I`m in difficulties here…..
I am not at all sure that I can adequately represent the truly awful game I have just watched.
You maybe will think I am exaggerating, but then again perhaps you have been to Edgeley Park or followed the blues away this season ,and thus are only too aware of how the land lies these days with our team.
Anyway………I will press on…..this is how I saw things today……
County stretched the patience of their loyal supporters today with an insipid performance that ensured all the available points went to Solihull.
With our hosts, who had played so well at Edgeley Park so recently, apparently having an off day themselves, from early on it was clear that there was something for County in the game if they just applied themselves.
This however proved beyond them as their game subsided into a master class in lumping it long.
Unfortunately this approach got the response it deserved from Moors, and a single goal , result of ineffectual defending, was enough to see County, who had mustered but one shot on target in 90 odd minutes, off.
However…..three o`clock saw a decent County following taking up positions in the neat Autotech Stadium that had good cover and seating on 2 sides.
There was only one change from the last game in the County starting line up, that of Moses for Platt, which perhaps signalled a reliance on solid defence ( the Moses option) as opposed to one of attacking verve( Option Platt).
The first action proved to be deceptive in so far as Jas Singh, got himself into a mini tangle faced with Dennis , who charged into the box after the first `high and hopeful` one from County , the home keeper survived, but only just.
If I was at all buoyed by this, the feeling did not last long , despite good work from Churchman and Moses, as the referee then gave Moors a joke free kick that proved not at all funny, as Ormson dived to keep a strike by Darryl Knights out after Fleet had lifted the kick high into the box.
County struggled with the corner and again when Exodus Geohaghan launched one of his specials immediately after.
They just couldn`t clear the ball, and it was fortunate that Knights shot missed the target, as the blues looked distinctly vulnerable.
This vulnerability continued with Milligan losing the ball to Knights, and County were glad to concede a corner as Junior English pinged a cross in.
Ormson claimed the pill from the corner…..danger averted…….but County were making hard work of things, and needed to tighten up quickly!
There was a brief flurry of blue excitement as Singh had to react swiftly to sweep up as Howard threatened.
The keeper`s actions saw any danger off, and Reece Fleet did similar, finding touch rapidly, as Howard took the ball to the by line.
It was good that County pressed a bit during this period, but it was never with any great conviction, or significant end product.
Indeed some of County`s play was decidedly loose , putting the back four under pressure, fortunately though Solihull were looking no better and Rick Taundry emphasised this by latching onto a County loose one before spraying an awful ball out.
County had to tighten up then, as I have already said, but they also needed to do a bit going forward as well, Howard was trying but where were the others?
Singh had no difficulty dealing with a high one from Duxbury, after Howard had worked hard down the left, and County promptly fell back as the referee again obliged Moors when Omar Bogle sought a rest on the deck.
The free kick had County struggling again and they were thankful to see Knights shot fly wide of the target.
On it went with Solihull not that switched on, whilst County struggled to attain even those giddy heights.
Still passes were going astray with regularity, and when fortune briefly favoured them and they got a free kick, they promptly wasted it- in short…on the ball the blues were distinctly unimpressive!
Off toward the break we headed( not half quickly enough for me and others who were in danger of dozing off)…..with Dennis well short of getting to a couple of hopeful through balls from Howard and Milligan respectively.
At the other end it was heart in mouth time as Charnock got himself in a bit of a tangle faced with the advancing Bogle- County escaped without cost from this, but it did not instil confidence.
Neither did the next action as Geohaghan presented a gift to Jevons just outside the box. It was a chance of sorts, but Jevons fluffed it and Fleet was able to clear his lines.
Into the last minute of normal time we went and County chose this moment to at last test Singh. Lees started it by cutting out an attempted Moors break. From him it swiftly went to Milligan who lifted it to the back of the box where Howard lurked.
Howard did well and his instant control won him a shooting chance and he took it firing in a decent shot, but Singh was equal to it and a fine stop kept it at 0-0 as 1 minute of added time was announced.
County continued to press during added time and there was no doubt that, under pressure , Geohaghan had handled the ball and prevented anything more damaging coming from County.
It looked deliberate to me, using the `Dan Meeson/ Fagbola formulae`- which you will recall insists that a player who shows NO intent to handle but has the ball blasted at him from 5 or 6 yards away, earns a red card if the ball strikes his hand!
Plain enough then, but I was never in any doubt that a yellow would suffice and that was the outcome. It was also the last action of an enormously sleep inducing 45 minutes!
I took the opportunity to consult the blog`s Gastronomic Guru( Jeff),at this point, and he was effusive about the `Burger, Bacon and Onions ‘ barm he had just consumed.
Suitably impressed I plumped for a bacon roll, and this also was excellent, and it was adequate comment on the catering to say that, despite very efficient service, long queues surrounded the eatery right up to and after the final whistle.
The teams were just preparing to come out, when I overheard a local say ” if they had anything about them (meaning us) they could win this one!”
I could just about understand where he was coming from……Solihull were a pale shadow of the decent team that pushed us all the way some weeks ago…it was just that County were not looking capable of capitalising on this.
In fact it took them just 7 minutes to emphasise this as a Geohaghan exocet pushed the blues back.
Charnock blocked it, and O`Halloran did likewise to Knight`s follow up, but County then faffed about prodigiously and long enough for Omar Bogle to work himself a notional shooting chance, which he despatched past Ormson with precision.
It was 1-0 to Moors, and no great surprise really.
I recalled the combination of Battersby and Oates doing well at our place against the same opposition, but both were languishing on the bench, which was not helpful at all, with no threat at all materialising from the forwards just now!
County continued to struggle though, and Ormson did well to push a shot from English around the post.
He did less well under pressure from Geohaghan when the corner came across, and again County were fortunate to see Dior Angus lift his shot over the bar.
The hour mark arrived, marked by Battersby and Oates taking the places of Churchman and Howard, but the minutes that followed continued to look bleak from a blue perspective as English and Bogle both went close.
Yes….Moors were gaining in confidence, but Knights still could not hit the target lifting another effort over the top when reasonably placed.
By way of contrast County`s confidence looked shot, and Charnock did well to keep a Bogle shot out after Ormson had spilled a corner , the prelude to a moment of collective madness from a clutch of blue shirted defenders.
It continued with Ormson somehow keeping another English shot out, after another forgettable moment of wayward decision making in the box from County.
County were trying…… still, but with no increase in efficiency, and after Jevons had won a neat free kick, Milligan promptly wasted it by lumping it way wide.
Into 4 minutes added time and County`s plight was summed up neatly when a late corner saw Moses well set to despatch at least a shot on target, but instead he swung a leg and duly missed the ball completely.
By this stage the abuse was flying from some of the County fans, not all of it well chosen or 100% correct. I just wanted the end and soon enough it came and we could head off home.
That was not good and I hope for much much better on Tuesday at Kidderminster!
Meanwhile……lime myself…..please keep taking the tablets!
County line up:
Ormson, Lees, Charnock, O`Halloran, Duxbury, Moses, Milligan, Churchman( Oates 60), Jevons,Dennis, Howard ( Battersby 60).
Subs not used: Lewis, Fagbola, Lofthouse.
Solihull Moors line up;
Singh, Dean, Gough, Fleet, Elvins, Geohaghan, English, Taundry, Bogle, Angus, Knights.
Attendance : TBA
Solihull Moors 1 County 0
I`m in difficulties here…..