained good shooting positions in the County half only to waste them and County continued to press as and when but the score remained deadlocked at half time.
On the restart La Fondre replaced Mcllroy for County but it was the Allen/ Daly connection that again came close but the score remain the same.
Chances were coming at both ends with Spencer saving at the feet of Sergevich one minute and Daly heading a Morrison cross over at the other end the next.
With the hour reached the conditions struck again as McLachlan was bamboozled by Sergevich in the box.
In no time the ball was in the net and the friendly crowd roared their approval.
Still the game flowed and it took Hardiker's best efforts to block Bulegnovich in sight of Spencer's goal.
Morrison meanwhile drew gasps and applause for a lovely run which ended when Goodwin sent the ball just wide of target.
County were finding the strain of the busy tour telling on them though, as time ticked away with Daly, McAllister and Lambert sustaining knocks that necessitated the appearance of one R Wylde of yore on the scene. There was to be no glory for Rodger and indeed the Kazaks increased their lead as this time the waterlogged County area foxed Danny Meadowcoft and in a flash Spencer was picking the ball out of his net.
As the injuries piled and County ran out of fit subs, a vain attempt to join the fray by Mark Lillis failed as the 4th official said no to the move.
County's nine men held out till the whistle bravely and the game ended with the Kazaks celebrating their win and County fans mixing with the locals in good humour.
County did as much as they possibly could have done in this match and indeed their fortitude in fulfilling this grueling schedule is very highly thought of by yours truly.
....and again later in Urumqi.
The tour party, then headed back to the magnificent city of Beijing,and then back home after a truly marvellous couple of weeks.
County line up: (4/4/2)
Spencer , Hardiker , Meadowcroft , Allen , Mc Allister , Morrison , Mc llroy , Goodwin , Lambert ,Mc Lachlan , Daly.
Subs used: Wylde, Le Fondre Crowd 6432