Saturday, 22 October 2016

Chorley FC 0 Stockport County 1 ( Vanarama National League - North) 22 October 2016

Apparently…. County had not beaten Chorley since late in the nineteenth century before today. To be fair we haven’t played them much either, but that thought apart the wait was well worth it as James Gannon’s side ran out convincing winners in front of a bumper crowd at the Lancashire sides Victory Park stadium, against a side unbeaten in nine consecutive league games prior to today.
The header view as seen by Andrew Machin.

The margin of victory might have been narrow at 1-0, but that hardly reflected how it was on the park where County looked a class apart from their opponents for long periods of a game that was in danger of being ruined by a multitude of free kicks. 
Danny Lloyd ( Andrew Machin )
Unsurprisingly perhaps County’s goal came via Danny Lloyd, but Cartwright had the ball in the net earlier and if that had stood, as it should have, I would have been writing about a 2-0 win , a score line more in keeping with events on the field. I am still nonplussed as to why the goal was ruled out, but it was, and try as they might, Chorley could not capitalise on their good fortune. 
Cartwright & Challinor vie for possession( Andrew Machin )

Late on they did create a chance or two but found the County defence resolute to a man , none more so than keeper Hinchliffe who pulled off a truly excellent save in the games dying embers , to add to his considerable assist for the County goal. 
This was a magnificent team effort from County. The whole back line shone brilliantly throughout, reducing a decent Chorley side to resorting to mean fouls at times, but I gave Michael Clarke my M.O.M gong for 90 odd minutes of concerted excellence.
Clarke watches Gonzales.( Andrew Machin )

 If the back four were top performers , the mid field were not far behind them. Montrose was energy personified whilst taking more foul challenges from opponents than most receive in a season, whilst alongside Montrose we had Stopforth and Minihan, and their contribution to proceedings was immense…their abundance of cool assurance shone through like a beacon pushing their colleagues on to more and better deeds.

Stopforth runs onto a flick on from Hooper!

 Up front County had the inimitable Danny Lloyd whose usual all action game was capped nicely with a finish to die for. If Lloyd did well there was also good things to say about new boy James Hooper who showed his FL skills to good effect a time or two. Amis worked really hard for little reward, largely due to the input of Scott Leather who spent much of the game climbing all over him. 
err...a bit like this..( Andrew Machin )

His time will come!   

There was one change in County’s starting line up at 3 o’clock…..with new boy Hooper coming in for an early County debut at the expense of Jimmy Ball. With ex Hatter Kieren Charnock a late replacement for Chorley there was much interest abroad in a large County contingent as the game got underway, with County attacking the away end. Meanwhile…..Minihan was making good progress down the right and a couple of throws from him and Ross put the home side under pressure.
James Hooper  (Andrew Machin)

 Nothing came from either, but a run to the by-line by Hooper offered much and more as his pass inside picked out Lloyd, but Danny was soon chewing mud courtesy of Steve Jordan who had forced him down with the County man eyeing up a shot. I wanted a penalty…. Mr Gibbons did not, and with the near side liner’s flag was tucked away somewhere….. that was that.

a foul possibly !!!!!!( Andrew Machin )

Already County looked a better bet than did Chorley, who appeared eager to by-pass mid field at the earliest opportunity, lumping the ball high and long when circumstance offered itself. This approach was designed to test the likes of Clarke and Smalley to the full, but the first 6 minutes or so passed with no sign of this occurring. Clarke even found time to get forward, like he does, but his header, on 7 minutes, flew wide after an Amis run had garnered a free kick for County.  

Chorley under pressure.

Both teams probed the other for the next 5 minutes or so, each conceding more free kicks than they might reasonably deem acceptable normally. One such offered County another half chance only for Amis to direct his header wide. 

Hooper and Amis at the sharp end.

Hooper and Stopforth were next to show for County, but their progress was ultimately halted by the intervention of ex Hatter Kieren Charnock whose quick actions and beefy up field clearance sorted a potentially difficult moment for the Magpies.
County defend.

After this, County were put briefly under pressure via a couple of free kicks – a brave headed clearance from Smalley sorted one, and good work from Clarke the other, and things got immediately better as Montrose and Minihan combined to fix Lloyd up with a break from deep. Minihan re-joined Lloyd at the sharp end, and was unlucky to see Matt Challoner in position to head his cross clear.

Lloyd on the burst ( Andrew Machin )

County were looking sharp and energetic both in forward positions and at the back, but with another ex Hatter in Chorley’s line up, Sefton Gonzales , they did have to watch their step somewhat…at least that was what I thought.
Sefton Gonzales.

Well…Gonzales did well ,20 minutes in, setting Cottrell up with a rare chance to run at County, but when the winger obliged by planting a neat cross under the posts, Sefton fluffed his lines and headed wide. He fared no better moments later when Blakeman’s cross headed in his direction, losing out to the speedy Hinchliffe who beat him to the ball …..punching clear with authority.
County soon reversed matters as a neat cooperation twixt Hooper and Stopforth once more opened up the home defence, however briefly. Chorley survived the raid without conceding, but it was close, and closer still less than a minute later as Jordan hurried  an effort from Lloyd out with a goal looking very much on.

Chorley under the cosh....

For Chorley …Walker made some ground down the right, but then wasted the chance to create something by spraying the poorest of crosses wastefully across the box without a black/white striped shirt in sight. Blakeman  did manage to record the first shot at goal from either side, though but this thudded into the advertising hoardings some yards wide of Hinchliffe’s goal, so the home side needed to up their game if they were to prevent this lively County outfit from severely damaging their prized unbeaten run.

Back came County in a flurry of concerted attacking play and Jarvis just did enough to ensure that Minihan headed over the bar on the end of yet another free kick. It was getting boring…Amis would set himself up to involve himself in a County move, then Leather would haul him down before falling in a heap himself thus duping the referee.

Lloyd pleads.......
so does James ( both pics by Andrew Machin )

Amis narrowly failed to reach Lloyd’s cross, on the half hour, and Jarvis was again in the right position precisely at the right moment to stop any further damage. The problem for Jarvis and his team however was that he had to concede a corner to do this and from it an enormous melee and what looked like the opening goal followed. 

Incoming for Chorley 1

Cartwright was another man in the right spot just at the correct moment and his strike, when the ball came out to him off a defender, was true and smashed into the back of the net to send County’s following into raptures! It was 1-0 …and then it wasn’t as the referee cancelled the goal. I am told he blew before the shot for a foul that I did not see I must say, but the salient fact was he was the boss so 0-0 it stayed!

Close call for Ashton ( Andrew Machin )

Cotterell for Chorley and Lloyd for County both saw decent runs halted at the death by good defending, and Cotterell fancied his chances shortly after on the end of the umpteenth long/high one aimed from deep by Ashton or one of his colleagues. Cottrell did get a header in, but Hinchliffe was coolness personified in dealing with it!

That was about as good as it got for Cottrell, as he went into Mr Gibbons book not long after for attempting to start WW3 with the crudest of assaults on the now mightily bruised Montrose. 

Nothing came from the free kick, but Lloyd did go close ,with 5 minutes of the half left, and for Chorley, Charnock made a wakes of a decent chance clearing the bar when a yard or so out.

There was just time for Minihan to win a corner, and for Jordan to head clear and that was the first half put to bed!  
The first five minutes of the second half saw both teams having a go , but without success, Amis’s was the best effort in this period but Ashton was on his metal  and  just kept the young forward’s effort out at the last gasp.
Amis presses watched by Montrose.

Undeterred…..Amis went at it again sending Minihan on a run down the right. The cross from Sam was a tad heavy but Lloyd was able to usher it back inside from beyond the back post. Chance on again then….but Amis lifted the ball over the bar and it was gone.
County press.....

The next County move started with Hinchliffe moving via Stopforth to Minihan . The composure of this outfield duo was really impressive, and the corner that followed was hardly adequate reward for their efforts.  It again looked interesting from a County stand point when the kick came over, as the keeper flapped prodigiously at it depositing the ball pretty much in Minihan’s lap, but he dragged his shot wide of goal ,and Chorley had escaped again.
County were stepping it up a touch now and Hooper was unlucky to see Ashton save his first time effort on the end of a Lloyd pass. Lloyd was a constant nuisance to Chorley and Leather looked away from his ` duff Amis up duties’ to sort the County wide man. His foul however saw him in the book and not long after he was substituted by a manager anxious I guess to avoid a red card.

Leather booked.

It was pretty much all County now, and I was apoplectic ( briefly honest!) to see Hooper upended . I and others saw this happen inside the box, if perilously close to being outside, but the referee did not and gave us a free kick. What came next? Well….I am thinking you can all guess….the kick came over…Amis went for it…and …yes…. he was penalised for `pushing’.
Amis anguish.

Amis must have felt as badly about that one as I did, and his verbals saw him in the book- a needless booking!

Credit to young Josh…he continued to put himself about and was only just beaten to Hinchliffe’s long ball by Ashton not long after.

Jimmy Ball came on for James Hooper with around 20 minutes left to play, as County continued to feed on solid defensive work particularly from Clarke who was winning everything in the air.

Clarke had just repelled one attack from Chorley when another was mounted and halted by Hinchliffe.
Hinchliffe to the fore.

 End of then….except no…..the County keeper launched it long toward Lloyd who had Challinor for company wide left. There was much to do, and it was all so very very missable, but Lloyd drew the keeper before sending the ball slowly and surely beyond him into the net. That was a neat finish and the celebrations started around me as thoughts of a win, thought improbable in some quarters, now looked on.

Save by Ashton.

Not long after, Lloyd was thwarted by Ashton as Minihan pinged over a cross from the right, whilst Gonzales, for the Magpies, could only head over the bar  after good work from Walker had set him up
Into the last 10 minutes and JG made a double switch….bringing Meppen-Walter and Odejayi on for Lloyd and Amis.
Minihan and Stopforth were still in gear and keeping things moving alongside Montrose ,and with Ball now in the mix some rather neat football ensued from County, although I felt the Ball’s momentary inclination to start playing `keep ball’ near the corner flag a tad previous!

County under pressure.

That said Ball then went on to bounce a shot off the bar with Ashton nowhere, so what do I know!
County pushed on now and Ashton did well to keep Meppen-Walter’s strike out almost dead on 90 minutes.
Into added time and Chorley’s attacking moves more and more had the appearance of desperation about them. Having said that, Roscoe nearly made us pay with a tasty header that was going in before Hinchliffe’s dive saw him twist in mid air and tip the ball over the bar.

That was simply great from Hinchliffe and more followed from others in County away grey as Chorley desperately tried to square this un-squarable circle!
Soon enough it was game over and the points were ours.

Make no mistake…..this was an excellent win…a win against the odds, against a team on top form.

Well done all… sets us up nicely for another toughy on Saturday against Kidderminster at Edgeley Park. With home advantage we can sort that one too!

See you there then!
Finally...did you clock the plane that flew over the ground today?
Here's a reminder ...

Photo by Andrew Machin.
Well...County had air support today in the form of pilot Chris Moore who flew over Victory Park this afternoon to take a photo looking down......great stuff Chris.......

Photo courtesy of Angela  Moore.

Oh…..and for the next two weeks this report will be published on Sunday morning after the Saturday games. Thanks for reading this.

Chorley line up:

Ashton, Challinor, Jarvis( Beesley 82), Charnock, Leather( Carver 62), Jordan, Blakeman( Roscoe 90), Whitham, Gonzales, Walker, Cottrell.

Subs not used: Azam, O’Keefe.

Stockport County line up;

Hinchliffe, Ross, Clarke, Smalley, Cartwright, Montrose, Minhan, Stopforth, Amis( Odejayi 82), Hooper( Ball 69), Lloyd( Meppen-Walter 82).

Subs not used:  Ormson, Marsden.

Attendance : 2464

Ian Brown

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Stockport County 2 Bishop Auckland 0 ( FA Cup 4QR) 15 October 2016

County duly earned their place in Round 1 of the FA Cup with a 2-0 victory over  Bishop Auckland of the Northern League, at Edgeley Park today.
Bishop Auckland fans raring to go !

Two corking strikes from the consistently excellent Danny Lloyd were enough to see County through in a game that simmered but never quite came close to boiling. 
Danny Lloyd ( Andrew Machin )

County’s 2-0 half time lead maybe, in some minds, was the prelude to a hat full of County second half goals, but this, due to some fine defensive work from the visitors, never quite materialised. In this respect Ross Colquhoon and Scott Martindale, at the heart of the Bishops defence, were superb, keeping the blue strike force at bay with top notch performances, and Andrew Bennett along with Mike Hoganson were not far behind in the kudos stakes - both pushed on down the flanks urging their colleagues to make in roads in the County lead.

County pushed on too, but were never really able to close the game off- and the afore mentioned defenders ( and an alert performance from keeper Edward Wilczynski) were the primary reasons!
Edward Wilczynski- in good form !

For County….Lloyd was Lloyd and might have had a couple more with a touch more luck. Cartwright got his first start, on the left at the back, and this enabled Minihan to switch flanks and take up his more accustomed position in front of Ross.
Ross & Minihan working well off each other!

 Ross and Minihan preceded to make hay down the right, but with the diminutive Hoganson in good form, the duo had to work extra hard for anything in the way of chances. No one let County down today though….all in blue applied themselves well to the tasks in hand and can be well satisfied with the result of their efforts- a place in Round 1 Proper! For Bishop Auckland it’s back to Northern League fare, and there is no doubting that they will again be in there pushing for top spot on today’s evidence!  

Away End......
At 3 o’clock a crowd approaching 3000 took up their positions pending what was likely to be a decent football match in my view.

A fair cop ?

For some reason however , others felt something altogether different was in the air as a ridiculously large phalanx of police ( appropriately decked out in Bishop Auckland yellow) occupied strategic points of the Railway End- four even made it into the Cheadle End, but to what end I am not sure!
Teams out ( Andrew Machin )
There was a nice touch before the off as the two captains exchanged pennants – a nice tilt of the hat towards a gentler…less thrusting age , in direct contrast to the impression the police presence made!
Clarke- in control !

Clarke was in early action ushering Ian Ward out of harms way on the end of the first of many crosses from Hoganson. `Foot up’ by Alex Francis brought County their first free kick, but this came back out again as the Bishops’ defence got themselves organised. 

Lloyd's free kick ( Andrew Machin )

They needed to as well because Lloyd looked to be super charged and only the finest of saves ( with his legs)by Edward Wilczynski kept him out, from Amis’s pass!

Wilczynski saves with lesgs ( Andrew Machin )

Stopforth’s follow up was charged down, and a foul on Amis gave County a chance , from the free kick, to make a bit of early FA Cup hay, but although going close the blues could not claim the cigar.
Ball free kick.

Both teams applied themselves after this without either of them creating a chance, but despite a couple of free kicks, County could not snatch the lead they craved.

County attack.

Fifteen…sixteen minutes had gone, and whilst County for the most part were on the attack, it was still 0-0, and thus should the Bishops prove sharp enough to catch us on the break, we could be toast!
As you may already gather…I was in my now customary `apocalypse  coming’ mode again , oblivious to the general good vibes that abounded to the right left and centre of me. This mood was not helped by keeper Wilczynski who again put his finger in the visitors threatened dyke, advancing bravely to keep Amis from the ball beyond the box. 

Amis/ Ball search for scraps......

The throw that followed saw Lloyd go close ,prompted by Ross, but with almost 20 minutes gone it was still 0-0.

Smalley/ Montrose push on......

Bishop Auckland , made their first concerted attacking move next, thanks to Bennett whose run down the right  won his side a corner, but despite fancying it at the back post, Andy Johnson was denied by clinical defending from Clarke. Dylan Elliott did manage to get a shot off a minute or so later, but this went wide, and failed to trouble Hinchliffe at all.

Stopforth ( and me) thought he had won a corner  shortly after, but apparently not…..and the consequence was that the Bishops  were able to put a move or two together . Clarke again stepped up to block the first of these, denying Francis the opportunity to get a shot off from a Bennett pass. Jeff Smith did better, but found Hinchliffe’s dive sufficient to deny him. It was that rarity…a shot on target however…so no doubt the visitors took heart from that!

County won a corner via Minihan’s energy, but Clarke found his way to goal blocked by 3 men and any chance was gone.

We were now beyond the 30 minute mark, and although County definitely looked the stronger team, Bishops were undeniably doing well- Hoganson particularly so …seeing a shot charged down, and Montrose had to pull out all the stops to keep Johnson quiet as he emerged with the ball.

Bishops raid in progress.

It was still 0-0…..and then it wasn’t as Ross pinged a neat cross field ball over on the end of a nice bit of pressure play from County, and up popped Danny Lloyd to rifle home the sweetest of drives from the edge of the box! That was a terrific finish, and County had that vital first goal, could they build on it?

Montrose was taking some stick it must be said and again his frame took an unceremonious clattering courtesy of Elliott, who got a yellow for his pains( or more accurately…...............
1 Foul/ 2 Views ( Above-hedgie/ below- Andrew Machin.)

......Montrose’s).County got the free kick but nothing more, and what’s more they were hit on the break by Johnson. Clarke probably did enough to instil an element of doubt in the forward’s mind as he got his shot off.....
Johnson shoots.......

..... but Hinchliffe added the killer in the form of a neat…neat save -
Hinchliffe make the save ( Andrew Machin )

- adding an encore by catching the incoming kick with consummate ease.

Hinchliffe again !

Hinchliffe was slightly discomforted next though, in so far as he could only parry Ward’s shot, offering the rapidly advancing Elliott the glimpse of a chance. But it was snatched away almost instantly as the County keeper quickly claimed the pill much to Elliott’s chagrin!

That was perhaps a crucial moment in the game as…within a minute, County had doubled their lead thanks to another fantastic finish from Lloyd after great approach play from Stopforth.

Goal coming up as Stopforth breaks ( Andrew Machin )

That was enough to see us in at the break. Two nil was a decent enough lead, and I was fully angst free now…..honest!
Greetings from Bishop Auckland fans ( Andrew Machin )
The brilliant, the wonderful Osher Williams ( Andrew Machin )
The second half started at full pelt and Danny Lloyd almost had his hat trick –  straight away-his snap shot just inches from going in!
Ball then stung the keeper’s hands with a shot, from an Amis  prompt, but it stayed 2-0.
Ross was busy at both ends of the park…..keeping Bennett’s cross from Ward at one end….and then pinging throws and crosses himself over at the other. County kept getting a steady flow of corners and free kicks but without converting any of them. 
Ross free kick.

Amis, who had come close at one point running onto a Ball ball(sorry about that !!!!) was clattered by Martindale, who was doing a reasonably good job of keeping tabs on young  Josh.

Martindale & Amis tangle....

County were wanting that possibly deciding third goal, but Wilczynski was adamant they would not get it, and did really well to stop the predatory Clarke with his goal threatened.
Carney came on for Ball just before the hour mark, and I thought that was a good move on JG’s part, but there was little time to ponder the why’s and wherefores of that as Hoganson was still working hard at inspiring his colleagues in to salvaging the game!
2 Views again ( hedgie top/ Andrew Machin below)

It was to no avail as County’s defence looked to not be overly disturbed, indeed Clarke had time to wander up the field and come within a fag paper’s width of forcing the ball home after Minihan and Amis had taken liberties with the Auckland left flank.
Wilczynski to the fore...

The visitors were under the cosh somewhat now, but a small touch of good fortune helped them out, with 20 minutes left. It started with a break by Amis, and a fine tackle by Colquhoon that put a stop to it. Ross revived County’s forward push with his throw, and it took a cool bit of work from Wilcyznski whose catch ended much angst for his team after an attempted clearance by Hoganson had hit Minihan and ricocheted goal wards at a rate of knots!
Keeper Wilczynski again !

It went on…..Amis seeing a shot deflected for a corner…..Colquhoon keeping a Stopforth cross from Amis….and Amis forcing the keeper to drop the ball over the line ( it was a free kick to Bishop’s, to no one’s surprise)

That man again !

On…on…..Amis header from a Carney cross flies over the bar and Bennett worked wonders in stopping Ross’s pass from reaching Stopforth at the sharp end.

Carney header....

Midst all this…..the Bishops continued to try and play some football, and when they could, work at putting a raid or two together themselves via Bennett or Hoganson.
Free kicks and corners continued to mount for County, but despite Amis’s best efforts he found Colquhoon too smart for him at times, and it stayed 2-0, although there was some evidence now that one or two of the visiting defenders were cramping up now- could they stay the trip with all the BA subs now out on the park?

Amis late on....

Nothing much was coming back at Hinchliffe as the game entered the last 10 minutes. County now had Meppen-Walter and Marsden on in place of Minihan and Lloyd, both of whom left to ear splitting ovations!

Lloyd, so good again today !

Smith did get an opportunity via a late free kick but this only served to give the County keeper catching practise, and it looked like another clean sheet on the way for the County keeper.
Smith's late free kick.

It was not long before County summoned their resources again and went after that third goal, but….much as before Lady Luck was looking the other way again as Smalley stabbed a shot wide. As for Wilcczynski…he was in his element….getting down well to smother a strike from close in by Meppen-Walter. He followed this with another fine stop from a Carney header- it was now very much on the cards that Bishop Auckland would not concede again, and that would be reward for a fighting performance!

There was time for another long Amis run  onto another Carney through ball, that at last seemed likely to lead to a third goal. But although Amis reached the by-line….and his ball back inside was good….Colquhoon had the last laugh by getting to it before Marsden who was approaching at speed.

That was pretty much that, for a pretty decent game.

County well and truly deserved this result and the Round 1 opportunity it brings with it, whilst Bishop Aukland can be well pleased with their performance that belied their status a couple of divisions below us.

Stockport County line up:

Hinchliffe, Ross, Clarke, Smalley, Cartwright, Minihan( Meppen-Walter 83), Stopforth, Montrose, Amis, Ball( Carney 58), Lloyd( Marsden 83).

Subs not used:

Smith, Rule, Odejayi, Spencer.

Bishop Auckland line up:

Wilczynski, Bennett, Hoganson, Colquhoon, Martindale, Francis( Winn 66), Griffiths( Orritt 61), Smith, Johnson, Ward, Elliott( Nicholls 58) . 
Subs not used;

Thompson, Jury, Madden, Pocklington.

Attendance: 2770

Ian Brown