Macclesfield Town 2 Stockport County 1 ( PreSeason Friendly) 24 July 2015







Macclesfield Town 2 County 1…….nah……that is assuredly the detail that the referee will have in his notebook, but in mine I had written two words …Progress maintained…….. together with an exclamation mark, and a corrected score line of 3-2 to County.

 
County filled the away end(see above) so the terrace was opened!
To explain this state of affairs it is necessary for you to be aware of the parallel universe I visit occasionally when my stress mountain is at its zenith. In this other place the liner and referee had not hallucinated at all and County had not had 2 perfectly good goals ruled out.
Alas, last night hallucinations were rife and strikes by Gonzales and Ledsham were unaccountably ruled out which was a massive shame as County’s performance at the very least merited a draw- evidence the massive ovation accorded the pink shirted blues at the end of proceedings. This was a decent performance against a side which had been close to promotion last term  to Division 4 of the Football League, and the large County following knew it!
In the first half Danny Hurst was the busier keeper but play was fairly even until the 44 th minute when an aberration from the otherwise tidy debutant Jordan Thorniley gifted a goal to Kristian Dennis. 

 
Jordan Thorniley directs traffic !
Chris Holroyd added a top rank second 10 minutes into the second half, but Ritchie Branagan in goal for Town, rather kept the Silkmen in it with a number of vital saves as County pushed forward impressively.
Charlie Russell pulled one back late on for County, opening his first team account with a bit of a cracker that had him and the County contingent cock a hoop….first of many I hope Charlie, but Macc held on for the victory they probably fancied was theirs as of right pre-kick off.
Plus points from the game for County for me were the continued excellence of Rule, who was the busiest man around once again, and nearly took the keeper’s hand off with one effort. Confident showings from the two new men Thorniley and Montrose, who showed a willingness and ability to get forward which he did with smooth regularity. 

 
Lewis Montrose- got forward regularly !

That was good stuff……Baggie added occasional danger to the mix….Garvin industry …. all the big forwards, Colley, Gonzales and Odejayi  were a handful....

 
Ellison. Montrose & Morton.

..... and I liked Ryan Ellison’s work too, he did well faced with Kristian Dennis , Chris Holroyd and the likes of Theo Bailey-Jones. No one disappointed …in what was another good team effort
  
 
Minutes Silence- Beautifully observed !
There was a minutes silence which was beautifully observed prior to the start, for the Bosley disaster victims, and within seconds of the game starting  I was mouthing incoherent oaths as the dangerous Chris Holroyd was allowed to surge clear down the right whilst a yard or so offside. Nothing came of it but………
Theo Bailey-Jones took to his heels on the other flank and looked well capable of causing County issues, but early doors Dan Morton did well and matched him for pace and resolve, stopping him neatly.

 
Morton deals with the tricky Bailey-Jones.
Garvin and Rule meanwhile were busy organising mid field, the former getting forward and pushing Macc back. With freshly recruited Lewis Montrose pushing forward too, County had options for sure.
By the tenth minute my regained state of tranquility was thoroughly banjaxed as Dennis went to ground under almost no pressure from anyone in a pink shirt, getting a free kick courtesy of Mr Philbin on the far line. This was the third iffy free kick Macc had obtained in that 10 minute period , whilst an almost constant buffeting( and worse) by Tony Diagne on Lamin Colley , got no redress at all- I was not alone in my angst. I was soon assuaged ….the kick hit the County wall and Dan Cowan’s follow up missed by a distance, but I looked for something better from the officials!



Good work from Ellison and Thorniley followed, both of whom did well to keep Dennis quiet.

 
Ellison keeps tabs on Dennis.
Garvin was unlucky…being pulled up for offside with the break very much on, and Evans was more so being inches from a Baggie cross after a rare County free kick( Diagne foul on Colley) had set the move up.
An early attempt at a shirt exchange by Diagne on Colley followed, and Macc broke when the referee chose not to penalise the errant defender. In a flash Dennis was clear and in on goal, but Hurst’s dive saw him stop the goal bound effort- Danny Whitehead being unable to force the loose ball home.
On it went, and County replied with a veritable screamer from Garvin that whistled an inch or so wide from a tasty knock down by Colley. Evans then won the ball well and fed Baggie, but his shot missed the target by a yard and it stayed 0-0.
Montrose gave us a hint of his potential next with a powerful run that was only just cut out in the box, and Ellison earned more applause for neat work in stopping John Marsden and the dangerous Bailey-Jones as they threatened mayhem down the right.




 
County take game to Macc.


County had a fair bit of defending to do in the first 30 minutes or so, if some of it was not greatly pretty for the most part it was coolly confident stuff. The tactic for us seemed to be to hit Macc on the break, which was perfectly reasonable, but we were having absolutely no luck…..as Baggie darted clear to be penalised for…..err…..any clues anyone?
Although Dennis went close with a header after this, things generally were beginning to look up for County- just that luck factor was missing , as a Garvin shot was deflected wide from Colley’s lay back after the young County forward had shrugged off the umpteenth foul on him en-route.
The County forward push continued, but with less than 10 minutes of the half to go Hurst had to act swiftly to deny Holroyd whose shot on the break had power and accuracy.
County were more than holding their own……there was only a minute remaining of the half….Roberts and Garvin had just stretched the home defences down the left, when it all suddenly went pear shaped as Thorniley was caught in possession by Dennis who promptly took the ball past Hurst to give Macc the lead on the stroke of half time!
That was real bummer, but County’s general play augured well for a second half response!

 
Odejayi to the fore......
The re-start saw Gonzales and Odejayi on for Colley and Evans, and Odejayi was quickly on Tony Diagne’s case winning a corner straight off.
Nothing came of the kick, or an excellent cross that came next from the pacy Gonzales- Garvin being just short of latching onto it at the sharp end.
The introduction of Gonzales and Odejayi had clearly undermined the Silkmen’s confidence, so much so that County equalised 5 minutes into what had been a one sided half. Well……I thought that they had……Odejayi’s run had comprehensively opened the Macc defensive cover , clearing the way for Gonzales to add the finishing touch by beating Branagan, and the ball was in the net, but the liner’s flag was up and it stayed 0-1 in Macc’s favour and my displeasure was shared by many in the away end.

 
A cross coming from Garvin.
Garvin to Baggie after this saw Branagan do altogether better in keeping the latter’s shot out.
That was a disappointment……another disappointment…but more and worse followed on quickly when Whitaker’s break up field went unchecked allowing him to pass to Holroyd who promptly beat Hurst with the sweetest of strikes.
From being level( in my book) and playing well….County were now 2 down with their feet on a potentially increasing upward incline.

 
County compete....
That may have been so, but NY’s boys showed no inclination to bow down to the perceived inevitable, and I was astonished to see Branagan somehow do enough to keep the most lethal of strikes from the excellent Glenn Rule out! Fantastic shot…..amazing stop, but the ball had run loose and landed at the feet of Karl Ledsham who, despite only having been on the park for seconds, lashed the ball home in brilliant style.
Great…..2-1….we can set about getting an equaliser…..but no….with County fans and players still celebrating ,they were  again crestfallen to see liner and referee combine to rule the goal out!
We were clearly not meant to win this one, but nobody had told County and only a foul stopped Baggie, after Odejayi and Gonzales had worked their magic in the build up. The keeper just kept Garvin’s kick out next, and the Lees ( on for Morton) attempt to ghost in a la Jim at the back post went un-rewarded.

 
Branagan saves Macc !
If you are at all tempted, dear reader, to think I was back all calm and collected, please think again, as the referee by the 70th minute was going through his repertoire of duff decisions, stopping a flowing County move….you guessed it…..to award County a free kick!  Garvin went direct with this kick and Branagan performed more heroics for his side somehow making a vital save after the mother of melees in front of goal, to keep the hedgegrower angst topped up.



 
...and again.....
The score line simply did not reflect the action on the pitch…..it is true that Whitaker had a shot ,on 71 minutes, but this went well wide, and Garvin did really well to get back and stop Marsden who had sneaked clear with County concentrating on matters at the other end of the park.
But…as I say… it was mainly County, and Branagan pulled off save after save to deny Odejayi, Garvin and Gonzales after this.

Byrne tries to keep Odejayi quiet !

It was massively frustrating to be having so much of the game and getting absolutely nothing back from it, but the 85th minute saw this change. Charlie Russell had been on about 10 minutes when he received the ball. It appeared that another County raid was about to end unhappily when Charlie brought the County contingent to its feet by leathering a ferocious drive past the keeper! It was an absolute belter as all around me went AS in response!


 
Great work from Charlie !
Were County content to leave it at that?
Well…..not so you would notice……and Cowan nearly turned himself inside out to stop Ledsham reaching the umpteenth tasty flick on from Odejayi.
A corner followed…..then another Branagan save ….then another as Odejayi  failed by the narrowest of margins with a lob when played clear through the middle.
Right to the whistle County kept the positive stuff going- Rule ending proceedings with a header from Ledsham’s cross that went close.
Soon it was time for the whistle to end what had been a decent display by County , and the travelling support were quick to acknowledge their teams performance at the end, staying on to applaud them loudly.
Man U Under 21 `s next then on Tuesday at Edgeley Park….are you at all tempted to miss that one? I thought not…see you there! 
Oh.....and good to see some readable numbers on the pink shirts tonight, lets hope the same is true with the other two kits going forward.

Macclesfield Town line up:

Eve( Branagan 56), Cowan, Haynes-Brown, Byrne, Diagne, Turnbull( Marsden 18), Bailey-Jones, Whitaker, Holroyd( Gnahoua 56), Whitehead, Dennis( A N Other 71).

Subs not used:

Rowe,

County line up:

Hurst, Morton( Lees 60), Roberts( Ledsham 55), Ellison, Thorniley, Montrose, Baggie ( Russell 71), Rule, Colley( Odejayi 45), Evans( Gonzales 45), Garvin.

Subs not used:

Tyson.

Attendance : 720    

Ian Brown             

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