I try to sleep, it will not come
Too many worries in my head.
My heart is beating like a drum,
I try to sleep, it will not come,
I feel my mind becoming numb,
But to sweet sleep I can’t succumb
My inner mind is filled with dread,
I try to sleep, it will not come,
Too many worries in my head.
Perhaps the above (by Artijules) overstates it a touch, but not by that much, and I suspect many amongst us have experienced something of the ilk as today approached with all the speed and zing of a sloth on Nitrazepam
And…..in the end there was anguish to add to all the rest, as after 90 odd minutes in the Lancashire sun, Chorley came away relatively convincing 2-0 winners against a County side that struggled to get their number one game in gear from first to last whistle.
It was not that Chorley were outstandingly brilliant- they weren`t…but they did have the standout star performers of the game in their midst- namely Andy Teague and ex-County man Courtney Meppen- Walter. In Meppen Walter`s case he is nothing short of a phenomenon- looking for all intents and purposes bushed as early as the 20th minute, only to confound my prognosis and thwart everything the blues sent his way thereafter. Teague was no less impressive, and added a goal for good measure- the vital first.
There was just no way through for County….Bell….everyone in blue….. getting no change out of the home back line.
He did draw a number of fouls though, but therein lay part of the blues problem namely that they made nothing…consistently…… of any of the set pieces, be they free kicks, corners or throws, whereas, existing on a lesser number of kicks and corners, Chorley managed to make better use of them- Teague`s opener headed in from a corner.
Despite never looking in good nick, County were still in it, but Marcus Carver`s strike on the hour changed all that, condemning JG `s side to toil in vain for the last half hour in pursuit of what increasingly looked impossible.
Backed by a fervently noisy following, County were first onto the front foot, as the game got underway in unaccustomed April sunshine. But the first keeper called on for a save was Hinchliffe, between the sticks for the blues, and he did well to smother Alex Newby`s shot.
Duxbury and Stephenson joined forces not long after, forcing a first corner, only for the other Newby…….Elliott to rifle the ball clear.
Back came County through Warburton, but a foul halted his progress, and the resultant free-kick saw Stephenson fire over the bar from the by-line.
County continued to try to force the pace, but the flow was constantly interrupted by free kicks – Palmer heading wide 8 minutes in, from Bully`s delivery.
Thomas saw a shot confidently dealt with by home keeper Matt Urwin, and at this juncture, Adam was managing to ping a decent number of crosses over, but only corners resulted, and again 14 minutes in our execution of same was poor.
Then we got an object lesson on just how to do the basics, as Chorley almost immediately won a corner themselves, and Alex Newby`s delivery saw Teague`s header brook absolutely no argument, smacking into the back of the net with some force.
Both teams had efforts, not long after – Elliott Newby`s snapshot just carrying the bar, and Stott`s header bringing aa routine save from Urwin.
Meanwhile…….County kept getting those free kicks, but not being able to make them count. Referee Scott Jackson did take time out to lecture Teague and Meppen – Walter midst the latest rash of fouls, and I was momentarily ( and erroneously ) enthused to see the Chorley number 6 take to the deck in obvious discomfort.
But no……………….Meppen- Walter was up and into the fray again just 5 minutes later keeping a Minihan cross from Bell. A foul on Warburton ushered in a free kick in a central position, but after a debate involving Warburton and Duxbury, the latter took it , the ball coming back out off the wall, as did the follow-up effort from Turnbull.
Almost on the half hour, and Chorley went close…twice……Challoner inches away with a shot, and Wilson closer with his effort but seeing Hinchliffe make the save to deny him.
There was fair bit of pressure on County at this point – relieved after Cottrell`s foul on Keane brought the blues yet another free kick.
The free kick came to nought, and Carver did altogether better in dealing with Keane than had Cottrell, moments earlier- his quick action sneaking the ball off the County number four, setting Alex Newby up for a shot that failed to engage Hinchliffe at all.
The 45th minute saw one of them endearing `liner induced` moments that send the collective BP soaring to hitherto unscaled heights. It started with a concerted late raid by County, topped off by Thomas`s header that keeper Urwin clearly pushed around the post. Chorley got a goal kick from that, which was aggravating to say the least!
The final minute of added time saw County get the ball on the deck and play it about with a purpose- OK …Warburton`s shot on the end of it went the wrong side of the bar, but not by much…so I was taking comfort from that fact – perhaps an altogether more effective County will face Chorley in the second half!
Well….the half started with a change of personnel for County with Walker on for Minihan, and my earlier optimism on seeing County`s first-half finale looked not a million miles from the truth as they snuffed out a Magpie raid enabling Stephenson to surge clear at speed down the left.
He had company, but despite this …upon reaching the by-line managed to send the juiciest of crosses straight to the advancing Warburton, but from almost under the bar Matty could only blaze the ball over the top to the great amusement of the locals behind the goal.
County did a good amount of attacking shortly after but Palmer`s header missed out after Thomas had won a corner, but the pattern continued with a free kick after Duxbury had tangled with Challoner as he surged through down the left, which again came to nought.
In the absence of Minihan, Thomas was more and more pressed into service defending, but Carver nicked the ball off him as he dwelt on it on the edge of the box, setting a dangerous Chorley raid up, ended when Carver got on the end of Alex Newby`s ball to the back post failing to hit the target with his header.
That was a let-off for sure, and another followed as Palmer cleared the ball off the line as a Challoner ball caused havoc in County ranks.
The aftermath from that lingered and with lethal consequences as County were in a tiz again- another Palmer clearance hitting Carver sending him clear. That was unlucky…but Carver did not care slamming his shot home to the dismay of the large County following.
Mulhern came on, in the 61st minute for Bell, but County were under the cosh somewhat now and leaking free kicks and cards- Warburton unlucky with his booking, and Walker even more so as the amazing Meppen-Walter added a touch of theatricality to the borderline virtuosity, spoiling a raking run that turned defence into attack, with his `dying swan impression` that sadly Mr Jackson bought hook line and ……..yes…..sinker!
Alex Newby was totally in County`s faces now -winning a corner that the blues defended well, bringing an excellent save out of Hinchliffe shortly after this with a nifty shot from Carver`s knock down.
I was getting a touch depressed …again….but Frank enlivened me with a neat dipper that almost sneaked in with just 15 minutes left.
There was notionally still time to maybe snatch one…..possibly……
Well, we had Kirby on now for Stephenson and he showed every indication early on – Teague doing really well to concede a corner and keep the County substitute`s shot out. Palmer`s glancer from this missed out however, and depression descended once more!
Into the last 7 or 8 minutes and Mulhern again briefly raised spirits with a run and a shot that Urwin dealt with well.
Understandably Chozzer were now running through their well- practised repertoire of time wasting staples……the rash of late subs……taking an age to take goal kicks….I was half expecting Courtney to sink to the deck and perhaps milk it a bit, but credit is due…he didn`t.
Blakeman did well late on …very well actually- blocking a dangerous run by Duxbury, and then darting up the park to put County under late pressure again.
County`s supporters were doing just that …supporting their team loudly, thus the possible ignominy of leaking a third goal was avoided.
Time for the home fans and team to celebrate a hard-earned victory, and for County fans and team to acknowledge one another warmly.
That was good to see, and we will need more of the same on Monday at Edgeley Park where we take on Curzon Ashton.
Our promotion…our title push even…are not done…..we were beaten fair and square today, it happens…there are 2 teams on the park after all, we can rally in the 2 games remaining but we do need to win both.
See you on Monday!
Chorley FC line up:-
Urwin, Challoner, Blakeman, Teague, Leather, Meppen-Walter, A Newby, Cottrell, Carver ( Tuton 90), Wilson ( Almond 85), E Newby ( O`Keefe 83).
Subs not used : Jordan, Anson.
Stockport County line up;-
Hinchliffe, Minihan ( Walker 45), Palmer, Stott, Duxbury, Turnbull, Keane, Thomas, Bell ( Mulhern 60), Warburton, Stephenson ( Kirby 77).
Subs not used : – Ormson, Osborne.