Date: 9th March 2014 at 6:56am
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Ah……..the good old days……………………real football- don`t you just long for them to come back?

You remember………the ball would be in the air…….smudger would swing a boot at it sending it on another aerial journey in the opposite direction!

That was by no means the end of it though , as the ball ,having travelled 60 maybe 70 yards ( definitely yards -metres had not been invented then ), would be wellied back again, usually by Smithy or one of his entourage, and the 100 or so `players` would be off on the charge after it once again.

Should anyone be foolish enough to put his foot on the ball( usually the kid with specs on)he would instantly regret the action and be submerged under 100 or so flailing legs hoping desperately to survive!

Ah yes………those were the days alright….oh to be back in the playground again!

Unfortunately, for large parts of County`s game against Gloucester City, those days appeared well and truly to be back with us as the ball went aerial and stayed there for much of the time, thanks to two deeply unimpressive teams.

Unfortunately County were the more deeply unimpressive of the two, as yet again the game was surrendered without much in the way of resistance.

It was awful… really was- and oh how Mark Battersby must have wished he had stayed at the M5 motorway services where the departed team bus had inadvertently left him pre match.

Once again there were changes on view for County. There was no Kyle Jacobs unsurprisingly after his mugging last time out, and still no Dennis, but at least he was available on the bench.

Fagbola moved over to the Jacobs spot and the patient Stephen O`Halloran came in alongside Lees at centre back.

In the event O`Halloran did pretty well whilst young Jordan unfortunately had another mare – having a hand in both goals. He was not solely responsible for County`s ill`s though -they were endemic in the team…..loose passing….careless set pieces….. no bite… cohesion…absolutely no threat! I hesitate to go on, but I must……

Back to the beginning then, as having seen Battersby off in his taxi we soon followed him arriving with 45 minutes to spare at the nicely appointed Whatten Road ground.

Unfortunately the PA announcer was straight from British Snail Training School- waiting until noise levels were at their highest ( when the teams came out)before gabbling the teams out in totally incomprehensible fashion. I did not know a single Gloucester name, and already was in one!

Perhaps County would surge onto the attack and thus brighten my mood, but….no….it was Gloucester who pushed on early doors, giving Duxbury and O`Halloran work to do. Thankfully they did it well, and O`Halloran had to do so again as Connor Walden and Nat Jarvis dashed clear- the Irish defender was decisive and found touch with precision.

After about 5 or 6 minutes of defensive work County at last had a chance to reply, as Milligan hooked the ball clear relieving the pressure. The ball sped on to Jevons, but he was blocked, and it all went pear shaped when the final ball from Battersby was too strong for Oates.

Already 10 minutes had past, but with the ball scraping what clouds there were in the balmy Gloucestershire sky, it seemed like about 20, then suddenly County got a wake- up call as Matt Groves beat Lees before going to ground. The free kick was cleared easily enough, and Oates was unable to capitalise on a momentary lapse by the home keeper following this, so it stayed 0-0.

Duxbury was perhaps County`s best player at this juncture, getting forward nicely and getting the odd cross in, but City found the aerial stuff not that difficult to deal with, so we needed something more subtle if County were to prosper, instead Platt sent a depressingly lack lustre shot skidding yards wide.

That said, I noticed that old heads Milligan and O`Halloran were doing good work with the vocals…organising youngsters like Lofthouse in defensive positions- we needed more of that and O`Halloran obliged- smartly cutting out a driven cross from Darren Mullings.

So far it had been horrendously soporific stuff to watch, but…hey…..the 19th minute saw things perk up a tad as County at last attacked the Gloucester goal with something resembling intent.

It was a half decent move too, but when Oates applied as finish, the keeper kept the shot out with a good save.

That was the 19th minute……………….the 20th saw City come back at us with a vengeance through Jarvis who cut through the County cover down our right with ease. A thumping drive followed, and Ormson did brilliantly to push this over the bar with a spectacular dive.

I was tempted to close my eyes when the corner came over, because Roary Winters reached it in oodles of space. It was a free header, and he should have done better, but instead he powered his effort just over the bar!

After all the barbed cynicism I have offered earlier, I have to admit that I thought that we had taken the lead, on 24 minutes, again it was Battersby to the fore, on the end of a neat Jevons pass, and this time his shot was on the way in until the keeper`s last gasp dive saw him claw it around the post.

Settling reluctantly for a corner, County then promptly wasted it, which was to prove their default position for the afternoon!

It went a bit `playground` for a while after this ,both teams not slow lift it high under the slightest of pressures, and …most depressing of all ….there was an almost total lack of conviction about the blues attacking play. And…..if that was not bad enough they then went one down as a result of defensive error.

Unfortunately Fagbola was involved, and he was turned inside out by Jarvis when then cut inside and leathered a ferocious shot off, that Ormson did well to reach. Unfortunately he could only parry it, and following in,Adam Mann smashed the ball home to give our hosts the lead.

Credit to County though,-they did attempt to get back into it- Duxbury starting it off by lifting a high one to the back post where Oates awaited its arrival. Oates` header was neat and tidy and fell nicely for Jevons, but his shot was diverted for a corner by the keeper.

That was perhaps more of a miss than a save, and Jevons possibly knew it as such, as his almost immediate follow up, a shot from outside the box, failed to concern the keeper at all.

Fagbola and Duxbury did well next as City again came back at us, but Waldon rather overdid the vaudevillian stuff, earning himself a booking for a glorious dive in the box. I gave credit to the referee for this, and much more in the game which I thought he did well in!

The free kick should have set County up for time on the ball, but it didn`t, instead with a flurry of loose balls the blues were under the cosh once more, and more so as Platt contrived to head straight to Mullings ,about 10 yards out! County survived somehow, only to waste a free kick in depressing fashion.

With the half almost done, I pondered a quick kip, but turning to my left I could see Lou Spalding had altogether better ideas!

Soon enough it was the break, and time for a disgusting bacon barm and a palpably weak coffee, but at least I avoided the burgers- variously described thus….” awful”…” the worst I have ever eaten”.

No pies on show only tears as we contemplated the 45 minutes to come.

I exaggerate obviously, but not greatly, and I cheered up to see Dennis on for Lofthouse when the teams returned. Or… our man from British Snail advised us….Shane Lewis ( on for Lofthouse).

The cheerfulness did not last long as the pressure was on County straight away, but it was oh……so…..dreary really.” Like watching paint dry” the steward to my left offered, but it was not that good! Neither side over egged the finesse and it was wince inducing to see the ball exit the ground via Duxbury.

There was a brief spasm of forward activity from County to point to, however the shots from Battersby and Dennis both cleared the bar with a bit to spare, and this was followed by neat play from Jevons who set a move in motion only to see Fagbola lift the ball out of play.

That really was the best of it from County as they wantonly wasted a clutch of free kicks and corners.

Almost inevitably it was Gloucester who went closest to scoring. It was set up by Mullings, who won his side a cheap free kick, which whizzed in from Bill Jones, missing the on-rushing Mullings and Mann by the merest whisker.

There was a certain lack of discipline emerging now from County….they weren`t giving free kicks away ( City had the only 2 booked in the game)but they suddenly started complaining overly long to the referee (Platt and Oates guilty 72 minutes in) when the decision made was unlikely to be reversed!

In fact it possibly contributed to what followed, although Fagbola`s unforced slice in mid field set it off – a cross from the left setting Lewis Hogg ( who was a live wire in the 2nd half for City)up to head home unchallenged.

There was notionally enough time (15 minutes) for County to salvage something from this match ,if only a modicum of pride, but , when Winters fouled Oates in a promising attacking position, County contrived to waste the kick and the subsequent corner.

Not long after …AL acted by replacing Oates and Milligan with Howard and Moses, but the pain continued as a volley from Mullings went inches wide from a cross by Hogg.

It went on with Mann seeing a shot deflected wide , as corners and free kicks threatened to add to County`s woes.

Fagbola did get one header in, but this flew over the bar, and the attacking play continued to come from the hosts largely via Hogg, but substitutes Marcus Gigglio and Chas Griffin were in there as well, and County were in difficulties handling them.

Thankfully it all came to a conclusion.

We had lost, and….depressingly I have to say again….deservedly!

I`ll be there on Tuesday, but might we expect better?

County line up :

Ormson, Fagbola, Lees, O`Halloran, Duxbury, Milligan ( Moses 80), Platt, Battersby, Oates( Howard 80), Jevons, Lofthouse ( Dennis 45).

Subs not used : Lewis, Charnock.

Gloucester City line up:

Green Matt, Green Mike, Jones, Coupe, Winters, Waldon, Hogg, Mullings, Mann, Jarvis, Groves.

Ian Brown


10 Replies to “Gloucester City 2 County 0”

  • Why has Cowan left? He looked our best defender at times. Has Lord lost his mojo for the job? When will Fagbola become a footballer?

    We only have half a team for next season. Can’t face yet another season of team-building, players gelling and jam-tomorrow.
    Completely fed up. Nevertheless, thank you as ever for the report Ian,

  • +1 for wondering why Cowan was giving his marching orders
    When he was brought in, he was ‘exactly what AL was looking for’, then he gets his marching orders for ‘not being what AL is looking for’?!?

    Funny Ian should mention tears, having heard the gaffer post-match – he’s clearly at the end of her tether, but whether it’s with the players or the board (or both), who can say? In the first instance, I can sympathise for a lack of motivation and morale in the dressing room when players are being let go left, right and centre for supposedly failing to cut the mustard (Dicko being another mystery – maybe I missed something?) Sorting wheat from chaff is fine, but when it leaves the squad so short that a single injury puts the entire back line in jeopardy due to having to rely on players lacking match fitness (being generous!) and other players (I think) playing out of position, you have to despair!

    Get well soon, Kyle Jacobs!

    And maybe Lordy should either give up coaching Route 1 or make it clear that lapsing into it during a game is not acceptable?

    Who’d be a manager, eh? Or a fan for that matter!

    Fingers crossed for a turn-around midweek, but I fear there won’t be much of an opportunity to actually do anything between now and then…

  • ^ Apologies for unreadable post – serves me right for doing it from my phone!!!

  • Its no wonder that route one is the only option when you have no width and a lack of technical skills. In an effort to accommodate 3 strikers we loose our width. 3 Strikers will only work if two of them run the channels and your central striker can hold the ball. Our strikers are not adept at playing a wide roll or holding the ball, result shambles. The point has been proven when Dennis was injured and we had just Turner and Jevons up front with 2 wide midfielders, result goals. Equally when Turning was no longer available and it was just Dennis and Jeavons, Dennis suddenly found his shooting boots and Jeavons in both instances clearly played a better game in a striking role. Now we have reverted to 3 strikers again and results and quality of play have dipped. As for Fagbola, I’m afraid this young mans development has not just stopped but seams to be going backwards. Two sendings off and responsible for several mistake that have resulted in conceding goals. I said from the start and I still believe it, Lovely and dedicated man that he is I still do not think he is the man to take us forward. I so want to be wrong but I see nothing to change my mind.

  • The lovely and dedicated man I refer to is of course Lordy. Just read my post and realised it didn’t sound right.

  • Good thinking-mans comments about the on-the-pitch mess Herbie and NE. Thanks Ian for the report. Can’t see me following County away anytime soon. Come to think of it can’t see me getting a season ticket for next season either. The flame is going out for me after 40 plus years.

  • What can I say that hasn’t already been said above?. Like greyhound the flame is diminishing for me as well, having followed this club as an 8 yr old way back in ’59 (thanks dad who by the way was a Charlton supporter). How the hell have we got here? I know people will say every club has its ups and downs but this club is travelling in one direction and it ain’t up. Another thing that’s *****ing me off are these board statements that tell us that interested parties are looking into investing in our club but as negotiations are at a delicate stage details will be released when more secure news is available. Mr Knight get your arse in gear and tell us something we don’t know as my brain and I’m sure many of my friends and colleagues are at a delicate stage. If you can’t do the job bugger off and let somebody who has just an inkling of football administration have a go.

  • Come on Guy’s, I’ve been there many times but what keeps me going is the fact if we as Supporters finally give call it a day then Stockport County FC will be no more. I for one can not and will not let this happen to my beloved Club, as a Supporter since 1967 I have had my share of bad times but when the good times come along well nobody can party like us COUNTY FANS, back in the old fourth division days we had season after season of being voted back into the division. Over the years I have made many friends at EP and had plenty to cheer about – we owe it to the future generations so they too can experience the excitement and thrills that are STOCKPORT COUNTY.

  • Morale amongst the fans isn’t much to do with the last game (actually, maybe it is!) but to be honest, I don’t see me not going when I can – the possibility of the club not existing for me to go to worries me, though, and one interpretation of knife-edge we seem to be on with the squad is that there isn’t the cash to have a squad the size we need, of the quality we need to get the gates and the sponsorship required. I for one am not interested in a phoenix club, I’m afraid…

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