Macclesfield Town 1 County 0 ( Cheshire Senior Cup Semi Final) 17 March 2015

County exited the Cheshire Senior Cup in last night`s semi final against Conference Premier Macclesfield Town going down 1-0 , thus kyboshing a muck and nettles final against Jimbo`s in form Northwich Victoria.
The Silkmen just had the edge in a game that never really ignited, despite the efforts of a vociferous County following to get their team back in it, after a Moke cross had teed Jack Hunter up to score after 32 minutes. But ...despite excellent showings from Todd( top man whether on the left in the first half or right in the second) and Charlie Russell who continues to impress, Macc, with Hunter in the van of their effort, held on to their lead with a reasonable amount of comfort, which is about what you would expect bearing in mind Town`s successes in the division above us this season.

Ian Ormson
There were changes for County at k.o. time, Ormson taking Hurst`s place in goal, with Sharp, Ryan, and Lofthouse coming in for Glover, Wilkinson and Spencer. Glover and Wilkinson were available via the bench, but Spencer was elsewhere meaning that striking duties were lodged with Ryan and Sharp, which I was not displeased about, indeed an early run from Sharp, did offer us a welcome but ultimately illusory flash back to pre-season and the drubbing handed out to them by us!

Early action.
Pressure via a free kick by Wes Benjamin, who was in for a second start in two, held Macclesfield in check briefly, but the home side made headway through Theo Bailey-Jones who kept the pressure on by pulling the ball back inside from the flank. It landed with Lee Bell, and he got a fairly decent shot off, but Ormson`s response was better, and his diving save kept it at 0-0.
Just one of Ormson`s saves on the night !

Undeterred, Bailey-Jones tried again, but forced inside by Benjamin, he was seen off by Connor Hancock . Macclesfield looked lively at this admittedly early stage, but although County were under pressure somewhat, there were no alarm bells ringing just yet to disturb our peace on what was a bitingly cold night!
Free kicks awarded against Todd, Russell and Lofthouse , for bog all , in rapid succession, racked up the angst levels a tad, and more so, when from one of the resultant kicks Waide Fairhurst was allowed to take advantage of the far liner`s rest period, and dart clear whilst some several yards offside! It was more than annoying and I was mightily relieved to see Ian Ormson dive to make another good save to again deny Bell from Fairhurst`s pass. Gradually Macc were building the pressure on County, but despite Bailey-Jones`s best efforts, an air kick from Chris Holroyd undermined it all.

County rallied around the 15 minute mark, inspired by good work at the back  by Todd, who saw the ball up the park to Sharp who could not summon up a shot when crowded out in the box. Russell fared better moments later but whilst he got a shot off, the half volley went wide.

 If that last action was encouraging, the next wasn`t, and again Ormson had to make a save, and he served his side well in keeping ex Hatter Adriano Moke`s shot out after the tricky winger had linked up with Fairhurst to good effect. And the pressure continued, Hancock doing really well to shepherd the ball back to Ormson with the increasingly lively Bailey- Jones threatening.
Moses did have a surging run, checked just inside the box, but I was beginning to worry a tad because from this attack, County were in danger of being caught on the break, in fact...they were, and Moke was able to lift a decent ball into the box where it bounced invitingly in front of Bailey-Jones who launched himself headlong at it! It was a great effort by the number eleven, but again Ormson`s response matched it and more, with another excellent diving save!
Oh............and straight from Ormson`s clearance County had chances of their own, and it was really frustrating to see the ball come back off the woodwork from Ryan`s shot, with keeper Branagan well beaten.         

Five, minutes passed after the last action, following which the Silkmen nicked one, and it came courtesy of former County man Adi Moke, who took Fairhurst`s pass, before delivering a  crisp short one of his own inside to Hunter who toe ended the ball home from smack in front!
O`Halloran got some valuable work in next- testing Branagan with a shot on the end of one of his runs, and then being in position to nullify Moke      s latest offering. Sharp was in the mix too....winning a corner ( wasted by the poorest of deliveries from Lofthouse), and seeing a shot charged down by Danny Cowan, with just 5 minutes of the half left to play.
Both sides probed for an opening after this but I was glad to hear the whistle go, enabling me to head for the warmth under the stand and some sustenance.

Before the game, and before the queues !
Well.....I tried....the queue was enormous. I never made it to the front but I am guessing that there would have been the usual 1 person on duty judging by the queue movement or lack of. I became agitated after a while.......the more so when Wookie Warrior, with no consideration of public safety, announced to the masses that “ there`s just 1 pot noodle and a kit-kat left” and with me still 7 places from the front of the queue! My resolve broke on hearing this shattering news, and I headed back to my cold ....cold seat to shiver out the remainder of the game......... hungry!
Regaining said seat I noted that Wilkinson was now on for Hancock as A.L. opted for his Lowestoft strategy of reverting to 4 at the back. County opened the half brightly and it took both Halls and Branagan to keep Lofthouse out with the County support giving their team fulsome backing!

Excellent support !
Lees did well however, with Macc  doing their best to get a game ending second goal, blocking Moke as he combined closely with Holroyd. Moke was looking as lively as I can recall seeing him and he made it to the by-line not long after, pulling the ball back inside to Bell, who would have indeed got that much sought after second but for yet another good save from Ian Ormson, who was having an excellent game!

County press.
Todd and Sharp both pinged crosses in, and saw them come to nought, and it was not long before Glover was on in place of Lofthouse.
For a time, County looked about to about to surprise us.....Ryan  did well to beat off Haining`s challenge ,only to see the same lack of support in the box on the end of his run. Todd fared slightly better, as a brilliant run from him brought the County following to their feet. Down on the deck at one point ,the diminutive Hatter got to his feet( to applause) with the ball ,and Branagan did well to keep Wilkinson`s strike out from the Todd pass that followed!
He`s down.............

..............He`s up !
So.....County were making a good fist of their challenge against their full time opponents, who....urged on by Hunter gradually worked their way back onto the attack, forcing a series of corners that County did well to keep out- Ormson doing particularly well at one point with another diving save- O`Halloran and Lees in there as well with some crucially cool defending.

County faced the last 15 minutes with Duxbury on for Benjamin who was struggling with an injury. This necessitated Toddy switching flanks, but like his dad he did it seamlessly.

Branagan has work to do......
Duxbury did really well quite soon after coming on.....his surging run taking him past Tigue and into the last third. But with Tigue tugging and jostling his man it was astonishing to see the referee give the free kick to Macc! Such poor decisions decide games, and they also cause crowd issues, but although there was much abuse hurled by the big County following it did not get any more serious than thanks to the referee!
Both sides wasted chances as time eeked away......Barnes- Homer squandering Hunter`s latest prompt for Macc, and Ryan skying one way over the top for County.
Throughout the game a commendably supportive noise kept piercing the cold night air from the County contingent, who were creating an atmosphere their Cheshire counterparts seemed loath to add to!

Credit to County they stuck at it.....O`Halloran doing the biz at the back, and Moses stinging Branagan`s hands with a pile driver that the keeper just managed to push around the post. As usual however the corner was bobbins, and any momentum built up, was thus dissipated!

On it went, with Ormson continuing the good work with a late save from Tigue, but a blast or two of the referee`s whistle told us that County`s Cheshire Cup challenge was over for another year.
Back to Conference North duties then, and a tasty visit from the very handy Chorley side this Saturday at Edgeley Park.
Hope to see you there, and in the Bung beforehand, where SCAN presentations are being made to Tommy Roberts, and the family of Johnny Price.

 County line up:

Ormson, Benjamin ( Duxbury 67), Lees, Hancock ( Wilkinson 45), O`Halloran, Todd, Moses, Russell, Lofthouse ( Glover 58), Ryan, Sharp.

Subs not used:

Powell, Noblett.

Macclesfield Town line up:

Branagan, Halls, Disney, Hunter, Cowan, Haining( Tigue 72), Moke, Bell, Holroyd, Fairhurst( Barnes- Homer 66) , Bailey-Jones( Thompson 77).

Subs not used:

Jenkins, O`Keefe.

Attendance: 459 

Ian Brown


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