Stockport County 2 Corby Town 2 ( Vanarama National League- North)16 April 2016
Well….I had great hopes for today…..the Supporters Cooperative had just set in motion their new Web Collect membership system……I was off to EP to see County put lowly Corby Town to the sword, and the day would end with me watching Joanne Shaw Taylor at the O2 Ritz…..happiness….except it wasn`t!
The Coop stuff went off well, and board members even got in a `Massive End of Season Sale ‘ of good quality County collectables in the Cheadle End Cabin, and Joanne sizzled magnificently at the O2 .....
|Joanne Shaw Taylor(photo by Ian Whitworth)|
.......... but at Edgeley Park, where we should have seen County routinely hoover in the points, we in fact saw nothing of the kind, with all barring one of the available points instead being thrown away with careless abandon late on in a game we all thought was well and truly put to bed!
If some of County players think they may not be here next season….it's showing, and embarrassingly so yesterday, as a 2-0 lead was surrendered in depressing style. Yes….it was another County late/ late show, but at the wrong end of the park this time as Danny Morton’s last act of the game saw him scythe Greg Mills down to gift Town a last kick equaliser via the penalty spot. If that was poor it was born out of what had preceded it, as having established their seemingly unassailable lead, County switched off late on, and it ended up , as a consequence, being nothing of the kind!
This was really disappointing. I know its end of the season stuff…..and thoughts are drifting elsewhere….but to let this one slip against a team that looked every inch a relegation side was beyond poor.
The first half had seen County queue up to pound Town into submission and it was truly remarkable that Brandon Wilson’s long range rocket was the only goal in County’s locker at the break.
Connolly, who claimed the sponsors M.O.M award also notched County's second with a neat header from a corner.....
............. thereafter came the switch-off and the lamentable finish!
Was it all doom / gloom then for the blues? Well…..Connolly took the M.O.M arguably deservedly, and up until his late blooper Morton had shown his usual mix of power and purposefulness, and Marsden and Odejayi were typically busy. Over and above that I thought that Ryan Ellison showed some excellent touches going forward in the second half and had his best game yet since his return, and I was pleased to see Richard Brodie reign in the high velocity angst stuff, making it until 20 minutes from the end before letting it rip for the benefit of the particularly poor main stand liner.
That’s about it for me I am afraid.
The first five minutes saw both teams pass the ball about neatly without producing anything to remotely challenge their respective keepers.
At this point it was apparent that Town had a fairly young side out, and the relative old heads of Connolly and O’Hanlon made light work of the short bursts of activity the visitors generated going forward, and the first 5 minutes ended with Menagh inches from reaching a probing ball from Brodie at the sharp end.
County then, primed by a series of throws from Roberts and Morton, set up camp in the Town half. A shot from Brodie was the best of what emerged from this pressure, and although it stung Oliver Sutton’s hands, the score stayed blank.
I must say that my impression of Corby was that they offered little or no threat, but that said…the eighth minute offered me something to gnaw on in that respect as Greg Mills somehow sneaked clear on the end of a long ball from Sutton. He perhaps should have scored….but he didn’t…..instead his shot thudded loudly into the advertising hoarding a foot or so wide of goal, and we had witnessed an unlikely escape!
That scare served to galvanise the blues and Odejayi did well to send Menagh on a surging run that took him to the by-line. The cross that followed saw Wilson fire in a shot that came back out off a defender.
That was unlucky, and I still could see little in Town’s make up that might set County a coherent challenge. At this point I saw Nathan Evans as the Steelmen’s most likely scoring option , but having said that Roberts seemed to have him covered and did this particularly well , on 15 minutes, allowing Henderson to make a decent claim with the number eleven showing interest.
It was mostly County doing the attacking however, and Marsden was unlucky to see his effort kept out by the legs of keeper Sutton, after the neatest of flick on’s from Odejayi.
On it went…a Menagh free kick coming to grief via the Town wall…..Marsden seeing a shot somehow saved by Sutton ….Wilson similarly watching his effort deflected for a corner.
The agony continued as another Marsden shot went out off a defender, bringing an inglorious flap from Sutton from the subsequent kick. This was a considerable effort from County and went on for 3 or 4 minutes, ending sadly with O’Hanlon heading wide.
Things went a bit quiet after this ….. coming to life some 5 or 6 minutes later when Brodie treated us to a terrific run that took him from touchline to box . It deserved a goal did that, but instead a decent shot came out off a defender!
I was quietly impressed, particularly with Brodie , who was keeping everything in check as well as showing us some graft and energy.
There was time for Mills to give us another warning though, sneaking to the by-line down the left this time.
He looked to have every chance as he sped goal ward along the by line past 3 County men. He might have been better passing inside to Callum Ball, who was nicely placed in front of goal, but he did’nt ….he shot and only managed to ruffle the side netting for his pains.
A second warning then……but still I did not feel unduly worried about any threat coming our way from the visitors and this feeling was bolstered by the sight of Menagh’s free kick flying out…inches from goal.
It continued with Town decidedly disturbed by Menagh’s pace, and almost undone as a veritable screamer from Connolly fizzed its way goal ward missing out by the width of a fag paper with Sutton groping air like a man lost!
This went on in the same vein almost up until half time, but thankfully …5 minutes before this……County made the breakthrough, and it was something of a special goal too. Started by Odejayi ….moved on by Marsden…it was finished off with ruthless efficiency by Brandon Wilson who lashed the ball home from way out to give County the lead!
That was a real belter, and saw us through to the break nicely! Brodie did go close with a neat chip, again set up by Odejayi, but although that unluckily missed out, I was reasonably happy with 1-0 as a position ahead of the re-start.
Well….County certainly went about their business after the break with a purpose , and twice they might consider themselves unlucky in the first 3 minutes of the half ,most notably Brodie who after showing commendable control let rip to the MS liner after a decidedly iffy call by him!
Corby did work themselves a corner, 4 minutes in, but this was sorted via Menagh whose run from defence drew applause from the County faithful.
County were looking good now and certainly on the look out for a second goal, but Sutton did good work to deny us this, beating Marsden to Wilson’s ball at the back post with the help of McKenzie and the Town O’Hanlon.
A looping header from Mills failed to test Henderson after this, but the ease with which the cross came over from the right perhaps offered us something to work on.
I was resolved however……any threat from the Steelmen was minimal….and County would surely put this to bed soonish, but I looked up to see Sutton keep Odejayi’s strike out with his legs from another Morton run.
About the hour mark we had another of those `oh no not again ‘ moments to ponder. Mills had just lost his shoe, which was fine…..what wasn’t so splendid was that …when the ball subsequently went out of play…referee Jayne Simms( who I thought had an impressive game ) allowed `time out’ to enable said footwear to be re-united with said foot- highly irritating!
I nit pick I suppose…..but I did not fume for long as County doubled their advantage almost immediately after following a Morton run that gained the blues a corner. Corby totally failed to defend the kick when it came over from the left, and as a consequence Connolly took full advantage heading home to acclaim!
|Connolly heads home.....|
County were now looking in decent nick, and more so as Ellison brought the ball forward feeding Brodie neatly. From Brodie a chance was on thanks to his nicely weighted ball into the path of the onrushing Marsden. Only Sutton was in Marsden’s way now and he got a decent shot off only to see the keeper again make the save with his legs, which by now must be a mass of bruises!
On it went with Ellison again linking up with Brodie forcing Marshall to find touch in a hurry.
Sutton again flapped when the resultant throw came in, but despite a free kick…..further pressure, and a Marsden effort on goal, no third goal resulted!
So…..with Anoruo now on for Brodie, County set about getting that elusive ,game sorting, third, and a great ball from Ellison almost set this up. Morton took the pass from County’s number four and set off on one of his runs. A neat cross followed to the back post where Menagh lurked. A goal looked on….but under pressure from the defender Menagh’s header went out off the woodwork.
Slowly…..slowly… the pressure from County started to ease….but…..with Grimshaw now on for Menagh….. I comforted myself with the thought that despite a fair amount of possession….a throw or two in advanced positions…and a free kick to boot….I could see no way through for the visitors at all!
So it was a big shock when I was made to re-think big time as what had seemed minimal pressure from Town suddenly claimed the unlikeliest of dividends….a goal! There was no threat when substitute Mike Ogilvie latched onto the ball way out on the right. Even when he crossed the ball into the box for Milnes to go for I thought all might be well and Henderson would claim it. No…it was not to be somehow the ball reached Milnes and he bundled the ball home in ungainly fashion!
County did try to hit back after that set back, but a free kick for the poorest of challenges ( Marshall on Anoruo) was wasted when the kick flew into our midst in the Cheadle End.
That missed by a distance as did another effort from Grimshaw not long after. This was a disappointment as Odejayi had set him up nicely with a run first down the main stand touchline and then along the by-line. To avoid causing the main stand liner unnecessary embarrassment, I will not mention that Big K took the ball out no less than 3 times en route- a fact missed by the myopic flag bearer to my left!
Marshall had to look lively and put the ball out next to keep Grimshaw out from a ball delivered in at speed by Marsden.
Wilson and Marsden …then Ellison piled forward in an effort to snatch that third but again we had the ball in our midst in Row R, this time as Ellison had a go.
That was the end of it from an attacking point of view for County who were forced onto the back foot as the game entered the last 5 minutes of normal time with Milnes and Mills pushing forward down the left. Morton did well to find touch and ease the tension.
County left Anoruo to forage up the park, but his effort to get something from nothing , on 87 minutes, was promptly snuffed out by good work from Ellis Myles.
No…Corby were now looking decidedly frisky and Mills’ latest run won his team a free kick as Morton laid into him just beyond the box. The kick….happilly….. went down Henderson’s throat ushering in more over confident thoughts from yours truly which were about to reap a considerable whirl wind!
We were well into 3 minutes added time when Mills made it his business to test us out again with another run down the left. He had Morton for company and was deep into County territory when Morton launched himself at Mills who went down like a ton of bricks! It was the easiest of calls for referee Simms , and the dumbest of challenges from Morton, and Mills picked himself up to put the spot kick home and snatch his side an unlikely point .
Not long after the referee blew for time and that was that.
This was definitely 2 points lost for County, and the need for us to put in a shift for 90 + minutes every game was never more apparent. JG has highlighted this fact previously and next season we will see the benefit no doubt- it cannot come soon enough for me!
See you at Alfreton!
Stockport County line up;
Henderson, Morton,S. O`Hanlon, Connolly, Roberts, Ellison, Menagh( Grimshaw 75), Wilson, Brodie ( Anoruo 68), Marsden, Odejayi.
Subs not used:
Ormson, Joyce, Rule.
Corby Town line up:
Sutton, Myles, B O’Hanlon, Breeze( Ogilvie 64), McKenzie, Marshall, Mills, Draper, Ball, Milnes, Evans( Kromah 75).
Subs not used:
Thomas, Appleton, Hicks.