[Written By Ian Brown]
Of all the world’s mysteries, the question of why the Common Wombat ( Vombatus Ursinus) poos square, has been a particular tough conundrum to crack. Until this week that is, when the Guardian (who else) advised that evolution had come up with square poo for the wombat because, that way it does not roll away – thus making marking their territory that much easier.
In this respect County took a little time to mark their territory today, against Chorley in the FA Trophy, but once their supremacy was established …. a thoroughly convincing performance from James Gannon’s side made relatively light work of seeing the Lancashire side’s challenge off with a second 3-0 win inside 3 and a half weeks against Jamie Vermiglios’ team.
This sets the blues up nicely for the challenge of facing National League Side Barnet in the FA Cup next Saturday, and it is probably just as well that they have been allowed the outrageous liberty of being able to postpone their league game set for Tuesday next, to allow them to prepare to meet the mighty County!
Surely someone at the league needs to take a look at themselves!
Back to County though, and this was a great repost to the disappointment of Tuesday. It was also brilliant to welcome Paul Turnbull back again to the County midfield, and he gave a typically tenacious performance before giving way to Sam Walker after an hour.
Elsewhere Duxbury was a constant menace to Chorley who were just unable to cope with his surging runs and doom laden crosses. Thomas got the M.O.M , which I will not argue about too much as he again gave us 90 odd minutes solid effort laced with not a little threat, and I was again struck with Jordan Keane’s out put as Bully’s presence allowed him to push on to good effect! Osborne was in the mix to good effect also keeping the visitors on their toes with a series of shots and runs.
And all this came about after referee Scott Simpson had gifted Chorley an early penalty of dubious validity after Louis Almond, probably surprised by making it as far as the by-line, slipped on attempting to turn past Palmer.
I was still mumbling my discontent with this when Ben Hinchliffe hurled himself to his left to save Adam Blakeman’s spot kick!
After that JG’s side grew in confidence , the win sealed by Palmer’s first half strike and one each from Stott and Thomas after the break.
If the first 5 minutes of the game were borderline soporific, the sixth quickly woke me up , as attempting to skirt past Ash Palmer, Louis Almond slipped to the ground. The sight of the referee pointing hurriedly to the spot sent an early shiver down the spine, not overly helped by the sight of Adam Blakeman placing the ball and starting his run up.
To be fair …his kick was not a bad one at all, and would have beaten most keepers, but Hinchliffe is not to be confused with ‘most keepers’ and his fantastic dive saw the ball pushed out and away from danger….a superb….match changing save!
County looked buoyed by their goal keeper’s brilliance and ex Hatter Courtney Meppen-Walter did well to prevent a cross from Duxbury from reaching Thomas or Osborne half a yard out.
A free kick to Chorley ended their discomfiture from the subsequent corner, but they were back under the microscope within a minute or so as Mulhern set up a decent raid with some excellent work beating Meppen-Walters best efforts.
The defender looked to have sustained an injury in trying to contain Frank, and this would result in his none appearance after the break.
Warburton was penalised for very little next, but this cheapest of free kicks limply carried the County bar.
The thirteenth minute saw a shot from Warburton whistle inches wide of the target for County, and the fifteenth ushered in an effort from Almond for Chorley, but he was no luckier than Warby had been, cutting inside from the left flank to send his shot wide of the far post.
County were beginning to get their show on the road now, with 17 minutes gone, and Osborne was unlucky to find Meppen-Walter on his case and able to clear his lines after Ossie and Thomas had combined to good effect.
Another minute on from that last action, and Osborne was in again, getting a shot in that was no more than a foot or so wide.
Clearly the County momentum was building fast now and there was no one on the park more likely to put match to fuse than Duxbury, and Osborne was narrowly beaten to Scott’s cross ushering in a County corner. Over this duly came from the left where Palmer, from within a clutch of blue shirts, forced the ball home to give County the lead.
A foul on Warburton, was followed by a free kick, and a corner but County were unable to add a second goal, even when Palmer did an ‘Almond’ going down in the box for no reward.
All this time Bully was showing admirable composure and application on his return to action, and along with the equally ebullient Duxbury was steadily building the firmest of foundations from which the blues might prosper.
Mulhern joined in…only for Meppen-Walter to deny him with some really good defending.
Josh Wilson and Almond both had snap shots on target, around this time, but hit from distance they allowed Hinchliffe time to cover the angles and keep the shots out without too much trouble.
Meanwhile…Duxbury was constantly teasing the visitors defence with troublesome runs, whilst through the middle Osborne was almost in as a flick from Mulhern sent him clear. And Mulhern repeated the ‘nifty flick’ bit almost immediately and Warburton was unlucky to find Meppen-Walter and Teague on his case and cutting off any route for goal.
With half time barely 5 minutes away, Chorley had by no means settled on losing this one, and both Keane and Stott had to do some top notch defensive work to curb the mini wave of yellow shirts seeking a path through to Hinchliffe.
Conceding free kicks here and there served to not help County too much, albeit that there was an element of mystery about one or two of them.
The half ended with Thomas, Cowan and Turnbull taking turns to torment the Chorley back line, but despite forcing several corners in this period, the teams went in at the break with County still 1-0 up.
Jordan Lussey was on for Meppen-Walter for Chorley, when play resumed after the break, and Lussey almost nicked one straight away, his shot on the end of a run down the right, drifting wide as he cut inside.
Duxbury provided the needed counterpoint to that early Chorley raid, but there was no second goal to show for it yet, Keane disappointing with a shot, on 50 minutes, that cleared the bar by a bit.
It was significant just how much of an impression Duxbury’s runs were having on proceedings( and Chorley’s state of mind no doubt) as Warburton and Osborne both narrowly missed out on the end of service from Dux. The best we seemed to be about to settle for was another corner, but this brought with it the much sought after second County goal, as Stott’s header hit the back of the net with Thomas looking to apply a finish should it be needed .
That was excellent, and 2-0 soon became 3-0 as a mesmerising run from Duxbury scattered the Chorley defences to the four winds, allowing Thomas to head home to much acclaim from the majority of the 1200+ crowd.
County kept working at getting another after that, but Mulhern was luckless seeing keeper Matt Urwin make the save to keep it at 3-0.
Chorley then picked up another cheapo free kick, and promptly wasted Mr Simpson’s largess by lifting the ball into the empty Railway End, before it was time for an ovation for Turnbull who was substituted on the hour with Walker on in his place.
There was no let up meanwhile from County as Osborne went close and a screamer from Thomas flattered to deceive rising late over the bar with Urwin rooted to his goal line.
With Stephenson on for Warburton , with just over 20 minutes left, County kept the forward push going- Osborne going close again, but Chorley were still trying to salvage something from the wreckage of their day, but despite winning a couple of corners, they failed totally to pierce the blue back line- much steady and thoughtful build up going to waste via a toothless strike force.
Bell replaced Mulhern with 7 minutes left, looking on as substitute Alex Newby wasted another notional chance by lifting his shot over the bar. In looking askance at Chorley`s finishing I should also complement County who, not for the first time this season, kept their opponents at arms length, restricting them to long range efforts!
Forward runs from Cowan and Bell earned County further corners in the last 5 minutes or so, but without producing another goal.
Bell did come within a fag papers width of squaring that particular circle on the end of a neat Thomas cross, with 4 minutes left, but another goal refused to come County’s way, but most people , barring 98 from Lancashire, seemed mighty content with 3-0.
It will certainly set us up nicely for our clash with Barnet on Sunday.
See you all there then !
Stockport County line up:
Hinchliffe, Cowan, Palmer, Stott, Duxbury, Keane, Turnbull ( Walker 60), Thomas, Mulhern ( Bell 83), Osborne, Warburton ( Stephenson 67).
Subs not used ; Ormson, Minihan.
Chorley line up:-
Urwin, Anson, Blakeman, Teague( Newby A 67), Meppen-Walter ( Lussey 45), Jordan, Cottrell, O`Keefe, Almond, Wilson, Newby E.
Subs not used ; Carver, Whitham, Noble-Lazarus.