Tis the season to get in the play off`s?
Hello and seasonal greetings to you all, it`s funny now to be looking at us from the right end of the table for a change isn`t it?
We are a good half way into the season now so I wanted to do a recap of where we are and what`s been happening over the last month.
Since we last spoke we have had some ups and some downs, our away form has been shaky to be polite but our home form has thankfully maintained (apart from a recent blip).
I am writing this piece as a slight overview since we have just played our third home game on the bounce before the Christmas and New Year games.
We played Hednesford at EP in November (god that seems ages ago now) who sat close to ourselves in the league, after a goalless first half we took the lead and if I`m being honest I saw a draw on the cards.
This wasn`t the case and as quick as we scored our 2nd we got a 3rd to make it 3-0 (although if I`m being honest the score flattered the game as it could easily have ended 1-1). This took us up to 5th in the league with Chorley away being the next game.
I`d booked the Tuesday and Wednesday of work so I could get the coach to Chorley, earlier that day when I was sat at home I had an awful feeling we were going to loose.
At one point I almost pulled out but something told me to go anyway.
We got to the ground early so I sank two pints at this pub around the corner (since they had shut the social club) then made my way into the ground, the atmosphere was one of the best I have seen this season and if you closed your eyes it was like an old type away game.
I heard many people say after the game it was like the old away matches in the 80`s and if that is correct it`s a shame I was born slightly too late to witness them.
We started pretty strong and could have easily gone in front with Stephenson and Spencer both missing good chances.
In the 2nd half Chorley scored but I could still see us getting a draw, this wasn`t to be and which must have only been Chorley`s 2nd shot on target and they only went and scored again.
With the game well and truly beyond us now the 700+ of us who made the short trip up the M61 were treated to one of my all time favourite County songs Arthur Brownlow.
The stewards and the extra security that were stood in front of us were in total awe and one of them said to a lad next to me with a wide smile “why have you waited till now to sing this? It`s the best song we`ve heard here all season”.
I thought to myself – it`s a Stockport County thing, you wouldn`t understand.
Its songs and moments like this that makes our club different to others and unique in its own special way. Its also moments like that which made the journey to Chorley and back worth while.
I want to speak briefly on the 3rd goal we conceded, Ian Ormson came out too early and in my opinion he hesitated and then was chipped.
Now I think he`s improved since last season and the season before but if we seriously want to get promotion things like this shouldn`t happen.
He gets a lot of stick from some fans which is unfair when you look at some of the defenders that he`s played behind, but he was at fault this time.
The sad thing is that when I hear him in the starting line up a little part me inside things “oh?.” and it shouldn`t be like this, I know I`m not the only who feels this way but we need to sign Hurst up ASAP long term.
After dropping to 6th in the league we played Fylde over two games home and away, I was expecting a drubbing to be polite after we`d played against Chorley but we fought hard and secured a goalless draw.
If someone had have asked me if I would have took that result before the game I would have snapped the hand right off just below the wrist haha. This dropped us to 7th in the league with games in hand on two teams above us, so still looking fairly positive compared to our previous seasons.
We now turned out attentions to the next visitors to EP in the “other” cup the FA Trophy as we hosted Colwyn Bay, a win would be much needed not only for the prize money but so we don`t have to travel for a replay three days later.
We play Colwyn Bay again at home on Boxing Day and then new years day away – so on paper we could have even played them 4 times in as many weeks results depending.
Even my Mrs is convinced we only play about 5 teams in our league as I seem to be saying the same ones over and over again whenever she asks who we`re playing.
This being the first of 3 games at home on the run that saw us also play the return match against Fylde and then Guiseley before two away games over two weeks.
One thing that did strike me as a bit strange was the fact we have played some teams in this league twice already and its not even Christmas, some of the other teams we haven`t even played at all yet – it doesn`t really make a difference but I wanted to mention it as I cant remember seeing this in any other leagues before.
This could go in our favour as later on in the last stretch of the season we play Stalybridge at home and Hyde (twice) as well as some other teams who on paper we should walk past. This could be a very exciting end that could see us in the play offs.
I thought we played very well against Colwyn Bay and some of the moves and plays that we are now doing are refreshing to watch, it`s good to see Spencer and Dennis getting a goal each and the defending looked spot on as well.
We have scored a few through counter attacks and set pieces this season and the speed we can get the ball up the pitch even if its just to win a corner can be terrifyingly quick.
What I wasn`t expecting was the news that Dennis, Gregson and Lees have all signed new contracts to run till 2016 !!
I had forgot what it felt like to get excited for players to sign a new contract and I think this highlights a few things – that the club and players have ambition to go further and that we are serious about the long run.
I am also led to believe that the player`s budget played a big part in this which is so good to hear.
I for one have donated and I hope (even if it`s just your change after a pie and a pint) that you do to. We have raised so far well over £3000 on “blue Monday” and if you were part of that – please pat yourself on the back.
Two games in the space of a week saw us play the remaining home games against Fylde on the Tuesday & Guiseley on the Saturday, both who at the time of playing were above us in the league.
Either I`m getting old or it was absolutely freezing against Fylde on Tuesday night but we battled well and got a 0-0 draw.
We had a few decent chances to score but it was one of those nights where nothing went in our favour, still a good attendance of over 2300 turned up and braved the weather.
Also correct me if I`m wrong but this was the first home game since the opening match where we didn`t score, it seems a very long time ago since we could ever say anything like that and again this is an example of how far we have come under Lord.
When I think back a couple of years ago to when Dietmar took over and Danny Rowe was our top scorer with 8 goals (in a full season) it seems like the dark ages, hopefully those depressing days are far behind us we can look forward to the good times that are going to come.
That being said when we were walking out of EP after the Guiseley game four days later it felt well and truly like the dark days again, we got spanked 3-0 by a far better side with only ten men.
I could only feel slight jealousy as that`s what I would like our away form to be like. We didn`t play well but I`m not going to dwell on it as I`m sure Lord let the players know after the final whistle.
So we currently sit 6th in the table, which is amazing considering we have only won one game from the last five we have played.
We have only dropped one place since we beat Hednesford in the middle of November so in all honesty it could have been much worse.
We now have Ramsbottom in the FA Trophy first round before playing North Ferriby in the league – so who knows what could happen in these two games judging by our inconsistent away form.
After that it`s on to the next home game???Colwyn Bay???for a change.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish a Merry Christmas to all the fellow county fans local and worldwide, please stay safe and enjoy the festive period.
Talk to you in the New Year.
Tis the season to get in the play off`s?
Tis the season to get in the play off`s?