Date: 18th March 2018 at 9:43am
Written by:

County secured 3 vital points to sustain their play off ambitions at Gainsborough Trinity`s Northolme Stadium today, defying snow storms and a tough as teak Trinity side that, although outclassed for much of the game, still maintained an interest until late on thanks to goals from Nathan Jarman and Nathan Stainfield.

Fortunately Jim Gannon`s County team notched three, one each from Rhys Turner , Adam Thomas and Jimmy Ball.

A late blizzard seemed to imbue Trinity with renewed vigour despite being 3-1 down at the time. When Stainfield nabbed their second?? forcing the ball home on the end of a free kick ,it was perhaps tempting to wonder whether the white shirted blues would leak another and come home with only one point or less.

Not so??and credit goes to the County team in shed loads for a performance that augers well for the seasons run in.

It was the bleakest of scenes circa 3 o`clock as the small crowd spread themselves around seeking cover where they could as snow came down in varying degrees of intensity.

County started in good style but Gainsborough met the early threat with a familiar resilience.

Best of the early action saw Turner make it to the by-line, but Thomas then lifted the ball over the bar to rather spoil the moment.

The first 3 minutes were all County, but one swing of Brad Beatson`s boot swiftly changed this as the ball flew up?up?and away to where new signing Ben Hinchliffe ( yes?..Ben Hinchliffe) latched onto it. He was clear, but made nothing of the chance sending his effort wide.

That was alarming, but not as much as what followed as the County Hinchliffe?harried by his namesake?..had a lucky escape as he sent a suicide ball back across the box. No one in Trinity blue could take advantage.

Mostly however?it was County in control, and they were playing some very convincing football too, none less so than Turner who found Brandon Fleming blocking his path to goal snuffing the chance out.

If Hinchliffe was a danger for Trinity, a clutch of players qualified for the description for County, and Thomas was one of ’em, his effort 6 minutes in inches from glory. Glory beckoned for County again from the resultant corner, until a decisive punch out under pressure by keeper Henrick Ravas thwarted Scott Duxbury`s efforts.

Pressure was building steadily from County, and Duxbury was in the van of much of it. A foul on him set County up again from the free kick, but Ravas made another save to deny Ball after Winter had seen his shot charged down.

Ravas was a busy lad, and the tenth minute saw him in action again at the feet of Warburton as he surged into the box.

County were camped in the home half now with Ravas again earning his pay pushing a Warburton shot over the top following a run and cross from Turner.

Another corner?another save from Ravas this time from Duxbury, followed by a further stop to keep a free kick out after Liam King had earned a lecture and a booking from referee James Oldham for a tasty foul.

We needed County to confirm their supremacy by scoring a goal, and the `16th minute saw them do just that , through Turner who scooted clear through the middle , his speed soon seeing him one on one with Ravas. The finish that followed was truly excellent?..having drawn Ravas to him, Turner duly by-passed him with a lob of sublime quality that saw the ball nestling in the net before the keeper could react.

That was a neat goal, but we have taken leads this early before and not held onto them. Would today be any different?

County kept the impetus going?.Oswell and Duxbury both unlucky, but despite the continuing dominance of County, that nagging doubt was still there?would a typically dogged Trinity side come back and snatch it?

Cowan did his best to banish such thoughts with a neat piece of work to block Nick Walker ‘s threat on the break.

Just a minute later Walker was back again, his cross setting Craig King up with a chance. It was a chance too, at least the locals thought it was judging by the commotion, but Hinchliffe saw the chance off, King losing out in a clash with the County keeper.

The referee ignored the commotion and waved play on!

Both teams had half chances after this, but the best fell to Jarman , who took advantage of excellent play from Walker to drill a firm finish beyond Hinchliffe`s dive into the net!

Bummer?.it was 1-1, and what had begun to look a promising performance, was in danger of coming unstuck.

It did not diminish the County determination though- Ball?.then Ball and Oswell testing the home back line in which Beatson looked the pick.

Warburton was unlucky around this time, but major plaudits go to Duxbury as a County attack broke down allowing Craig King a break in seemingly oodles of space. Hmm?..not so as Duxbury tracked back to bamboozle the Trinity number seven with work out of the very top drawer- great stuff!

Half time was nearing now, and we needed , in the absence of a second goal, County to go in on level terms at the break, but with Liam King bringing the ball clear out of defence , before picking Hinchliffe out with his pass, this thought looked under threat.

It was a chance, for sure, and it was still one when the ball went from Hinchliffe to Craig King, but he brought a frown to home specs faces by firing his shot wide of the target.

County responded well in the time that remained of the half- Warburton hitting the bar with one strike?and Turner seeing another turned over the bar by Ravas, but it was still 1-1 as the teams trouped off for a welcome warm.

County piled onto the attack on the re-start, Duxbury`s drive and skill winning a corner. This saw Ravas under pressure from Oswell but able to punch clear. Danger sorted then?.except it wasn`t as the ball found its way to Thomas who stroked a firm finish past the keeper into the net to put County 2-1 up.

Gainsborough responded well to this reverse, but found Michael Clarke firmness itself in reply, as County, with Harry Winter again looking outstanding, generally looked in control, if in need of a reassuring third goal.

With Gainsborough re-doubling their efforts to equalise, County were again indebted to Winter who twice made brave interventions, capping this with a neat ball that sent Turner darting clear from just beyond half way.

County fans were roaring as Turner sped towards goal with Stainfield for company. Turner was in, and the defender knew it and his angst ridden actions undermined his resolve to deprive the County man of a goal, as a touch by him on the ball sent it flying past Ravas against a post, whereupon Ball, following up, pushed the ball home to give County the third goal that they craved!

That was excellent, but within 3 minutes Turner was replaced by Stephenson, his job done!

County were not about to rest on their laurels and looked on in anguish as Warburton`s shot fizzed its way just wide after fine work from Winter and Thomas in the build up.

There was no let up from County as Stephenson and Ball went close, and Duxbury closer still?his shot coming back out off the keepers legs.

There were less than 15 minutes to play now and a whole heap of snow coming down on us now to add to the general discomfiture. County must have found it difficult to see?.. the blizzard conditions being as they were, that`s what I told myself anyway as they conceded a free kick, and then a goal as Stainfield headed home from close in.

Throughout this ?Winter was still bravely venturing where others only thought about it. He was still winning some excellent possession in vital situations.

He was mistiming the odd one too?a fact acknowledged 82 minutes in when referee Oldham booked him, but Mr Oldham had had an outstanding game, and I could not fault him with this decision having given Harry the `benefit` earlier.

O`Halloran and Stopforth were to come on for Thomas and Warburton in the later stages but County looked well resolved not to concede another goal, forcing a series of corners that gave Clarke the chance to `get some in` in the oppositions box.

Half chances came and went, with Ravas still in decent form denying County time after time, but the last chance of substance fell to the home side as County conceded a free kick smack in front but thankfully outside the box. Jarman fancied his hat-trick and took it ,but lifted it into the crowd – chance gone.

There was time for a run by Walker to be curtailed by Stopforth, and County had their victory and three excellent points!

That sets us up nicely for Tuesday`s clash with Boston United- another side difficult to beat, but I see County doing just that!

See you Tuesday!

[ Brrr! See the pics from a chilly day here! ]

Gains borough Trinity line up
Ravas, Clarke, Fleming, Richards(Russell 72), Stainfield, Beatson, C King( Simmons 61). L King, Jarman, Hinchliffe, Walker.

Subs not used: Storey, Davie, Evan.

Stockport County line up
Hinchliffe, Cowan, Clarke, Stott, Duxbury, Winter, Ball, Thomas ( O`Halloran 83), Oswell, Warburton( Stopforth 88), Turner( Stephenson 70).

Subs not used: Ormson, Minihan.

Attendance: 474

Ian Brown


2 Replies to “County in five goal crucial victory”

  • This season is such a tease. Still feel we will just fall short of the play-offs (which would make it a bad season.. again)… but then again, you never know!

  • Thanks Ian and thanks Cropped and for sorting out my problem with accessing the report. Just seen the YouTube goals. Conditions looked atrocious.

Comments are closed.