Stockport County 2 Hyde United 0 ( FA Cup 2QR) 17 September 2016

County were on cruise control today heading off into the next round of the FA Cup, at the expense of Hyde United at Edgeley Park.

The Railway End at a distance.....and....

the Barmy Army in greater close up from Andrew Machin

Two nil was the margin, but in reality, despite a brave fight by the Northern Premier Leaguers, the gap twixt the two teams could, and maybe should, have been greater.

 Amis only came on for the last half hour and might have notched 3…..he didn’t…again missing out from close in with chances that were not that difficult, whilst Lloyd and Ball particularly were unlucky a time or three too.

That said it was very much ‘ job done’ from a County view point….through to the next round in a canter. Hyde tried a fair bit, particularly after the break, but the County defence, marshalled coolly and efficiently by Mark Ross and Michael Clarke  , were seldom troubled- Ross and Clarke’s diligence allowing Duxbury and Minihan ( no slouches today defending either) to power forward more than occasionally. 

Mark Ross

Any of those just mentioned M.O.M ? Not so….I did not clock the official M.O.M , but mine was quite clearly Danny Lloyd who went off to his customary ovation after another all action barn storming performance, capped by a splendid penalty goal  to open the scoring.

Danny Lloyd- M.O.M

Odejayi and Spencer, for Smalley and Amis, were County’s only changes at 3 o’clock, as the game got underway after an immaculately observed minutes silence in honour of the young footballer who died whilst playing recently.
Beautifully observed, and caught by Andrew Machin.
The early minutes saw Hyde buzzing around the County half energetically, but this only allowed Clarke and Ross to set their stalls out with a clutch of cool clearances.

Clarke unmoved!

Still….Hyde fans, and a few had made the short trip, would have been pleased to see their team on the front foot, albeit to no great success.

Ross heads clear.

It took County 5 minutes to rev up a reply, and when they did ( Odejayi sending Lloyd powering through) an eye watering last ditcher from James Burke stopped Lloyd’s promising run short as he arrived in the box!
Lloyd spins off defenders( Andrew Machin )

County prospered via a neat bit of play involving Duxbury and Minihan next, but it was County’s turn to see nothing for their efforts on the end of much good play, indeed County had Ball’s alert reactions to thank almost immediately after, as his quick wits saw off a break by Brice Wassi.
When Meppen-Walter saw his attempted shot charged down , ten minutes had gone by with neither side having tested the opposing keeper.

Hyde’s first shot came two minutes later, but I am guessing that Burke would prefer me not to mention it as it soared high into the Cheadle End without engaging Hinchliffe’s attention at all.

County then replied via Ross who linked up with Odejayi to good effect. Big K’s lay off set Meppen-Walter up nicely, but his attempted lob lost out to the massed ranks of red shirts lining up in front of keeper Dylan Forth’s goal.

Ross & Montrose on the ball !

Past the quarter hour mark ,and , at last, County seemed to be getting into their stride  - Montrose warming the keeper’s hands with a neat effort after Meppen-Walter’s cross had  set things up.

2 examples of Montrose in action ( Hedgie- above/ Andrew Machin- below)

For Hyde….Phil Dean tried his luck…..but it was out as Ross cut his run off with a good bit of work.

Still……it looked to be a case of County beginning to stir, and again Meppen-Walter was in the role of provider…pinging a fine ball in to the back post where Spencer lurked. Hmm…..1 -0 then……but no…..Spencer snatched at it and missed the target!        
County’s dominance was growing now, and although half the first half had gone, it felt like it would not be that long before a goal would come their way.
That Ball free kick.

Ball tried his best with a free kick….but this hit the Hyde wall. Ross was not dismayed by this outcome and sent Lloyd clear with a fine pass, and the shot that followed from the ex Fylde flyer was not very far away at all!

A corner and a free kick ( both of very dubious origin) notionally offered Hyde a glimmer of hope , but their forwards just could not summon up the necessary finish to add to Brownhill’s approach play.

Hinchliffe in charge ( Andrew Machin )

Almost half an hour had elapsed and barring one miss early on, Spencer had been hardly seen at all, but he threatened to change this, 30 minutes in, his run taking him into the box. He’d done well….and the lay off that followed was not bad at all, but no one in blue was around to capitalise on the break, and it stayed 0-0.
Odejayi on the ball ( Andrew Machin )

County looked set to score now…..surely it would not be long …..but no…Lloyd saw Forth save the day for his team with a good stop to deny the County number eleven, with a queue of blue shirts just waiting for a slip.

On it went in the same vein….County attacking….Hyde defending bravely, and I winced as a shot from Ball came back out off one of a line of defenders. The ball was lifted back goal ward and again it came out off a red shirted defender, only this time a hand was involved and the referee pointed to the spot without delay!  
Danny Lloyd did the rest…stepping up to calmly despatch his kick way beyond Forth’s despairing dive, to give County the lead.
Andrew Machin sees Danny Lloyd put that penalty away !

Would the floodgates now open?
Hmm……well County tried to make it so as Minihan’s run and cross tested Hyde’s resolve to the maximum. But, just when the danger seemed to have been averted, up stepped Duxbury to leather one in from way back. 

Minihan / Ross  defend to attack !

In response, the keeper seemed well positioned, but managed to entertain us with a goal line fumble. He recovered….and it stayed 1-0….but…….

Hyde rallied a touch after this, largely thanks to ex Hatter Kyle Brownhill, but United’s forwards could not match Brownhill’s enterprise with the requisite finish.
Hyde attack.....

Cadman and Bevins did try, linking up nicely with Brownhill, but Clarke stopped any thoughts of an equaliser with the firmest of headed clearances from the ball that whizzed in from the United number three.

We were nearing half time now, and Ross had just put paid to a run from Dean  that had momentarily threatened mayhem, when play switched ends and County  almost snatched one with the quickest of raids. No goal then…..but a corner and this was delivered with precision to the back post where Clarke did what Clarke does and headed the ball home! It was 2-0 and almost half time.

That Clarke goal ( Andrew Machin )

Game over?
Possibly…..possibly not….and Hyde looked on to chastise us appropriately for thinking so, as deep into added time County lapsed into a familiar doze mode  allowing Bevins to scoot clear. Try as they might the blues could not block Bevins’ progress, instead he managed to slip a neat pass on to Cadman, who looked well set with only Hinchliffe to beat. Yes…it was a shoo-in, or should have been but Cadman dragged his shot wide of the far post and that was that.

County did not waste time debating what went amiss with that last action, instead we saw Spencer send Lloyd on yet another buccaneering run deep into opposition territory in the half’s dying embers. Cue the arrival of Burke, and another of his speciality last ditchers, and it stayed 2-0 as the teams went in at the break.

It was a strange thing…..despite that last disappointment….I was not `in one’……and then I was ….as the PA announcer read out the winning lottery number  `132’…..I had 131!    

Bugger !!!!!

Darren Kelly sent his team out early, well before the re-start, and this had the appearance of being a poor decision as his players basically just stood around chatting in the warm Edgeley sun.

Perhaps I was wrong though, as not long after the game re-started Ellison and Bevins made it to the by-line. Ross did the biz and saw the threat off, but perhaps….maybe…..

Yes…..possibly…..Hyde to their credit started to work hard and a cross from Ellison won them a rare corner….followed by a frantic appeal from behind Hinchliffe’s goal from the away specs- “ handball” they shouted in unison, but it wasn’t and the referee saw it so and a perceived chance had gone.

JG introduced Stopforth for Spencer next, and he immediately got busy in a way that Spencer hadn’t. The fresh legs added something extra to County’s forward push, and Ball was distinctly unfortunate with his free kick that fizzed its way inches wide of the keeper’s far post, after a foul by Pearson on Meppen-Walter.
The Ball free kick....
....goes !

I was back again thinking that any moment we might score again, but more angst followed with the sight of Adam Jones doing just enough to deny Ball on the break and force his shot wide.

Bugger.... again  as Jones does enough to stop Ball....

Past the hour mark and Amis was on for Odejayi, as Ball sent Lloyd clear with the best of passes seeing the resultant shot so close to making it 3-0!

Lloyd again !!!!

It got a touch tasty next as Amis looked to take an elbow from Pearson, and angst ridden as well as another Lloyd shot went narrowly wide.

Amis and company.

Have I mentioned Lloyd yet?  I think I might have……well ……. he turned provider next. Meppen-Walter took the pass but saw his shot charged down allowing Ball a shot which Forth did really well to keep out!

Forth save ( Andrew Machin )

County piled it on now…..Lloyd was disappointed as McGurk stepped in to stop his run with the goal in his sights.
By this point, Stopforth was warmed up nicely, and a lovely County move looked like ending magnificently when the ball reached him and he sent it floating towards the back post. It was shoo in time again, this time for County, as Amis awaited the ball’s arrival in the required position, but he planted a poor header wide, and a chance to finish Hyde off had vanished!

The next minute and there was more woe for the blues and another glaring miss to recount  and this time it was down to Ball  whose header missed the target  wasting some dazzling play from Lloyd down the left flank.
Sheer determination from Ball ( Andrew Machin )
On it went…Stopforth and Lloyd joining forces, and Duxbury missing out with a cross cum shot that no one in blue or red could get a touch to as it whizzed across the box.

The pressure built and built and Hyde did well to not concede again as Stopforth and Minihan, pushed the visitors back on their heels. Ball joined in and he was very unlucky to see his shot from distance curl just wide of goal.

Another close call..( Andrew Machin )

Amis won a free kick next, with a powerful run, but then blotted his copybook by again failing to force the ball home from close in, after a Clarke header had thudded into the woodwork.

Amis in the box.

It had been pretty much all County after the first 10 minutes or so of the half, and Hyde had not come within any sort of distance of getting on the score sheet since Cadman’s glaring miss late on in the first half.  With 5 minutes left though they really should have halved County’s advantage, as Ellison’s cross picked out Pearson with the goal at his mercy. It really should have been 2-1, but he missed the target – a bad miss!

Play switched ends again next and Burke did well to block Ball albeit at the cost of a corner, which saw both Amis and Clarke trying in vain to turn on the ball in the box.

County would not go away however and it took good work from Pearson to stop Clarke and Meppen-Walter forcing the ball home from one of a series of County corners.

Marsden had come on late on, and I was back in `full on rage mode’ as a beautifully weighted pass from him sent Amis on a run. He had a defender at his elbow, but this did not stop the liner from flagging him offside!
Marsden tries one......

The rant was still going full throttle as Marsden’s follow up run forced Dean to concede a corner. From this another chance surfaced, but when it fell to Amis he could not force it home from a yard out.

County were still working hard at getting a third goal and killing the game off, but the referee’s whistle told ‘em that the deed was done…..the game was over and County were in the hat for the next round of the FA Cup.

We have slipped up over potential banana skin ties like this too many times in the past to ever get too cocky or complacent over narrow wins. As the man said…a win is a win…is a win…. and I agree wholeheartedly….no banana skin here….just a solid no nonsense win, and we will take that wont we?!

Well done County- cannot wait for the next round!

Stockport County line up:

Hinchliffe, Minihan, Ross, Clarke, Duxbury, Meppen-Walter, Spencer( Stopforth 52), Montrose, Odejayi( Amis 62), Ball, Lloyd( Marsden 82).

Subs not used:  Ormson, Smalley, Rule, Carney .

Hyde United line up;

Forth, Ellison, Brownhill( Pugh 66), Pearson, Jones, McGurk( Fitton 79), Cadman( Pollard 66), Wassi, Bevins, Burke, Dean.

Subs not used ; Broadbent, Khamsuk, Woodward, Boyle.

Attendance: 1425

Ian Brown


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