Stockport County 1 Tamworth FC 1 ( Vanarama National League North)14 November 2015
On a day rather better suited to ducks and other aquatically sorted species, County were particularly unlucky to come away from a rain sodden Edgeley Park with but one point to show for their soggy encounter with Tamworth FC yesterday.
They had more possession and generated the greater number of chances, than did their opponents, only to be undone by their familiar shortcomings when it comes to applying finish to a move. They did score one goal…and a mighty fire cracker of an effort it was too from the consistently impressive Jake Kirby, but after laying siege to the Tamworth goal for what seemed like eons, they succumbed to the sucker punch when the visitors took advantage of rank bad refereeing, to score. Elliott Durrell was the name on the score sheet, but everybody present realised that really it should have read P Marsden, some of whose decisions beggared belief at times!
It is sad to be riding this tiresome hobby horse once again, but……that`s how I saw it, and for good measure let me add that, after seeing the video of last Saturday’s game, I have to recant and agree that Montrose was a touch unlucky to see a red, but for now let’s go back to the start, or just prior to same at a minute or so before 3, where a fairly routine Remembrance Minutes Silence was magically transformed into a bit of a tear jerker by some truly wonderful trumpet playing by Daniel Smith of 5th Manchester Company Boys Brigade.
It was beautifully observed as well and set us off in just about the right fashion.
At this point let me thank Andrew Machin for supplying the bulk of today’s photos of the action!
Within seconds of the start Tamworth had gone long and, in response, freshly recalled Danny Hurst had to dash from his goal to head clear on the edge of the box with Shane Clarke bearing down on goal.
|Great block / Andrew Machin|
The County defence had a bit to do for the next few minutes and I was impressed no end by Connolly’s input during this period, whether it be the defensive block….the keenly observed pass, or the timely tackle, he managed to produce the goods, and with O’Hanlon back by his side again and oozing assurance, I could not but feel somewhat happier than I had been just 7 days earlier at the same time of day.
|Connolly on the ball ( top photo- A Machin)|
Six minutes in and a Roberts pass sent Cham darting clear , only to see the forward run out of ideas upon reaching the box where Andy Burns cut short the raid in peremptory fashion.
No matter….. Roberts wasn`t at all put off, and within a minute was sending Garvin on a run ,with another nicely constructed pass. The Garvin shot was charged down by one of a couple of defenders, but there was promise in what I had just seen and it augured well for the rest of the afternoon.
|County press/ A Machin.|
More followed too as Cham saw a shot charged down after Odejayi and Roberts set the move up along with Baggie whose persistence won County a corner. Almost inevitably however the County attack almost dissolved into one by Tamworth and only excellent work from Kirby prevented this from happening.
So….the pressure stayed on Tamworth – a cross from Baggie opening up distinct possibilities for the blues, but first off Cham failed to round Baggie’s good work off with an appropriate finish , and secondly keeper James Belshaw was nicely positioned to deal with the follow up effort from Garvin.
It went on with O’Hanlon inches away from putting Baggie in the clear with a neat long one. Garvin did rather better shortly after and his pass teed Baggie up to deliver the sweetest of cushioned crosses into the box. It was the type that the Mighty Jim would get from Allchurch or Price and put away gratefully usually with his head, but the recipient on this occasion, the diligent Odejayi, saw his header blocked in front of goal.
|Odejayi back helping out / A Machin.|
It was the 15 minute mark before Tamworth managed a reply, and it was a half decent one too, but in response Connolly did just enough to stop Ross Dyer from spoiling County’s party.
That last action was not at all typical of the half so far, indeed County stepped on the gas visibly next , but twice in as many minutes the frustration mounted for County as first Garvin and then Montrose saw goal bound shots deflected away from goal by someone in blue.
Frustration hardly covers it, but Tamworth experienced it not long after as, having caught County out with a quick break, they looked on helplessly to see Elliott Durrell’s shot thud into Hurst’s right hand post before coming out to safety.
|Close call for County.|
We were mid way through the half now, and although County had done more of the attacking, Tamworth could point to maybe two moments when they might have tipped the scales decisively their way! Its about putting chances away however…..but which of these two sides would sort themselves out sufficiently, in this respect, to claim the honours?
County were certainly trying, and Baggie made good headway down the right in tandem with Tonge, but when Odejayi drifted into an offside position any chance was gone.
Garvin found his run blocked on the edge of the box after this, and Tonge ruined a decent run with a disappointing cross. A Baggie cross a minute later was better but only served to set Steve Tomassen up to head clear.
The half hour mark saw O`Hanlon stop Clarke from applying the required finish to a dangerous cross by Owain Warlow. The last ditcher from the County man was a thing of beauty and an appreciative ripple came his way from the Cheadle End in response.
Mostly though, the pressure was still on Tamworth, set up by a run and cross from Tonge, who was looking a touch steadier than he had done a week earlier. The familiar indecision followed in front of goal, and it was disappointing to see a period of pressure end with a 40 yard back pass to Hurst.
|Catch by Hurst.|
Back came County , but more disappointment followed via a wasted free kick that failed to clear the wall, and a header from Odejayi that missed the target from a decent cross by Baggie, who was kept from a tasty Roberts cross by the narrowest of margins thanks to the work of keeper Belshaw a minute or so later!
That was close…..but a break by Durrell down the right put the skids under County’s confidence, and the easiest of tap in chances was frittered away at the back post, by Leon Mettam, when Durrell pinged his cross over. As I say….it was a tap in…..but with the goal gaping….the forward kicked air to the delight of the Cheadle End.
There were just over 5 minutes left of the first half , and Garvin had just lifted his latest free kick over the wall but not Belshaw, when things at last took a turn for the better. It was set up by County persistence …harrying when not in possession , but this was aided massively it must be said by some comedy defending by Tamworth who capped some really poor work by passing the ball straight to Kirby who responded by lashing a real beauty past the keeper into the net. It was 1-0 and a massive relief…now…could we build on this?
Well….Tamworth tried their best to see that we didn’t, particularly Durrell who was emerging as a likely source of threat for the visitors, but a neat cooperation by Montrose and Tonge saw him off.
Play continued to the welcome accompaniment of a minutes applause , in honour of the late Tamworth fan Ryan Wynn, which was observed by both sets of supporters…. a nice moment.
The rest of the half was fairly routine….Baggie took a clattering….County kept plugging away…but without ever looking likely to double their tally!
The second half opened with a booking for Connolly, and continued with a prolonged siege of the Tamworth goal, and crucial saves by Belshaw and Fowler kept it at 1-0. The pressure was on however and 1…2…3…4 corners followed in rapid order, punctuated by yellows for Odejayi and Tomassen who both rather overdid the `hands on’ stuff midst the excitement. County were determined to add to their lead, but despite forcing two more corners the siege ended with Dyer and Preston combining to thwart Connolly at the back post.
By this time I was beginning to get a touch worried as Mr Marsden was letting his standards slip again, and decisions were beginning to mount up against us…..corners given as Tamworth GK’s …..blatant County free kicks awarded to our opponents! It was so…… so annoying …..County were running their opponents ragged now but despite Preston climbing all over O’Hanlon in the Tamworth box, right under the referee’s nose, he waved play on!
|We actually got this one!- A Machin.|
Have I said that this was annoying? Well it was…and it got worse….much….much worse, as fouls on Odejayi and Baggie went unpunished by the referee who again had clear views of both incidents. Baggie was looking to be clear when he was hauled down by the defender, but to howls of derision Marsden awarded the free kick to Tamworth which was quite simply absurd! At this point Sods Law came into play again and Tamworth took full advantage of their good fortune by sending the free kick long to Durrell who rattled it home in double quick time!
Evans replaced Baggie not long after this as County set about trying to get their lead back, but it was not going to be easy, and I winced as Montrose lifted a shot into our midst from an early Evans cross.
The blues kept at it though, particularly Kirby, sent clear by a great ball from Odejayi, and his ball across the box was a whisker away from being put away by Roberts at the back post.
|Pressure/ A Machin.|
Tamworth were riding their luck big time now- Evans seeing a shot kept out at the last gasp by the keeper. Shots and crosses rained in on the visitors’ goal-, but no reward was forthcoming- Kirby going closest, drilling a cross cum shot inches wide from another neat pass by Odejayi.
There were just over 10 minutes left now and Colley was on for Cham, and within a couple of minutes he was stopped just inside the box by Preston. Instantly the Cheadle End were up to a man/woman and the appeal was unanimous…” penalty”…but….no….Mr Marsden was having none of it, and he might have been right on this occasion.
County’s ill fortune continued….Kirby’s excellent work somehow going un-rewarded in the last third one moment….the next seeing Colley sliding in but a fag paper away from reaching Kirby’s cross with Belshaw nowhere!
Burrell meanwhile continued to offer his team hope of salvation and Hurst did well to make a save pushing the forward’s shot around the post with County thoroughly stretched. For a time County had defending to do ,and they did it well… one block by Roberts was particularly praise worthy with Burrell gnawing at the County entrails as a jackal would a carcass!
Eventually the storm abated and County had the chance to have a go again at snatching that winner- Belshaw doing well at one point to advance from his box to find Hardcastle Road in extremis. Andy Burns and substitute Curtis Strong got in the act as well making good late blocks to deny County breaks, but the next sortie by Colley looked to be fairing better and when his shot struck the arm of the defender I thought the circle had been squared. But….it hadn’t been….I had not included Mr Marsden in my calculations and incredibly he waved play on with a perfunctory and inglorious mime!
|Mr M scratches his head, so did we ! ( Another by A Machin)|
Both teams had a go in added time …Colley again going close, but it stayed 1-1 which was a disappointment, if a considerable improvement on last weeks effort!
|County keep pressing.|
It was off to the Bung after the game, for the SCAN 72-73 Reunion, and what a belter it was. Watch out for the report on this blog including video and possibly a full length audio as well( by David Wright).
See you all at Lowestoft then!
Stockport County line up:
Hurst, Tonge, Roberts, Connolly, O’Hanlon, Garvin( Joyce 90), Baggie( Evans 67), Montrose, Odejayi, Cham( Colley 77), Kirby.
Subs not used:
Tamworth line up:
Belshaw, Burns, Warlow( Strong 56), Fowler(Roberts 86), Tomassen, Preston, Durrell, Clarke, Dyer, Mettam( Taylor 56), Green.
Subs not used;
Attendance : 2905