Date: 30th January 2014 at 9:34am
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County retained their top spot in the Football Conference Youth Alliance League with a resounding 8-3 win against Crewe Alexandra at Woodley today.

At one time 5-0 down, Crewe fought back commendably in the second half but were never going to dislodge a County side that was clearly superior, despite a fine hat-trick from one of their second half substitutes.

Cumberbatch for Jones was the only change in County`s starting line up at 1.30, and it took them only 8 minutes to open their account on a cold afternoon.

It started with a neat move involving Ben Spibey, Liam Atkinson and Albert Keeling which initially earned a throw.

Cumberbatch followed this up but he was blocked just inside the box and the ball drifted back to Charlie Mather who lifted it back into the box where Spibey powered his way to a header on goal.

This and two attempts by Keeling to force the ball home were blocked on the line resulting in a corner, which saw Nick Williams head home off the under- side of the bar.

Eight minutes played…..1-0…not a bad start at all, in fact just what was needed if County were to remain on top of the table, and with Kiarno Samms installed in a deep lying role and looking really composed, more and better looked on the cards!

Despite this Rigby had to come out and deal with a Crewe break with 10 minutes gone, which was perhaps a timely warning to County about over confidence!

There was certainly no lack of confidence in the Stockport lads with Samms and Ajayi ruling the roost in midfield and plenty of options up front.

Murphy kept the forward push going by launching the ball into the box from way back- Keeling`s header was blocked ,but Crewe did not look comfortable in dealing with this approach so more of the same was possibly needed.

Keeling had it on the charge next- his cross eluded both Spibey and Atkinson, but a defender took a touch and County had themselves a corner, which saw a header by Ajayi cleared off the line!

Meanwhile Samms looked in prime form and ideally suited to the more deep lying roll he had today ,and he was unlucky to see a defender just keep his through ball out of Cumberbatch`s reach.

It went on in the same vein with Samms slipping a neat through ball into the box where Spibey slammed it home. But any jubilation was short lived as the liners flag had long since been fluttering in the cool afternoon breeze- the `goal` was ruled out for offside!

County were beginning to dominate proceeding however and it looked just a matter of time before they increased their lead, but Cumberbatch`s shot from Spibey`s lay off cleared the bar and it stayed 1-0 for now.

Samms was breaking up the Crewe play really well at this stage, and with Murphy and Ajayi pushing forward things looked good, but another corner saw County fail to apply a finish despite a lengthy blue queue looking to do so.

Ajayi did brilliantly next working his way into the box where it took the keeper two attempts to keep the Stockport players shot out, at the expense of another corner.

In this came, and Ajayi was first to it again, only for his header to be cleared off the line by one of a row of defenders.

On it went with Keeling just foiled by the keeper…….Cumberbatch just unable to reach Ajayi`s pass, and Atkinson a whisker away from getting to a ball from Williams.

The moves were coming OK from County, just that decisive finish was missing as both Keeling and Samms saw shots climb up and over the bar frustratingly.

Thankfully whilst all this was happening Adam Rigby was not having a kip, as the half hour mark saw him off his line to deal with a Crewe break that for a moment looked worrying- he did the biz well, but then so did the Crewe keeper who did really well to beat Atkinson to the ball after a delightful dummy by Spibey had set the winger up!

That was the 32nd minute…..another minute on from this and County doubled their lead thanks to some good work from Ajayi and Williams who saw the ball out to Keeling on the right flank.

Keeling did well to get the cross in from this, and with Spibey harassing the defender in front of goal, it was 2-0 as the Crewe man bundled the ball into his own net!

It was one way traffic after this as Samms saw a shot just clear the bar, and an Ajayi drive was unluckily deflected inches wide by Williams. Atkinson then sent Keeling clear, but the keeper kept him out, and Ajayi had yet another effort cleared off the line.

County kept plugging away, and there was time for Crewe to get and fluff a rare chance by shooting straight at Rigby, but it was soon half time and time for the teams to re-group and re-charge batteries.

If Crewe had resisted doggedly in the first half, just 3 minutes of the second saw them crumble and concede two goals.

The first resulted from a high ball into the box that had the Crewe back line in an almighty tangle, so much so that Keeling was able to snaffle the loose ball and slam it home…..3-0!

Three none then became 4 within a couple of minutes as County set up camp in their opponents half. Murphy`s shot earned his side a corner, and when the ball was played inside to Cumberbatch he simply thrashed it into the net to make the score 4-0.

Shots rained in after this- Spibey almost forcing another own goal with his presence in the box. The 54th minute actually saw Crewe`s first shot on target, but with Rigby dealing with this reasonably comfortably, things fell apart again for Crewe , after an Atkinson shot had been saved, when County went 5-0 up thanks to a neat finish by Spibey on the end of a through ball from Samms.

This was in danger of becoming a rout now, but some semblance of competition flickered in the form of Crewe`s second shot on target, from distance, that deceived Rigby and crashed into the net.

County started ringing the changes about this time- swapping Dillon Higginbotham for Liam Atkinson on the hour, and Kameron Palmer and Dean Nolan for Ajayi and Keeling 6 minutes later.

Were Stockport easing off…..I do not really think so- both the incomers were proven performers and well capable of doing stuff for the team!

Doubts, if they existed were put to bed, with 15 minutes left, as Nolan, who had been on the field less than 10 minutes, slotted the sixth in after a lightning raid on the Crewe defences.

Within seconds of this however there was another lightning raid, this time on Rigby`s goal and it was now 6-2!

Palmer was doing well down the right meanwhile and the third of three runs by him succeeded in increasing the score again – his cross picking Cumberbatch out perfectly allowing him to blast one home from close in!

It was 7-2 for approximately 60 seconds whereupon Nolan doubled his tally with a truly excellent shot that gave the keeper a snowballs chance in Hell of keeping it out.

Eight two seemed about how it would end, with the gloom descending upon us along with the late afternoon chill, but Crewe had other ideas and pegged another back with 2 minutes left to play.

Higginbotham was unlucky with a couple of late runs before the referee blew for time and the points were County`s, keeping them at the top of the league.

County line up:

Rigby, Mather, Murphy, Livesey, Williams, Ajayi( Palmer 66), Cumberbatch, Samms, Spibey, Keeling( Nolan 66), Atkinson( Higginbotham 60).

Ian Brown