Stockport County 1 Chorley 3 ( Vanarama National League North) 7 November 2015
Those looking for good news should seek out avenues other than this report, because nothing resembling that will be forthcoming from this direction.
This was about as bad a County performance as I have seen for some time, an absolute stinker, as NY ‘s re-shuffled team went down 1-3 to Chorley FC , a team laid low just a few days ago by Jim Gannon’s Northwich Victoria in the FA Cup.
To say it was excruciating understates the awfulness of it by some distance, and it was all the more galling as a string of early chances were spurned by the boys in blue, who instead of being 3 or 4 up were one down just minutes from the break. This was massively against the run of play, and they pulled this back admirably with a fine goal from sponsors M.O.M Jake Kirby, but with Darren Stephenson stepping up the revs after the break, County just faded away offering no protection at all to Ormson who saw another 2 goals fly past him, one something of a howler by Dale Tonge, who along with the other debut man Ross Killock, did not impress at all.
End of all the `doom and gloom’ stuff? Not a bit of it as County finished the game with only 9 men on the park…... the third debutant Yusuf Coban having to go off, after being on barely a few minutes, never to return with an injury( all County’s available substitutes by this time were on the field of play). If that was bad…worse was to follow as a brain dead `studs showing’ jobby from the otherwise cherubic Lewis Montrose, saw him get an instant red card. The referee looked correct to me with this one and indeed I thought Mr Turner had a fine game, in no way contributing to our demise!
Back at 3 o’clock County’s starting 11 had a re-shuffled look about it. NY kept faith with Ian Ormson, but there was no place for either Ryan Ellison or Danny Morton- Morton’s accustomed position being taken by Dale Tonge whilst the vacancy caused by O’Hanlon’s absence was filled by Ross Killock. There was a surfeit of attacking players on display further forward though, with Cham, Baggie, Odejayi, Evans and Kirby all starting . I found this slightly odd with Ellison and Garvin, who has looked lively when introduced in games of late, available, but presumably it meant we were going to push forward and defend in Chorley’s half. This prospect sounded fine but we needed altogether better finishing from the boys in blue this time if we were to shake off a slight downer!
Well…..it started OK, and some neat play involving Killock saw Evans dart clear, but it ended in familiar fashion with Evans shot failing to beat Sam Ashton in the visitors’ goal.
That was within seconds of the start and we were still barely a minute into proceedings when again the Chorley defence found itself compromised this time with Kirby baring down on Ashton’s goal. It should have been a goal….another goal……but instead Ashton did the biz taking the sting out of the forward’s shot before clearing his lines.
One minute and a bit gone and it might have been 2-0.
Two Chorley free kicks offered up the illusion of threat in the next 5 minutes, but this seemed all that it was….illusion, indeed from the second of these County fashioned another goal chance via Evans who scooted clear from half way, heading for the Railway End at a rate of knots. It looked a nailed down certain chance, but upon reaching the box, a familiar lack of incisiveness took over and again Ashton was allowed the time to make the save!
It was fully 8 minutes before Chorley gave us the remotest hint of a reply, and when it came, County looked to be in the right shape to cope….or Connolly did, and he did well to keep Marcus Carver from the ball as it pinged over towards the back post from Max Cartwright.
Mostly though it was County asking the questions at this point, with Odejayi and Evans combining to good effect ,causing the visitors back line more than a hint of anxiety, but….crucially….as before…..the ideas ran out inside the box and another ( half) chance had drifted away.
The crowd were soon roaring loudly however as a run and shot from Cham resulted in a corner, but more disappointment followed when Killock ushered his header wide from the flag kick.
Foot up by Carver on Ormson raised the temperature for a moment or three, but the referee saw nothing in the incident, and eventually it was forgotten in the general preoccupation with getting that vital first goal.
Carver fancied that he might get it ( the goal that is) but Ormson did well to ensure , with Killock’s assistance, that the visitors number nine was disappointed.
Back came County after that last bit of action – Kirby shooting wide following a neat knock down by Odejayi….and Baggie stinging Ashton’s hands with a snap shot from outside the box.
Chorley did respond through Josh Hine, but Ormson made a decent save to deny him after he had shredded the County cover down the right.
Ormson’s kicking was offering County an option going forward and from one such, 27 minutes in, County had a decently placed free kick as Odejayi was fouled by Charnock. The kick, from Kirby, was decent too, but Killock’s header less so, and the score stayed 0-0 as the ball flew high into the empty Railway End.
County pushed on though, and Odejayi went close, missing out narrowly on the end of a cross from Baggie who had rescued a somewhat wayward pass from Kirby.
Again we might have had the lead, but…..no ……instead nothing materialised at the sharp end despite all the good work getting the ball there from Odejayi and Evans……which was a great pity as by no means did Chorley ooze a sense of overwhelming invincibility!
Perhaps we would shape up and start adding a finish to the approach play…..maybe this would have to wait until the teams turned around ( I told myself), so we just had to be patient , meanwhile Odejayi saw his shot blocked by one of a clutch of Chorley defenders, and was the barest fraction from reaching an excellent ball from Kirby in the box. This was the story of County’s 15/16 life, and a rude awakening was upon us as half time approached, as the visitors took a shock lead.
At first I thought it was a case of `crisis averted’ when Ormson dealt with a strike from Hine to keep it 0-0, but the relief was but temporary as the ball found its way to Dale Whitham who must have been as surprised as anyone when his shot beat the keeper….but Ian Ormson dived over it and it did, and County were down 0-1.
Yes….they were but I told myself that the omens were good, as almost instantly County hit back with an equaliser, and it was a bit of a beaut too!
County were pressing, none more so than Baggie, whose dive in the box was dismissed as just that by Mr Turner ( he was correct), but if we thought that the chance was gone…we were wrong as Kirby latched onto the ball before turning goal ward and blasting a humdinging snorter into the roof of the net- brilliant…simply brilliant!
There were just 4 minutes remaining of the half….time enough for Cham to dart clear, but lift the poorest of shots high and wide with the keeper beaten!
It had more or less been all County for the first 45 minutes, but the half ended with the blues on the rack via the efforts of Darren Stephenson, who up until that point had had an uncharacteristically quiet game.
|Darren Stephenson consistent danger man v County !|
Roberts just managed to keep a cross, from the number 11, out, but County struggled to clear their lines and when Hine won a cheap free kick, it was a massive relief to see Chris Doyle’s header fly over the top right at the death! No matter….County would be kicking our way in the second half, and they would put matters right woudn’t they?
The re-start gave the appearance of being a completely different game….gone was Chorley’s general lethargy….Stephenson had snapped out of his borderline comatose state, and others in green joined him in tormenting a County side that struggled to gain a foot hold in the game here on out, and they were decidedly fortunate to see Carver plant his shot wide with the goal gaping, after Stephenson had torn the County cover to shreds down the left!
County did reply gamely, but Evans header flew over the bar after fine work by Odejayi had allowed Baggie to set the chance up, and the pressure was mainly on the blues, with Kirby clearing one shot out off the line at one point.
The liners flag came to County’s aid eventually on that last one, but not before a longish struggle by County to clear their lines. Things showed no sign of improvement either and Connolly was next with the dyke/ finger bit…..getting a decisive header in to clear a decidedly iffy moment.
It was not great to watch from a County viewpoint, with indecision and confusion abounding at the back as the blues travails continued unabated. Something had to give, and 55 minutes in….it did as Chorley snatched a second! Darren Stephenson did the damage but, having filleted County’s defensive cover, and sent Tonge mentally rushing off for the Paracaetamols ,- his first shot was somehow kept out. But ….unaccountably....he was allowed the luxury of a second go, and he snatched the opportunity as he has done a fair few times before against us, beating Ormson with a neat finish!
Not a great deal changed for the next 5…6…7 minutes, but the 63 rd minute saw County’s misery increase again as another goal went in at the wrong end of the park. Another bit of poor play started it and when possession was squandered, the game was up for the blues when Hines darted in from the right to beat Ormson with a fine cross shot!
County were 1-3 down now, and NY reacted by swapping Coban for Baggie, and Garvin for Cham, and for a moment or two I was tempted to buck up as Montrose and Odejayi combined neatly to provide the latter with a shooting opportunity. We needed this one to go in…but alas Ashton wanted the polar opposite and made it so with the coolest of saves.
That was not at all representative of play in the second half- it was mainly taking place in the blue half of the field and Ormson did well to deny Hine the chance to double his personal tally.
Nothing was going right for County at all, but with Robinson on for Evans, with 20 minutes left, I continued to cling to the leaky raft of optimism in the race of cold reality!
That said….Robinson did offer us a glimmer of hope, his immaculate cross field ball to Garvin winning County a corner, but when this was wasted and a couple more Robbo prompts went west for the want of adequate response, I began to see the futility of our position.
Little did I know….it would get worse…..
Not immediately though, because Ormson made a decent stop with his legs after Dean had done for Tonge with some ease.
Chorley were winning loads of possession and making it look oh so easy as well, and we just did not need what happened next, but it happened none the less ….Coban taking a knock and then having to go off never to return.
Bugger….we were down to ten again, but we are getting used to that state of affairs sadly, but the slow drift home started from some in the Cheadle End as, with 5 minutes left, County imploded , or rather Montrose did showing a studded boot in making a tackle of some unorthodoxy. It was an awful moment…another awful moment….and I repeat this time the referee was not the villain of the piece.
The rest of the game consisted of County gamely defending whilst Chorley queued for a chance to get a shot in. Thankfully their efforts went un-rewarded, and it stayed 1-3.
The boos rang out at the end, which was sad……..but sadly not unexpected!
We need County to get a grip and in the process give us something to cheer!
We have never been too proud to take defeat…we have lost shed loads of games over the years….sometimes deservedly but often not. County teams have sometimes lacked quality, but never the will to give their all until they dropped. For years we punched above our weight, and surprised more than a few who felt we did not deserve even to share a field with them.
We need that spirit to return…those days( eventually) to return, but County players need to know that, as low as we are in the Football Pyramid, it starts with them….it starts at Edgeley Park next Saturday when we play Tamworth!
Stockport County line up:
Ormson, Tonge, Roberts, Connolly, Killock, Cham( Garvin 64), Baggie ( Coban 64), Montrose, Odejayi, Evans( Robinson 70), Kirby.
Subs not used:
Chorley line up:
Ashton, Ross, Cartwright, Doyle, Charnock, Cottrell, Hine, Whitham, Carver( Dean 76), Bond( Lynch 90), Stephenson( Rittonburg 86).
Subs not used: