Date: 13th August 2011 at 12:38am
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Skipper Nick Chadwick earned a late point for Didi Hamann’s County side at the New Lawn in Stroud tonight in the opening match of the season.

Under the floodlights and the TV spotlight, with Premier Sports TV broadcasting the match live, Hamann’s completely new-look squad came back from a goal down to snatch a well-earned draw – and in all honesty, it could have been more.

Matty Glennon in goal was the only man to feature last season for County, as TEN players made their first-team d├ębuts in the blue and white strip.

Ryan McCann slotted in to the right-back position, with Danny Hall and Nabil Bounab forming a partnership in the heart of the defence, and American Euan Holden completing the back four.

The lively Ryan Fraughan started on the left wing, with Jon Miles on the opposite flank. Sam Sheridan and Jon Routledge took their places in the centre of the midfield, and I have to say it was a refreshing change not to see the usual Tansey and Turnbull!

Chadwick partnered Martin Gritton up front as we kicked off our season and new life in the Conference at Forest Green, with around 500 County fans making the long journey down to Gloucestershire.

And it was Chadwick who saw an early chance go begging as he flicked Fraughan’s delightful cross over the bar.

Fraughan, released by Tranmere last season, was having a field day down the left-hand side and whipped in cross after cross. His colleague on the opposite flank, Miles, was having a tough time in the first 45 minutes, but livened up in the second half and seemed to relish dropping into the hole behind Gritton and Chadwick.

It was a promising first five or ten minutes for County, but our old Achilles heel seemed to come back to haunt us as we fell a goal behind.

Reece Styche, a striker who will undoubtedly bag a hatful in this league – and also did a very good impression of Didier Drogba, diving all over the show – won a very cheap free-kick as he fell under no contact from Hall. The forward dusted himself down and found space in the box to nod home the resulting set-piece.

Hamann employed a zonal marking system tonight, possibly from his Liverpool days, and it was evident for all to see. Styche was given the freedom of the box and the County players were left pointing at each other in blame.

In fairness, the hosts continued to stifle any threat that County would pose in the first half – they look very well-organised and efficient under manager Hockoday, though one criticism of the side would be lack of fitness as they faded in the latter stages.

The home team deserved a one-goal lead at the break, despite a flurry of corners from the Hatters, one of which Gritton craned his neck to head over the bar.

Half-time: Forest Green 1-0 County

Hamann, along with assistant Willie McStay, seemed reluctant to make changes to his side at the interval, and it paid off in a sense as County attacked the Blue and White Army in the second-half.

It was widely accepted post-match that SCFC bossed the second half as Forest Green seemed to fade both physically and, as Hockoday pointed out, mentally as they lacked the bravery to go on and kill the game off.

Cheating FGR man James Norwood was extremely lucky to avoid a red card as he blatantly elbowed midfielder Sheridan in the face – the home side’s number seven was not even spoken to by the referee, and clearly had a little smirk to himself afterwards.

On a side note, the referee Mr Whitton was absolutely atrocious, whistle-happy and not afraid to make several baffling and nonsensical decisions.

One decision he did get right was the dive of McCann in the FGR penalty area, McCann going down under no contact from the left-back – and rightfully being booked.

County finally levelled after a barrage of corner-kicks in the second half – that man Fraughan taking a short corner before receiving the return ball and whipping in a cross which evaded everyone in the mix…including the ‘keeper Bulman as he flapped and missed wildly.

And Chadwick was arriving at the back post as the ball struck his cheek and flew into the unguarded goal – the former Everton striker running straight to the Hatters fans to celebrate.

From then on, we could and probably should have won the match as substitute Elliott went close as he fired a low shot just past the near post. Elliott, formerly of Leeds Utd, was also bizarrely booked as he slipped in the slippery penalty area and was carded for an apparent dive.

County piled on pressure in the closing minutes – after seeing SEVEN added minutes – but to no avail as Bulman and Forest Green held out for a point.

The Hatters fans applauded the team and Hamann off the pitch and made their way home back from Nailsworth with a worthy point.

We now move on to Kettering Town this Tuesday at Edgeley Park before hosting Ebbsfleet on Saturday at EP.

Animo Et Fide!

Man of the Match – Ryan Fraughan. Quick, tricky to deal with, and excellent deliveries into the box. Swapped wings in the second half and had less joy, but produced a brilliant ball for the leveller. Jon Miles livened up in the second half, and Nabil Bounab had a solid debut.

 

8 Replies to “County’s new dawn at the New Lawn”

  • Pleased with the result. We were poor in the first half and in the second knew the level to play at and risen our game. Fraughan was good but too greedy and one footed. I was happy with Chadwick, he seemed to want to play with his heart. Hall was unlucky as was Bounab. Elliot came on, bit clumsy but threatened when came on. Gritton was crap. Sheridan didn’t impress but I started to grow on him in the second half and played well. Overall happy with results, lets win on Tuesday! Bring WINNING back to Edgeley Park even with a less capacity because of burnt seats!

  • Pleased with the result. We were poor in the first half and in the second knew the level to play at and risen our game. Fraughan was good but too greedy and one footed. I was happy with Chadwick, he seemed to want to play with his heart. Hall was unlucky as was Bounab. Elliot came on, bit clumsy but threatened when came on. Gritton was crap. Sheridan didn’t impress but I started to grow on him in the second half and played well. Overall happy with results, lets win on Tuesday! Bring WINNING back to Edgeley Park even with a less capacity because of burnt seats!

  • Not a bad result but not great saw bits of what it could be like and it looks like we want to play good passing football, give it a couple of games while the guys jell and we should be playing a lot better.Bring on Tuesday

  • First half was poor, but to be expected as the team needs time to gel. Looked like a typical county defence which was worrying. Liked to have seen us get behind the fullbacks a bit more to get balls into the box. Our superior fitness shone through.

  • Its clear that DIDI wants them to play football which is going to take a bit longer to gel that if we adopted a more direct approach. However if these players are of sufficient quality to play such a game we wont loose many, but it will take time and we must be patient. Fraughan looks useful but was less affective when he changed wings. The ref had a poor game. Support was good.

  • @Norwihshire – agree about the ref, but that’s the quality we’re going to get this year. Roll on tonight. C’mon County!

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