Date:Thursday February 13 2014
I am not sure just how much I was looking forward to this one.....the weather forecasts had pain written all over them, with not a Michael Fish type optimistic punt anywhere- we were in for snow.....wind.......strong winds.....ice......rain.....even stronger winds...... the only things missing from these dire advance warnings were a plague of frogs and boils!
The forecasts understated matters in reality, as the Dronfield venue was awash with tsunami type winds that threw great mountains of wetness in about fifteen different directions at once!
Yes....it was a truly miserable day, but in the end , despite some off the field nonsense( of which more later)it was worth the effort as County`s table topping Youth Team came back from a half time deficit of1-3 to run out 4-3 winners against host side Chesterfield!
The opening minutes saw County camped in the Chesterfield last third, dutifully seeking an opening goal.
One Nick Williams intervention( to block the Chesterfield number nine, who was a threat throughout the first half)apart, it was pretty much all County early on ,and it was no surprise when they took the lead 13 minutes into proceedings.
The goal came via Kiarno Samms, whose first shot was saved by the Chesterfield keeper.
The loose ball came back to Kiarno however, and he dispatched it into the net to open the scoring.
After more pressure from County, but nothing remotely resembling a goal, it was something of a shock to see the opposing centre forward again dart clear.
Adam Rigby was exposed and second favourite for sure, but the forward`s shot drifted wide and it remained 1-0 to County.
So.....nothing untoward at all really thus far, if County tighten up ....they should be O.K!
At least.....that was my thinking anyway, but....after Ben Spibey had been fouled en-route to goal - Leon Murphy crashed his free kick into the foot of the post, and almost straight from the rebound Chesterfield sent their number nine scooting clear again on the end of a tasty ball.
It was a no brainer.....Rigby was dished, and the forward beat him with an excellent finish, to make it 1-1.
Hmm ......that was not good, but ...after Rodney Ajayi had missed out with a shot, it got even worse when a foul on the Chesterfield number nine set him up to beat Rigby from the spot and make it 2-1 in the Derbyshire side`s favour!
County tried to rectify matters, but despite hard work, late pressure from the home side saw a third goal breech County`s defences sending them in at the break a sodden 1 goal to 3 down.
The re-start saw Dean Nolan and Kristopher Livesey on in place of Nick Williams and Demell Cumberbatch.
County had come back from being behind a few times this season, so despite the wind likely to be in favour Chesterfield in this half ,I found no one in the group of 5 County supporters on site, who felt that we did not have a chance- they did they had a fighters chance and more!
But things then took surreal turn as the sun came out ( for about 10 minutes).
Having the sun on their backs, however briefly, seemed to suit County and just after the hour mark they pulled a goal back, when Ajayi fed Samms, and he blasted his second home from close in!
That was excellent, but we needed another, but after good work from Albert Keeling and Kameron Palmer - Ajayi saw his shot miss by a foot or so, and when Samms headed just over, faint hearts just might have been tempted to write County off....... but they would have been wrong as, with 20 minutes left they drew level and it was a cracker too, as a high ball into the box bounced in front of Ben Spibey.
His back was to goal, but he swivelled around and hit a beauty past the keeper`s dive into the net.
It was 3-3 and game on!
Liam Atkinson replaced Rodney Ajayi shortly after, and early pressure from the County substitute induced the home keeper into error. The loose ball ran out to Spibey but his shot went narrowly wide.
Chesterfield did their best to reply to all this and get back their lead, but County, with Palmer and Charlie Mather in prime form, defended the situation well , and came back at their opponents as the keeper saved a header by Spibey after Samms had been fouled on the edge of the box.
It went on with Palmer doing well with neat interventions a couple of times, whilst Atkinson pinged a cross or two over that unsettled the home side.
The pressure was building from County until, with just 10 minutes left, they won a corner and it was spilled by the keeper.
It wasn`t pounced on and cleared by the Derbyshire lads either, and Nolan did the biz as a result- thrashing the ball home to the delight of his team and the small band of sodden Stockport supporters!
Credit to Chesterfield...they tried to rectify matters, and did have the ball in the net with 6 minutes left, only for the effort to be ruled out for handball.
But County were not resting on any laurels either as, prompted by the excellent Charlie Mather, Samms saw a shot charged down and Spibey was thwarted by the keeper
It went on with Spibey and Keeling in productive concert near the home by-line......Samms and Spibey.....Atkinson and Callum Jones.....all probing the home defences , but without success.
Into the final moments and Chesterfield lifted a late free kick into the swirling maelstrom above our heads and into the box. Mather cleared it nicely, but it came back via the Chesterfield number 10 who had a go- missing out by a fair bit.
A blast of the referee`s whistle and it was game over and a hard fought affair it was too.
County are to be congratulated on a fine win..... the Chesterfield players too deserve credit for a battling performance in difficult conditions.
What a shame that there was a considerable sour note introduced into proceedings moments before kick off when one of the Chesterfield coaches advised me that " you needed written permission from the Football League to be able to take pictures "
With that I was advised I could not take any more( I had taken 4 or so already and these I will include here, but otherwise I will by necessity have to use library pics this time around, so my apologies!).
Prior to this the same coach had apparently treated Sue Cordon exceedingly rudely whilst telling her much the same.
This was a shabby exhibition of hospitality, and places further coverage of County Youth Team away fixtures by myself, in jeopardy- if pantomimes of this nature are in prospect in future!
County line up:
Rigby, Mather, Murphy, Palmer, Williams ( Livesey 45), C Jones, Cumberbatch ( Nolan 45),Samms, Spibey, Keeling, Ajayi ( Atkinson 70).
To see this report with photos and raise mony for Help The Hatters have a spin around http://hedgegrower.blogspot.co.uk/
Date:Thursday February 13 2014
Gloucester City 2 County 0 (Sunday March 9 2014)
Finger to Guiseley ? (Thursday March 6 2014)
MMU 5 County Youth 1 (Thursday March 6 2014)
County 2 Barrow 2 (Wednesday March 5 2014)
County host Barrow (Tuesday March 4 2014)
Finger to Gloucester (Cheltenham) ? (Monday March 3 2014)
Leamington 2 County 1 (Monday March 3 2014)
Finger to Gloucester? (Sunday February 23 2014)
County 2 Solihull Moors 2 (Sunday February 23 2014)
Moors next for County (Friday February 21 2014)
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