Worcester City 2 Stockport County 3( Vanarama National League- North) 9 April 2016








County took their travelling supporters on a roller coaster ride at Aggborough today where they shrugged off giving their eternal bete noire Lee Hughes  a couple of gift goals  to storm back from 2-1 down and win the game 3-2 courtesy of  goals from Smalley and Marsden late on.

 
Hughes and company......
Hughes was….well just Hughes……verbally slated by the County following from the off….he reacted as he always does, by ignoring it all…..putting his head down and scoring two goals…both gifts but equally both finished perfectly. Hughes’ polar opposite was in County pink….Richard Brodie , who again showed no sign of overcoming his behavioural issues. Hurl abuse at Hughes day long…result nothing……glance in Brodie’s direction…..he’s in one. He was booked today, for verbals, but just how useful he will be to the team going forward remains to be seen, but I back JG to sort this one!
 
Brodie midst the downpour...

Today Jim’s substitutions were spot on….Brodie did not appear for the second half, and with Menagh and Grimshaw on for much of the second half, County set about the business of turning around a 2-1 half time deficit with commendable vigour, and a barnstorming rally that sent 200 or so County fans home deliriously happy.    

 
Early action.....

It was low key stuff from the off though, as both teams took turns at probing the other. Daniel Nti ( for City) and Danny Morton for County were chief probers, but we reached the 5 minute mark with the score still 0-0.

 
Morley bursts through......
This position lasted but another 60 seconds, where upon County’s propensity to implode came to the surface. There seemed no danger when Connolly played the ball back to Henderson. A quick reaction….. followed by foot through ball….. and we would have been sorted, but instead Henderson dithered and whilst he was thinking about it Hughes nipped in to charge the eventual intended clearance down and into the net. The home specs went AS……and County must have been shell shocked to, so early, be on an upward incline once more!
Worcester looked to capitalise on their good fortune after this, but despite good work from Kyle Perry and Nti, Henderson was not further troubled.

 
Morton goes to it watched by Ellison( & Hughes).
County responded  via Morton ,who ….being played in front of the back four, was getting forward to good effect, and one of a couple of crosses from him saw Brodie’s shot charged down. It went on with a Marsden shot blocked in front of goal, after Odejayi had set it up with a deft knock down. Brodie took on the Odejayi role next setting Marsden up nicely only for County’s number ten to lift a poor effort over the bar.

 
Odejayi- top man throughout!
Back came Worcester – Burton just kept from Perry’s flick on by O’Hanlon. Henderson grabbed the ball from the corner, and again a couple of minutes later as Weir and Perry combined down the right.
We were just 16 minutes into proceedings when the game took a familiar turn, and Brodie went into referee Barrow’s book for what looked to be verbals! Brodie had been chunnering prior to this, so it was no great surprise if a massive irritation!

 
Marsden & Brodie press....
I was still ruminating on the ramifications of all this when a speculative cross from Sam Minihan almost crept inside Henderson’s back post. He probably had it covered but already I was in need of the BP pills!
Again both teams went about testing the other, but there was no period where either really looked in total charge, but…that said….. the next initiative came from County via Morton who surged clear down the right before sweeping a beaut of a ball inside  where Odejayi powered a header home to put County on level terms with their opponents.
This was the signal for a response from Worcester and it came from Perry who…finding the route to goal blocked…went to ground. A legitimate tactic, and one often successful against us, but the referee to his credit waved the penalty claims away. Connor Gator joined in but he saw a dipper from outside the box not quite dip enough and Henderson was able to watch it on its way!

 
City enquire of the referee......
County’s reply to this was immediate and good by Brodie , who was in position to round off yet another Morton run with a shot that fizzed its way goal ward to be tipped over at the last gasp by  keeper Nathan Vaughan. It then took two men…Gudger and Weir…to stop the next Brodie run, and in a minute or two Richard had shown us what was possible! However….he was now getting the treatment from a very vociferous home crowd and you could only speculate on how the referee would react- but when Brodie went down in the box fairly easily to howls of abuse from the home specs, he waved play on, so I breathed easily once again!

 
Thomas blocks Brodie effort.
Brandon Wilson was working hard I thought at this point, and good work from him set Roberts up for a cross that Marsden only just failed to convert.
Play changed ends again, with about 6 minutes of the half left, and Henderson was forced to tip Shaun Donnellan’s shot over the bar from a Weir cross. 

 
Smalley heads out.

One…….two corners followed for City….but no goal, and it was a relief to again see Wilson run the ball out of defence to lift the brief siege.

 
Cross coming from Connolly....

 Relief, was however, as brief as the siege before it had been as when Brodie’s charge was repulsed following Wilson’s pass, County were caught on the hop as a ball out of defence from City landed with Hughes wide on the left. He was way wide , and probably thought not to be a threat, but we should none the less have put him under pressure…we didn`t and as a consequence he leaned back to send a lazily delivered but lethally targeted drive way past Henderson’s attempts to stop it…into the net!
City now led 2-1 …..and once again County had that metaphoric mountain to climb.
O’Hanlon did his best to make the challenge lighter, but his immaculately judged and delivered header bounced out off the top of the cross bar with 2 minutes left of the half.
Perry went close for City in the minutes that remained, and Hughes fluffed a real sitter almost on the stroke of half time, missing the target by some distance with the goal gaping.
A run by Ellison….a header from Odejayi( who was working his proverbials off as usual) and that was it for the first half!
  
The re-start saw Sam Grimshaw on for Brodie, and there seemed to be an immediate response from County as Odejayi’s latest header thudded into the advertising hoardings inches wide of Vaughan’s goal!
 
Andrew Machin sees Odejayi break clear......

Morton had set that last one up, and it took good work from goal scorer Donnellan to stop another lung burster from County’s number seven.
Ellison then stepped in to block Donnellan as he looked to make something of his good work, and again County were on the front foot , and not only that they really should have equalised!

 
County pile it on.....
 It started with excellent work from Connolly who powered into the box, cutting his way through a forest of legs like the proverbial knife through butter. His final ball was as good as his approach play and set Odejayi up nicely, but his shot lacked power and Vaughan made the save easily.

 
......and on........

County were piling it on now…..Ellison…..Wilson both trying but missing out in the crowded box. The pressure was on all right and Wayne Thomas was relieved to stab the ball out for a corner with a clutch of pink shirts in his face.

 
Close call that........
County were queuing up to shoot now, but I found my usual goal fantasies rudely interrupted with around 20 minutes left, when Hughes sneaked clear menacingly down the left. He was one on one with Henderson, and I was probably not alone in backing the striker on this one…..but I was 100% wrong as Henderson made me eat my thoughts as he beat the forward’s shot out, as he attempted to lift the pill over him.
Twice after this Odejayi missed out as County redoubled their attempts to equalise. 

 
Some Big K magic captured by Andrew Machin.

Despite the disappointment…..there was also a definite air of expectation about…and the flames of this were fanned vigorously by wave after wave of County attacks.
Menagh was now on for Ellison, but the next chance fell to Hughes for City and despite it being another relative sitter he again fluffed it screwing the shot wide when it was seemingly easier to score.
County could not be denied ……...but Vaughan did his best to do just that ,keeping Marsden’s strike out with his legs 73 minute in.
Grimshaw joined in with a run that had the travelling fans roaring as he was denied at the edge of the box by Minihan.

Grimshaw run....

There was time for another break though by Worcester through Jordan Murphy, but he was denied first by O’Hanlon and then Henderson as he tried to win the game for his team.
It was not to be for our hosts and County got their reward, albeit late in the day…….
Marsden started it going close and seeing his shot on the turn ricochet out for a corner. A melee ensued when the kick came over, and with a clutch of pink shirts in the queue for a shot… Smalley won out forcing the ball home brilliantly from close in!



More County pressure followed on from this….more corners…and how the 200 County fans roared their heroes on as the minutes ticked away.
On it went……..Wilson on the charge…. and Smalley close with another effort for County, whilst Donnellan tried to pass the ball into the net at the other end  and fluffed  the chance in so doing.
We were into the last 3 minutes now ….County for sure were attacking still, when they got the reward their enterprising play merited- a goal, and the place erupted when an immaculate through ball , from Menagh,reached Masrsden and he leathered it home.
Marsden scores...Andrew Machin sees it......



 It was a brilliant through ball….a fantastic goal…..and oh how team and fans celebrated.

Deep Joy by Andrew Machin.


Marsdens a bit happy too !

When the game resumed, it was muck and nettles stuff in the 4 minutes or so that remained , Vaughan did well to repel boarders ( mainly Odejayi) three times.

Tough battle now( Andrew Machin )


To their credit Worcester kept having a go too, but found County defending like lions in reply.
A flurry of attacking came from City deep into added time, born on a clutch of throws hurled over at pace by Minihan. All in vain…and when Wilson found touch from one throw, a blast of the referees whistle told us it was over and County had won  with a fine…fine fight back!          
That was simply excellent….a really fine win, coming from behind so impressively…..and the fans showed the team just how they felt at the end, particularly Odejayi who ,as I say, worked relentlessly game long- Big Kay was mobbed by County fans all around the away parts of the ground. That was fully justified ……others had played particularly well too….Wilson had his best game yet for us and Morton provided power and purpose when it was needed.


Terrace joy....




.....and the teams response !

Great stuff, so it is Corby at home next Saturday, and I will see you there for that one I hope.
 Some additional information ….the match report for next Saturdays game v Corby will be delayed until Sunday, as I am off to see Joanne Shaw Taylor at the O2 Ritz after the game. Apologies in advance then for the anticipated delay- the report should be published for mid day Sunday.
Worcester City line up:
Vaughan, Minihan, Weir, Gudger, Thomas, Donnellan, Nti( Webb 91), Burton, Perry( Murphy 49), Gater, Hughes.
Subs not used:
Jackman, Ross, Morris.
Stockport County line up:
Henderson, Connolly, O’Hanlon, Smalley, Roberts, Morton( Poscha 91), Ellison (Menagh 71), Wilson, Marsden, Odejayi, Brodie( Grimshaw 45).
Subs not used:
Ormson, Field.
Attendance 705

Ian Brown

   

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