Solihull Moors 1 Stockport County 0 ( Vanarama National League North) 31 October 2015
I am sorry dear reader….but I totally refuse to continue to pretend that we are just unlucky with some of the decisions that have consistently gone against us this season. I am now tempted to convey the view to you that what we are experiencing amounts to a conspiracy. Paranoia ……yes…certainly but as the man said….” Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they are not after me”
County’s visit to the cumbersomely named Automated Technology Group Stadium was no different to a tiresome clutch of depressingly similar outings in Division 6 this season , that have seen us the victims of some rank bad refereeing decisions. This time the game was effectively put out of our grasp when Andy Robinson was sent off whilst coming on to the pitch as a substitute for Danny Morton. To describe it as ludicrous seriously sells the `incident’ short, and I could find no one in the ground who could tell me or express a coherent reason why our man had been sent off. It has been suggested that he was sent off for not showing his studs. Leaving aside the fact that Robinson says he did, this `offence’ is a yellow card offence not a red as I understand it, but this is but speculation it could just as easily be down to the after shave again!.
What about the game then? Well….it ended 1-0 in Solihull Moors’ favour, decided by as unsatisfactory a goal as you would ever come across even at this level in the pyramid. Again……. refereeing `whimsy’ played a part as County’s keeper was penalised for `handball’ when the ball was slammed into his chest by Andy Brown, who had in fact handled the ball before hitting Ormson’s CHEST with it! The liner did not flag……but the referee came from behind Ormson( by a distance) to give Moors the free kick on the edge of the box that by rights should have been County’s.
Sods Law dictates that from the free kick Moors would score …..they made hard work of it I must say, but Brown won the game for his team by bundling the ball into the net to a chorus of boos from the large County contingent in what was a record crowd for the former Damson Park.
There were over 1100 in the ground at 3 o’clock, at one of my favourite away haunts, but it was exceedingly irritating to note that County fans were made to gain entrance via a little used turnstile at the far side of the car park.
For some reason we were told that this was due to the fact that , despite there being no incidents of note at the previous 2 visits crowd wise, or indeed at any other games this term involving County fans, segregation was in force- a fact made known very late in proceedings to County fans. In essence though it turned out to be a very lip service type of segregation as ,when the County support had gained entrance to the ground they were allowed to mingle happily with the locals on 3 of the 4 sides. Someone needs to examine their roll in this and agree with me that this misguided policy is seriously flawed and does nothing other than get up the noses of County’s patient following!
“Enough!!!!!” I hear you cry, and I agree, but I am still bloody angry!
Within seconds of the off County almost went one down as some seriously slack work allowed Brown in on goal. That would have been an appalling start but thankfully Ormson was quick off his line to rob the forward and it stayed 0-0.
The trauma was not over however and the next minute and a half saw County pushed back onto the defensive by Connor Franklin’s free kick, the anguish only relenting when Ryan Beswick lifted his shot inches over the top.
If the first 5 minutes or so were spent largely in the County half, the sixth saw a mazy piece of football from County threaten to transform matters. I counted 15 passes…all on the deck….twixt various pink shirted blues, and it was greatly disappointing to see Odejayi on the end of the final ball but ruled offside. He probably was….but I was still disappointed!
For a time after this the County impetus steadily mounted , and there was more disappointment for the County following as their heart felt cries of “ handball” were denied by the officials with the Moors back line severely stretched. Kirby did well to keep the pressure on our hosts, but his shot was blocked and the follow up by Evans, from close in, was smothered by Ben Siegrist, the home keeper.
The first 10 minutes had been pretty tasty stuff on the whole, and it continued with O’Hanlon doing just enough to ensure that the busy Brown sent his shot over the bar.
Both teams were working hard and defending well whilst getting forward when they could, but in County’s case Odejayi continued to fall foul of the liner’s upraised flag, whereas for Moors Franklin looked a threat for a time, but only until he reached the last third where Morton tied him up comprehensively at one point earning great applause.
It was a good game was this, and County were playing some decent stuff at times, but some great work from Montrose rather typified how things were for County as after winning a corner, no one could take advantage of the set piece.
There is no doubt that Moors deserve credit for the difficulties County were experiencing, and they did take time out to attack County as well, and Morton had to be in top nick to sort matters more than once.
Baggie did have a shot deflected for a corner at one juncture, but again the kick came to nought , as did an effort from Ledsham -kept out by the keeper after Baggie had pinged it over from the by-line, and with O’Hanlon saving the day with a last ditcher on Armason after he had comprehensively `done’ Morton and Montrose, I was just settling into a mind set that accepted that two evenly matched sides were engaged in a highly competitive match, when things took a turn for the worst.
It started with a back pass to Ormson….there was no danger at all, but he was slow to get to it and, as a result Brown went for it too. The pair came together just outside the box where the forward’s hand made contact with the ball. He then slammed the ball into Ormson’s chest from inches in front of him- the ball flying out of play. Free kick to County then!...except no…
..the referee ( who was a way behind the action and could not have seen it) indicated he was intent on penalising the County keeper. All this time the liner had not flagged so it was 100% down to the ref who was 100% unsighted. After an eternity Mr Smallwood produced a yellow waving it at Ormson. Despite the injustice of it all, County had to defend the free kick, but after the mother of all goalmouth melees the ball was bundled home by Brown and effectively the game was won for Moors.
Both keepers had work to do after this…Rigby and Baggie seeing shots held by Siegrist, but with Ormson forced to make a good stop to deny Armason, late on, the half time whistle came not a moment too soon on the whole.
The restart saw both teams continuing to probe the other, as ….at last the home specs came to life behind the goal making some noise for the first time in the match. It was a repeat of the first 45 minutes with both defences on top, and both keepers gainfully employed a time or two…..Siegrist fisting clear from a dangerous cross by Kirby ,and Ormson out quickly to stop Moore who had sneaked clear down the left.
For a time County looked about to square this most difficult of circles but…..
….Gareth Dean dished us by hooking clear following a break by Evans…..then a header by O’Hanlon just cleared the bar.
County were definitely on the up now and Moors needed `something’ and their enormous keeper obliged them with an absurd pantomime that saw him go down with an apparent injury for 5 minutes or so , thus disrupting the pattern of play. Needless to say… he recovered with astonishing speed once the 5 or 6 minutes had elapsed . And what of the County momentum? Well…for a time it slowed…..sufficiently for Gittings to ping in a shot that was not that far off target.
On it went beyond the hour with Garvin now on for Ledsham ,and he was quickly in the mix with some typically enterprising play- just that touch of luck was missing as shot…cross and prompt went un-rewarded- a cooperation twixt him and Kirby going close at one point but foiled by Brown on a rare defensive outing.
Junior English had been impressive all afternoon for Moors and he continued in the same vein hooking clear twice in rapid order with County looking for that elusive equalising goal. With just over 15 minutes left, I fancied it had arrived, only for Baggie to waste a gift when played clear.
I was impressed with County’s work rate if not the finishing, but Garvin did his best to make me smile on both accounts next his shot on the end of a neat bit of work, saw Siegrist have to act quickly to claw the substitutes shot down from under the bar.
County were on top now and Moors at times were reduced to hoofing the ball into the next County such was the pressure from County, who now had Cham on for Baggie. Free kicks….corners all came County’s way but still English ensured Siegrist was protected , and a quick break by our hosts saw Ormson forced into action making a diving save to keep Moore from scoring.
We were heading into the last 5 minutes when it all went pear shaped . NY had just called Morton off….replacing him with Robinson. I was thinking this was maybe 10 minutes too late, but had little time to ponder this small pearl when Robinson was on his way onto the park ( I definitely saw him show his studs to the liner albeit briefly).Gittings of Moors was on his way off the park being subbed so the pair past and exchanged words …nothing more….when the referee went AS and waved a red at Robinson who looked about to have a thrombosis in response. He was not alone…..the whole County contingent was up in arms…a mix of anger and bewilderment!
I am so so sick of this sub standard officiating which has again cost us a game.
There was an eternity of added time to play out but with 10 against 11 ( or was it 14) despite still pressing with great vigour right up to the whistle the game was up, and lost!
Such a pity to end like this….two teams…two decent teams fought out a close encounter in a decent spirit…only the officials were wanting in this encounter and I am tired of saying it, as tired as you are of hearing it I guess!
See you no doubt at Edgeley Park next Saturday.
Solihull Moors line up:
Siegrist, Nottingham, Franklin, Daly, English( Knights 91), Dean, Moore, Gittings( Walker 85), Brown( Akwasi 80), Beswick, Armason.
Subs not used:
Stockport County line up:
Ormson, Morton( Robinson 85), Roberts, Connolly, O’Hanlon, Ledsham( Garvin 63), Baggie( Cham 80),Montrose, Odejayi, Evans, Kirby.
Subs not used:
Attendance: 1100( Ground Record)