Stockport County 0 Lowestoft Town 2 ( Vanarama National League- North) 2 April 2016
County slumped to another depressing home defeat today at rain soaked Edgeley Park against a Lowestoft side that would not have had many easier encounters on their travels in what has not been a very successful season for them.
This time though they weathered the worst that the M62 etc could throw at them to emerge apparently ready for the off once motorway had been swapped for a rather sodden EP playing surface that had been brilliantly saved from the deluges by a bevy of unsung County heroes- hats go off to them big time!
OK…..the game we then saw was not up to a great deal, and County served us up another lack lustre performance, but with everybody having eyes now on 2016/17 it was only a supreme optimist who might have been expecting anything approaching a great game out there.
What we did see was County outnumbered and outplayed again in midfield where Lowestoft enjoyed more possession than they might reasonably have expected on an away day, given their lowly current status. Things did improve after the break when Menagh and Grimshaw were on the park, but County’s luck was out, and….having leaked one goal in the first half by virtue of a defensive slip…..they repeated the trick deep into the second to lose out 2-0 to a Lowestoft side that were hardly flattered by the margin.
Good things from County? Well……Menagh’s pace in the second half was eye catching , and Marsden together with Odejayi worked hard for 90 odd minutes but they were fighting a losing battle with little going on around them to merit their industry.
As I say though….we are largely thinking next season now and what remains of this one will see Jim running the rule over a few players who have not featured much so far. The highly promising George West is one of these and he was given a start today, giving way to Menagh at half time after struggling to get into the game.
Brandon Wilson was one of those brought in last week , and along with Ryan Ellison was overrun for most of the time by weight of numbers from a Lowestoft side obviously keen to improve their perilous league position.
Back at 3 o’clock there was all to play for though as I took up position in the Cheadle End for what I hoped would be an improved performance from the one we witnessed last time out against AFC Fylde.
Well…..I had done my bit……gone were the blue underpants( not incinerated I hasten to add, but unaccountably missing!)this time, but I did have on a rather fetching bobble hat that I had found underneath the bed in the spare room- quickly putting it atop my dome with the dubiously comforting thought that I remembered us….sometime or other…winning whilst I was wearing it. Of such things are great victories made ..........
……………….except that I was also wearing my specs…the ones that helpfully go all dark when the sun occasionally appears overhead, but at times today I found myself pining for a pair of those that Zaphod Beeblebrox wore- that would instantly freeze and blot out everything!
I was not unduly perturbed by the early play however, although the visitors were getting forward more than I had expected them to. In response O’Hanlon and particularly Connolly looked up to the job and some routine defending from this duo saw off any early threat.
County even managed a sortie or two themselves, 3 minutes in, as Ellison probed the visitors back line with no result, followed by one of those electrifyingly barnstorming runs from Morton that had Row R to a man out of their seats. From Morton the ball went inside to Anoruo, and it took a decent save from keeper Ben Killip, at his near post, to deprive Obi of the honour of opening the scoring!
Morton did seem on fire at this stage…..easily outpacing Chris Henderson at one point before making the boldest of clearances.
For Lowestoft Dean Mason seemed, at this juncture, to offer a likely route to goal, but his latest run was ended abruptly by Roberts’ tackle just outside the box. Henderson did sneak a cheeky corner not long after, which saw Ormson have to make a save with his legs after Connolly had headed clear from the initial corner.
A lot was being asked of Wilson and Ellison in midfield, and they were going to need much support from their team mates if County were to win this game. Instead we reached the 15 minute mark with Ryan Jarvis kept out by the neatest of tackles from Connolly.
Another corner followed, and Ormson did really well to grab the ball under pressure with Jarvis bearing down on him at speed.
If that was slightly worrying …the feeling abated a bit as Marsden treated us to a great run that took him past man after man as he cut inside from the touchline. A terrific sliding tackle by the brilliantly named Micky Spillane did for the run, but it perhaps augured well for what was to follow!
The game went off the boil next for quite a time with Lowestoft searching for and largely failing to find a way through the County defences.
With 27 minutes gone…..County gave us another glimpse of what might just be……when Marsden and Anoruo burst clear down the right. Marsden was the wide man with the ball….Anoruo the target….but when the ball came over Obi couldn’t make anything of it. He did fall down though ( and I would of course have given it!) but Mr Wright had no intentions of so doing and that was that!
I was still not overly worried though , and only a heady mix of over elaboration and hesitation robbed Morton of success on the end of another of his ` electrifying lung bursters’. Not even when Anoruo had to be substituted, 34 minutes in ….or when Odejayi’s under-powered effort had been stopped by the keeper. No….I was thinking we might just have to wait until the second half, but we would no doubt work matters out!
This theory lasted about 4 minutes ……Lowestoft had just sallied forth once…twice…thrice and on each occasion the MS liner had dished ‘em with his flag- correctly in my view but not in the view of Danny Crow who gave said flag waver the benefit of a minute long monologue on the rights and wrongs of the decisions.
No matter….I was happy……and then I wasn’t as the very next attack by Lowestoft saw Roberts bundled over giving Crow and Mason a free run on goal. For my money Crow was a country mile offside but the flag that had waved so vigorously so often previously lay still and pointing towards the ground now! The ball was stabbed quickly from Crow to Mason and it was 1-0 to the visitors as he prodded it home.
County did their best to respond largely via Marsden, but their efforts perished time after time just outside the box.
And…..the closing minutes of the half saw Town go close again through substitute Joe Marsden whose shot thumped into the cross bar following a free kick.
County tried hard after that in the closing minutes, but without managing to test Killip in the process.
|Some Mash ( and Gravy)|
One down at the break was not the end of the world, but something needed to be done, and JG acted by replacing West with Grimshaw as the teams came back out for the second half.
Grimshaw was in the mix straight away – his run down the left blocked by good work from Barker. An Ellison effort fared the same, as did two by Marsden , and another from Odejayi that saw the ball whistle inches wide off one of two defenders on his case at the time.
This was altogether better from County and with Menagh bursting into the box aided by Marsden , things looked on the up when the cry of `handball’ went up as the ball left Menagh’s foot to connect with what appeared to be the arm of a defender. Penalty?.......well the referee thought not and again…that was that!
County were beginning to show us what was possible….with Grimshaw offering options down the left and Menagh the right, 1-0 was starting not to look all that imposing a deficit to overcome!
It went on with Marsdens nifty flick missing out by the narrowest of margins following excellent work from Odejayi and Menagh in the build up.
I was warming to this by now and I was not alone as the applause rang out for another Menagh run that took him half the length of the field before coming to grief due to a foul by a defender! We might have capitalised on the free kick…but we didn’t…instead the ball sailed out over the keeper’s head and it stayed 1-0.
One of those `only in Division 6’ moments came next , as play was stopped whilst Harry Kyprianu tied his shoe laces ( shades of Curzon Ashton earlier this term).
The total ludicrousness of that one was immediately topped when a superb one handed diving save by Killip saw him push O’Hanlon’s header around the post, only for the referee to give a goal kick, as the liner cravenly changed his correct signal to ……well…if he had upped and danced us the hornpipe we would have not have been more surprised!
I was still smouldering with rage as Killip somehow got down to keep a shot from Menagh out. He had to concede a corner , but this was `job done’ for the young keeper when the kick saw O’Hanlon plant his header in our midst on Row R.
Altogether better then…..but despite trying hard…County just could not find a way through the visitors defence…..and the worries started to creep in again when Crow went close for Town , with a snap shot with 10 minutes left.
The worries were justified as with no danger in the offing…… Ormson took a fall towards the edge of his box near the by-line. It was a crucial slip because Crow was in his face and in an instant, and he slotted the ball home from the unkindest of angles!
That was an awful moment and pretty much spelt the end of County’s chances.
O’Hanlon went off, replaced by Tom Field.
County then went 3 at the back ( Ellison/ Connolly/ Roberts) ,but although they worked hard and tried to pull something back, particularly Odejayi who found no takers for his lay offs and flick on’s all afternoon, it was all in vain, and the points were all Lowestoft’s as Referee Wright brought proceedings to a close.
Worcester City next at Aggborough…I will be there…will you be…….? Admit it….you will not want to miss that excellent Aggie catering will you?
See you next week.
Stockport County line up:
Ormson, Morton, O’Hanlon( Field 81),Connolly, Roberts, Ellison, Wilson, Marsden, Anoruo (Menagh 34), West( Grimshaw 45), Odejayi.
Subs not used:
D Smith, Poscha.
Lowestoft Town line up:
Killip, Barker, Smith( Marsden 28), Fisk, Spillane, Kyprianu, Mason( Deeks 75), Rossi Jarvis,Ryan Jarvis, Crow( Cruise 87), Henderson.
Subs not used: