Date: 18th February 2018 at 11:36am
Written by:

County gave their travelling support a performance to remember at a packed Broadhurst Park today, winning three vital points with a thoroughly deserved 1-0 victory against in form FC United of Manchester.

The margin may have been just one goal, and at times County came under plenty of pressure, but all the quality on show was County`s.
County gave their travelling support a performance to remember at a packed Broadhurst Park today, winning three vital points with a thoroughly deserved 1-0 victory against in form FC United of Manchester.

The margin may have been just one goal, and at times County came under plenty of pressure, but all the quality on show was County`s.

The blues defending was absolutely first class throughout, with everybody of the back four earning max plaudits, and one or two others who tracked back more than once to help out- FCUM needed far more nous and craft than they exhibited to prosper, and County made late winter hay as a result.

The County forward play always looked superior to that of the Moston based side too, with Darren Stephenson .on fire at times. Matty Warburton put the icing on County`s cake with a superb finish but this too owed much to Stephenson`s assist as the power and precision of his cross demanded the result it obtained.

A very satisfying team performance then, and one deserving of the highest praise!

Back at 3 o`clock there was all to play for though, and the Moston locals fancied their chances based, presumably on the recently improved form of their side, that had crept close to County in the table as a consequence.

There were two changes in the County starting line up with Duxbury and the suspended Winter making way for Stott and Stopforth, as the game got underway with both sides probing the other for openings.

The first real chance, and the first corner were FCUM`s, but that quality I have mentioned earlier, was already shown to be lacking in the home forwards -Steve Irwin going down in the box- his desperation showing and failing to impress referee Sam Barrott.

Connor McCarthy did benefit from good work by the FCUM captain Scott Kay but then found his shot well covered by Ben Hinchliffe in the County goal.

All this time, County had been working at getting an opening at the other end, where a fairly large contingent of home specs were already giving us a welter of 50`s footy favourites lauding teams and men they could not have seen, or very few of them anyway.

The tuneful accompaniment did nothing to deter County, particularly Warburton who ended a lovely smooth move by putting the ball in the net just 6 minutes in. He was offside???apparently??so it stayed 0-0, but how long would this state of affairs appertain with County revving up noticeably- Stephenson seeing a shot kept out by keeper Lloyd Allinson , and Warburton again to the fore but shooting wide this time?

Oswell won a corner and County went close again from this, and again a minute later as Stephenson`s powerful run down the right drew a poor foul from Matty Hughes. There`s more than a touch of the Mick McManus about Hughes, who has loads of previous, but referee Barrott waited until the move finished to wag a finger at and gie a lecture to, the player( no booking).

Maybe it was the fact that Stephenson shrugged off the uncouth attempted mugging, with magisterial disdain, and continued to power his way into the box, that influenced the ref in not giving County a free kick or stopping play- anyway it was the right decision, and only the best of saves from Allinson could keep a finish of blistering magnificence out!

Hmm?that was good?disappointing too?.but excellent from Dazzer!

So?County were warming up nicely now, and duly swept into the lead 17 minutes in. A lovely move, reached Stephenson, just about the moment that the home specs gave us another reprise of the `United Calypso` from the 50`s, but the music suddenly stopped as Stephenson surged to the edge of the box before crossing to Warburton with uncanny accuracy and power.

In a flash the County number ten, did what he does so well, almost bursting the net with a shot that brooked absolutely no argument!

County had the lead then?? but over 70 minutes to hang onto it or increase it.

Fair do`s??.United responded to going behind – Chris Smalley doing well to block Irwin, at one point. The pressure continued from the home side, Luke Higham linking up with McCarthy to cause County a small issue or two, but Cowan had their numbers, charging McCarthy`s eventual shot down bravely.

FCUM were trying a bit now , and came as close as they ever would do next, with 24 minutes gone, Stott saving on the line from a Kieran Glynn shot after McCarthy had set him up. Sam Baird then had a shot deflected for a corner , and Glynn again went close( twice)- the second time being thwarted by Stopforth`s energetic defending.

Stopforth was there again, almost on the half hour, with a block that saw an Irwin effort off.

We had seen about 8 or 9 minutes of pressure from FCUM, but nothing in the way of extra quality that told me that ` sometime soon they would equalise`- that was always a definite possibility of course, but the communal assurance with which County were responding to FCUM pressure was definitely confidence inducing!

McCarthy and Irwin both went close in the minutes that followed but without ever looking likely to ruffle Hinchliffe`s none existent feathers.

Storm weathered?County came back at their hosts in the last 5 minutes of the half- first via a neat O`Halloran / Warburton collaboration that deserved better than it achieved, and then through that man Stephenson who was simply irrepressible- twice unlucky as the minutes drained away before the break.<
Credit to FCUM though, they ended the first 45 minutes, with a late effort , that saw Glynn looking hopeful on the end of McCarthy`s ball to the back post. It was a decent ball too, but so was O`Halloran`s response, and Glynn just could not get a shot off, giving Stephenson the chance to run the ball to safety as the whistle went for the break.

Now , we definitely needed County to get a second goal, and thus limit any second half jitters, and Jim Gannon`s side opened the half on the front foot, a Warburton/ Oswell combination thwarted by a home back line containing ex Hatter Jordan Fagbola, who did well to cut a run by Adam Thomas out with that second goal looking on.

O`Halloran was distinctly unlucky in this period, seeing his shot, following a lively break from deep by the former I rish International, deflected for a corner.

It was not all County in this period however, and Cowan did really well to stop Craig Lindfield as he strove to hit the blues on the break.

It was noticeable that the odd bit of `afters` was now being indulged in by those in red shirts with Warburton, Ball and Thomas all coming in for treatment, but the referee was slow to act to protect County players, and it was only a mild surprise therefore to see that Stopforth was the first name in the ref`s book- it was ever thus!

Dixon was now on in place of Oswell, but the first chance that occurred fell to Warburton , who unfortunately lifted his shot over the bar.

Matty was unlucky twice after this, and following a regulation clattering from Hughes( booked at last) Warburton left the field to be replaced by Rhys Turner, leaving to a similar ovation to Oswell from a very supportive County following, many of whom were straining to see on the ludicrously flat standing area behind the goal and elsewhere.

All this time Danny Racchi was putting himself about irritatingly?.impeding Stephenson whose run had turned defence into attack taking him into the box. The referee looked away??

There were less than 20 minutes left now, and County were not getting as much time on the ball as I guess they would like, as FCUM were pressing again looking for that elusive equaliser.

Time after time, with County defending deeper and deeper, the home side pumped balls into the box from wide and deep positions. It was meat and drink though to Cowan, Smalley, Stott and O`Halloran , as they kept Hinchliffe largely well covered.

Hinchliffe had just made a save from Lindfield, when County broke from just outside their own penalty area. Turner had the ball, but Stott found the legs to accompany him up the park. Now?.Turner has pace?. buckets of it?..and the FCUM cover was nowhere to be seen as the duo reached the box with only Allinson keeping a lonely vigil in their path.

What to do?..a shot was on ?.but surely he would be better skirting the keeper and then shooting at what might then be a completely empty goal?.or?.and this was a decent shout?he could slip the ball sideways to Stott who would then have had a shoo-in! In the end Turner shot?but straight at the keeper and the chance was gone!

County found impetus after that last action- O`Halloran / Dixon and Stephenson/ Thomas seeing efforts blocked.

Into the last 10 minutes we went with Duxbury on for Stephenson who again got a well deserved ovation on leaving the pitch.

This saw County back defending deep again, fending off a never ending series of high and hopeful balls into the box. The defending was excellent in this period, as County concentrated on striking from deep , but when they did , and Duxbury was looking top notch in so doing, there was Racchi to contend with and he infuriated the County specs near the left corner flag by climbing all over Duxbury as he made ground towards the home box.

Racchi was there again, and Turner was the victim this time but without the referee taking recourse to his book.

FCUM were getting desperate now and it showed in their shooting too as a shot on the break missed the target with Hinchliffe watching it as it slid beyond his back post.

Into added time we went with tempers fraying as Racchi continued his orgy of awfulness whenever a blue shirt appeared over the half way line. FCUM had loads of possession in the time that remained, but little idea as to just how to penetrate what looked to be an impenetrable County defence.

Soon enough the whistle went for time and the celebrations could begin for County and their supporters!

That was Job done?.and done very well indeed!

Here`s to more of the same on Tuesday!

[ Pictures ! here! ]

FC United of Manchester line up:
Allinson, Fagbola, Higham, Kay, Hughes, Baird, Glynn, Racchi, McCarthy( Gilchrist 61), Irwin, Lindfield( Greaves 78).

Subs not used: Jones, Tattum, Palmer.

Stockport County line up
Hinchliffe, Cowan, Smalley, Stott, O`Halloran, Ball, Stopforth, Thomas, Oswell( Dixon 56), Warburton( Turner 70), Stephenson( Duxbury 81).

Subs not used ; Ormson, Clarke.

Attendance : 3084

Ian Brown


4 Replies to “FCUM 0 Stockport County 1”

  • Great win bringing the 3 points home. Now onto Tuesday for another 3 points. Need to make every game count now for that final push up the league.

  • Excellent result and it is good to see a variety of scorers but I hope Oswell hasn’t gone off the boil. Agree with MA as we need a late push.

  • Tuesday may be trickier than at first glance as I believe Nuneaton have found a run of form. Then again, it’s EP and under the lights. One nil County!

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