Date: 29th October 2017 at 7:52am
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The weather was vile, and matters did not improve on the park today where County served up a dire performance to lose a game against Kidderminster Harriers that they looked to have won.

The weather was vile, and matters did not improve on the park today where County served up a dire performance to lose a game against Kidderminster Harriers that they looked to have won.

Heard this before? Yes….for sure, and it was all the more painful bearing in mind the abysmal showing that the visitors put up in the first 45 minutes. County were the better side before the break, but totally failed to test Brandon Hall ,between the sticks, for Harriers.

It was no classic, in fact the football from both sides was distinctly uninspiring, to the extent that surprise probably outweighed relief when Warburton popped up to take advantage of an error by Hall to give County a half time lead.

That should have been that…shut up shop…keep ’em out…….play good attacking football …win it in style…either way would have done, but instead County’s lackadaisical approach to possession retention ( Gary Stopforth apart) undid them, allowing Harriers into a game they should have been long gone in.

If I am entirely honest… was not all County’s short comings that ushered in two latish Harriers goals and won them the match…I thought that the introduction of Declan Weeks had a lot to do with it too- the equalising goal coming just 5 minutes after the diminutive midfielder’s arrival on the scene, and his energetic input was a vital element in Harriers’ unlikely recovery.

To lose via a late late goal was disappointing to say the least, but by the time that one went in we were sleep walking to defeat any way , and in the end it was difficult to deny Harriers the points.

Look like you want to win…and probably you will do so, and that , at least looked to be the difference between the teams. I am sure County wanted to win, as much as the visitors, but at times it did not look like it!

McKenna for Walker was the only change as County took the field to the accompaniment of an irritating drizzle that offered up the prospect of a problematic afternoon with the slither factor high on a relatively heavy playing surface.

County were not only first out of the blocks, but they stayed in attacking mode for quite some time. I counted 2 corners to County in the first 5 minutes, the first won via a deep ball delivered to the back of the box by Michael Clarke.

Warburton was unlucky with that one and the same lack of good fortune accompanied the second flag kick.

County continued in the same vein, O’ Halloran winning another corner with a sprightly bit of work down the left. Something might have come of this kick, had not referee Ricky Wooton ( an overly fussy cove) seen `something’ and eased the Harriers grief with a free kick.

More of the same followed, O’Halloran combining with Duxbury to usher in corner number 4. There was no intervention from the referee this time, but Oswell’s downward header bounced up and over Hall’s bar.

It was the fifteenth minute before anything of substance came back from the Visitors, but their first sortie into opposition territory ended in disappointment as James McQuilkin sent his header soaring over the top.

Another minute and County might have been celebrating a goal, they weren’t because Duxbury’s well struck shot came back out off a defender on the line.

Warburton, McKenna and Stopforth all had efforts charged down after this, and 1….2….3… more corners came and went for the blues with their opponents apparently unable to mount a counter attack.

I say that….but 23 minutes in Elton Ngwatala did get a shot in, but this was a particularly poor effort bearing in mind how he had been set up by Emanuel Sonupe after a blooper by Smalley, and Ormson in the County goal was not tested.

Sam Austin did give us a small hint of what was to come next with a couple of runs that took him beyond O’ Halloran and into the danger zone. The second of these saw Smalley almost slice the ball into his own net but fortunately , with 31 minutes gone, the score was still 0-0.

A foul on McKenna by Wright only served to increase the pressure on Harriers, but Warburton’s short free kick only brought a corner, and when O’Halloran lifted his effort into the Bung Car Park any chance was gone.

Ngwatala sprayed his shot wide thus ruining what had been a decent move from the Worcestershire side, almost on the stroke of half time, but from that bit of excitement more flowed as County went long forcing Hall to ponder `staying or coming’ as the ball headed his way with Warburton showing interest.

He chose to advance, which was OK….but did not finish up with the ball…Warburton did and gently stroked it home to send County in at the break 1-0 up.

County started the second half well enough- on the front foot…and unlucky perhaps to see Warburton and Duxbury’s separate efforts go nowhere.

I noted Declan Weeks’ arrival and the almost instantaneous impact his combative play had. Sure there were free kicks to be had as the referee reacted badly to some of Weeks’ more cringe worthy offerings, but Harriers were now attacking with altogether more purpose , and twice Sonupe must have winced as crosses from him went to waste.

A Kidderminster free kick added to County difficulties and I gasped in wonder to see them somehow escape when it looked easier to score than to miss out.

This went on for 3 or 4 more minutes whereupon things went pear shaped for County as Austin glided clear down the right before pinging a nicely weighted cross in ,which, with Ormson going for it at the near post, was deflected onwards to Joe Ironside who forced the ball home.

County tried to work their way out of this small hole, but it proved most difficult to do, and I was gasping again to see Andrew Brown somehow manage to lift his shot way over the bar with the County goal gaping.

There was work for Hall next as Warburton threatened, but the keeper was up to it and it stayed 1-1.

There was an element of `end to end’ creeping in now as another pacy run from Austin opened up County’s left flank ominously. Again Brown messed it all up for Harriers by making a considerable hash of his shot

With 20 minutes left, JG replaced O’Halloran with Walker which sent Duxbury back into the O’Halloran role.

County had the break next, and Oswell was clear and racing onto a decent through ball. It looked a decent chance , but the usually immaculate striker ‘s hurried effort went wide.

Both teams worked at getting a second goal, but neither had that added spark in front of goal that would make all the difference. That said…Weeks did particularly well for Harriers, his run ending with a dipping shot that, although Ormson didn’t go for it , was not very far away at all!

If that was another warning for County, Warburton tried to make it irrelevant , his run taking him just inside the box where a body check from Tyrone Williams had him tasting grit. ‘ Penalty ‘ says I but the referee was having none of it and gave County a free kick 2 millimetres outside the box, which of course Harriers were able to defend and clear to increase the County angst factor.

Were Harriers looking for a win ? It seemed a fair question to me, and I am sure Ormson thought the answer was in the affirmative, as he flung himself to his left to keep a long range effort from Austin out!

We went into the last 10 minutes with County trying to square that circle, but when Oswells’ knock down came his way, McKenna could only swing a boot at it and send the ball spiralling up and into the Cheadle End.

The angst grew, as Ormson had to make another decent save to keep it at 1-1 after a series of shots had rained in ,the best of which Smalley did well to usher away off the line.

The ninety minutes were almost up now, and we were still seeing some morsels coming County’s way , but when Warburton laid one on a plate for Oswell, he could only snatch at it and the chance was gone.

County were still attacking as the 90 minute ‘s were up…then they weren’t as Ryan Croasdale turned defence into attack for his team , sending Sonupe clear down the right. Sonupe’s cross that followed was inch perfect, drilled low and hard across the box where Ironside awaited its arrival ,and scored in a trice.

County chose the attacking option in response to this adverse situation, bringing Thomas and Dixon on for Cowan and Duxbury, but try as they might, County could not summon up enough of the necessary to save the game.

I ………like you ……..will maybe look now to Wednesday’s Cheshire Senior Cup game to bring some solace.

Hang on in there, see you Wednesday !

[ Photos of the rain-sodden EP, players and fans here! ]

Stockport County line up:
Ormson, Cowan( Thomas 91), O’Halloran( Walker 70), Smalley, Clarke, Ball, Stopforth, McKenna, Oswell, Warburton, Duxbury( Dixon 91).

Subs not used ; Hinchliffe, Winter.

Kidderminster Harriers line up:
Hall, Austin, Taylor, Croasdale, Horsfall, Williams, Sonupe( Finch 91), McQuilkin, Ironside, Ngwatala( Weeks 51), Wright( Brown 56).

Subs not used ; Hawkins, Danko.

Attendance: 3015

Ian Brown


5 Replies to “County 1 Kidderminster Harriers 2”

  • Did not go, and do not regret it. What is happening? Full time next season for sure as it will be the only way to shift season tickets for what looks like yet another season playing in the ‘Dock and Duck’ league.

  • Heard the score whilst recovering in hospital after delayed op to put a plate in my broken right wrist. Did not improve how I was feeling.

  • Thanks Cropped. Came home late Sunday afternoon and wrist ‘plated’. Problem is that I am right handed and it’s my right wrist. Also fractured ribs remain sore, I think that this something that you have experienced. Moral of the story -“Better if you don’t fall down stairs!”
    Need County to go on a winning run to brighten me up.

  • Well, last nights 8-1 demolition of Cheadle Town should brighten up your day. Yes, ribs. Been there. Hope you steer clear of colds as sneezing in your present condition will not be good!

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