Stockport County 1 Worcester City 0 ( Vanarama National League- North) 29 August 2016



County secured all the points today at Edgeley Park after a tussle with Worcester City that the score line of 1-0 makes look closer than it was.

For the second match running County rolled their collective sleeves up and scrapped for the points, and all three was but a fair return for a reasonable afternoon’s toil in the sun.

Yes the old current bun blazed away, awakening thoughts of a media blizzard of complaints from the Worcester travelling faithful ( all 26 of them), who were housed in the Railway End-alleging sunstroke and worse- wear a hat I say!

 Both teams really did toil for much of the game, looking every inch outfits who had played 2 games in 3 days, but County had a bit more to offer than City, whose work rate only picked up from almost none existent , quite late on, and throughout the Worcester finishing was abysmal.

For County ….Lloyd grabbed the winner with the tastiest free kick you could wish to see, and took the sponsors M.O.M, but my pick would have been Montrose who was up and down the park like I remember Glenn Rule being  early last term and for Airbus before that.

Montrose caught nicely by Andrew Machin.

 Other than that …it was good to see Big K back, but we need to see the County strike force feed more avariciously off his offerings. They ,for the most part didn’t today but maybe when they get used to having him back………

Big K  back and in good nick.....

JG rang the changes for today’s game, giving Meppen –Walter and Amis a break, replacing them with Duxbury and Odejayi who returned to warm cheers! Duxbury’s inclusion at left back gave a look of added solidity to County’s back four, and with Minihan switching back to right midfield, that department, with Stopforth inside with Montrose, looked well capable of doing things too.
Teams out ( Andrew Machin )

Indeed…the very first minute gave us a glimpse of the possible, as Duxbury  picked Odejayi out with a neat pass .  A typically deft bit of hold up play followed from the big man, following which Lloyd was on a run that threatened much. Nothing actually materialised, as Worcester’s cover eventually did its job, but that was a promising start!


Deft lay off by Big K, Lloyds in ( Andrew Machin)

County were starting brightly…on the front foot and Mark Ross was driving them on down the right, and his cross and Odejayi’s interested presence under his nose, made for a none too comfy moment or two for keeper Ethan Ross- he survived, but it was not a pretty sight for the 26 to behold as they sizzled at the far end of the stadium.

Odejayi puts Ross u/p ( Andrew Machin)

Yes….it was a promising start, and more followed with Odejayi  not far away from reaching Lloyd’s cross.

Lloyd battling away !

Five minutes in, and Worcester gave us   their first  attacking action, but it did not amount to very much….just a snap shot from Richard Batchelor from outside the box, that failed to trouble Hinchliffe in the County net.
No problem for Hinchliffe.

Chekaine Steele did his best to up the tempo somewhat next, robbing Duxbury with a neat bit of work, but the appearance of Montrose on the scene ended his run, the County man emerging with a free kick as well after some good defensive work.
County went back on the offensive after that short period of defensive action, and a loose ball allowed Lloyd a run down the left. His pass inside picked out Minihan , but the shot that followed  was charged down by  one of several green shirted defenders, to keep it at 0-0.

City goal u/p ( Andrew Machin)

About 15 minutes had gone by, and whilst no massive display of wonderfulness had been witnessed, I was never the less reasonably happy that County were in the driving seat. This conceit got a short sharp shock next….or to be more accurate…should have done!

A slip by Smalley sent Batchelor darting clear with only Hinchliffe twixt him and glory. It was straight forward enough ( at least it looked so from the comfort of Row R), he would just take his time and score in a heart beat, but he didn’t.

This week end has seen the 31st World Bog Snorkelling Championships held once again in Wales, and I am guessing that Batchelor would have happily immersed his head in any available bog…with or without the snorkel…as he dragged the poorest of shots well wide of the goal!  That was a real let off, and County needed to tighten up quickly!

Smalley and Duxbury were quick to reassure us in that respect and excellent work from the duo did for a promising looking break by Steele.
Break covered by Duxbury....

Eventually, County set about making the recent action irrelevant …attacking in numbers through Ross and Duxbury down the flanks. Odejayi set Duxbury up nicely only for his shot to crash into a line of defenders and come out harmlessly.
Lloyd/ Marsden plan something !

Lloyd was prominent at this point, but just could not tee himself up a shot with City back in numbers. Odejayi tried to keep the move going, as the umpteenth Ross cross pinged over, but the required finish could not be supplied by others and it stayed 0-0.

Big K goes close( Andrew Machin )

I had written at this point….` Montrose is working hard’, and he was…. He is really surprising me with the added grit his skilful game clearly contains but I was not aware of. More of this later!

Odejayi on the prowl.

It had to happen of course…and no sooner had I written that last opinion than he promptly lost possession, forcing Stopforth and Clarke into emergency action to save the situation.

Thankfully…..Worcester were looking anything but sharp, but we still needed to avoid potentially costly errors, and maybe sharpen up our own attacking responses.
Jackman stands over free kick.

But…we were not doing that….one…two more free kicks came and went with nothing on the end of either, except the second of these that saw City try to hit us on the break through Ebby Nelson- Addy. It looked like another chance, but again the Worcester finish was woeful and Hinchliffe did not need to move as the ball flew out way wide of him and his goal.

That certain slackness still prevailed in County’s play, and looked capable of seeing the wheels off our push for points, but it was being matched by City’s total inability to convert any kind of chance, and another blooper from County served Steele up with yet another decent sight of goal, only for him to give Hinchliffe catching practise rather than a goal bound shot to save.

If County were living slightly dangerously….I could not really see City taking advantage of this, but we needed County to get after them and see what the City Ross was made of.

Lloyd tried…shooting wide after Odejayi had twice probed the City back line. Hinchliffe went long next, again bringing the energetic Lloyd into play, and an improbable run from the ex Fylde man almost did the trick for his team- Marsden and Duxbury just unable to finish off what the County wide man had started.
With half time approaching, Worcester had a go at pushing County back. They did well enough to win a corner, but less so when the kick came over. Batchelor headed over from that one, before joining forces with Tyler Weir to run at us down the right. 

Again…for a brief moment or two it looked interesting from City’s view point, but…….enter stage right….Danny Lloyd with a  neat tackle and the danger had passed.

After that last action, County set about forcing their opponents back into their last third. It was going pretty well and it got better as the visitors gave away a free kick in a nicely central position not that far outside the box. 
Up stepped Marsden as an army of green shirts massed in front of him. Lloyd sauntered up to Marsden’s right, but we all knew that it would be Marsden who would take it didn’t we?
Kick lined up for Marsden to take ( Andrew Machin)


 Well….I did……and I must compliment messrs Lloyd and Marsden for the grade A mime that followed! It was a belter, and masked the real intentions of the duo perfectly as Lloyd thumped a beauty past Ross into the net to the accompaniment of gleeful cheering from 2500 or so County fans!

only for Lloyd to put it away ( Andrew Machin )

One nil very nearly quickly became 2-0 almost immediately –Odejayi unlucky with an effort that was not that far wide of the post.

County were getting into a better stride now and Ross did well to beat Lloyd’s next effort out. The parry offered a notional chance to Marsden, but although he hit the target the shot lacked power, and 1-0 it stayed.

There was time for another flurry at the other end before the break as Colby Bishop’s break set Batchelor up with yet another chance. It was a real chance too, but it went the way of all the others as the tamest of finishes gave Hinchliffe the simplest of tasks to deal with.

A late /late run from Montrose delighted the writer, and a fair few others, in the dying embers of the half, but that was pretty much that as the teams trouped off to a decent ripple from the crowd.

Shot of part of the Cheadle End.

Referee Rhoades made temperatures rise a tad into the second half- booking Duxbury for nothing and then refusing a penalty when Gallinagh went through Lloyd in the box.
Still on the ball- Montrose ( Andrew Machin )

County, with Montrose in outstanding form, pushed on…Lloyd testing Ross , then sending Duxbury in with a neat pass.  A corner followed, but as earlier in the game it resulted in greater danger at the wrong end of the park, and a potentially alarming break by the men in green was only ended by prompt action from Montrose to snuff the danger out!
Lloyd’s free kick, after Stopforth was upended by ex Hatter Danny Jackman, flew out without testing Ross, but  with Amis now on for Odejayi ,County were trying to get that much desired second and possibly match ending goal.
Amis & Clarke push on....

Ross pinged a cross in…..Tom Sharpe headed clear….twice Duxbury stretched his legs down the left stretching the City defence as well, but only a corner came from all this….that and a header from Clarke that was close but missed out to our chagrin!
Clarke goes close.

Junior English was booked next, his foul stopping a dangerous looking run by Lloyd feloniously in its tracks!  Duxbury took the free kick, and Amis met it with the meatiest of headers, only to see the ball fly over the bar!
After this…Marsden….Lloyd…Amis all had their moments but without getting that magic second goal.
Lloyd gives Worcester something to think about.

The corners piled up for the blues – the City keeper punching clear under pressure after a Montrose shot had been charged down. Then Ross was in action once more diving to hold Stopforth’s shot after excellent work at the back of the box by Smalley and Clarke. It went on and on…corners …free kicks ,and Clarke went close again with a mighty header – the ball just would not go in!

County press....

We were 10 minutes from the end ( plus added time) and Worcester had just raised the County siege by working the ball clear and winning themselves a rare corner. As with some of County’s set pieces earlier, this brought with it unseen dangers in the shape of Marsden who was played clear. It looked a decent chance but it vanished as Marsden’s shot cannoned off the head of Gallinagh ,going wide. 

There was a brief flurry after this as Steele did well running into the County box only to fluff the chance whilst there. Bishop joined in seeing a shot deflected for a corner that saw Montrose in action tidying up!
Montrose- Action Man !

Rule was now on for Lloyd, as City won a free kick in a scoreable position. They did not score….. but County did have to work a fair bit to ensure that was the case, and they nearly declared a dividend as a result of Rule’s break that allowed Minihan a run down the right. 

Glen Rule- on for late minutes.

A neat cross followed but Marsden was a fag papers width away from reaching this and putting it away!

Minihan can fly !!!

Into the last 2 minutes and County had another chance, and it was a good one too- Marsden again played clear. There was a defender to deal with along with keeper Ross but the chance looked on, but Marsden hesitated before shooting and before he had done the deed …Ross was at his feet making a brave stop….chance gone!
Back came County as Ross was forced to punch clear under pressure from a decent Duxbury free kick.
Ross punches clear u/p.

We badly needed that second goal, if only to settle the nerves, but instead it was hearts in mouths time as Steele sneaked clear down the left. It looked iffy did this….but the liners flag was up……phew !!!!!

Again…County responded via Marsden , and Sharpe did really well to stop Rule getting to the cross from the Stockport number 10 smack in front!

County dominated the last minutes of added time….bearing the cross of Mr Rhoades hallucinatory eccentricities as they went!  
Close thing late on ( Andrew Machin 0

Eventually the Referee blew for time and we could head for home.

Not the greatest of games….not the worst of them either, lots still to do, but there are signs there that, particularly with all bodies back in full health, we will be in with a shout this season.

See you at Alty!

Stockport County line up:

Hinchliffe,M. Ross, Clarke, Smalley, Duxbury, Minihan, Stopforth, Montrose, Odejayi( Amis 58), Marsden( Meppen-Walter 91), Lloyd( Rule 81).

Subs not used:

Ormson, Spencer.

Worcester City line up:

E Ross , Weir, Keane, Hutchison( Gallinagh 24), Sharpe, Jackman, Steele, English, Bishop, Nelson-Addy( Murphy 65), Batchelor. 

Subs not used:

Craig, Fitzpatrick, Gater.

Attendance: 2514

Ian Brown

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