Stockport County 4 Wealdstone FC 0 - Vanarama National League ( Monday 3 May 2021)
Words by hedgegrower, images by hedgegrower & Andrew Machin.
seen it moving in the ocean,
drifting in the sky,
clinging to webs at dawn
and in your eyes.
I've felt it rushing up in tides…..
And there was a lot of it about today at Edgeley Park where heavy top coats and rainwear proliferated, for the meagre number allowed in, as County`s quest for promotion continued a pace with a convincing 4-0 victory over a Wealdstone side that did well , for 52 minutes keeping County out with some decent defensive work, before conceding in the 53 rd and losing rather comfortably in the end to a County side showing all the metal and more needed to get out of this division this time around.
The header poem is an extract from ` Water Song ` by Jim Christ, and there was more than a whiff of the poetic about those last 38 + minutes, as Reid gave us evidence of why he should really be starting. He did so as Simon Rusk opted for 3 up front and that was the right way to go, Reid scoring two smart goals to take him past 20 for the season.
| Reid- excellent !|
If Reid was the pick, up front, Madden was not a million miles behind him, covering every blade of grass up and down the park and looking` the man` on the ball.
| Madden - on the ball !|
Croasdale took the M.O.M award, and I will not grumble too loudly about that, but I will give a loud shout out for Hogan and Palmer who were prime movers in yet another shut out!
|Croasdale up !|
Then there was JJ and I thought he was excellent, a constant threat in the second half particularly with Newby buzzing like the proverbial on both flanks having replaced Tom Walker just before half time, and it was good to see Minihan restored at RB where his constant desire to get involved deserved more in a frustrating first half.
|JJ in top form !|
A very satisfactory win then, so keep it up and look for a slip or two from those teams currently ahead of us in the divisions pecking order.
| See...told you it was wet- Andrew Machin confirms with this opener !|
Back at 3 o`clock the previously mentioned wetness was now joined by a close cousin of Hurricane Herbert, that succeeded in fiendishly whipping the falling liquid about in disconcerting fashion.
`Man Up` I hear you insert at this point, and I try……
| Bit of a chat ( Andrew Machin )|
County were quickly onto the front foot with Hogan and Minihan in the van of much of the pressure that followed, but the second minute saw this early work ended with a Rooney shot that went wide.
|Shot from Rooney|
Then a minute later I thought it was 1-0 with Minihan and Reid causing havok in the visitors back line, Reid forcing keeper Jake Askew to collect the ball from the back of the net, but it wasn`t 1-0, the liners flag was up as he loudly bellowed to Reid and others just what he had ruled- I was still mystified I must say thereafter.
No matter, no doubt County would sort matters in quick order , but Cardwell was blocked neatly by Okimo, and inches from reaching a lofted cross from Rooney moments later.
|Cards close !|
| Cards in possession ( Andrew Machin )|
If I was contemplating a rout, perhaps it was time I should think again, but running clear Daniel Wishart dragged his shot wide for Wealdstone.
County replied quickly, but Reid fared no better than had Wishart, his effort just missing out, thanks to a deflection off a defender on the end of another prompt from Minihan.
The corner offered a notional chance, but again the near side liner `intrigued ` me adjudging Cardwell to have fouled Charles at the near post.
|Cardwell puts Wealdstone u/p|
Again thoughts of a walk-over looked in need of shelving as Croasdale had to do neat work to cut out another probing break by the Grey shirted visitors, who were making a fight of it.
The disconcerting liveliness of the opposition continued, and a foul by Walker put the pressure on County from the consequent free kick. It also got Tom booked. The free kick was poor, but it was not long before Jacob Mendy- Mendy was back sniffing for scraps deep inside blue territory.
|Walker booked ( Andrew Machin ) !|
He was shut out by diligent defending, coming back for more almost straight away in company with Sonny-Blu Lo Everton, who almost squeezed his cross cum shot in at the back post.
These Mendy- Mendy sorties were punctuated by a response from County, but Rooney`s drive was held with just the merest hint of difficulty by Askew.
|Rooney on the ball ( Andrew Machin )|
Rooney was there again , on 25 minutes, this time onto a corner won by Reid, but the County number 8`s shot cleared the bar……. And once more 2 minutes later his latest effort thudding into the barriers a foot or so wide.
| Half the Wealdstone team on Reid ( Andrew Machin )|
County began to warm up a tad now, but still the extra dash of finishing nous was missing thus far, Cardwell unlucky to see his header, from Madden`s left wing pull back, deflected for another corner. This time it was Hogan penalised ( do not ask !) at the back post, and it stayed 0-0!
|Hogan in magestic form !|
The pressure continued from County, Reid winning yet another corner, but Wealdstone defended this well, blocking the forward`s line of sight to goal sufficiently for Madden`s drive to be dealt with confidently by Askew between the Wealdstone sticks!
|Madden runs at Wealdstone ( Andrew Machin )|
Madden was certainly trying some, but his latest ball across from the left saw Rooney head over.
|Madden & company|
Before disappointment on that last action died, a foul by Okimo on Cardwell put the screws back on County`s opponents, added to by a corner before Hogan`s header missed out by a bit.
Wealdstone were defending well, but increasingly forced into fouling to keep their ship afloat, a foul on Minihan on 37 minutes revving up the angst factor for the visitors as the free kick was on the edge of the box, but the kick by JJ flew over the bar to increase County`s frustration.
With 5 minutes left of the half Simon Rusk made his move, replacing Walker with Newby.
| Newby- a good signing ! ( Andrew Machin )|
I like Newby and his presence again injected an added something into County`s play, but the frustration continued as another free kick missed out, after Madden had been fouled as he cut inside from the left flank.
That was that for the first half and I guess Wealdstone would be mighty pleased with how things had turned out! County needed to re-double their efforts in the second half in which they would be attacking the eerily quiet Cheadle End.
A shot of First Aid Staff by Andrew Machin :-
The second half started as the first had ended , with County attacking , but out of luck as Hogan`s header went just wide, following good work from Madden and Reid.
Just 7 minutes into the half, and it looked for a moment as if County had squared that circle, but somehow Askew kept goal bound shots from Cardwell and Madden out .
| Askew stops this one from Madden.....|
A third heroic save proved a bridge too far for the brave keeper, as the subsequent loose ball was leathered home by Croasdale with the air of a man determined on another bottle of Stockport Gin !
|Croasdale`s in there somewhere !|
|Andrew Machin sees him...there he is !|
It was 1-0 at last, but not for long as the weary legs of the visitors` defence began to wilt under the building pressure that saw Newby`s cross ruthlessly put away by Reid to double the County advantage.
| 2-0 courtesy of Reid !|
| Andrew Machin`s view of that.|
| and the celebrations ( Andrew Machin )|
Two goals in 3 minutes had turned the game decisively in the blues favour, and Reid looked to be on for another on the end of a neat cross from the rampant JJ down the left, until Referee `saw something ` and stopped County`s gallop, but on the whole I thought Mr Parsons had a good game so `nuff said.
|Reid at the double !|
It was good to see Bennett on just after the hour for Cardwell, but it was Newby making waves at this point, Wealdstone defending grimly at times now, conceding a corner to stop the ex Chorley man. Another corner followed that one, and disappointment as Reid`s shot flew inches wide.
|Newby to the fore...|
County were increasing the pressure on their opponents now but when Jennings sent Reid clear once more, Phillips earned himself a card by upending the County man who was heading clear down the left. The free kick flew out, so Phillips will think his action worth doing, which would be sad!
Askew meanwhile continued to do well with County on his case, but the best of it , a shot by Croasdale, was blocked and cleared eventually.
|County press !|
Back came County with time beginning to run out, and Joseph Olowu did well to track back and police Reid who had been fed nicely by Bennett.
|Bennett back !|
We were into the final 10 minutes now, and JJ had given way to Ryan Rydel, but this did not stop the now relentless forward push by Simon Rusk`s men, and Lo-Everton got a yellow for some tasty work on Croasdale with 5 minutes left.
Settling for 2-0 ?
Not a bit of it….County wanted more , and capitalised brilliantly on the naivity of the Wealdstone defenders who must have assumed there was no danger present as a loose ball landed at the feet of Reid. He was a fair bit out and at an angle , but it mattered not and the ball scorched beyond the startled eyes of the brave Wealdstone keeper into the net.
|Superb finish by Reid !|
|and he liked it !|
Settle for 3-0 then?
Come on …be serious…..back they came…pressing…pressing…forcing a free kick in the dying minutes of normal time. Would we miss it? We had a good few previously, but Rooney thought otherwise and planted the ball firmly beyond Askew into the net to make it a very satisfactory 4-0 win.
|4-0 and it`s Rooney !|
| and Andrew Machin`s neat view of that action.|
| and the celebrations ( Andrew Machin )|
In the end a good win, and comfortable in the end also.
It`s Dag & Red next, and all County can do is win their games , and they are doing that with some style!
Well done all!
Stockport County line up:-
Hinchliffe, Minihan, Jennings ( Rydel 80), Hogan, Palmer, Rooney , Croasdale, Walker ( Newby 40), Cardwell ( Bennett 63) , Madden, Reid.
Subs not used : Maynard, Southam- Hales.
Wealdstone FC line up :-
Askew, Charles, Okimo, Phillips ( Hearn 91), Smith, Green, Hughes ( Shrowder 90), Wishart ( Gondoh 65), Lo- Everton, Mendy- Mendy, Olowu.
Subs not used: Lewis, Dyer.