AFC Telford United 0 Stockport County 1: ( National League North) 15 August 2015
Stockport County soared to the top of National League North today after taking all the available points away at Telford’s New Bucks Stadium, with a superb battling 1-0 win.
That’s 9 points from a possible 9 in the bank…..and I cannot quite remember feeling quite so up…… so early in a season before, and I like it!
The score line of 1-0 hints at a close run thing, and to a certain degree it was, but by the time Telford set about putting some decent and half dangerous moves together, County had already established their lead, via another quality effort from Calum Dyson, and were looking well set defensively speaking to see out the afternoon without too many alarms.
There were a few moments of angst of course…..Hurst pulled off two or three vital saves at crucial moments, but for Telford only centre forward Bakayako showed any appreciable power to go with the neat touches, and thus County’s cool defending ….shielded by the excellent work of Lewis Montrose, Karl Ledsham and Glenn Rule, and supplemented by 90 minutes of graft from my man of the match Kayode Odejayi , held out to earn fulsome applause from the very vocal County following!
Dizzy from taking and re-taking roundabout after roundabout in a late dash to make it to the stadium, I was in no mood for a wrangle with a steward, but that’s what I got….. eventually, circa 2.50, being allowed to take photos after a less than stimulating debate( Note to myself….must read up on intellectual property rights as applied to the heady world of the English Division 6)
There was one change to County’s starting line up at 3 o’clock with Garvin coming in for Gonzales, and they quickly went onto the attack –Odejayi being upended in the box by keeper James Montgomery after great play from Dyson and Rule in the build up. Penalty?...................possibly…..possibly not, but the referee never gave the matter a seconds consideration , and that was that.
Garvin then tried one from distance, but Montgomery had this covered, as he did a Montrose through ball a minute later seeking Odejayi out.
The first 5 minutes ended with another Garvin run being blocked on the edge of the box, and the next 5 saw County largely camped in the opposition half – the noise from their supporters building by the second as Rule and Montrose bestrode the midfield in fine style.
Twelve minutes had elapsed before a serious response came back at County from their hosts, and when it came, it was not greatly pleasing to see Jack Rea surge clear down the right before getting a cross over. Glover’s header on the end of this flew wide, but the relative ease with which Rea made headway, was alarming.
That said…generally speaking the County defending was A1, and turning defence into lethal attack, they took the lead with just 15 minutes gone. It was another excellent goal too…started by a cross from the left which Dyson latched onto with alacrity. In a trice…he had it…in another he looked up and turned towards goal…..then rifled a top notch finish into the far corner of the net. The keeper looked to have got a touch, but could not keep it out….County had the lead!
Telford staged a rally shortly after, but O’Hanlon was in position to charge down Jack Roberts attempt when it mattered.
That was not the end of matters however, and Hurst did terrifically well next, coming out to deny Bakayako when an equaliser looked very much on with the forward one on one with the County number one. Somehow Hurst made the stop…
..but it was at a cost and fully 5 minutes went by before he was fit to resume. Rule saw the subsequent corner off, only for the pressure to come back on County via Garvin’s foul on Rea.
Hmmm it looked a touch iffy for a moment or two, but enter Ledsham, O’Hanlon and Montrose with decisive interventions, and Hurst with a reassuringly confident catch, and things were sorted, and maybe we were on for some attacking play from County.
Rule was certainly doing his best to make this so, and only a foul on Garvin prevented something coming of his latest bit of magic, whilst Telford concentrated on hitting County on the break and twice down the left, in quick succession they did this through Sean Clancy, but nothing came of a couple of corners thanks to the superior nature of County’s defensive cover. It was impressive!
Meanwhile…Garvin’s second foul on Rea earned him a yellow – the free kick putting more pressure on County, but also bringing the best out of Montrose, who I again thought was in outstanding form. This view was reinforced within a couple of minutes as the County number eight did brilliantly well to see off a cross from Anderson, who had sneaked clear down the right.
It was nip and tuck after this for a time……Reid put through by a long ball into the box at one end…….Garvin close to adding a second at the other with a free kick that Montgomery only just prevented sneaking in at the far post. This end to end stuff continued as another Garvin free kick saw Odejayi go up for it with the keeper. Inevitably the referee saw a `foul’ on the keeper that dished that one, whilst Hurst did well to deny Bakayako on a quick break.
The half ended with County running through the full gamut of their defensive drills……Ledsham….Montrose….Rule all joining in along with Odejayi , and Hurst pulling off one last save to keep Bakayako firmly in his place.
One up at the break…..I am sure County would be happy with that, although it was clear they might have to work extra hard to keep their lead intact on the resumption.
To this end County opened brightly , but a neat flowing move ended with Ledsham’s shot being competently dealt with by Montgomery.
That was one minute into the half…..another sixty seconds saw County back defending, and rather caught out by ex Hatter Danny Glover’s nippy run that allowed him to pick Bakayako out with a fine ball. Hurst was well and truly exposed, and it probably should have been 1-1….but instead the forward sliced a poor effort into the crowd, to derisive cheers from 400 or so County fans.
Things were definitely warming up now, with both sides looking for that decisive goal, but again Ledsham missed out, his second shot in as many minutes climbing narrowly over the bar.
It went on with some Odejayi brilliance setting Dyson up with a shooting chance, which the keeper did well to save. Then play switched ends and it was Hurst in action, with a good stop to deny Roberts on the end of Clancy’s through ball.
I was only mildly surprised to see a cross from Rea ping into the box, and be headed from under the bar by Odejayi!
This part of his game is worthy of note in my opinion, particularly as ,at the time, shots and crosses were raining in on County’s goal- one such bouncing up onto the bar before being headed clear by O’Hanlon! Telford were winning a lot of possession at this point, but…...even so it was County who went closest, just before the hour mark through Ledsham, but again his shot went the wrong side of the bar after great work by Odejayi had set it up!
In fairly rapid succession, County rang the changes….Evans for Garvin…..Ellison for Thorniley…and Robinson on for Montrose, but it was Telford who should have snatched one. It was no fault of Bakayako that they didn`t either..…he fed Anderson nicely only for the resultant effort to miss by a distance.
A couple of minutes later and the Away End was in full voice ,as an effort from Odejayi was prevented from crossing the line by the desperate last ditch action of Clancy, who had the presence of mind to hook the ball clear from under the bar.
O’Hanlon’s header from the resultant corner went wide, and a further raid by Odejayi only narrowly failed to send its target…..Micah Evans in….he didn`t due to that man Clancy again, so it stayed 1-0, with just 20 minutes left of the match.
On it went with Morton’s throw into the box causing a brown trouser moment for Montgomery…he emerged with the ball and apparel unsoiled, but it was a close run thing!
Back….and forth play went…..Ledsham conceding a corner that had Hurst scurrying back to his line to stop Clancy’s effort from sneaking in.
If Evans was giving us a new option up front, Clancy rather made his thoughts on the matter a tad too plain, scything the Evans legs from under him from behind!
It was a truly awful challenge and the referee saw it and bottled it –opting for a yellow which the United number three hardly bothered to acknowledge!
County went on the attack after this, Montgomery ending a period of cool County passing with a decisive catch. He was less confident a minute or so later with the sight of Dyson running onto Odejayi’s pass in the box. Dyson had him seemingly beaten, but despite goalkeeper initiated contact between the two of them, he did not go to earth. He would have got a penalty and no mistake, but his honesty told him presumably to stay up and try to score. The ball of course ran wide thereafter, allowing the keeper to recover and stop the eventual shot from Dyson.
Telford ,for their part, kept on trying, but there was little of the spark of their approach play, in their finishing and Hurst’s late saves were a tad more comfortable than earlier they had been.
Meanwhile Odejayi took us beyond 90 minutes with a thrilling run that took Clancy, Wilkinson and a couple of fouls on him en-route to keep him out…..and then it didn`t succeed…he burst clear to feed Evans ,who unfortunately saw his shot held by Montgomery who was showing up well for the home team.
Dyson went close from a Robinson pass late on, but the later minutes of added time largely consisted of County continuing their defensive work, helped out particularly by Ledsham and Odejayi both of whom had put in a shift today. They were not alone in this of course and that is why …when the whistle finally went….County had won, and the points were theirs!
Top of the league sounds great….but do you expect NY’s team to rest on their laurels. Not a bit of it…..North Ferriby will be doughty opponents next up, so expect more of the same!
AFC Telford line up:
Montgomery, Reid, Clancy, Rea, Deaman, Lees, Anderson( O`Callaghan 80), Wilkinson, Bakayako,Glover( Springthorpe 80), Roberts.
Subs not used:
Brownhill, Mc Quilken, Harrison.
Stockport County line up:
Hurst, Morton, Roberts, O`Hanlon, Thorniley( Ellison 65), Rule, Dyson, Montrose( Robinson 66), Odejayi, Garvin( Evans 58), Ledsham.
Subs not used: