Cheadle Town 1 County 2
Ian Bogie would have been looking for an improved performance from his team as they took the field before a brilliant Tuesday night crowd of 505 at Park Road.
It`s early days of course but Saturday`s defeat at the hands of Northwich Victoria raised as many questions as it supplied answers.
In response Bogie made changes, bringing Paris Bateman, Tom Donegan, Ryan Brooks , Rhys Turner and Brandon Windsor into the starting line up at the expense of Tunnicliffe, Fisher, Craney, Jevons and Hand whilst swapping Ormson for King between the sticks. Again there was no sign of Charnock, but having seen him running up and down the Cheadle End steps on Tuesday evening this was no surprise!
It was 4 at the back for County as the match kicked off with Windsor and Fagbola lining up between Jacobs and O`Halloran. I made Jacobs my M.O.M - he constantly out thought the opposing forwards and forged a potent link at times with the speedily impressive Rhys Turner. Windsor did well too staying on for 90 minutes playing in a role I have not seen him in, and doing it well!
County, with Turner tormenting Town down the left and through the middle, looked in command early on, but despite his lightning speed and control Turner could not beat the on form Stephen Piggott the home keeper. Time after time Piggott intervened brilliantly as the County youngster searched for his 63 goal scoring touch of last season.
Then...with Piggott pushing another Turner strike around the post, up stepped Kristian Dennis, and when the ball came his way from Brookes ,on 13 minutes, a tasty back header made it 1-0 to County.
The pressure continued from County with Turner again going close having latched onto Ormsons long ball and headed for goal. But..... again Piggott stood between Rhys and glory and another brave stop once more thwarted the Stockport lad. The ball ran loose however to Dennis and he promptly fired it home to double his personal tally and make it 2-0 to County!
It continued in the same vein with Donegan and Brookes doing well and Turner still in lively form but just lacking that killer finish.
County were very much in control, but suddenly they lost concentration and within a couple of minutes of going 2 up, almost allowed the North West Counties League team to reduce the arrears, when Fagbola sold Ormson short with an awful back pass. The young keeper did the biz beating Ben Brooks to what has seemed a lovely pass, but it did nothing for the nerves. Add further minor indiscretions from O`Halloran and Fagbola again and there was a clear need for County to re-focus and Alan Lord at pitch side made short work of making the point.
The first of a series of bad, two footed, fouls came next from Barry Lawson every one of them worth a red, but this and the rest only earned the Cheadle number 5 a lecture, which was really poor refereeing!
Jacobs meanwhile was having a cracker, dealing with everything that came his way at the back, supplementing this by forging a potent link with Turner who now ran at Town down the right to great effect. The shots as a consequence kept raining in on the Cheadle goal as Piggott somehow kept a shot from Dennis out, then another from the increasingly impressive Batemen. The keeper was in prime form saving again from Dennis, who might this time have done better, but could only watch as the same forward shot wide from a Turner pass.
A fine move involving Jacobs and Turner ended with a shot from Bateman being cleared off the line by Ben Roberts, as the half ended with Ormson called on to make a rare save to keep Carl Sutton out after Howard had surrendered possession meekly.
Not bad so far then.....2-0 would do I suppose but with 10 changes made in the County line up for the re-start anything could happen in the final 45 minutes!
Only Windsor retained his place, with King the only other familiar face on view midst a plethora of trialists.
The only consistent element from the first half was the behaviour of Barry Lawson who needed a serious talk with himself as his fourth two footed assault sent Lordy into a rage at pitch side. The referee was still largely unconcerned but thankfully Steve Broken brow, the Cheadle manager did the right thing and took the player off!
To be fair there was none of the dramatic fall off of form in this half that we had witnessed after the break on Saturday. County with Windsor marshalling things at the back and the impressive Dale Minor looking in prime form at left back , looked in no danger. They managed good possession up front too with Sealey and Mbalanda to the fore, but neither of these two looked remotely likely to get a shot at goal in. Spaniard Breo Gan Parrera did no better - looking tasty on the ball but nonplussed as to finishing, despite Cheadle being constantly stretched.
Despite all the spurned chances County still looked in command, but they did get a warning, with 5 minutes left, when Linden slinked clear only to shoot straight at King.
No problem then....... except the warning went unheeded, and with King left badly exposed by lackadaisical defending, Linden made no mistake lashing the ball home from 15 yards out to make it 2-1.
Cheadle warmed to their task after this, but County held on well enough and even managed, through a blisteringly exciting run down the right by Jamie McQuillon, to turn the tables again, but once more the finish was absent as Sealen struggled in front of goal to apply it.
Game over.....result satisfactory I think.
See you at Nantwich then!
County( names in brackets came on for second half) .
Ormson ( King), Jacobs (Hindle), O`Halloran ( Minor), Bateman ( Duxbury),Fagbola(Churchman), Windsor, Donegan (Breo Gan Parera),Turner ( Lofthouse),Dennis( Sealen), Brooke ( Mabalanda),Howard ( McQuillen).
Piggott, Heath, Roberts, Taylor, Roberts, Whalley, Sutton, Lynden, Brooks, Tucker, Sheringham.
Attendance ; 505