Stockport County1 Dagenham & Redbridge 1 ( Vanarama National League)- Tuesday 11 May 2021
| Header by Andrew Machin !|
Words by hedgegrower, images by hedgegrower & Andrew Machin.
Wow, that was some match!
Billed As one of several `cup finals` twixt now and season`s end for County it lived up to the billing well and truly.
The Daggers came to Edgeley Park with a six-game winning streak to boast, and they set about making it 7 with a will, putting County under a mountain of pressure for long periods of the game.
| Early Hinchliffe save !|
Thankfully the blues were up to the task the back four doing a shed load of `unsung hero` stuff throughout the game with Palmer and Hinchliffe the pick for me , the latter pulling off some terrific saves , a late double save was just remarkable keeping, and I lost count of the number of times Palmer threw his body in the way of goal bound efforts, from a side that came to win.
|Early save from Hinchliffe ( Andrew Machin )|
County resisted the prolonged pressure with typical obduracy, but apart from a period in the first half never really looked likely to win. That said in that period with Madden motoring in superb style, I allowed myself to think the corner had been turned particularly when another resounding finish from Madden gave us the lead.
| Madden on the ball !|
It was not to be and when County`s otherwise exemplary back line allowed Daggers top scorer a free header just before the break….. the lead was gone.
Much of what followed was in the same mould, Dag & Red working their socks off trying to break down County`s rock like resistance, while County leant heavily on Palmer and Hinchliffe`s bravery to frustrate them awaiting tasty scraps that did not materialise.
County were hampered by the second half absence of scorer Paddy Madden, who had looked in a rich vein of form before the break, but credit to Daryl McMahon`s Daggers side, they looked every inch a side on a six match winning run with a shot at the play-offs.
| Madden - in rich vein of form ( Andrew Machin )|
So do we though, and we are still on an impressive unbeaten streak ourselves, so we re-group and go again starting Sunday!
Back at 7 pm I was surprised to see top scorer Alex Reid on the bench after the success of the 3 up front set up last time out, but presumably Simon Rusk went for greater solidity at the back , opting to bring Ryan Rydel in down the left, but we did need to win this one.
|Rydel- Sponsors M.O.M ( Andrew Machin )|
The angst started for the blues from the off with the visitors pressing, but my expectation of an `end to end` dual looked to be on as almost immediately County replied via Southam Hales, only to see him flagged offside.
|Southam- Hales weighs up a free kick !|
Play swung back again after this with more pressure from Dag & Red seeing County defend a free kick well, and Daggers go close from their first corner.
Three intense minutes gone…..it was still 0-0 !
Back came County, 5 minutes in, via Madden, and good work from him saw Newby( already a lively presence) force an early save from Daggers keeper Elliot Justham.
|Justham holds !|
Newby was prominent again not long after, doing good work at the back before just missing out when Callum Reynolds got his head to his searching cross.
|Newby an early threat !|
The visitors were not here to make up the numbers, and JJ did really well to sort their latest sortie up the park with 9 minutes gone.
|Magic under pressure from JJ ( Andrew Machin )|
Already, with Daggers harrying everything in blue on sight, we knew we had a match on our hands with the ball constantly heading Hinchliffe`s way.
Rydel and Hogan replied down the flanks for County, joined productively by Southam – Hales but again we were thwarted as Saidou Khan headed Macauley`s probing cross to safety.
|Hogan, in control at both ends of the park !|
It was about this time I began to think,` we were about to impose ourselves` as a foul on Croasdale ushered in possibilities from the resultant free kick , but nothing came of it……or the next one not long after as Robinson added to Croasdale`s bruises with another iffy challenge. Rooney`s kick hit a hand en-route to give us a third set piece on the edge of the box. This morphed into a corner, but despite JJ`s best with this Daggers survived intact.
|Daggers under pressure .|
With 20 minutes gone, my growing confidence looked about to be rewarded as Madden swept clear through the middle. There was a mighty `coming together` of Madden and defender as he headed for goal. I had awarded a penalty when Mr Woods decided differently giving Dag & Red a free kick! Hmm…..handball ?...well possibly …as he was crashing down from the challenge, but it was not to be and it stayed 0-0.
It was time for a reply from the visitors and it came via Angelo Balanta but he spoilt his good work by lifting his effort over the bar.
A Rydel run…a corner from JJ and I was thinking good thoughts again, we really were beginning to look good, but Khan punctured my moment preventing Rooney`s flick on from reaching Cardwell.
|Daggers u/p again.|
They were punctured again Hinchliffe doing well to stop Robinson from opening Daggers account. Two corners followed, but no Daggers goal, indeed I was getting optimistic again as Madden again surged clear only to be hauled down for his pains. The culprit was booked, but Southam- Hales` free kick missed out.
| Close from County ( Andrew Machin )|
Hogan was added to Mr Woods list of names next, Wright lifting his effort into the Cheadle End from the free kick, ushering in probably 5 minutes of solid County attacking- good work by Newby and Rydel the prelude to efforts from Hogan, Rooney and Cardwell, but it stayed 0-0.
And then it didn`t…..as more magic from Newby ended with an emphatic finish from Madden opening the scoring for County!
| Madden makes it 1-0 .|
hedgie gets the goal ( above) but the quality celebration shots are Andrew Machin`s ;-
Back came Dag & Red though, a mazy run by Balanta putting County in a slight tizz. A corner resulted although there was a hint of a hand to ball moment from Palmer in the mix somewhere, but Mr Woods thought not…… so……
Khan followed Balanta in forcing another corner almost immediately and with County`s back line standing off, McCallum stole in to head home for the visitors….it was 1-1, and just 2 minutes from half time!
| It`s 1-1 courtesy of McCallum.|
And Andrew Machin`s view of that :-
In those 2 minutes, and 2 further added minutes County did their best to get their lead back. But to no avail despite good work from Newby, Rydel and JJ it remained 1-1, and worse as Madden took a hefty knock when going for JJ`s looping cross in the box.
| Down goes Madden ( Andrew Machin )|
`Penalty` thought I….alas the referee and liner thought differently giving the kick to Daggers.
I was still fuming when the half ended!
It was good to again see CJ in the ground at half-time , and our best wishes go to a popular County hero !
The resumption after the break saw Reid on, but in place of Madden who had no doubt lost out to injury incurred in constantly being fouled.
Reid was straight in at the sharp end, but the visitors defended well.
County were looking to do something in the early minutes, none more so than Southam- Hales but his progress towards the box was abruptly curtailed by a prodigious `coming together` twixt him and Johnson. `Foul on SH` was my conclusion, but it was not the referee`s and the resultant free kick relieved the pressure on the Daggers.
|Southam- Hales `sorted` ( Andrew Machin )|
This was the prelude to some heavy pressure from the southerners that saw Palmer in action getting a vital head to the ball to fend off a lively looking raid. County were pinned back in deep defensive mode now, Hinchliffe diving as Balanta`s shot drifted narrowly wide with 5 minutes of the half gone.
It went on in similar vein, Hinchliffe making a good save to deny Vihete 3 minutes later.
|Hinchliffe saves again ! ( Andrew Machin )|| |
Rydel joined in relieving more pressure with some cool work, quickly added to by JJ who did well to deal with a goal bound downward header from McCallum.
|JJ consistently good form !|
We had witnessed about 10 minutes of constant pressure from Daryl McMahon`s side. This was relieved just before the hour mark by a run from Rydel who carried the pill up the park from deep, but any joy from this was short lived as Justham did not have to move to sort the shot from Rooney that followed.
|Rydel, did well !|
On it went – Palmer getting his body in the way of a McCallum effort, bravery topped almost immediately by a stunning save by Hinchliffe as Khan took aim from no distance at all!
County rallied with just over 20 minutes left, but Rydel`s cross found no takers in front of Justham`s goal. Newby tried to inject some positivity into County`s game only to see Reid penalised for `foot-up` on the end of it.
Newby came again but Rydel`s finish was way off as the ball headed off into the Cheadle End.
|Newby still running...|
Rooney saw an effort deflected for a corner, but this was defended stoutly by Dag & Red. County were trying to win back the midfield ascendancy now with time running out, Hogan pressing but foiled by Justham, who had less difficulty moments later in holding onto a header from Southam -Hales.
| Hogan pressing ( Andrew Machin )|
| ...and folied by Justham ( Andrew Machin )|
That was a good rally but lacking something, most probably Madden`s input, and County were back defending with 10 minutes left, Hinchliffe again excelling himself with a fine save from Khan following more heroics by Palmer.
Bennett came on for Rydel with 9 minutes left , but Justham was in confident form now keeping County`s best efforts out.
| Justham to the fore again !( Andrew Machin )|
Play inevitably switched ends again though and a prodigious block from Palmer saved County bacon with McCallum on their case!
County were trying still, but their opponents were not letting up into added time and it took a fantastic double save from Hinchliffe to deny them 2 minutes into same.
| Hinchliffe -just fantastic ( Andrew Machin )|
Eventually the pressure on Hinchliffe was relieved as County made a vital break, but Rooney`s volley carried the bar.
|Late pressure from County.|
A late corner gave us more hope briefly, but the visitors survived, and you have to say it would be churlish to deny they deserved to, or that County in the end had done well to get a point out of the game.
We wanted….needed more, but there`s no such thing as a free lunch at this level at this time of the season…..so …as I said earlier we re-group and go again!
Stockport County line-up :-
Hinchliffe, Hogan, Palmer, J Jennings, Southam- Hales, Rydel( Bennett 81), Croasdale, Rooney, Newby, Cardwell, Madden ( Reid 45).
Subs not used : Fitzsimons, Minihan, Keane.
Dagenham & Redbridge line up:-
Justham, Reynolds, Johnson, McCallum, Balanta ( Saunders 79), Robinson, Eleftheriou, Wright, Vihete, Khan, Jones.