Nelson FC 1 County 3 ; ( Lancashire League West) 4 September 2014
I was very much looking forward to this fixture.....one between two Development Squad teams, but never the less contested by two Clubs with rich history`s, much of which has been conducted within the Football League. County`s will be well known to most readers of this blog.....Nelson`s perhaps less so, but their record is a fine one which includes the Division 3 North Championship ( 1922-23) and wins in the following pre season tour against Real Oviedo ( 2-1) and Real Madrid ( 4-2). They have also beaten Man U, but who hasn`t?
It is unsure just how much of the Clubs respective history`s were known to the two teams last night, but they responded as if the match meant something to them none the less, giving the small crowd a decent game to watch, in which County came away 3-1 winners, coming back from 0-1 down.
There was much to admire in both teams.....
for County, Matthew Todd was all action and work rate throughout, and although the Nelson goal came from his flank, he looks a definite contender for first team inclusion sometime soon to me. Danny Murray will be pleased with his showing too, having notched 2 fine goals.... I liked Leon O`Malley and Charlie Russell`s contributions ,whilst Connor Hancock and Ian Ormson`s inclusion at the back did no harm to County`s defensive cohesion- Ian alert and efficient all game long, and Connor doing well alongside Jordan Fagbola .Having said that no one disappointed and others had lots to point to as indicators of their future worth ,and the Club can thus take heart.
For Nelson... keeper Neil Hickman emerged with much credit after a brave display that included a number of crucial saves. I thought first teamer Dominic Mahoney was pick of the home outfield players with a craftily skilful showing out of the top draw, and their best forward was their number nine Saadat who was still chasing scraps in the 91st minute.
Back to 7.45 p.m though, and County swung quickly onto the attack, in front of a crowd of around 40, as the ball flew between Joe Noblett, Mike Hampson and Jordan Fitton at a rare pace. Unfortunately an interesting move was cut short by the liners flag – the first of many such disappointments. County kept the pressure on their hosts however, and Robinson did really well to keep a cross from Todd out. This meant a corner.....and then another as keeper Neil Hickman tipped the pill over the bar at the last gasp.
It went on in the same vein with the white shirted blues pushing on through Noblett and Fitton , but on the end of it the final ball into the box proved too strong for Charlie Russell and it stayed 0-0. This looked very promising from County`s view point, and more so as Jordan Lazenbury and Joe Noblett almost got through again- Leon O`Malley forcing a decent catch under pressure from Hickman.
Eleven minutes had gone, and things were looking OK for County....and then they weren`t.....as a swift counter attack from Nelson breached their opponents defences. A quick break saw the ball reach Josh Wallne, the Nelson skipper, who whipped a fine cross over with no delay. It was a belter and Charlie Carlin`s response was too, and he buried a brilliant effort way beyond Ian Ormson`s dive to give his side the lead.
Saadat and Smallridge took turns to run at County after this, but gradually County regained the initiative and the 20th minute saw them draw level, as a ball in from the right saw Mike Hampson and Danny Murray vie for a pot at goal. Murray got there first and found the net.
One all then became 2-1 to County ,in the 23rd minutes ,when a spill by Hickman saw the ball drop at Danny Murray`s feet, whereupon he did what decent strikers do and calmly took a pace before slotting the ball home!
That was good, but there was no room for complacency, and Connor Hancock did really well to deny Saadat, as he darted clear through the middle. Nelson were clearly stung by the 2 goals and Todd and Russell did much in the following minutes to dampen the home side`s ardour.
|Jordan Lazenbury, and marker....|
Urged on by Dominic Mahoney, Nelson put pressure on County in the final minutes of the half, but County held out without undue alarm, going in still 3-1 up.
The early moments after the break saw County on the front foot through Fitton who won a corner, but the closest they came to ruffling any Nelson feathers was via a shot from Fagbola, and Hickman dealt with this calmly and well.
County then came under some pressure, started when Mahoney cut short a raid by Noblett with some good work. This triggered a run from goal scorer Chas Carlin .....then another......and another...all blocked or charged down by the solid County rearguard. There was no doubting however that Nelson were going to make a game of it, and O`Malley had to usher the pill off the line at one point after Ormson had been called on to pull off a fair old save to keep it at 3-1.Maullin and Nuttall had done the damage on that occasion, and Nuttall got another chance not long after only to fluff it and shoot straight at Ormson.
Eventually......County came back at their opponents as Fagbola won the ball before picking out Joe Noblett. He looked on to increase the Hatters lead until Hickman advanced to the edge of the box to dispossess the County forward bravely.
Within a minute of the last action, Fitton was through, but once again Hickman`s response was top notch and another sortie to and beyond the edge of his box saw him deny the County man with another brave bit of work. It went on with some really impressive work from Todd setting Hampson free to run at Hickman, but once more the keeper was up to the job and it stayed 3-1 as a result.
On.....on...it went with Noblett firing one just over the top.....Fitton seeing a shot charged down after more neat play by Noblett. It looked good for County with O`Malley and Lazenbury combining to good effect down the right, but the final ball in, by Fitton, was cut out by Hickman .
Throughout all this Dominic Mahoney shone for Nelson, who were under some pressure – Murray firing over the top, and Hickman dragooned into action by a through ball from Russell that sent Hampson on a run. The keeper held sway to deny County, as did Robinson who did well to stop a run by Murray after Lazenbury had done excellent work ushering the ball out of deep defence.
Into the last 15 minutes we went with Mahoney still marshalling the Nelson troops brilliantly , staunching the flow of County`s attacks. Twice Ormson had to act quickly to keep Nuttal and one of the Nelson subs out, but it was County who found the net next through Hampson, who was set up by a fine ball whipped over at speed from the right by substitute George Blackwell. It looked a good goal, but it wasn`t as the liner`s flag was a flutter and it was offside.
This was a very decent game and one played in a good spirit, but there were no takers for County as Lazenbury`s cross came over with 10 minutes left.
With fresh legs on Nelson pressed a fair bit late on, and although County defended well in response, the odd conceded free kick served to ratchet up that pressure , thus Murray`s indiscretion, with 4 minutes left, saw Ormson out to make a brave save at the feet of one of the Nelson subs.
|Dominic Mahoney tees up free kick late on.|
Both teams had a go in the games dying embers.....Hampson thwarted yet again by Hickman.......Saadat dragging a late strike wide for Nelson, and Lazenbury`s late/late run and cross finding no one on the end of it.
Overall a good match and an excellent win in what is proving to be an admirably competitive league!
Next outing for the Development Squad is the Cup match away at Lancaster next Thursday 18th September- kick off 7.30p.m- well worth the effort of going, if it is physically possible!
County line up:
Ian Ormson, Leon O`Malley, Matthew Todd, Charlie Russell, Jordan Fagbola, Connor Hancock, Jordan Lazenbury, Joe Noblett, Mike Hampson, Jordan Fitton, Danny Murray.
Substitutes: Keiron Crossthwaite, George Blackwell, Will Hartley, Neil Benjamin.
Nelson FC line up;
Hickman, Wallne, Robinson, Mahoney, Schmidt, Horrocks, Carlin, Maullin, Saadat, Nuttall, Smallridge.