Colwyn Bay 1 County 2 ( Conference North) 1 January 2015
`Momma told me there`d be days like these’ the song went, and I have unfond memories of hiding away on the left wing on rain lashed Cringle Fields around the Napoleonic Wars on just such, as I think I may have offered previously. But with North Wales enveloped in a heinous mix of tsunami style winds and constant rain today, County refused to hide......played like men ....and battled to a well merited win against a Colwyn Bay side that was deteriorating in temperament faster than the weather, as the game progressed.
Goals from the returning Jack Ryan, and half time substitute Chris Sharp secured the points for the blues, and Ryan looked as strong as an ox and mightily dangerous throughout.
The County defence earns applause too, having twice had to re-shuffle as injuries to Duxbury and Gregson put the pressure on. In this respect special mention should be made to Jordan Lazenbury who was thrown on in a midfield role and then switched to RB where he was the personification of calm throughout the afternoon! Colwyn Bay sneaked one midst all the re-organisation, but in the end the final back four of Jordan Lazenbury, Glenn Belezika, captain Mark Lees, and Stephen O`Halloran did a heroes job fielding a multitude of balls lifted into the swirling maelstrom overhead by a no nonsense Bay side marshalled tightly by Frank Sinclair. Unfortunately as County withstood the onslaught from elements and opponents, so the Bay discipline went for a bucket of chalk...Sinclair getting his marching orders and just about everyone bar the tea lady , of the locals, joining him in referee Scott Oldham`s book. By way of contrast....County held their discipline extremely well, and Sharp`s late winner was no less than they, or he, deserved, and they left the field to a well merited ovation from the rain soaked Blue & White Army at the end.
Colwyn Bay were first on the attack –Prince Haywood a touch too wayward with a snap shot. A throw then a corner came next for the home side, but County defended these well. Even so.....Louis Moss did get a header in not long after, but this failed to trouble Hurst after good work from Paulo Mendes had set Moss up.
Bay were quite lively early on, which rather reflected how things were at our place, but another reflection came via O`Halloran who once....twice....three times in the first 5 minutes drew applause from the travelling fans!
It went on with the Welshmen winning another corner, this time on the right, but when Gregson ushered this clear....Churchman was fouled by Lanre Olapade as he burst clear. That was frustrating and more followed as Glover `s route to goal was cut short by Olapade`s firm tackle on the edge of the box.
County seemed to be looking for the chance to get forward, but there was stuff to do at the back as well and Ryan did well to track back and assist Duxbury in dealing with the pressure from the home forwards. This pressure only continued when Hurst elected to punch clear and did not make a great fist of it- County survived the experience, but it looked anything but edifying!
Free kicks started to rack up for Bay next and twice Hurst stood to watch as shots missed the target by a distance. The pressure was definitely on now, but O`Halloran and Gregson did well in separate incidents keeping the home side out. Wes Baynes took a hand shortly after for Bay, nibbling hungrily at the County entrails .But as a hyena impression, Baynes`s efforts were about as convincing as a piece of Tracey Emin bed art- twice he shot wide ,being thoroughly mastered by O`Halloran on a third! A foul by Olapade eventually ended the pressure on County, who at last offered their supporters something to cheer.....
It looked good too....as Churchman surged forward onto a flick on by Spencer.... Jon Royle managed to stop the rot for Bay with a fine tackle, only for the ball to go loose to Duxbury, wide on the left. Again it looked good, but not for long as Duxbury dwelt just too long on the ball enabling the Bay cover to close ranks and organise a clearance.
That last action was 28 minutes into proceedings, a minute later County were ahead and a cracking move it was too and a stunning finish!
It started with Glover who was out near the right touchline and surrounded by a clutch of defenders. In a trice he had jinked inside past the lot of them, and slipped a silky smooth pass on to Spencer, who quickly and deftly moved it on to Churchman. Chris was surrounded , much as Glover had been, but he managed to usher the ball sideways to Ryan ,who took a step inside before burying an unstoppable shot into the back of the net!
County were one up, and Ryan suddenly was seemingly on fire, and Danny Taylor did especially well to rob him as he burst clear again! County were growing in confidence now as a move involving Spencer and Glover stretched Bay to the limit. A foul and a County free kick was the inevitable consequence, and more excitement followed when the kick bounced in the box and appeared to strike a Bay arm. The referee was unimpressed and instead gave us a corner which saw Gregson unlucky with a header that was deflected for another corner. This one saw Sinclair in position to block Ryan in the throws of a shot on goal. This was altogether better from County and another goal before half time would not be a great surprise really!
County pressed on.....Spencer unable to capitalise on good work by Ryan, and no one in white able to apply a finish after Belezika had worked hard to win an unlikely corner.
Personnel wise ...the last 3 or 4 minutes of the first half were decidedly iffy from a County view point. First off Duxbury had to go off, with 3 minutes left, with what looked like an ankle issue. Jordan Lazenbury came on in Scott`s place with Lees dropping back from mid field into central defence.
So far ....so good.....but County cheers, as O`Halloran rescued us stopping Mendes as he nipped clear, turned to a sharp intake of breath as the realisation dawned that Gregson had injured himself in allowing Mendes through.
Gregson made it to the break but the re-start saw Chris Sharp on in his place necessitating yet another re-jig at the back. This one had Lazenbury at RB, with Belezika alongside Lees in central defence, with O`Halloran at LB.
|Some shots of mainly County supporters.|
After the veritable tsunami of personnel changes at the back it was only a small surprise when Colwyn Bay sneaked one back, on 48 minutes .Referee Oldham had just resisted an apparently irresistible chorus of `handball` from Bay as a free kick pinged into the County box. Sinclair was unable, meanwhile, to force the loose ball home, County`s serially shuffled back line defending grittily. His disappointment was short lived however as a run from Taylor, saw him get a cross in from the by-line, which the experienced number six somehow managed to head home from an improbable angle!
Bugger.......it was 1/1, and somehow County`s latest defensive line –up had to settle in ......quickly!
After this....Spencer had a shot charged down, and the impressive Ryan was an inch or so away from reaching a lob by Moses, but much of the action was in County`s half as Bay lifted ball after ball high into the swirling firmament above. The County back line were under the cosh, and Hurst did well to turn a shot by Hopley around the post after good work by Mendes.
Sharp`s snap shot missed out narrowly, as again Bay went back on the attack with Mendes, Baynes and Hopley to the fore.
County kept plugging away though and I looked on aghast to see a Ryan shot whiz an inch from the angle of bar and post with the keeper beaten.
It was developing into an interesting encounter now, and Hurst did well to save a shot from Baynes following a darting run down the right by Mendes.
Sinclair meanwhile was ladling out the punishment- his latest work laying Sharp out under the nose of the referee. It was not Sinclair`s first transgression, and it was a major surprise to see the referee content himself with a word instead of a booking. I was still fuming when Glover`s free kick smacked into keeper Chris Sanna`s hands forcing him to parry and grab urgently.
A festival of unpunished Bay fouls came next following which Hopley scooted clear much to my utter bewilderment. Hurst beat the eventual shot out, and his fellow defenders organised a clearance, but I was concerned that the referee was overly lenient with the home side!
I put those last thoughts to one side next, as Sharp treated us to a gutsy run down the right touchline ,followed by a cross that landed at Jack Ryan`s feet. Looking up....Ryan sent a fine effort whizzing a fag paper`s width wide of the keeper`s right hand post!
Bay persevered with the constant aerial bombardment, which in the prevailing conditions, probably had some merit, but gradually County were weathering the storm and working their way back into the ascendency, and it took all the guile of Sinclair and extra work by Taylor to prevent Spencer from darting clear! Then Moses and Sharp joined forces, the latter bringing a decent save from Sanna in response to a rasping drive.
It went on....Glover and Sharp in combo .....blocked on the edge of the box......Spencer similarly dealt with not long after, whilst Sharp felt Sinclair`s growing displeasure( again) as we entered the last 10 minutes. Somehow Sanna managed to keep Glover`s kick out, and Mendes confirmed the state of mind of the Welsh side by lumping the ball anywhere in extremis!
County had the bit between their teeth now as Sinclair stretched to head clear with a clutch of white shirted players straining to test Sanna. County would not go away though and Baynes just managed to prevent Moses from applying a finish to yet another free kick.
Then......for the umpteenth time.....Sinclair launched himself into Sharp, leaving him a heap of arms and legs on the deck. This time the referee had had enough and showed him a card....yellow fortunately for him! It was clear that the Bay psyche was now somewhat compromised, and County almost scored as Lees burst clear to plant on cross into the box where Sanna spilled the ball under pressure from Sharp. Colwyn Bay somehow survived that one, but not the next action as another Glover free kick is headed on in the box by Spencer to Sharp who ushered it unerringly home from close in!
2-1 it was then, but Sinclair was now going AS, and again the referee had seen enough- showing him a red card and cutting his rant short!
The Bay discipline went totally absent after this as the referee booked Anoruo , and Baynes . Churchman did well not to react too vehemently to the Baynes foul, and I must say so did the referee who saw the sore provocation Chris faced and just had a quick word.
A few more up and under`s from Bay......more concentrated hard graft from County, and that was the game over, and the points were ours!
Cue celebrations as the County team left the field to warm applause.
A good win in trying conditions, and one that sets us up nicely for that battle for a place in the play-offs!
County line up:
Hurst, Belezika, Gregson ( Sharp 45), O`Halloran, Duxbury( Lazenbury 42), Moses, Churchman, Lees, Glover, Spencer, Ryan.
Subs not used:
Ormson, Lofthouse, Hancock.
Colwyn Bay line up:
Sanna, Taylor, Moss, Olapade, Royle, Sinclair , Haywood, Anoruo,Hopley, Mendes, Baynes.
Ollerenshaw, Pilliner, Hodgson, Saiel, Watson.