Stockport County 0 Worcester City 0 : Vanarama National League North ( 5 September 2015)
( Best thanks to Andrew Machin who has supplied a good % of the photos published here)
I was really looking forward to this one…..the adrenalin was flowing again in anticipation of seeing County in action again at Edgeley Park.
If news that last season’s knock about free style wrestler cum footballer Sabir Khan would not be in the opposition starting line up, added more than somewhat to the pre match glow, the presence of Lee Hughes, whose on and off field antics have all the subtlety of 300 pages of Irvine Welsh, brought an element of edgy anticipation laced with angst ridden foreboding, to the mix. Hughes’ scoring record against us remains frighteningly good, so I just hoped that the giant ego that lurked within would not be fed what it craved, by County fans in their attempts to wind up the unwindable!( It wasn`t…County fans settled sensibly for some routine barracking ,which was about right)
In the event , Hughes and Niokolai Todorov, the other recent big name signing in the Worcester line up, were held in check immaculately by Paul Connolly and young Jordan Thorniley( my joint M.O.M’s), who did not allow them a single shot on target the whole afternoon. With Roberts and Morton doing similarly well out on the flanks, County’s defensive issues were none existent….it was at the other end of the park where our problems lay!
Much of the play from the blues , particularly between Dyson and Kirby, was nifty and pleasing to watch, but Monday’s cutting edge was wholly missing ,thus if a move did not wither via the upraised flag of the over eager main stand liner, then it was a poor decision in the last third that did the damage.
|Dyson on the ball.|
That was pretty much County’s afternoon…..Worcester came…..parked the bus, relying on ex Hatter Danny Jackman for a dash of skill and graft, which he supplied in shed loads until being substituted to applause late on, and frustrated the heck out of County .Indeed Lamin Colley had only been on the park 3 or 4 minutes when frustration at an off the ball challenge by Alex Cudger led him to swing the sweetest of right hooks smack on the defenders jaw. It was a stupid response, and thoroughly deserving of the red card it got!
In the end …despite having the majority of the game, and pretty much 100% of the shots on goal, County had to settle for 0-0, and a share of the points. Not a disaster……but a definite disappointment!
Back to 3 o`clock then, and there was an early shock as County set about attacking the Cheadle End from the kick off.
They did attack as well, and a neat flick on from Odejayi saw Dyson win a corner, from which keeper Nathan Vaughan did well to claw a shot by Rule out from under the bar.
|Keeper saves from Rule - by Andrew Machin.|
One minute had gone…..not a bad start at all that, I told myself!
A few ribald boos came next as a scarily familiar white mop appeared in the County box chasing the ball. It was but a chimera however…. not the striker of old we love to hate, and the ball was soon cleared up field by Connolly.
It was early doors, but already Dyson and Kirby were shaping up rather well,and Worcester had Gudger to thank for his quick thinking that prevented Kirby from reaching Odejayi with his final ball after Dyson had darted clear.
Keeper Vaughan was called on next, and only just got to a through ball before
|Just in time from Andrew Machin.|
Yes….this was a decent start…..just the goals were missing, but they would be along
soon, wouldn’t they?
Well…..Morton and Odejayi tried to make it so, but after good work by the duo, Morton spoiled it with a rank bad finish that failed to test Vaughan.
Still….County kept pegging away, with no sign of anything of substance coming back from their opponents as yet. Odejayi won us a corner from a Roberts throw, and Vaughan had to make a decent save to keep a strike by Montrose out.
|More coming Vaughan's way- by Andrew Machin.|
It was developing into a procession as Odejayi and Dyson were frustrated in their attempts to get a shot off through a forest of red and white shirted bodies in the box. In this respect Tom Sharpe was working overtime heading clear, which he did again from another Dyson cross some 16 minutes into the game.
If all that was frustrating….more followed on and quickly in the shape of a shot from Dyson that had the keeper momentarily under the cosh- he did just enough to keep it out, and County`s inability to apply a finish to the flag kick did the rest.
|Evans to the fore....|
More angst swiftly followed, as twice, after linking well with Kirby, Dyson was
flagged offside when clean through.
Dyson and Kirby were on the same wave length alright, and Vaughan did well to deny the Everton loan man, on the odd occasion that the liner’s flag stayed down. That was a good save, and Sharpe contributed to the visitors cause again by clearing up as Morton`s cross pinged into the box.
|More Incoming Nathan- from Andrew Machin.|
There was about 5 minutes around this point during which time County seemed to lose impetus, allowing Worcester more possession than they had previously enjoyed.
Jackman was the hub of any response from the visitors, but the much vaunted Hughes threat was a long time in coming, and Hurst might usefully have brought a paper and a decky so soporific was his day so far!
That said…..County plugged away…..continuing to be frustrated in the process…getting into the box without getting a strike off and testing the keeper. It was disappointing, as the approach play was pretty decent.
Sods Law dictates of course that the half should end with a punt up the park seeing Hughes on the ball near the by-line. We had seen this so many times before…..he would muscle his way to a shot which would find its way into the net! But…..not this time….County had him covered, and from the corner he had to settle for, Kieran Morris headed tamely wide to end the first half.
The second half was a scrappy affair for the first 2 or 3 minutes with neither side putting a foot on the ball and looking to do something special with it, and disconcertingly…it was Worcester whose head protruded first above the parapet, as ….for 5 minutes a succession of crosses pinged in from the flanks forcing Rule( twice) and Morton to make well timed clearances. It was pressure alright……there was nothing on the end of it all though…..no Hughes monster to frighten the kids…..and when inevitably Morris fouled Montrose, the pressure eased allowing County to try to re-impose their hegemony.
It stayed 0-0 however as Vaughan was still in decent form ,doing very well to keep Kirby’s shot out just before the hour.
By this time Gonzales was on for Evans, but Hurst had his first real action of the
afternoon at this point palming away a fairly mundane effort from Hughes.
The addition of Gonzales to the County mix certainly added a new dimension and, combining with Roberts and Odejayi he seemed perhaps a likely source of a way out of this current bind!
Instead……County won a corner only for Vaughan to again ….somehow…..keep the ball out when a goal looked on! Then Odejayi fashioned a neat break for Kirby, that saw him shoot disappointingly straight at the keeper.
Decisions….decisions…..County were repeatedly making the wrong ones at the sharp end!
Gonzales did summon up a neat bit of magic down the left, with 20 minutes left, but then no one was on hand to apply a finish!
|County`s cover again imaculate.|
Still….County were still trying….the momentum was building again, evidence a shot from Dyson that fizzed inches past Vaughan’s post. Free kicks were coming County’s way too, but too often being wasted, although 75 minutes in, one such won by Odejayi, pin balled about wickedly in the box before heading into the keeper’s arms somewhat fortuitously.
County were so much in control, it was ridiculous, but even so…I was astonished to see a loose ball end up with Hurst falling gratefully onto the ball a split second before Todorov could reach it. Almost from nothing at all…..Worcester nearly declared a dividend! We needed to put this to bed…score…..and then preferably score again, but would we?
Gonzales and Odejayi thought they had gone some way towards doing so, with 9 minutes left, but again, despite help from Rule, a decent shooting chance continued to elude them.
Time for a free kick or two for County, but Thorniley came nearest from these ,but his header was a foot or two wide, whilst at the other end something nasty threatened to stir, but twice Hughes failed to react quickly enough when faced with decent balls coming his way in the box.
Again, after this, County applied themselves to the task of getting a winner but
despite getting a couple of free kicks neither caused more than the odd flurry of excitement.
Have I mentioned that Lamin Colley was on for Odejayi? Well…he was….and then he wasn’t, as with Worcester playing for time wholesale, he was tackled as he went for a ball in the box in added time. Down he went……up he got….and then promptly lamped Gudger a smacker right on the button.
Even I would have given this one, and indeed referee Shaun Hudson wasted little time in producing the red card, which was an entirely appropriate response to a very inappropriate one!
I pretty much lost interest after that, and I guess so did the referee as he blew for time not long after, and County had to settle for a point. Not a disaster as I have said….but……..
County line up:
Hurst, Morton, Roberts, Thorniley, Connolly, Rule, Dyson, Montrose, Odejayi(
Colley 86), Evans( Gonzales 57), Kirby.
Subs not used:
Ormson, Ledsham, Ellison.
Worcester City line up:
Vaughan, Weir, Gudger, Morris( Rowe J 92), Sharpe, Elvins, Nti, Deeney,
Hughes, Todorov( Rowe R 82), Jackman( Gator 77).
Subs not used:
Lloyd- Weston, Nash.