It was 10 out of 10 for a magnificent Stockport County side, that swept on to a 6th win in six away to North Ferriby United today.
What a very productive day it was for James Gannon`s side,as a convincing team performance ensured that they also came away with all 3 points after a 3-1 win that keeps them well and truly set up for the run in and a place in the play offs.
Once again there were a whole host of players in blue ( and we were in blue much to my pleasure) vying for M.O.M , but I thought Duxbury, Thomas and Winter were the pick with others not far away in the honours stakes, most notably Warburton.
Jim Gannon`s side opened in confident style, and they had a lead within 8 minutes of the start thanks to another neat finish from Jason Oswell. It took County 30 more minutes to double their lead via a lethal free kick from the busy Matty Warburton, only for Lewis Collins to nick one back as County`s back line forgot the script, and failed to clear their lines with half time just 3 minutes away.
If anyone feared that this set back would develop into a game long wobble, they were wrong. Despite Ferriby trying hard, this never really looked on, and it was a fair reflection of how things were when Warburton scored again with 12 minutes left to play to end the Villagers resistance.
Play started with an uncharacteristic bit of poor work from Stott, that might just have seen the Hatters one down in as many minutes. Ferriby failed to punish the error though and only claimed a corner, which saw Clarke ease any County worries with some good defensive work.
County were doing most of the early pressing however and it quickly became apparent that Turner`s speed down the left flank was posing our hosts a real problem. Thomas was to emerge as an even more affective threat down the right, but for now it was Turner calling the shots, and having made it to the by-line, on 8 minutes, it was 1-0 as his pass inside saw Oswell in position to apply the necessary finish to set County fans off singing.
It was pretty much all County after the goal, as Thomas put the pressure on with a couple of pacy runs. His best effort won the blues a corner, but taking same he watched as Oswell`s header cleared the bar.
The pressure continued, with Cowan and Duxbury both seeing shots kept out by keeper Ross Durrant.
It was 16 minutes before Ferriby managed another raid of anything resembling note worthiness, but after Collins had done the spade work and pulled the ball back from the by-line, Bob Johnson saw his attempt on goal deflected for a corner that was easily cleared.
Meanwhile?.Referee Dean Hulme was beginning to irritate, with a series of pernickety and just plain wrong free kicks to the home side. Duxbury was one of his victims, his hair cut being at fault I am guessing, with 20 minutes gone. It was a good spot for Ferriby to have a free kick, and Johnson`s kick went closer than I felt was comfortable, a very late deflection just keeping the ball out of Hinchliffe`s net. The corner from this, notionally offered another chance for Ferriby to equalise, but instead the home specs looked on aghast as Piercey`s header flew wide.
County replied, but Durrant did well to deny Warburton`s rush for goal with a cool bit of work, as the County man strained to apply a finish to Hinchliffe`s long ball.
It went on?..Thomas down the right?.his cross seeing Durrant keep Oswell`s header out.
Ferriby responded thanks to another cheep gift from Mr Hulme, but Hinchliffe proved up to the task?punching clear under pressure in the crowded box.
This pressure from Ferriby was brief, but when County broke through Turner, he was hacked down by Jack Walker- the first into the referee`s book. The free kick had potential, but Duxbury`s kick saw Piersey just foil Clarke with a clutch of men in blue queuing to shoot.
Back came County through Thomas, but his progress came to an abrupt halt as Piercey clattered him in full flight. It was a poor foul?.a free kick?and a booking for Piercey, but Clarke had no luck trying for a second.
Hinchliffe was called on for one punch out after that action, but mostly it was County who were in charge. In response their opponents were finding it hard to cope and constantly resorted to the ignominious foul, one such, by Harrison on Jimmy Ball, 38 minutes in, got its due punishment, when Warburton curled a superb kick past the keeper into the net to make it 2-0.
Twice after this Ball kept County moves alive, only to see Turner stopped by Piercey.
Play was drifting towards half time now, and nothing very much was happening, except that the ball?….unaccountably?was in the County last third, and begging someone to welly it clear. No one did?..several thought about it?dithered ?and allowed Collins just enough time on the ball to despatch it into the net. That was a good finish??but a poor goal to concede perhaps signalling an unexpected struggle in what remained of the half.<
Well? no?not really?.County kept their focus, a Turner/ Warburton cooperation a tad unlucky at one point.
More ill fortune followed for the blues as County piled forward into their opponents last third- Turner`s shot saved by Durrant midst a fluffy of shots and blocks. Oswell went closest but his shot grazed the bar with Durrant beaten.
It continued in the same vein, the half ending with Turner lifting a shot over the bar after Ball had made a characteristically lively break.
The re-start saw County on the attack, but Ball`s shot went wide following a powerful run from Thomas, and Oswell was unlucky with his effort on the break not long after.
Ferriby replied, but there did not seem to be anything to fear in their play and County defended reasonably comfortably for the most part, the exception being when Turner surrendered possession on the edge of the box.
County`s opponents failed to punish us for the lapse, but it did not go unnoticed methinks by JG, who replaced Turner with Turnbull shortly after.
Cowan did well next to clear up as substitute Alex Bannister tried to latch onto a long ball.
That was the pressure on County, more or less put to bed, and play swung abruptly with Oswell inches away from Ball`s pass in the box.
On it went?Oswell heading wide from a Thomas free kick?..Collins just able to block a shot after Thomas had worked wonders keeping a ball in play before crossing. Durrant pushed Thomas`s follow up shot around the post.
Turnbull headed over the top from the corner, and received a knock for his trouble, although he was soon back in action after treatment, so his problem looked not to be as bad as we thought.
It was a small Thomas master class that came next?..it was not without its blemishes though? a really good run ended with a poor shot, but he kept applying himself going close not long after.
Thomas was aided down the right by Cowan, and he was getting forward to good effect, just the final ball was lacking at times.
Approaching the last quarter of an hour, County were still putting Ferriby under the cosh reducing the home defence to panic stations at times. A comic cuts corner conceded in extremis was better then conceding a goal- they must have thought. And then when the corner came over, and Clarke and company piled into it at the back post, I thought it was 3-1?and maybe I was not alone?.but it wasn`t the ball had gone narrowly wide!
Hmmm?. we needed that to have gone in to put any comeback, however remote this possibility seemed, to bed.
County did their best to make it so, but both Warburton and Cowan had efforts kept out at the last gasp by Durrant .
Chas Dunkerly briefly showed the green/white flag with a hopeful run, but this was cut out by excellent work from Duxbury?more excellent work?.as he had been in prime form throughout!
Then?with 12 minutes left we got what we wanted, as more County pressure got a result. It did not appear so, at one point as County`s relentless pressure seemed to have broken down. But no?Cowan won possession, Ball then sent a superlative ball through a forest of legs to Warburton who rounded the keeper to slot the ball home to acclaim!
County pressed on after the goal, and Duxbury was desperately unlucky – a tremendous run from him thwarted by Cooke`s late block.
Ball shot wide, and Stott`s effort came back off the bar from a Warburton free kick as County applied themselves to the task of finishing the Villagers off in the closing minutes.
That was pretty much how it ended?County pressing?pressing?.the Villagers defending bravely.
There were no more goals however, but 3-1 was good enough, and a decent result that keeps County`s winning run?now standing at 6?.. going.
Well done County.
We go now to what is perceived as , and probably is, a difficult match with promotion rivals Kidderminster on Tuesday.
I fancy us to dish the experts and come away with at least a point 1
See you all there!
[ Pictures ! here! ]
North Ferriby United line up
Durrant, Smith( Dunkerly 72), Walker, Robson, Piercey, Mall, Harrison, Johnson, Nicholls( Cooke 65), Collins, Lotts ( Bannister 17).
Subs not used: Forrester, Exall.
Stockport County line up
Hinchliffe, Cowan, Clarke, Stott, Duxbury, Winter, Ball, Thomas( O`Halloran 85), Oswell, Warburton, Turner( Turnbull 55).
Subs not used: Ormson, Smalley, Stephenson.