Alfreton Town 0 Stockport County 3( Vanarama National League- North) 23 April 2016




County stormed to a resounding 3-0 win at the Impact Arena today despatching the challenge from Alfreton Town in emphatic style with goals from  Marsden(2) and Brodie .
Brodie came on as a late substitute for Odejayi who left the field to his customary ovation after having put in a sterling display in County’s cause- his lay offs and flick on’s, and hold up play, top notch as usual. If Odejayi did well…..he was not alone…

 
Here's....Danny !



..Morton had a stormer never being remotely controlled by his marker or indeed anyone else. County defended well as a unit, behind which Henderson shone on the several occasions he was called on to react quickly.

 
Marsden....a constant threat .....


 Then there was Johnny Marsden …….just what can I say that can adequately describe his input, other than to say 2 goals…..one in each half hardly represented sufficient reward? That said…his second goal ,and County’s third, will live in the memory of all who witnessed it for a long long time- it was a sublime strike of the highest quality!
At one nil up….County might have seen their hegemony rained on, as Brandon Wilson had to go off due to injury, but with Charlie Russell slotting in the vacant spot seamlessly, County’s cohesion was not impaired in the slightest- 2 further goals going in being the evidence.


Charlie Russell on the ball ( Andrew Machin )


Back to the beginning then, and it was Town who were first onto the front foot, pushing County back. 
 
Connolly gets to grips.....


But despite a series of throws, pinging deep into County territory, nothing came of it for the home side. Sam Jones and Dan Bradley both got crosses in during this period, but County had these covered, Henderson doing particularly well to deal as Bradley’s ball was rounded on by Jones.
 
Good claim by Henderson.




 
Another view of that from Andrew Machin.


Eight minutes had gone by and Henderson was a busy lad compared with ex Hatter Matt Duke at the other end, and he again had to act quickly, on 9 minutes, as Bradley’s next cross came in from the by-line.  A corner resulted, when far worse threatened, but with Cecil Nyoni and Joe Leesley then falling over each other, the threat dissipated.
That was a slightly intense period for County but Town hardly offered up a vision of multiple threats, and in reply County looked fairly comfortable.
 
County defend well!


It was sharp intake of breath time 10 minutes in though, as Marsden jinked through in the box. It was a chance for sure, but he hesitated just long enough for the defender to get the block in- chance gone!
Within a minute County had another chance, and again Marsden was on the end of it. It took two men to head him off this time ,and from this corner O’Hanlon saw his header fly wide!
 
O'Hanlon misses out with header.


Town tried to hit back next, but despite Bradley winning another corner , Todd Jordan was unable to apply a finish, and the threat vanished with the sight of Ellison putting his body in the way of a strike by Leesley.
It started to get a tad difficult next….not for County…
 
Thanks to Derek Bailey for this one !

............but for me …as the stewards descended on me wholesale trying to restrict my area of operation, basically eliminating any decent camera angle available to me. An argy/ bargy followed and I thank those County fans( most notably Simon George  and Pete Towey )who offered assistance as the dispute went on and on.
I did see, between the nonsense, a header from Andi Thanoj  fly over the County bar……

 
Thanoj heads o/t...


and Morton dart clear only to drag his shot disappointingly wide, but most of the time was spent arguing my case with a constantly changing cast of stewards.

 
Morton misses out ( Andrew Machin )


The 28th minute arrived with County attacking and Odejayi down in a heap in the box. 

 
First goal on the way ( Andrew Machin )


“Penalty “was the cry from the County contingent , but whilst we all wondered and Town switched off to debate the issue….Marsden latched onto the loose ball to slot it home, by which time I now had a high viz on and could take up my position again and do the job I had come to do!
Town did try to hit back but a free kick in a fairly decent position was wasted, and it stayed 1-0.

 
Henderson watches this one go wide !

That last action however was not entirely typical of how play was panning out at this point…..County were enjoying a fair amount of possession and a lot of it was going forward and in Alfreton’s half.  Wilson was inches away with one effort after a defender had climbed all over the increasingly dangerous Marsden. Much pressure followed from County and Jamie Jackson did well to ease the home side’s angst with a clearance under the cosh from a deep position.
If County were in the ascendancy ….Henderson showed us what a good young keeper he is as well , late on in the half, claiming the ball with commendable courage and expertise as Jones again darted through for a ball from Bradley.
Things got interesting in the final minutes of the half as first off Marsden saw his shot on the turn climb over the bar. That was 44 minutes in….another minute and play switched ends where Henderson pulled off a terrific save to deny Jones!
 
That shot on the way from Jones.....


That really was a good save, and the half ended with the pendulum swinging once more, with Wilson kept out by Jordan as he went to latch onto a flick on from Odejayi.
The early pressure again came from Alfreton when the game resumed - the best of their work coming via Jackson who rifled a neat one in that missed out by inches.

 
Henderson again ( Andrew Machin )

Then Odejayi ushered in memories of Hednesford as he rounded onto a through ball and despatched a juicy lob goal ward. It was not to be though….and the ball climbed over the bar…but the County fans behind that goal enjoyed the moment!

 
Odejayi puts 'em u/p....

That was the signal for County to put their opponents under pressure and they did, and Garvin was distinctly unlucky to see a blinding save from the excellent Matt Duke keep a wonderful strike out! That was a truly superb save, but despite 2 corners County could not capitalise further on Town’s discomfiture.
They tried though, but a cross from Morton, on the end of a typically coruscating run, found no one in blue able to apply a finish. 
 
Morton on the charge


Twice after this Marsden went close, but it stayed 1-0, and things looked to be a touch worrying next when Wilson had to go off having sustained a knock.

Duke and company foil Marsden.
Charlie Russell replaced Wilson and he quickly slotted in nicely, and the pressure mounted on Town who conceded a run of free kicks with the likes of Marsden and Garvin in their faces. The second kick, by Garvin, was a decent one.....
 
The kick.......


..................... but so was the save by Duke and again it stayed 1-0.

 
.....the save !

Seventy Four minutes in and Odejayi was replaced by Brodie, going off to a fine ovation.
Straight off Brodie was in the mix, but it took him just 4 minutes to also have his name taken by referee Bill Smallwood for dissent.
 
Brodie in everyone's face........


This was disappointing….and worrying too…but I took succour from the sight of Charlie Russell and Marsden linking up to good effect.

 
Wot....me ref ?

The 78th minute saw Rule on for Garvin, who I thought had done well, as County piled forward trying to put the game to bed.
Brodie was straining every nerve end in that cause, but the angst just went on mounting as his cross  just eluded the on-rushing Marsden.

 
Brodie.......an energetic enigma.....

If County were doing the bulk of the attacking, Town did have their moments…… largely through substitute Lindon Miekle who twice went close in the 80th and 81st minutes.    
Into the last 5 or 6 minutes we went with Russell and Morton combining neatly ….Morton crossing dangerously….and Marsden  so close but not close enough to making it 2-0!

It took just 60 seconds for things to change and County get their just reward via a second goal.  It was born almost inevitably of a Morton run and the defenders simply had no answer as he burst into the box. Duke probably expected a slammer from Morton ….but instead Danny slipped it inside to Brodie who side footed it smartly home!
It was 2-0 …..and then it wasn’t as we had another and we really had no right to witness a goal of this quality in Division 6 of the English football pyramid…but we did… and it really was a superb effort. Alfreton were defending grimly but caught out with a ball in behind that was in the danger zone but going out when Marsden latched onto it. The angle was oblique to say the least but Marsden just gritted his teeth before lashing an unstoppably brilliant strike home!

 
Celebration time!


 
....and another view from Andrew Machin.


Wow….that was wonderful stuff and fully made up for the nonsense, off the park that had threatened to ruin my day.
The remainder of the game was a formality and County comfortably held their own to take the points  leaving the park after some great celebrations in front of the travelling County fans.
Well done County…top job…now for that Cup!
See you all Tuesday at Nantwich!

Alfreton Town line up:

Duke, Moyo, Banton, JHordan, Heaton, Nyoni( Wilson 64), Leesley, Thanoj( Smith 35), Jones ( Miekle 78),Jackson, Bradley.

Subs not used:

Doyle-Charles, Allan.  

Stockport County line up:

Henderson,Connolly, O`Hanlon, Smalley, Roberts, Morton, Ellison, Wilson ( Russell 65), Garvin( Rule 78), Marsden, Odejayi( Brodie 73).

Subs not used:

Ormson, Anoruo.

Attendance: 867 ( 264)  

Ian Brown

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