Gainsborough Trinity 0 Stockport County 1 ( Vanarama National League North) 3 October 2015
I was unusually apprehensive about this one, and a distinct feeling of unease was abroad with me as I set off for Lincolnshire and County’s latest match in the nation’s sixth division.
Maybe it was the fact that I had reprised some Stieg Larrson late last night, or just the memory of last seasons mugging at this venue at the hands of the officials that had got to me. For sure the pre match omens looked decent enough….
..............NY had signed Wade Joyce following a scoring debut on Wednesday in the Lancashire League Cup, so why the tension on my part…was it the thought of Scubby’s onions that was undermining my confidence quotient? In reality it was the player’s confidence quotient that mattered, and surely they would take their cue from the County supporters who had just shelled out almost £6k via `Neil Young’s Gold Rush’?
And so it came to pass……and County oozed confidence as they prized all the available points from a GainsboroughTrinity side out played and out thought for much of the game.
County’s foundations as usual were rock solid….O’Hanlon a master in the air at the back….Morton a magician whether at the back or rampaging forward. Add a solid showing from Connolly and Roberts….a fluid exhibition of combative and stylish mid field play from Montrose along with 90 minutes of graft from forwards Odejayi, Baggie and most of all Micah Evans, and you had the ingredients for success! Oh…..and have I mentioned a superbly confident, save spattered, display by Ian Ormson, recalled for a rare start? Well…that’s just what we got- it was heart warming!
The aforementioned foundations never wobbled for an instant despite a gruesome late showing from referee Alf Greenwood, who ruined an otherwise decent performance, by wholly buying into Trinity’s imaginative attempts to influence him, all other tactics having failed them. It started with a non foul by Garvin that triggered pitch side histrionics from Steve Housham that beggared belief. Another decision to penalise Ormson , when County were under no threat, for………….well…..I assume holding onto the ball for `too long’, could have been costly….wasn`t…..but…..when have you ever seen this rule applied? I’ll answer that question myself…..last season at Abbey Hey when County’s Development Squad keeper was penalised similarly in added time allowing Hyde to score from the free kick!
Paranoia alert…… You’re correct……….. it’s a rule only ever applied against us!
But all the above mentioned nonsense should not be allowed to deflect attention from an excellent County performance, well deserving of the points haul it secured!
So…back to 3 o’clock, and there were starts for new boy Wade Joyce and Ian Ormson , who claimed the jersey with Danny Hurst occupying a place on the bench.
With Odejayi, Baggie and Evans up front County notionally had fire power to spare…..but this is County…….
The early action saw Connolly cut Nathan Jarman’s capers short with a neat bit of work, and if that annoyed the locals….they were annoyed again and quickly as the same forward was pulled up for offside by the liner on the main stand side.
Back came County after this, and Evans was to the fore ,ripping into Trinity’s left flank, forcing Josh Lacey to find touch ala Twickers style, in extremis.
Twice after this County tried to get Baggie in behind the home defence, and a third attempt…the product of an Evans run that took him to the by-line, almost did the trick…Baggie losing possession at the salient moment!
The 7th minute gave us our first glimpse of what Ian Ormson was bringing to the party, and I liked what I saw at this point, as he reacted well to a cross from Liam Davis, keeping it from Jamie Yates in confident style!
Another 2 minutes, and Trinity worked themselves a decent chance, at least Lacey did, but having done the difficult bit, and weaved his way across the box, he promptly lifted a poor effort way over the bar.
Gainsborough had showed an early inclination to attack County, but in response the pink shirted blues resisted in masterly fashion none more so than O`Hanlon who had everything in the air covered, and Morton who was simply sensational in his work at either end of the park. We just needed a break….but instead Garvin saw his shot charged down following neat work by Evans. Evans was seemingly on fire and every bit as lively as on Wednesday against Buxton, and he left Lacey for dead at one point being inches away from picking Odejayi out with his cross. A corner resulted and a punched clearance from keeper Jan Budtz before there was any respite for the home team.
Joyce saw an effort cleared….. Montrose did better, but still watched as his shot drifted inches wide, and Odejayi set Garvin up nicely with a deft back heeled pass only for this to miss out by a similar distance!
Things were looking not at all bad for County, although this view of the situation was somewhat under threat midway into the half when Joyce conceded a free kick just inside County’s half. No real danger you may be tempted to opine….but not so….Yates lifted a dangerous ball to the back post where Ormson did exceptionally well to push it around the post. Yates however…. made a wakes of his shot from the resultant corner, so the pressure was off, and stayed off for 6 or 7 minutes when
County’s propensity for conceding needless free kicks came to the fore again allowing Adam Quinn to steal in at the back post and almost put his side ahead. His effort was deflected wide and the subsequent corner bravely defended and expertly cleared by County who were showing increasing confidence all over the park now.
This pressure continued for much of the rest of the half and Budtz did well to fend off one County raid as a Garvin free kick headed his way. Evans meanwhile was working away fantastically well and a link up with Baggie won us a corner- sadly not put to good use by County.
On it went with Baggie trying to capitalise on excellent play by Montrose, but seeing his shot drift inches wide of the post with Budtz an interested but helpless spectator!
It continued with the County fans in raptures watching Morton turn a defensive position into one of rampant pink shirted attack. Only a poor foul stopped the rot for the rattled Trinity with Baggie threatening, and it required a good save from Budtz to keep it at 0-0 from the kick that followed.
Budtz made a couple of decent catches after this with half time approaching fast, but the half ended with County almost conceding a goal at the death- a fine diving save by Ormson somehow saving the day, and a follow up punch of outstanding confidence doing the rest when it was needed.
The half time whistle was well received by County fans, who must have wondered, like myself, whether their team could find a finish to go with all the decent approach play in the 45 minutes to follow.
A lively start to the second half saw Evans and Baggie in concert down the right, the latter seeing his shot fly over the bar.
For 7 or 8 minutes after this, both teams probed the other without showing real signs of knowing how to finish their good work off. The 54th minute offered a tantalising glimpse of what might just be….when Baggie darted clear, but with only Budtz to beat…he didn’t….shooting straight into the keeper’s arms.
That was disappointing, and more of the same followed as Budtz was again to the fore catching Joyce’s ball into the box before anyone in pink could react!
County… urged on by the relentless Morton, piled the pressure on now- Garvin, Evans and Baggie making neat patterns in the home half. Just that elusive finish was missing, but despite a free kick for a foul on Garvin, and further pressure via Joyce, it was Budtz who emerged with the ball to ease his team’s worries.
That goal looked like continuing to elude us….and then just beyond the hour mark, things changed! Not surprisingly Morton started the change with another powerful run into opposition territory. In response Trinity just could not clear the ball and County fans, who had by now spread out on 3 sides of the segregated stadium, let rip in jubilation as the ball reached Evans and his header beat the keeper thumping into the post and going in off Budtz’s back!
That was simply excellent and more almost followed, just 3 minutes later- Odejayi extremely unlucky with a shot on the turn that missed out by inches!
On…..on….it went with Morton still powering up field converting defensive positions rapidly into threats at the other end, and the product was another chance for Odejayi and another near miss as his header flew narrowly wide.
There were less than 20 minutes remaining to play now and Trinity were beginning to ring the personnel changes in an attempt to rectify matters, instead they might have been 2-0 down had Evans shown more composure when clean through. Unfortunately he hesitated just long enough to allow Lacey to rob him and clear- chance gone!
It was at this point the Gainsborough `Plan B’ came into play, and it was puke making to see Trinity Manager Steve Housham go AS a yard or so from the referee as Garvin pulled out of a tackle with Lacey. No tackle….no intent….no foul…just an unfortunate tantrum from Mr Housham , but ridiculously the referee bought it and gave the home side a ludicrous free kick. This put pressure on County which they withstood with great fortitude and resilience- Ormson earning rich applause with a fine catch to lift what had been a short siege.
Morton continued to terrorise Trinity….we needed a second goal to put matters to bed, but this continued to elude us despite some neat play, and the referee was adding to
County’s problems with some perverse decisions the latest of which saw Gainsborough gain a free kick smack in front on the edge of the box, as the referee penalised Ormson for……err…well….I assume `holding onto the ball too long’ but who knows, anyway a no pressure on County situation had been converted to one decidedly iffy. But….the good guys won out on this occasion – a hopeless free kick thudding into the County wall ,followed by a small ovation for Ormson whose diving save put just the cap on the interlude that was required- fantastic stuff!
Evans was replaced by Max Hazeldine on 87 minutes, leaving the field to thunderous applause from the County following.
Hazeldine’s fresh legs gave added impetus to County’s forward push and we looked on aghast to see Garvin’s shot miss out by fractions of an inch after he had executed a mazy dribble deep into Trinity territory.
Into added time we went….4 minutes of it…. and Ormson had to look lively and pulled off another decent save to deny Jarman, who rather distastefully followed through on the keeper, not getting anything remotely approaching a rebuke from the officials for his pains!
The rest was a succession of hopeful high ones from Trinity which O’Hanlon and company dealt with without undue concern, and Hazeldine was doing his job well getting forward…..relieving the pressure…and….winning a free kick.
It was a magnificent effort by all 11 County men and the subs, and it was great to join in the acclaim as they trouped off at the end.
A good result…..and a just one too…well done you County boys!
Gainsborough Trinity line up:
Budtz, Roma( Wilson 90), Lacey, D’Laryea, Quinn, Picton, Russell, Davis( Brogan 70), Newsham( Stamp 75), Jarman, Yates.
Subs not used:
Stockport County line up:
Ormson, Morton, Roberts, Connolly, O’Hanlon, Joyce, Baggie, Montrose, Odejayi, Evans( Hazeldine 87), Garvin.
Subs not used:
Hurst, Ellison, Robinson, Thorniley.