[ Written by Ian Brown ]
County turned over Football League side Yeovil Town today with a truly excellent performance at rain sodden Huish Park, coming away with a well deserved 3-1 win that takes James Gannon’s boys into the Second Round of the FA Cup.
It was a brilliant performance lit up by brilliant goals.
The first was a terrific free kick from Warburton that equalised Fishers early strike for Yeovil. Then a mesmerising move involving Minihan, Thomas and Osborne ended perfectly when Bell sorted matters in front of goal where keeper Nathan Baxter was transfixed.
Baxter was in a worse state when the teams returned after the break, as substitute Mulhern, who had only been on the park for 90 seconds, snatched the ball from him to complete the County scoring.
So…..the 230 mile journey by car, coach or train and another similar slog back afterwards in prospect, proved well worth the effort for 542 County fans who gave their side magnificent support throughout.
The result was County shrugged off the potentially lethal blow of an eighth minute Yeovil goal- they could have folded, against a side of supposed superiors, but they didn’t …..and the 3 goals they notched in no way flattered a County side cheered to the rafters at the end.
Asked afterwards to name my M.O.M …I declined to do so, all 14 who showed up earned this great win, from a defensive unit so unified its scary… to forwards and mid-field operators who, to a man work their socks off for each other!
Great stuff….but back to 3 o’clock where the forecasted rains looked like another Michael Fish type bit of meteorological nonsense, County opened proceedings winning a corner via Thomas’s first sortie up the park. This came to nought, as did Yeovil’s first flag kick 2 minutes later, County defending with a resolution they were to show throughout the 90 odd minutes.
It wasn’t long before Yeovil started to impose themselves, winning more of the ball,pushing County onto the back foot.
With this early pressure at its zenith, Palmer stepped up with an imperious tackle to snuff out a promising move from our hosts.
From this Bell ran the ball clear, but without unduly ruffling Town’s feathers.
Yeovil continued to spend time on the ball though, and it paid off ,with just 8 minutes gone, as Dickinson was able to ping over a deep cross from the left, for Fisher’s looping header to open the scoring.
County responded immediately, only for Warburton’s electrifying run through the middle to be halted by a saving tackle from the diminutive Sessi D’Almeida , who I made Town’s top performer.
On it went… (still no rain)…Yeovil winning a corner…County defending this immaculately. They made a break from this, but Bell disappointed by dragging his shot wide with Baxter helpless.
Thirteen minutes had gone by, another 60 seconds and County almost snatched that equaliser, as Warburton again burst clear, only just being thwarted by another timely late last gasper, this time from Tom James, that blocked Warburton’s effort.
‘Oooooo’ blurted the home specs, 15 minutes in, as Cowan did well to head clear under pressure.
County were beginning to build some momentum now, Minihan to the fore, but Bell’s shot carried the bar.
The next 10 minutes were nip and tuck, but Yeovil were again beginning to counter the blues attacking ploys, unfortunately for them their best efforts floundered on the rock of County’s superb defending.
By the 28th minute Yeovil had brought on 2 substitutes, as Monsoon conditions took over at Huish Park rendering note taking (and subsequent reading of same thereafter) almost impossible.
Despite a storm of biblical proportions, County’s ship stayed afloat midst the wetness, and they made good progress into their opponents half through Osborne. The home side’s discipline cracked at this point teeing up a free kick in a fairly central position. It looked like Walker would take this. But after the usual mime twixt him and Warburton, it was Matty who took it, leathering the perfect kick beyond Baxter’s groping arms into the net!
Fantastic….it was 1-1 and the County supporters were now making a mighty supportive noise in response!
That was really good work…..no……..excellent work…and more followed from that, and within just 4 minutes!
Minihan started it…..Thomas took it on picking out Osborne a couple of yards to his left. Osborne looked up and swept the ball inside to where Bell added the required finish to give County a 2-1 lead.
That was a staggeringly good goal and must have, had a deleterious effect on Yeovil – it certainly moved the home specs some of whom booed their players.
Credit to Yeovil…they kept working at it, in what remained of this rain sodden but glorious half, but shots from Pattison and substitute Omari Patrick did not trouble Hinchliffe.
Palmer stepped up once more, with another glorious tackle as 3 minutes added time was announced, but despite winning a late free kick, Yeovil could not make it count, thus the teams went in at the break with County still 2-1 up.
The re-start saw Yeovil put pressure on County, but their careful football, stood little chance of making an impression on a County defence that was rock solid.
Yes…Hinchliffe had to make a couple of saves, but nothing too amazing by his high standards, and County were proving adept at hitting the home side on the break- Bell twice close and somewhat unlucky.
If chances were occurring at both ends (Osborne’s break and shot causing Baxter momentary issues, and D’Almeida dragging a poor effort wide for Town), County were beginning to look altogether more likely to get another goal, particularly because Minihan was in overdrive down the right where the men in green and white had no answer.
County were not allowing Yeovil to settle on the ball, and when our hosts did win corners , which they did as the hour mark neared, Hinchliffe was in prime nick twixt the sticks complementing his colleagues work ethic perfectly!
A decent shot from Pattison saw the hour mark passed, but it cleared the bar, and this allowed JG to swing into action with a double subbing- bringing Mulhern and Damaio on for Warburton and Bell.
It was a JG master stroke…. And within 90 seconds Mulhern had sent the County support into ecstasies, by nicking the ball off keeper Baxter before running it into the net.
Did I say the County fans were in ecstasies? That actually under states it….what a moment for them and the team, who now led their F.L opponents ( unbeaten in their last 5 games) by 3-1.
This just triggered more from Minihan, who shredded the left side of the home back line in the next few minutes.
Hinchliffe did have to make a good save, with 20 minutes left, from D’Almeida , and another to tip a Pattison shot over the bar 10 minutes later, but generally Yeovil’s good football was still not making any impression on the County back line; ‘Where’s the Beef’ perhaps is a fair enough jibe to aim at Yeovil, but instead there were boos emanating from the main stand aimed at the men in green and white.
Meanwhile County were enjoying life…the team….their supporters… as JG brought Downing on for Osborne with 3 minutes left to play.
It was at this point that Mulhern made a break, ending his effort with a long range effort that hit the net. The whistle had gone seconds before Mulhern shot, and referee David Rock gained no friends by booking Mulhern. The home specs were quick to boo the referee for this nonsense, and unnecessary nonsense it was too!
Four minutes added time, did nothing to dim the County light, there was the brief distraction of ‘Handbags’ as County gained a late/late free kick deep into their half.
It did not matter, soon enough the match was over, and County had gained a famous victory to add to all the previous ones they have clocked up.
Massive congratulations to the County team and JG, this well deserved triumph, really buoys us up for the remainder of the season.
I can put my copy of ‘The Bumper Book of Hyperbole’ aside now (until Saturday) when no doubt County will bring it back into usage as we take on Brackers at Edgeley Park next Saturday.
Do not be tempted to miss that one folks!
Yeovil Town line up:-
Baxter, Dickinson, Mugabi (Zoko 28) , Fisher, Gray ( Browne 60), Pattison, D`Almeida, Mc Donald, James, Olomola ( Patrick 20), Donnellan.
Subs not used : Nelson, Arquin, Mahmutovic, D`Abadia.
Stockport County line up:-
Hinchliffe, Minihan, Palmer, Cowan, Duxbury, Walker, Keane, Thomas, Bell( Mulhern 60), Osborne( Downing 87), Warburton( Dimaio 60).
Subs not used :- Ormson, Stephenson, Etches, Czubik.
Attendance: 2550 (542)