Cheadle Heath Nomads 0 County 2 ; Pre Season Friendly 24 July 2014

Pic by Darren Berry.

County negotiated another potentially tricky pre-season fixture in confident style tonight , with a 2-0 win against Linotype Cheadle Heath Nomads at Norbreck Road.
Three or four probable nailed on starters were absent from the line up, but this was probably the strongest starting 11 A.L had sent out this pre-season, 
Jamie Milligan( left) back in action.

with Club skipper Jamie Milligan back in the side in front of a fairly familiar back four of Fagbola, Lees, O`Halloran and Duxbury, all of whom performed pretty well. Duxbury played rather better than most, against a home side intent on hustling County out of their stride,  and not afraid to resort to a h###y a###d tackle or two here and there. In fact some of the tackles were decidedly iffy at times and the number 12 for Nomads was lucky to stay the course after a thoroughly gruesome one almost did for Dimitri Tuanzebe, the ex Rochdale forward ,given 90 minutes by Lordy.
Dimitri Tuanzebe

Dennis and Spencer started up front with Ormson in goal and the other outfield places taken up by Barrowclough and Lofthouse, and once again Dennis confirmed that he was in a rich vein of form, capping his performance with a brace of goals, the second of which being another blistering free kick!

Kristian Dennis- a simply lethal free kick taker.
As early as the first minute things got a bit tasty, as Leon Granderson and Stephen O`Halloran came together at speed. Granderson fared rather the worse of the two , but gained a free kick, which was routinely cleared by County.

Early action.

The opening minutes saw Nomads pushing forward , but without ever really unduly ruffling County`s feathers. Instead they allowed Barrowclough, who spent the 2nd half as RB, to rampage forward into the box. He was met there by Joe Hare and there his brief sortie ended.
Tuanzebe did well next to block the lively Granderson, but seconds later County had Ormson to thank that it was still 0-0, as he made a confident catch under pressure from McKenzie who was charging in.
More first half action.

County responded ,pushing Nomads back , and Forbes did well to head a cross from the dangerous Duxbury to safety. Tuanzebe did win a corner after this ,but it came to nothing , as did a run by the trialist a minute or so later, but just as it appeared the raid was dead ,it wasn`t, as Spencer salvaged the situation with a neat pass to Barraclough who looked well placed to profit. He did....he did...but he disappointingly pulled his shot a yard or so wide of the home goal- Lazenbury doing likewise but a couple of minutes later.
The pattern was beginning to emerge...County were defending without too many issues, and Milligan was ladling out calm assurance just in front of the back 4. The moves going forward were not bad either but within sniffing distance of goal , things began to fall apart a bit, but I gave the home back line some credit for this.

Nomads defend to good effect.

Neither side could make anything of a series of corners , or seemingly avoid getting in a tasty tackle or two, but County`s best bet would be to avoid being drawn into any rough stuff, but Fagbola could possibly have done with being a touch rougher next as Raul got the better of him down the left. His final shot was deflected into the arms of Ormson, but it could have been worse, and Nomads pinned County back in their own half for a time after this, without ever looking that likely to score!

Fagbola starts the move.
There was an urgent need for County to get forward and make the home back line work, and mid way through the half they did, as the ball flew sweetly from Fagbola to Dennis ......on to Barraclough and then inside to Lofthouse. It was sweet as a nut, and the shot from young Bobby was not bad either, but it drifted wide and the chance was gone.

Nomads press forward.

Again......Nomads responded ,pushing County back via determined runs from Granderson and Raul, and a long throw from the right seemed to have put County in difficulties, until Jordan Goodend planted his back header wide.
More pressure followed from Nomads ,but with nothing to show at the end of it, and  in fact County had a break on as Lofthouse threaded a neat ball into Tuanzebe`s  path. The ex Spotland lad was away and in on goal , and maybe should have scored, but instead keeper Arron Tryer made the save to deny County the oxygen of an opening goal!
Milligan watches Tuanzebe & Dennis tussle for ball.

Duxbury excelled himself with a neat bit of work next to block Kingsley Granderson, after Phil Olle and Leon Granderson hit us on the break . That was really good stuff from Scott, and just maybe it served to inspire his team mates, because suddenly, thanks to fine work from Spencer, Tuanzebe, was in the clear once more! It was a re-run of Tuanzebe`s previous sortie... a fact that was disappointingly confirmed when the forward`s shot came back out off the keepers leg!
If Tuanzebe`s finishing matched his positional play ,we would have been quids in, but....that said County were beginning to stir now and maybe it would not matter, but then maybe it would because despite putting pressure on Nomads defence, County managed to allow the home side a break and Raul was pretty much in spitting distance of the white`s of Ian Ormson`s eyes, when thankfully Lees came to the rescue with a stonkingly good last ditcher!

Dennis on the prowl again!

Then , with half time 10 minutes away, County struck, and it was another neat bit of football that set it up, most notably from Spencer who hurried the pill inside to Dennis whose shot ,whilst seemingly off balance, was a masterly example of the finishers art. It was 1-0 and the crowd of around 250/ 300 responded with a generous ripple of applause.
Moments later Dennis was free and on goal again, only for the near side liner to raise his flag  That was a poor decision, but I suppose it was ever thus!
Spencer meanwhile was warming up nicely, firstly with a shot that sadly carried the bar, and then the neatest of passes that sorted Barraclough with another sniff at glory. The shot from Barraclough was a decent one.....on target too..... but Tryer got to it ,parrying at first and then completing the catch.
If that was disappointing and a tad unlucky, more of the same followed almost immediately as a thunderous drive from Dennis crashed into the bar, almost uprooting the structure from its moorings in the process, but it did not did not go in. County did get a free kick however , but this was lifted harmlessly over the same bar by Spencer.

Half time team talk, pic courtesy Darren Berry.

That was the first half done and dusted, and for the re-start County brought Lazenbury, Murray, and Sharp on for Spencer, Lofthouse and O`Halloran, which meant that Fagbola moved inside with Barraclough occupying the RB slot.
There was an unsavoury moment not long after the start when the Nomads number 12 hacked at Tuanzebe, after he had by passed him. The County man did not do a Robben in response, and the referee indicated `advantage' ,but Milligan`s subsequent shot was easily saved by Tryer, and no advantage accrued, never the less, we might have expected action after the event from the referee, but none materialised which was bewildering!
Play got rather ragged after this for a while with tackles flying in all over the place, a fair few of them via the rotund number 12, who finally induced the referee to produce a card , with a ludicrously wild slider on Sharp.
Churchman came on for Milligan just after the hour   as both teams tried to get the next vital goal.
Murray & Duxbury fight for the ball.

For County....Duxbury was in terrific form getting forward regularly but keeping alert enough to track back and continue his amiable dual with the still lively Leon Granderson. Overall Scott won that one too I think.
Gradually County began to turn the screw, and we needed them to , as a 1-0 lead is a precarious one.

Churchman & Lazenbury look lively.

Dennis had a shot charged down....a Murray effort was blocked , and Tuanzebe shot wide, when  well positioned after the mother of all melees at the Nomads end.
County were queuing to shoot....Murray did Churchman, but both made no impression.

Jordan Fagbola gets in good defensive header.

Then.....County clicked again as Duxbury stopped Leon Granderson`s break, before sending Tuanzebe through with a fine ball. It was a chance, but then it wasn`t because Tryer again did the biz and denied the County trialist. The ball ran clear and when Tuanzebe tried to regain possession, he was fouled giving County a free kick on the edge of the box. Up stepped Dennis  to crash a kick of thunderous power way beyond Tryer into the roof of the net! Fan....tas...tic!

County press late on.

After this Lazenbury was inches from making it 3-0 on the end of a Duxbury cross, and belatedly Ian Ormson was called on to make good stops to keep his clean sheet intact. He did so, and eventually the whistle went to signal the end.
County had won, and kept their pre-season unbeaten run going.

Good stuff.

Here`s to more of the same against Airbus on Saturday!

County line up:

Ormson, Fagbola, Duxbury, Lees, O` Halloran ( Lazenbury 45),Milligan ( Churchman 62), Dennis, Barroclough, Spencer( Sharp 45),Lofthouse (Murray 45),Tuanzebe.

Cheadle Heath Nomads line up;

Tryer, Forbes, Liam, Hare, McGrogen, Goodeve, McKenzie, Olle, L Granderson, K Granderson,Raul.

Ian Brown


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