Corby Town 0 Stockport County 4 ( Vanarama National League North) 12 December 2015

And with one bound….they were free………well…..not quite…… perhaps….but this was a good start, as County ran out convincing 4-0 winners away to Corby Town!
It was County’s first visit to Steel Park, and ,with the score 0-0 at the break , and play less than excellent in quality up to that point, there was every likelihood that it would be a forgettable one, followed by a doleful return to SK3 afterwards. But ………..the re-start saw a wholesale transformation in County’s approach….laboured in the first half, it suddenly became switched on and enterprising in the second 45, the points coming via a brace of penalties from Margetts, and one each for Ledsham and Odejayi……yes….Odejayi. All the goals got a good reception from the travelling County fans, but none more so than the one big Kay notched with a diving header!

Odejayi in action( by Andrew Machin )

.....and one from me !

Overall it was difficult to opt for a M.O.M for County…..the back four of Morton, O`Hanlon, Smalley and Garvin, looked pretty solid throughout ,especially the central defenders, whilst Margetts’ goals will be warmly welcomed despite coming from spot kicks, and maybe will be the first of many. Elsewhere…Ledsham and Joyce ( who came on early as substitute for Rule) had inspired second half’s , so for once travelling home after the game was not gloom laden….long may it continue!

That magnificent trophy( above) and an idea of scale/size( below)
Back at 3 o’clock……. and after I had clocked the magnificent Southern League Title Trophy won by Town last season, in the Club House, I set  out to risk exposure in the gale force winds prevailing at Steel Park.

Some of the County support  early doors !
I have to confess to being somewhat bemused to note 3 right backs in County’s starting line up…..Morton, Tonge and new boy Chris Smalley, but when Smalley took up position inside alongside O’Hanlon, where he looked entirely at home all 90 minutes, and Tonge slotted in in front of the back 4 , I was slightly reassured.

Milnes & Thomas contest Odejayi's space.

The first 5 minutes were spent with both sides trying to master the high winds that were threatening to turn the game into something of a farce.
Both sides probed the other, but with 6 minutes gone, neither keeper had been troubled at all.

Margetts  clashes with McDonald.
Another minute….and things change abruptly with the sight of Jonny Margetts played clear with only Harry Burgoyne, the Town keeper, in front of him. It looked a nailed down cert opening goal to me, but instead it stayed 0-0 as Margetts shot hit the keeper and rebounded clear. A bad miss in my view, and Margetts fared no better a couple of minutes later, watching as his shot curled the wrong side of the woodwork with Burgoyne rooted to the spot.

Andrew Machin sees County go close.....
Rule got himself a lecture next, and this enabled Andreas Arestidou to reassure us with a confident stop, but with 15 minutes gone the only chances of substance thus far had fallen to County…a familiar story….we just needed them to start converting chances to goals.

Rule and company....
Instead County were hit on the break by Greg Mills whose energy won him a corner. This floundered in the high winds and any danger to County looked to have abated, except that Arestidou almost upset the applecart with the poorest of goal kicks that teed Andre Johnson up with a chance. Thankfully the County keeper recovered  in time to see the threat off , but it was a definite warning against complacency.
Mills, at this point, looked the likeliest of lads for Town, his run with 20 minutes gone, took him into the box before the ball unkindly ran out of play.
Corby were definitely rallying now, and their chances were boosted when Ben Milnes went to ground gaining a free kick in a decent position. It also meant a booking for O’Hanlon, which I thought was a touch harsh, but it didn’t adversely affect his game. Cleveland Taylor’s kick hit County’s wall, and the follow up from Sam Downey took a deflection, but any advantage gained from the corner was frittered away when the referee spotted Milnes climb on O’Hanlon.

County press.........
At this point I went behind the goal …just in time to see Clayton Mc Donald, do for a Margetts run in the box. “ Penalty” said I…….” Corner” said the referee, and despite this and a couple of follow up throws near the adjacent corner flags, it stayed 0-0.
County now had Joyce on for Rule, who looked to be struggling from early on….Margetts was still getting in the thick of things at the sharp end, but still his luck was out-  his latest sortie being curtailed by a crude challenge from Downey that earned him a card. Unfortunately the kick that followed did not earn County a goal- Ledsham’s header from same flying inches over the top.

Andrew Machin shot of County pressing late in the first half.
The last 5 or6 minutes were mainly Corby…starting with a Milnes shot that Arestidou clawed down from under his bar. A series of free kicks, accompanied by a lecture or two, followed pushing the blues back, and Arestidou did well….pulling off a good save to deny Mills, with just 2 minutes left of the half.
Arestidou looked solid all afternoon( by Andrew Machin ).

After this….stops by the County keeper from efforts by Mills and Milnes kept the score at 0-0 at the break, and to be honest it looked, at that point, that 0-0 would probably be the way it ended up. Little did I know!
Well…straight from the re-start County went up a gear…McDonald in action clearing his lines hastily with County buzzing in and around the Town box.
That was 46 minutes gone…..another 60 seconds and it was celebration time for the County following, many of whom had switched ends and were within spitting distance of the action that followed.  The break was on….and a thoroughly switched on affair it was too as Jonny Margetts resisted a challenge from Mc Donald to slip the neatest of passes to Ledsham who slotted the ball home with consummate ease to give County a 1-0 lead.
Morton v Downey !
Suddenly the floodgates looked to be unlocked, as Garvin charged forward to set Margetts up with another half chance. His effort went wide however.
Mc Donald pinged a free kick into the box – a brief melee ensued, but this was about the only slight impression that Town could make in the County advance, instead  Mc Donald did brilliantly to stop Odejayi whose run looked on to see him end his scoring drought.
It got better….Ledsham’s flick on sending Margetts clear, only for him to spurn the chance after making it to the by-line.
I was still bemoaning that last action when it all melted into the distance as a great ball from Ledsham  sent Margetts darting clear…it was belter and he had a clear sight of goal when Paul Malone took his legs sending him spawling in the box. It was a no brainer…..a penalty….and a red for Malone.

Jonny Margetts slams the penalty home

....and then celebrates !

 It was 2-0 as well….as Margetts resumed the vertical and slammed the spot kick past Burgoyne into the net!
Time after time after this Margetts was seen in behind the home defence, but always without that vital added ingredient…..luck. Thus…it stayed 2-0…until 67 minutes that is, when Joyce slinked clear down the right before sending the best of crosses into the box where Odejayi threw himself forward to head home. There were those who said Kay handled the ball, but I saw not that, neither did the referee and it was 3-0, and celebration time again!
Town by this time were desperately ringing the changes- a double subbing seeing Johnson and Downey replaced by Kennedy and Revan, but it was to no avail as County swept on oblivious to the changes- Margetts again piercing the Town armour with a run that had two defenders on his shoulder. One of them….Duane Courtney I think, elected to bring the County man down, and that was that….another penalty….and another County goal courtesy of Margetts who slammed it home. Burgoyne did get something on this one but Margetts luck held and County now led 4-0.

Margetts makes it 4-0.
County tried for a fifth after this, but Margetts shot thudded into the boards a yard wide after another cross from the left had put the skids under the Town back line.
Montrose saw Burgoyne in position to cover his shot with 10 minutes left, and Margetts , perhaps searching for that hat-trick, was inches away from reaching Joyce’s free kick just a minute on from this.
County saw time out with some personnel changes of their own swapping Evans and Cham for Margetts and Odejayi, but this did not add to their effectiveness. It might have done……had Cham put away the gilt edger Evans set him up with, with 3 minutes left, but when the Evans cross landed at his feet ,  he failed to force the easiest of chances home, instead allowing the keeper time to recover and concede a corner.

"How did Cham miss this?" asks Andrew Machin.
That was disappointing, but I choose to focus on the result and the fact that we scored 4….a more than decent effort. Having been critical of the team recently ………I have no hesitation in congratulating them on this excellent win, and I take added pleasure in the manner of same….the second half performance was as close to perfect as makes no matter.
Still lots to do though, but well done the team and NY who has taken a fair bit of flack of late, and responded in the best possible way.
See you all at Boston then….maybe on the Flyer that departs the Fingerpost at 10 am next Saturday. You can book by ringing Lou on 07896 536757= makes sense I think!

Corby Town line up:

Burgoyne, Courtney, Thomas, Malone, McDonald, Brown, Mills, Taylor, Johnson( Kennedy 68), Milnes, Downey( Revan 68).

Subs not used:

Donkin, Draper, Ball.

Stockport County line up:

Arestidou, Morton, O’Hanlon, Smalley, Garvin,  Rule ( Joyce 28), Tonge, Montrose, Odejayi ( Cham 85), Margetts ( Evans 83), Ledsham.

Subs not used ;

O’Hara, Roberts.

Attendance ;  575 

Ian Brown


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