Date: 28th February 2016 at 9:09am
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County ensured Jim Gannon`s long awaited return had nothing of the anti-climax about it, with an excellent 2-0 win against a lively Gainsborough Trinity side at Edgeley Park today.

It was County`s first time back on home territory since 16 January, and 2 tremendous goals for live wire forward John Marsden brought the Hatters a deserved victory.

It was a victory in the Jim Gannon mould, underwritten by solid defensive work, and in this respect the County back line had a real hero in Ian Ormson who saved a penalty, with the score at 1-0, and pulled off a string of astonishing saves to thoroughly dish Trinity and secure the win for County!

Great stuff then, and Jim sent an interesting starting line up out on his return to Edgeley Park, with John Marsden, Richard Brodie and Obi Anoruo forming a three pronged attack backed up by 7 grafters ?Lewis Montrose, Dan Morton, and Karl Ledsham in front of a back 4 of Connolly, O`Hanlon, Smalley and Roberts, and Ian Ormson between the sticks.

They came out to a wall of sound and a blaze of giant flags as the Cheadle End welcomed them. The mood changed smack on 3 o`clock as all present united to acclaim former Manager and County hero Eric Webster, with a minute`s applause. It was a sobering moment listening as the applause mixed with chants of ` Eric Webster`s Blue & White Army`.

County started off at pace and within a minute keeper Jonathon Hedge was in action tipping an effort from John Marsden over the bar.

At the other end, with Elliott Hodge in his face, Paul Connolly did well with a couple of clearances, the second of which needed to be, as Hodge pinged a dangerous ball into the box.

That was an interesting start, but it got even more so as almost straight from Connolly`s second clearance, County hit their opponents hard on the break, through Marsden who latched onto the ball before switching inside and slamming something of a beauty home from the edge of the box!

Just 6 minutes gone and already County were 1 up, that was good stuff, and Marsden quickly underlined his quality by tracking back and robbing Hodge when he looked on to create problems for the blues.

So far, if Gainsborough were getting their share of attacking possession, things were not shaping out too badly at all for County as efforts from Brodie and Marsden missed out narrowly.

The Trinity keeper spilled the ball at one point under pressure from Brodie, but despite being severely stretched, the visitors managed to clear the danger.

Not for long though, as Brodie put it on again with a neat cross, and Morton ( who had a midfield role today) wasn`t far away with a header.

Trinity weathered the early storm from County without any further upsets, and set about causing County an issue or two.

Hodge( who seemed an irascible little customer) was the focal point of the attacking at this point for Gainsborough, the suppliers of ammunition being Liam Davis, Darryn Stamp and Nathan Jarman.

Richard Brogan took a lead role later on, but for now County had Davis to deal with and happily his shot didn`t trouble Ormson in the County goal.

Hodge kept at it though??but seemed even more angst ridden having been outpaced by 37 y.o Gareth Roberts.

Roberts earned applause for his efforts, and a free kick, whilst for Hodge there was only opprobrium and a general feeling in Row R and around that he might look to smartening his act up a touch behaviourwise!

No matter, Hodge was soon joined in the County half by Davis, and when the irritating number 11 squeezed an iffy free kick from Referee Steve Copeland ( no better than he should be), only Ian Ormson`s alert responses kept County`s lead intact as the number eight sped goal ward to test the County keeper with a snap shot.

It was a fairly open contest at this juncture, I must say, with Hedge doing well to keep Marsden from converting Ledsham`s tasty free kick into the gold of a goal one minute?, whilst the next I looked on to see first Roberts and then Smalley put their bodies in the way of shots from Jarman.

Then, with 25 minutes gone we had the first game changing moment involving Ian Ormson!

It may have been 1-0 to County but an equaliser looked almost upon us as somehow Darryn Stamp got in behind the blue back line – heading goal ward with only Ormson in his way!

Did I say only?

Well I apologise Ian as with the goal gaping, the County keeper pulled of the bravest of saves beating the ball out as it came in from Stamp. That was a vital stop and for the first time today, Ian`s name rang out in SK3 from almost 3000 voices! It would not be the last!

Stamp was in the mix again shortly after, climbing all over O`Hanlon to get a header in.

Ormson`s response was another authoritative save, the referee saw the climb, and blew accordingly, but Ormson was not to know that!

With 15 minutes left of the half, Trinity were still trying to grab that equaliser, none more so than Davis, but he was thwarted by good work from Morton.

Hodge kept trying too, but again he was outpaced brilliantly by Roberts, whose reward was a peevish foul from the visiting number eleven.

Brogan did eventually get the ball in the County net, some time later, but he was yards offside and the liner flagged it early doors.

Closer to half time we had the distraction of a medium sized fracas breaking out near the dugouts.

I have little doubt that Montrose was fouled, and that the perp was dear old Hodge, but the extravagant multiple roll the County number 4 treated us to was immensely missable as a spectacle. County got the free kick, Hodge the booking, but mysteriously so did Anoruo- I presume for verbals!?

Nothing came of the free kick and the half ended with Ormson in action making a good catch to deny Brogan at the death!

The re-start saw both teams probe the other without success. This went on for 5 or 6 minutes with neither defence looking unduly perturbed.

Then Mr Copeland took a hand penalising O`Hanlon for a perceived `lean` but with the County man`s hands and arms pointing out behind him at the time – I found this ridiculous?as did the County captain!

Brogan twice went close after this, first with the kick that he whipped over at pace, and when this went for a corner he tried his luck skirting the by-line, but his attempts to walk the ball home were undone by Ormson`s alert responses.

It went immediately long from Ormson, and Anoruo, the recipient, was unlucky to see his effort on the turn go just wide.

Back came Trinity in reply with Jarman to the by-line past 3 County defenders in a trice. County escaped with a corner from this angst ridden situation, and Montrose cleared this, so it stayed 1-0.

It was a decent game now?County were perhaps working themselves the better chances( Brodie`s shot on the turn lifting just over the bar on 56 minutes), but it must be acknowledged that, urged on by Davis, Jarman and Brogan, Trinity were playing some rather neat stuff too!

For County, Marsden still looked the man most likely to, his path to goal blocked by Jon D`Laryea after good work from Connolly just before the hour, and another effort from him deflected wide after he had burst clear at speed.

Not long after, Jim rang the changes bringing young George West on for Obi Anoruo.

This was a typically bold move from Jim, but within 3 minutes of the change, the County cause was in danger of being undermined and it was Mr Copeland in the van!

Trinity were attacking and Brogan had just lifted another high and hopeful one into the box where O`Hanlon prepared to meet it.

I think it was Jarman who was stationed immediately in front of O`Hanlon, but the referee was the only man in SK3 I wager to see anything amiss as the County captain headed the pill clear.

It was a penalty none the less and Simon Russell stepped up in double quick time to take it.

Enter Ian Ormson with another game changer, and as Russell fired the kick to the keepers left, so Ormson flung himself in precisely the correct direction to not only push the ball out, but to safety as well, a really top class save, and again the place fairly shook to the rafters as Ian`s name rang out loud and long!

County came under the cosh for a time after this with Jarman letting one rip but seeing it clear the bar by a foot or so.

County needed cool heads and whilst the defending was generally good, some of the clearances were less so, only serving to put the pressure on again.

Odejayi was on for Brodie with 15 minutes left, and he went close early on from a rather fortuitous free kick won by Morton.

Marsden was taking the free kicks now and he had a decent line in them as well?they had power and direction.

Indeed, Marsden is not short in the power and direction department, and with just over 10 minutes left, he gave us a demonstration of same! County were attacking, Trinity defending well enough, but the visitors were not able to fashion a clearance and thus relieve the pressure.

So, the pressure stayed on, building in intensity as Odejayi`s flick on reached Marsden, and going into overdrive as he lashed a ferocious drive home from the edge of the box.

It was a shot of remarkable power, one which Hedge actually managed to get a hand to, but it was only going one way- into the net and the ground erupted with joy at the thought of the 2-0 lead that County now held.

George West was now linking up quite nicely with Odejayi, which was really pleasing to see, as County faced the last 5 minutes with Joyce on for Morton.

County looked to be wanting a third goal, which was good to see, and Odejayi just might have got one had Dominic Roma not held him down as he went for the ball. The result was Odejayi`s header flashed inches wide, and the angst was only increased when the referee indicated a goal kick!

Credit to Trinity?they were still plugging away, trying right into the ninetieth minute, which saw Ormson pull off his best save of the night to keep an effort from Jarman out, after Smalley and O`Hanlon had been called on to make last gasp headers.

That really was a stunning save, and Ormson wasn`t done ?he produced another terrific diving save as a series of corners threatened County`s peace of mind.

Jarman was top man for Trinity as the game neared its end. County came back at them though in the games dying embers, Odejayi sending West darting clear at one point. He was one on one with the keeper, but nerves overcame him I guess and he stabbed his shot wide.

Having seen this lad in the reserves I can say that in my view there is plenty to come from him, and Jim`s just the man to bring it out!

There was massive applause at the announcement that Ian Ormson had won the M.O.M award.

Fittingly I suppose, Marsden`s was the last word of the game, his shot deep into added time, drifted wide, but it spoke volumes for his and his teams work ethic.

Long may it continue.

See you all Tuesday then!

[ Do you want the action photos from the game ? The look no further than here! ]

Stockport County line up:
Ormson, Connolly, O`Hanlon, Smalley, Roberts, Montrose, Morton( Joyce 84), Ledsham, Marsden, Anoruo( West 65), Brodie( Odejayi 74).

Subs not used:
D Smith, Menagh.

Gainsborough Trinity line up:
Hedge, Roma, Lacey, Brogan, D`Laryea, Picton, Russell, Davis( Newsham 74), Stamp, Jarman, Hodge( Yates 84).

Subs not used:
Quinn, Budtz, Binns.

Attendance: 2990

Ian Brown


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