County 2 Hyde FC 0 ( Conference North) 14 February 2015
I guess that you will be wanting an update on the Mars One project, which last time I mentioned it, had 200000 assorted human beings listed as willing to make the one way trip to the Red Planet!
Well......that number will be down to 100 on Monday, and ultimately 24, who will set off, in teams of four, for( but not return from) their final resting place, which at any one time can be anything twixt 33million and 249 million miles from Earth. Thus far NASA, who are not running this `once in a lifetime’ gasser, and indeed every other suitably qualified space agency, have not sorted the small matter of landing people or masses of equipment or food on the planet as yet ( which probably accounts for the fact that in aiming to raise £4bn the chancy trip has only thus far achieved 500k). Even so the organisers ( who will be staying here on Earth, you may be surprised to learn) have set 2025 as their date for landing their first team !
So....as suicide missions go that one`s about the best there is, but there were those in and around SK3 who fancied Hyde`s mission to Edgeley Park for today`s game was pretty much in the same vein. However......despite our visitors shipping goals for fun and sporting a negative goal difference of 43, I was not inclined to think that anything other than giving our Tameside neighbours maximum respect would do for County!
To be fair to County that`s just about how they played it, playing within themselves for much of the time( or appearing to do so anyway), taking the points relatively comfortably thanks to a goal each from Kristian Dennis and Danny Glover. Apart from these strikes not a lot of great significance went on- County were never really troubled by a side that appeared in precisely the correct position........namely at the foot of the table, although we were denied a blatant penalty late on....but more of this later!
But.....a busy week lies ahead, and this is a good start, and apart from an injury to Fagbola probably did not over tax our resources too much, and Wilkinson will now be available, so I am again happy to say `well done’ to the blues for a workmanlike performance that keeps us in the promotion hunt with a shout!
The opening minute saw a minor flurry at both ends, with Duxbury spilling possession to Hyde, allowing Ben Holmes to get a shot off. It failed to trouble Hurst, but even so was not a great start. Glover tried his best to immediately put things right, but his run, whilst taking him clear, also prompted the Pop Side liner to raise his flag- offside ending the break.
A Moses/ Sharp move came next, but keeper Ed Wilcyznski dealt with Sharp`s cross fairly easily, and Dennis skimmed the bar with an effort not long after, as County strove to impose themselves.
County kept the forward push going via a lovely ball from O`Halloran , but Dennis`s run on the end of it was curtailed by a neat bit of work by Gregory, whose tackle saw the County forward off. The County attacking impetus continued however, if without end product, Perry Ngi hurriedly clearing his lines as Glover struggled to get a shot off on the turn in the box.
The first ten minutes ended with a small scare as Duxbury was slow to react with Connor Hughes ( who I made Hyde`s top man by a mile) latching onto a loose ball. It was a definite chance of sorts, but Hughes snatched at it, and slammed his cross much too hard into the box, where it was cleared.
Shortly after this, the action switched ends with Hurst picking out Sharp with a meaty clearance. Sharp headed it on giving Woolfe a decent run on goal. He got a shot in right enough, but the keeper was well positioned and kept it out without undue difficulty.
The County pressure continued with Moses combining neatly with Glover who was unlucky to see his shot deflected past the post.
Meanwhile....Dennis was working hard ....getting on the end of a through ball from Duxbury....but that pesky Pop Side liner stopped him again with a wave of his flag. That was frustrating....as was a move moments later initiated by Woolfe, but laid waste by Duxbury`s final ball that eluded all comers.
County were now slowly building up a head of steam, aided a time or two it must be said by just about the slackest back line I have seen for some time.....and Wilcyznski did really well to win the race with Woolfe and Dennis for yet another loose ball in the danger zone!
It went on in the same vein.....Churchman winning possession ...sending Glover, then Sharp in. Sharp won a corner from this, but it was wasted.
A Woolfe run.....a Sharp shot followed.....then a neat link-up between Churchman and Sharp that won another corner, but when Sharp`s header from this missed by a foot or so, we had reached the half hour mark with the score still 0-0.
There did not seem any real need to be alarmed at the blank score line, as County were playing well enough, but the position is not a secure one, so a goal soon would be of paramount importance, but the 31 st minute saw Glover`s header just miss out, with the keeper beaten, after Woolfe had combined nicely with Dennis!
The 34th minute saw Glover send a free kick down the keeper`s throat, which was disappointing, but the next action, a couple of minutes later was anything but disappointing, as another lapse at the back from the men in red saw Dennis home alone in the box, with just Wilcyznski to beat......he did.....and it was 1-0!
Within seconds it could well have been 2-0......it certainly should have been a corner......but Dennis`s shot , from another defensive slip by Hyde, although having been touched by the keeper before whizzing on over the bar, resulted in only a goal kick!
County piled forward after this, and they were grateful to Fagbola who was correctly positioned to deal with a break from Hughes midst the wave of blue attacks, which still went on with Sharp picking Woolfe out, and the keeper doing well to keep his shot out!
Lees and Fagbola did enough to see Hughes off next, Lees charging forward but being just unable to get in position for a shot.....it was frustrating, but by no means as frustrating as what happened next.....
We were into added time, and County had not been troubled at all thus far by what looked to be as insipid an attack as any defence could ever wish to be confronted by. But County have an occasional habit of switching off around break time and this seemed to be another of those occasions as Boyle and Gregory surged forward with County standing off to a man. It was alarming and looked a nailed down equaliser as Boyle made it deep into the box where he blasted his shot off. It was on its way in....no danger.....it was 1-1....and then it wasn`t as somehow Hurst got a hand to it and pushed the ball around the post.
The corner was cleared but not before Fagbola had to be replaced by Todd ,having sustained an injury in the preceding excitement!
That was that for the first half though, and with County kicking towards the Cheadle End in the second half, there was much to look forward to.
It took County just 2 minutes to increase their lead after the re-start, and again lax play from Hyde was at the root of it...Pearson surrendering possession lamely in midfield, sending Woolfe off on a run. At the edge of the box.....Woolfe released his cross ,and it was a belter ...picking Glover out with something approaching precision.....Glover then applied the perfect finish...his header sailing gloriously beyond the keeper`s best attempts to keep it out! It was 2-0, and a promising second half beckoned!
Credit to Hyde......Holmes did have a go down the right...outpacing both Moses and Duxbury to test Hurst with a decent cross. County survived that one, and hit their opponents hard on the break shortly after. Set up by more gloriously inept defending by Hyde...Woolfe had another opportunity to run at `em down the flank...again he picked out Glover ...and again a header resulted ,but this time it rattled the bar- a real escape for the leagues bottom club!
County were up for it now, and Brizzell did well to keep Dennis from reaching a through ball from Duxbury .....he did less well several minutes later- upending Glover as he darted clear. We had a free kick of course, but when Sharp lifted his shot into our midst in Row R any chance was gone.
I was just thinking how Hurst might better occupy his time by having a read or a sit down, when this arrogance was dealt a beefy blow, as Hughes burst clear with blue shirts parting obligingly as he went. It looked a goal chance.....a really decent one...but somehow Hurst kept it out with a really brave save. Boyle`s follow up was deflected for a corner, which O`Halloran headed clear, but that little period had been a wake- up call for the blues....would they respond to it?
Well.....Sharp went close from another Woolfe cross, but both these players were subbed shortly after....Woolfe replaced by Lofthouse......Sharp by Spencer. Glover stayed on but was unlucky to see a shot on the turn miss out by an inch or so.
Hughes remained the one Hyde player capable of doing something, but thankfully Lees was in good nick and did well to thwart the number eleven and keep him out.
Meanwhile Spencer was warming up......slamming a shot over the bar on 78 minutes............then inches away from reaching a through ball from Moses before the keeper two minutes later.
Gyferin did have a shot charged down after Duxbury had fired an aimless ball up field, but this was not typical of how it was going, although Hyde were trying to play themselves back into it.
No.....although as I say Hyde were trying....the better chances surfaced at the other end where Spencer again lifted a shot over the bar after being sent clear by Glover.
County were down to ten for a time when Lees had to go off for a kit change and some attention to a cut, but they weathered this notional storm well enough.
Soussa looked lively late on, and Hurst had a rare shot to stop on 89 minutes, but when Hughes dragged his shot well wide deep into added time, I found myself thinking that that was the end of the excitement for the afternoon......I was wrong again!
Back came County..... Glover....on to Spencer.....and a clumsy challenge from Brizzell had the County man flat out! It was a penalty and I reached for my camera( having put the lens cap on) and prepared for a great pic! Bugger me....referee Joe Johnson was brandishing a card and waving it at Spencer, which was ridiculous. I know Spencer has previous as far as falling down is concerned, but a foul is a foul, but I guess the referee remembered him from earlier games and made his decision accordingly!
I looked on to see Brizzell consoling Spencer, which spoke volumes, but I guess was absolutely no consolation.
It galvanised Hyde a tad though......Hughes picking out Gyferin with a cross....but not quite enough as the shot that followed missed the target.
Not long after this, the final whistle brought proceedings to a close...the points were all ours, and the weekend was made!
So....Runcorn on Monday......and...notionally.....Bradford Wednesday next week....totally unmissable !
County line up;
Hurst, Fagbola ( Todd 45), Lees, O`Halloran, Duxbury, Moses, Churchman, Woolfe ( Lofthouse ), Sharp ( Spencer 72), Dennis, Glover.
Subs not used:
Hyde line up:
Wilcyznski, Riley, Brownhill, Brizzell, Perry Ngi ,Gregory( Soussa 73), Gyferin, Pearson, Boyle( Bentham 71) , Holmes, Hughes.
Subs not used:
Broadbent, Masterson, Pritchard.