County Development Squad 1 Nelson 3 ( Lancashire League-West) 24 September 2014
County`s Development Squad , hit by injuries to key players , and first team call ups, struggled against a lively Nelson team last night, going down 3-1 under the Edgeley Park floodlights.
The visitors, with Adam Nuttall quickly in County faces, were in front in short order , and with Abass Saadat a constant danger, and Dominic Mahoney directing play for Nelson every bit as brilliantly as he had in the reverse fixture, that lead increased, and County`s late strike from Michael Hampson, though welcome, was but a consolation.
County had a couple of relatively older hands on board in Glenn Belezika and Jordan Fagbola, which meant that the excellent Connor Hancock was pushed wide to RB. With Matthew Todd at LB notionally we had a back line that was fit for purpose, and it was for much of the time, but further forward County struggled to contain their opponents, and thus the back four was pretty much always under pressure- Fagbola getting through as much work in 90 odd minutes as he has in the season as a whole so far!
Trialist Joe Mwasile had an interesting game, showing skill and an ability to provide others with ammunition, but with the burly Nelson back line well attuned to each every possible eventuality, chances were at a premium.
Straight away Nuttall was up and at County and Hancock did well, with Belezika`s support, to nullify the threat.
A crunching tackle from Kieron Crosthwaite illuminated and typified County`s response in the first 5 minutes or so that saw them having to defend, pretty much 100%. And just when I thought things might be about to take a turn for the better.....they didn`t, as Mahoney`s terrific through ball saw Nuttall nip clear of the County cover to drill a neat finish past Danny East into the net!
That was a shock , and more looked on the cards as Mahoney tested East again after Vittold Warchnlowsiu had forced Crosthwaite to concede a corner with a nippy run to the by-line.
The 10th minute saw County at last reply, but although Jordan Rogers made good headway through the middle, James Leach, the Nelson keeper, rushed from his goal at speed to see him off.
This set County on something of a spell, with Mwasile in the van, at one point teeing Todd up for a strike that Leach did well to keep out. A corner resulted and a ferocious header from Fagbola, but again Leach was on top of his game and somehow kept it out! County were working hard, it must be said, but so were Nelson, and it took the best endeavours of Todd, Fagbola and Joe Noblett to stop the increasingly lively Abass Saadat whose speed was becoming a real threat.
Hampson did look likely to spring clear down the left, with 27 minutes gone, but his progress was rapidly cut short by the crudest of interventions by the bulky George Melling. The free kick from this went nowhere, and Mwasile was unlucky to see his header fly just wide after Hancock had supplied him with a delightfully weighted pass, so it stayed 0-1.....but not for long, as after Jon Mawllin had lifted a shot over the bar on the break, Warchnlowsiu nipped in to side foot Nelson`s 2nd goal neatly home, from another precision pass from the excellent Mahoney.
The next 7 or 8 minutes were taken up with County under increasing pressure and Fagbola doing small wonders to stem the tide as Mahoney kept the Nelson supply line going whilst Saadat and others tried to apply a game killing finish. Thankfully this did not come about ,indeed Leach did well to stop Jordan Rogers on the break after Jordan Young had won possession decisively to set it up- the half ending with Rogers shooting just wide following another save by Leach that saw off Fagbola`s header.
County went on the attack after the break , Nuttall earning a word from the referee for one tackle on Mwasile, but still ,for County, Leach was the obstacle in their path and he was there again to keep a strike by Joe Noblett out with the half barely started. On it went with Mwasile and Noblett both going close, until County eventually succumbed to the sucker punch – Belezika adjudged to have fouled Mawllin as he skipped into the box onto a neat through ball from Nuttall. Penalty it was then and with this firmly put away and the score 3-0 to Nelson the game was all but lost to County now.
The blues did their best to get back into it ,but Leach was not getting any more accommodating as time passed as Mwasile was disappointed twice in quick succession. East in the County goal meanwhile, was no less busy- doing extremely well to stop Saadat from converting the neatest of balls from Mawllin into goal number four, and better to deny Nuttall on the end of a ball from Mahoney of the highest quality after a irresistibly surging run.
County rang the changes around this point, swapping Connor Thompson for Jordan Rogers, and slightly later, Jack Nickeas for Joe Noblett who had a hamstring problem.
Into the last third of the game and Nelson re-doubled their attacking efforts- East doing well to stop Saadat latching onto another snorter from Mahoney......Nuttall lifting one up and over......and Saadat getting nowhere with Fagbola who was doing well under a lot of pressure.
County responded.......a Mwasile run, and Thompson cross finding no takers in front of goal.......Hampson shooting wide with Leach for once looking second favourite one on one....... and Leach was in action yet again to foil Mwasile , after a Thompson shot had been blocked by Louis Robinson .
County were certainly trying, but Belezika and Young found the route to goal blocked by an implacable line of orange shirts as they battled bravely to make an impact.
That was Young`s last effort as , with just under 20 minutes to go Dave Moran came on in his place, as County continued to press- Thompson and Hampson thwarted by Leach`s continued alert reactions .
Mwasile`s skills still offered a glimmer of hope, I told myself, but Nelson`s back line held firm, and when they didn`t ,Jack Nickeas saw his shot drift just wide.
If Nickeas was at all miffed by that, he would be pleased as that guy with the pointy nose and chin and the tasty club....as his run down the right was crowned by a peach of a ball across the park to Michael Hampson. The ball was a beauty , as I say, but Hampson was way out and had no right to expect to score, but that`s precisely what he did as a precision drive hit the net before Leach could move!
There were about 6 or 7 minutes left when that goal went in, and both keepers had work to do in the time that remained, but it stayed 3-1 to Nelson and I was hard pressed to deny them the points after an efficient display away from the home comforts of `Little Wembley’
For County the season still holds much promise.....they are still in the League Cup( game with Curzon Ashton pending) and a home game v FCUM at E.P. in late October beckons as well, so get down to see them and give `em a cheer!
County line up :
Danny East, Connor Hancock, Glenn Belezika, Jordan Fagbola, Matthew Todd, Jordan Young ( Dave Moran 72), Joe Mwasile, Kieron Crosthwaite, Michael Hampson, Joe Noblett( Jack Nickeas 58), Jordan Rogers ( Connor Thompson 57).
Nelson line up:
James Leach, Josh Walne, Louis Robinson, Dominic Mahoney, George Melling, Martin Hillier, Abass Saadat, Reece Malone, Adam Nuttall, Jonathan Mawllin, Vittold Warchnlowsiu.
Aaron Potter, Patrick Furey, Blazzy Szmedt, Charlie Carlin.