Boston United 0 County 0 : Conference North
Now this was worth travelling a distance on a damp Tuesday night for, as County fought like tigers to more than earn a draw against high flying....free scoring (16 goals in last 4 games) Boston United. It was a 0-0 draw but I found no one on the Flyer who was anything less than happy with County`s showing, which had grit.....resolve and not a little organisational nous about it.
Heroes abounded for the blues, but first amongst these was Ian Ormson who was truly outstanding throughout topping a first half that included a stupendous double penalty save, with a second 45 in which I was in danger of losing count of the last ditch top notch saves that left the home forwards munching mud impotently!
Also up for kudos are Duxbury and Jacobs who were tireless and solid throughout constantly matching good defensive work with moments of invention going forward, and Jacobs did this with referee Tankard( I kid you not....Tankard)on his back! All the rest contributed, but a special mention is due for Adriano Moke who got a rare start and rewarded Lordy with 8o minutes of lively threat that clearly gives the manager food for thought going into a busy period of games.
We arrived at York Street about an hour before kick off, decamping the half full Flyer in good time to suss out that winter woollies were order of the day. Upon gaining admission to the stadium, it was apparent that we had been moved from the spacious fairly modern terrace we usually occupy at this venue, and were being housed this time, in less salubrious surroundings at the other end. Boston are however in much the same dire straits as we are- being tenants in the stadium and paying an exorbitant rent and thus facing possible eviction in 18 months to 2 years time if another venue cannot be found for their games- so I will not dwell on the away end deprivations, but wish them well....after this game! I quickly sought out sustenance- purchasing a pasty which had some flavour to it, but lacked the hard spine of pastry that I know to define the Cornish variety. This one was limp and spineless, but having been able to add a Snickers and a coffee and still get change from £3.50, I downed the saggy morsel with something approaching relish.
Moke for Moses was the only change for County when the teams emerged, with County kicking towards the 54 traveling fans in the away end.
Moke was soon on a run ...winning a throw, but Platt was kept from the ball as it pinged in from the right into the crowded box. Then it was potential panic stations for County as Boston made to break up field. Perhaps at another time....on another day.....County might have melted in the face of it as snow on a griddle, but not this day and the excellent Duxbury imposed himself winning possession with supreme confidence before dispatching the ball for Dennis to run onto. It was 50/50 between Dennis and Liam Marrs ,and Dennis did well but Boston were able to work it clear without any undue alarms.
Marrs and Ryan Semple showed up to good effect next for the hosts, doing just enough to deny Duxbury as he charged down the left flank at speed. It was a decent period of play from County as both Howard and Churchman sent crosses in, but without any reward. This did not stop County`s determination however and a free kick saw the ball fly effortlessly between Duxbury, Dennis and Howard, only for Churchman to lose out to former Hatter Carl Piergianni.
All this while, County seemed intent on using Moke and a decent number of passes started to come his way. He was causing Rene Steer some real problems but thus far nothing untoward was forthcoming as Moke`s latest run faded on the edge of the box.
Boston responded by keeping it simple- hitting it long and quickly up the park- not too pretty....but pretty affective, although tonight...the team rattling in goals for fun, looked a tad off colour in the finishing department, at least at the start, and this served only to increase County aura of confidence.
|County attack first half.|
So it was, as Moke`s probing run ended with Conor Marshall wellying the ball up field where no one did anything with it, and a similar muscular clearance from Scott Garner moments later, died the death when Marc Newsham lifted his first time volley high into the noisy home terrace behind Ormson`s goal.
Time was flying now............was I enjoying myself?......yes I was......as Jevons sent Dennis clear ... he was through and in sight of goal, but as he prepared to shoot up went the liners flag. To say it was a late call is to understate it, but it didn`t look off side either, so my mood was in danger of taking a swift dive.
Things improved somewhat, on 20 minutes, with Jacobs on the charge, but he was cut out by Steer, who then proceeded to foul Moke when the County man snaffled the pill back off him. The referee awarded a County free kick which had me worried as referees who give loads of free kicks early on to County (yes it does happen now and again) invariably swing the other way later on, so we needed to make these early crumbs count, but despite Howard trying his best, the home goal remained intact.
Boston were trying their best to unsettle County....a dive here.....a loud volley of verbals aimed at the referee there.. but County remained unruffled and some really decent football from them almost saw Moke cause an upset. Instead Boston cleared it and the pendulum swung again as a surging run by Kyle Dixon was only foiled, slightly fortunately, by Duxbury`s outstretched leg.
Back came County, and Moke won the ball rather against expectation from Steer, and in no time the ball was with Jevons, who was only kept out by fine work from Marshall who proceeded to welly the ball clear.
County were undeterred, as Duxbury and Churchman were denied by the combined wit of Piergianni and Marshall, and a Moke inspired move was only ended by foul means as Dennis was hauled down on the edge of the box. It looked a clear free kick for County but I looked on amazed to see it go to the home side!
We passed the half hour mark with a save from Ormson, as the ball pinged in from Semple on the right, followed by more attacking from the blues that saw a Jacobs inspired move halted by a foul on Moke. This time we got the free kick but County failed to make any headway with it again.
Still...............we were heading ever closer to the break, and 0-0 was a pretty good effort in my view, as with County defending with model determination, Boston continued to be restricted to shots from outside the box!
With 10 minutes remaining of the half, things looked about to liven up a touch as the ball slid from Moke to Jevons and then to Dennis who slid it nicely out to Howard to his left. It was a chance for sure, but Howard snatched at it and sliced his shot horribly wide.
Would County rue that miss?......pay for it?.......well.....just a couple of minutes later it looked like the answer to that would be in the affirmative, as...with the lively home terrace in full voice declaring day was night, Boston had a penalty as a forward went to ground in time honoured fashion- overcome it would seem by the power of Jordan Fagbola`s after shave- it was ever thus I suppose!
The home specs were exultant...beside themselves with happiness as the ball sped goal wards, but they had forgotten about Ian Ormson and he threw himself to his right to get his body behind the shot....great save.....out the ball came though and every man and his dog was onto it in a flash and in another a second shot slammed in towards goal where Ormson threw himself the other way to beat it out. In the slightly heady seconds that followed this, Jacobs whacked the ball clear as 54 delighted Stopfordians gave vent to their emotions!
With emotions high, and the home terrace baying like demented dogs on heat, you would not be too surprised to see County lapse and concede a sloppy one, but not this County.....on this night....and Jacobs earned applause with excellent work as the home side pushed forward to try to undo the sadly done!
However.....County were by no means finished attacking , and Moke and Dennis forced errors from Boston with some energetic stuff, Jevons joined in bringing Howard into play, but he lost his footing and the resultant cross flew out.
A late cry for a penalty came after this as Moke seemed to induce Steer to handle in the box. The referee thought it was ball to hand I suppose, and he possibly was correct....but would he have thought the same had the action had been at the other end?
We will never know, but I was happy enough to hear the referee eventually blow for half time after what seemed like about 10 minutes added time.
It was end to end for a time upon the re-start with Platt to the fore in midfield ....Moke up front....and Jacobs at the back with some power house play, that had the main stand joining the terrace in the `demented dog’ stakes. It worked as well as the referee gave Boston a dubious free kick and booked Lees and Jacobs as an encore not long after- Lees for a foul....Jacobs for nothing remotely resembling one! Platt headed the latest kick out, as another silky smooth response from County saw Moke and Jacobs tear lumps out of the home side`s left flank- Dennis being the merest fraction away from getting to Jacobs` cross- being kept from it by Marrs who had pace to spare.
Approaching the hour mark, Boston responded through Steer who`s run down the left benefitted from a hand to ball moment missed by the referee. Lees had to concede a corner as a result – the angst ending when Miller headed over the top.
County had done really well thus far, and the Moke/ Jacobs combo looked as likely to produce something as any other, and Dennis again went close as the duo worked it over from wide right.
If I was at all sanguine about matters, this feeling was threatened on 65 minutes as a lamentable decision by the referee gave Boston a free kick in a threatening position. Over it came and a clutch of forwards went for it, as did Ormson, and the County keeper won out with an exemplary catch midst a forest of bodies!
The referee was now taking his lead from the crowd as another free kick pushed County back, only for Ormson to emerge with the ball.
|County solid at the back.|
Dennis went close on the break next, but the defence had much to do and they did it well.....constantly chasing the apparently lost cause......winning the improbable battles! Jacobs did particularly well to stop Miller, but we had a corner to defend and with Newsham flailing about in front of goal trying to force it in, the County following erupted again as Ormson dived to push the forward`s shot around the post. Another corner then, and this time County didn`t deal that well with it, and Newsham stole in at the back post to rattle the woodwork with a header. Ormson arguably had it covered, but it was still an escape.
An escape at one end one minute.....................one at the other the next as Platt sent Dennis clear with a probing ball, but Dennis hit the post as Newsham had done just seconds earlier!
On it went as with just 15 minutes left Boston tried again with Miller surging into the box teeing Newsham up with what looked like a solid gold chance. He was smack in front and might have scored...probably should have....but again Ormson denied him flinging himself to his left to keep it out brilliantly.
|More Ormson heroics!|
That was excellent stuff and Jacobs added to a feeling of well being gradually taking me over, with another prime piece of defending with Boston buzzing busily about.
They continued to buzz as Platt conceded a corner which brought Garner and Miller into play as they charged for the loose ball with the goal looking vulnerable. Goal?......no sir....no way....the shot when it came, was on target, and on another night may have broke the deadlock, but today they had Ormson to contend with and again he got a vital touch to keep it at 0-0!
Dickinson replaced Moke with 10 minutes left, as the home side got the benefit of another very cheap free kick.....in fact it was another humourless joke only made palatable by the sight of Ormson emerging from a veritable mountain of mud with the ball- simply excellent!
A run from Churchman interrupted more attacking from our hosts which coaxed more good stuff from Duxbury, Fagbola, Jacobs and Platt in response. The pressure might be on, but County looked really comfortable facing it, as Duxbury again did well stopping Newsham with a fine blocking tackle, with 5 minutes to go.
Boston persevered sending it long, but Lees had their next punt well covered and it came to nought. Much effort went into the last few minutes from the blues....Jacobs getting forward but being blocked at the edge of the box......Platt...Duxbury and Ormson to the fore with timely interventions.....Jacobs and Duxbury there again with cool play when needed in the heat of battle! It was heartening stuff indeed!
The 90th minute arrived with a Boston free kick pinging in on goal to where substitute Stefan Gallinski latched onto it. Without delay the forward let fly only for Ormson to appear as if by some Derren Brown magic , and push it to safety brilliantly!
Four minutes added time seemed like eons and contained a clutch of decent bits of work from Scott Duxbury. There was always a notional threat to County`s well being whilst Boston pressed and the crowd strained to influence the referee, but not in County`s mind I think and they held on comfortably enough in the end to earn the applause that came their way from the small blue following.
|Alan Lord !|
A terrific display from County...one thoroughly deserving of a share of the points.
The Flyer had been less than half full this time, but by the time the coach had reached Stockport Lou already had 32 of the 53 seats for Saturday`s trip to Kidderminster snapped up. Take off time is 11.15 from the Finger/picking up at 11.30 at the Telescope Shop, so to book ring Lou on 07896536757( Cost Adults £20/ Under 16`s £15).
So with conversation buzzing happily in the short hop from coach to cars-it was home but not before I ensured that ` Now my Heads on Right’ from ` Imaginary Television’ by Graham Parker was on in the car......nice.......... the perfect end to a near perfect evening!
See you at Kiddy!
County line up:
Ormson, Jacobs,Duxbury, Fagbola, Lees, Platt, Moke( Dickinson 81),Churchman, Jevons, Dennis, Howard.
Subs not used; Lofthouse, O`Halloran, Washburn.
Boston United line up;
Vince, Marrs, Garner, Piergianni, Steer, Dixon, Marshall, Agnew, Semple, Newsham, Miller.
Attendance: 977 ( 54).