Date: 11th March 2009 at 9:39am
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Such a nice romantic atmosphere last night at Edgeley Park. The sand glistening under the light of a full silvery moon. Aaahhh you cant beat a good old fashioned game of beach soccer. For that is what it was. Our dear cohabitants, Sale Sharks, had trained on the surface just a couple of days earlier. Rolling around and squeezing each others bits (so I am advised).

I heard that the groundsman can merely roll the pitch flat using the heaviest of heavy rollers at this stage of the season. This surface lasts well for all of 30 seconds. The bounce can be non-existent and of course after 5 minutes cuts up so that a passing game can be a lottery. Which does nothing for the nerves as County played the first 45 minutes with the ball on the ground (except for bobbles) and passed intricately between the back four and defensive midfield 25 yards out. Add a Matty McNeil straight 5 yard pass direct to Hartlepools No. 10 and it does make for bottom-clenching moments.

The first half was very flat, the Cheadle End taking 18 minutes on my clapometer (never did give it back to Hughie Green) before any sort of noise. The 173 fans who made up the lost looking souls in the Railway end made not a murmur.

In fact the loudest noise came from some of the rowdy boys (sic) in Yellow block who singled out Pools No 3. Humphreys, Pools No. 11 Monkhouse, the linesman and the referee for witty banter and then later on plain base insults.

Humphreys you fat ‘person’ !

To be fair all recipients of Stockports finest cabaret took the flak well.

The referee was a happy sort, not bothered by any late, after-the-ball-has-gone kicks from Pools No 7. Play up, play up and play the game gentlemen. Hopeless. Four out of 10 Mr Gibbs from the West Midlands. He was of course ‘ably assisted’ in the usual fashion by his linesmen.

The First half ended and off trooped the Stockport side of Fon Williams, McSweeney, Raynes, Mullins, Rose, Vincent, Tansey, Mainwaring, Rowe, McNeil, O’Grady.

On the bench were Dicker, Josh Thompson, Johnson, Pilkington, Turnbull.

Much to everyones amazement the second half bean in frantic fashion and within 60 seconds Hartlepool almost scored half a dozen times in a great goal-mouth scramble. It seemed like Fon Williams made a couple of decent saves and a block he knew nothing about. I even heard the 173 Hartlepool fans for a few seconds.

That woke things up and County began to play more down the wings and at a better tempo. The Cheadle End at last burst into a bit of life and it was game on. After 55 minutes McSweeney shot home after a Michael Rose cross. County upped the tempo still further and force a series of corners but the best was to come. Young (even by County’s first team standards) James Vincent scored his first goal for the club, advancing from about 25 yards towards a packed Pools defence before letting fly from about 20 yards. The ball screamed into the back of the net. I doubt their keeper saw it.

From this point County could have and should have pressed on. Three or four nil looked possible but instead this young team seemed to falter a little and started passing around the back four and to the keeper and retreated deeper and deeper until 5 minutes from time someone called Mackay scored for the visitors. A nail biting few minutes ensured before the ref blew.

So that was that and we reflected on a referee who began to lose control, booking three Pools players before Michael Rose could stand the nonsense no longer and raced back like a maniac and pushed over one of theirs to get himself a yellow.

So, a last glance back – was that Tommy Rowe building a sand castle in the centre circle?

Final thoughts. Michael Rose has got magic toes. Matty McNeil wasn’t too bad at centre back. Raynes impressed me. Tommy Rowes instant touch and close ball control looked good but he seems to get himself lost at times. Fon Williams is so dependable. O’Grady seems to be improving and he can certainly strike a ball. The gate was 4,790.

Also why were there three times the number of police you would have thought were needed? On the way I saw groups standing around just looking at their feet. And all this at £300 per man I have heard?

So we are still in touching distance of the play-offs with Orient to come on Saturday.

If anyone would like to send in their match report please email me at stockport @ vitalfootball.co.uk as to bring you this brief I had to lay off the Robinsons.

Come On County!

 

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