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24/04 Stockport 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 26/04/2004

AH, the second half, a different kettle of fish. Well, it stunk in a different way. Town, all Town the second half. Balls whacked, whacked and whacked again towards the Stockport goal. The veneer of passion, of fight but, stripped of the desperation, it was still just aimless hoofing.

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Reports > Stockport (a)

Edgeley Park

Stockport County 2 Grimsby Town 1
24 Apr 2004, Nationwide League Division 2

Well, at least Stockport were incessantly pinned back against their own metaphorical wall. But with a Town attack much lighter than an eiderdown who ever thought they would overpower the solidly built defenders?

Rankin, back to goal, no support, no room, bundled away. Mansaram, almost through. Rankin briefly in space outside the penalty area on the right. Into the area, a cross, deflected to Mansaram. He dribbled along the bye-line, looked up and passed the ball to the goalkeeper at the near post. Right ball, wrong time. No-one near. Arms flapped, heads rolled, heads dropped. Was there any belief in the team or the crowd? Well, do you believe that Colonel Saunders can fry, or that pigs and even DC10s can fly?

After about 50 minutes Town got a free kick about 20 yards out, on the centre left. After an age Jevons stepped forward and carefully lofted the ball a couple of yards over the bar. Sit down youngsters, he ain’t going to do anything today.

Drifting again, the game slow, dull, bereft of talent, an awful pub game on a pub pitch. Bang, up goes the ball. Whoosh, down comes the ball. Clang, clang, clang goes the trolley. Timid, frightened, careless, insipid; the Town players seemed frightened of the ball as it bounced near them. No-one wanted to shoot, to pass, to do something. Content to watch others, so nothing happened. And of course, they had no idea how to play route one football. Crowe ran quickly upfield and kept shinning the ball out of play. Crowd fury. The referee booked one of their players for being substituted, or at least it looked that way. That makes as much sense of any other of his decisions. Mansaram was getting worse, but trying, trying, trying. The more he tried, the worse he got. Finally the crowd snapped and began to boo him after 60 minutes. We need somebody to love, and this year that dreamyboy is Hockless.

Just at his lowest Mansaram did something right, winning a corner through persistence and the iron laws of probability, who, to the amusement of Grimbarians the world over, keeps being appointed as Scunthorpe’s manager. Barnard flapped the ball over from the right. It curled long, curled high, with Crane quivering underneath it beyond the far post. Suddenly he ducked and Jevons, about eight yards out, produced a tremendously extravagant, flamboyant head-high hooking scissor kick. The ball looped across goal, shuddered against the crossbar and back out to Barnard. The Welsh wobbler clipped a cross into the centre of goal, with Edwards, about eight yards out, glancing a header past the far post. That got the Town fans up demanding more, a deafening roar, imploring the feckless floozies to score.

With 25 minutes left Hockless replaced Mansaram. Jevons moved upfront with Rankin, Anderson went to the left and Hockless on the right. Ah, a rather tasty looking forward four, what delights, what football to behold. Yes, that’s right, Jevons to be the target man. Bizarrely, he actually started to win headers too. And, with about 20 minutes left, from one such flick of the fans’ favourite fringe Stockport were under pressure. Rankin retrieved, and passed to Hockless, wide on the right. Hockless shuffled out, then in, drifting across his marker towards the centre. About 21.236 yards out he suddenly pinged a shot goalwards. The ball dipped and disappeared behind a defender, then shivered down the ‘keeper’s right side netting. All rise, the tiny tot HOCKLESS had scored.

Craneyellow card


Warhurst78 mins
Hocklessgoal66 mins


Kevin Wright


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Stockport really wobbled when Hockless arrived on the pitch. Some invention, some verve, some desire, at last. Dribbling? Passing? What are these alien concepts. That’s the sort of thing you see on television. Around the time Town scored Rankin chased a long through ball, the goalkeeper wandered outside his area and miss-kicked out to the left. The ball went straight to Anderson, about 45 yards out on the wing, who poked a first time volley goalwards. Well, goalwards in the sense that it went East. The ball drifted out for a goal kick, near the corner flag. Barnard smelled a low shot through the penalty area from about 20 yards. Through legs, past ankles, Rankin on the 6 yards line flicked, missed, and the ball thumped into the goalkeeper’s arms

Town were pouring players forward, leaving just a couple of players back. Oh for Edwards, the rock, the giant, twice averting danger inside the Town penalty area with magnificent tackles. He swept on the right, he hooked on the left when the last man. But County did get a chance or two. A long drop kick was headed away by Edwards but straight to Williams, who slipped a pass down their inside right. Wilbraham (I think) bounded free inside the penalty area, but Fettis raced off his line and blocked marvellously . What else did Stockport do? Rrrrrrickeeeeeeeee Lambert side footed well, well, well wide at one point, and Wilbraham passed the ball to Fettis from outside the area. Apart from that I can’t recall much going near Fettis. They did bring on Beckett with a quarter of an hour left. A right little pest he was, dispossessing Edwards from behind with a flying burrito brothers kung-fu assault and generally being "competitive". Edwards, then Warhurst, clobbered him, which sorted him out. Warhurst? Yes, he replaced Crowe with about a dozen minutes left. He played at right defender in a back line that started as a four, then as the minutes ticked by ended up as him and Campbell sometimes.

There aren’t many chances to describe, just pressure, as Town walloped the ball straight down the pitch. Rankin and Jevons were just trying to flick the ball on in the hope someone was near, to apply pressure; the something might happen if you’re lucky theory of football. Rankin, turning, a shot blocked near the line. Barnard bouncing a shot through the penalty area, headed away from the line, bodies bundling, boots flailing, ball cleared. Town players queuing up on the edge of the area; Hockless dribbling, passing; Campbell swishing a few yards wide of the left post.

With about five minutes left, Jevons drifted a cross from about 25 yards out towards the far post. Anderson leapt, the defender fell over and Jethro chested the ball towards goal, perhaps 10 yards out. He was free, a chance, a goal.... Anderson fell over the defender. Half hearted claims of a penalty emanated from the Town fans rather than the players. The ball was cleared upfield and Crane mutilated a Stockport player with a scything hack from behind. The last five minutes of normal time was taken up with Stockport players being injured and receiving very long, slow treatment. But still more Town pressure; a Barnard shot blocked, several dozen men in the penalty area, boots jacking and jagging at a bouncing ball.

Just three minutes of added time were given, but still Town rolled forward. A cross, a knock down, Anderson on the corner of the penalty area, zooming towards goal....and volleying just over the angle of post and bar. The game ended with a free kick rolled by Campbell to Warhurst who, rather than pumping forward into the crowded penalty area, simply passed it back to Campbell. The whistle blew, Campbell passionately shouted at Warhurst who shrugged his shoulders.

Then we all went home.

Analysis? What’s the point. It’s only saying the same things as usual but in a different order. Only two words needed to sum it all up: supine and tawdry.

Do you hear that sound? Strain your ears and you can make it out. It’s the Third Division calling out: "You’re my wife now."

Nicko’s Man of the Match

Hockless had a nice 20 minute cameo , but there is no other contender worthy of even whispering. Mike Edwards, a one man band at the back. I really should have a rubber stamp made up for this bit.

Official Warning

K Wright. He could have made any decision at any time for any reason. He gave free kick for players standing still, ignored the odd clout here and there, and was distinctly average for this division. So an average score of 5.0249

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