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15/11 Stockport 2nd Half

By: Tony Butcher
Date: 16/11/2003

NO changes were made by either team at half time. Nothing changed, they were still faster, stronger, higher than Town. Even their little number three, Jackman, who had made the condescenders eat dirt with a towering, in all senses, performance.

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

Grimsby Town 1 Stockport County 1
15 Nov 2003, Nationwide League Division 2

Campbell had been invisible for most of the first half, easily robbed and shepherded away from danger. And the same again for the next instalment, with Campbell trying, but failing. Nearly, but never. And as Town’s main point of attack is always the right, that rather explains why Town continued to be moribund as an attacking force.

A couple of minutes into the half a long ball over the top down the Town right saw Boulding free. The spindliest of their centre halves, Heath, ran across and obstructed the scamp. Town were given a free kick just outside the penalty area, about 15 yards out. Expectations rose, the crowd starting to tap out a rhythm of support. The referee took eight steps back and allowed the wall to stand a couple of yards in front of him. Hamilton stood over the ball, sized up the situation, and decided on a cunning plan. He rolled the ball slowly into the penalty area, straight to a defender stood about eight yards away. Well done Des, another winner.

After about five minutes Stockport excited their own supporters and worried those Town fans who remained conscious. A deep cross from their right travelled lightly through the air and deep beneath lay only Stockport players. The ball fell and Welsh, way out towards the edge of the area, perhaps a dozen yards out, hit a half volley across the face of goal. Davison scrambled across his line, a striker lurked, and the ball went a foot or so past the left hand post. Things happened in the next ten minutes, probably in the shops down Cleethorpe Road. I have a vague recollection of a Stockport striker heading the ball over from the middle of the penalty area. Well, when I say headed over, Edwards headed the ball onto the striker’s bonce, and over the bar it flew. Elsewhere seagulls twittered around, choosing their next target on the Upper Smiths/Stones/Findus, large ships floated by, glinting in the twilight, a train trundled by, Groves furiously waved his arms around and the Pontoon tried to get the players going. But even in the Pontoon there wasn’t a belief or any enthusiasm in the chanting.

I forgot, there was just one Town attack, and beauteous it was in its nostalgic construction. McDermott roamed, passes were exchanged, a wall was created and flicks were made, sending McDermott behind the defence. He got inside the penalty area and smacked a low cross into the near post. Onuora lunged, a defender swiped clear.

Here we go again, another deep cross, this time from the left and Wilbraham, unmarked beyond the far post about a dozen yards out, volleyed across goal. Davison watched, the crowd stared, the ball bombled along and missed the right hand post by a foot or so. That was after an hour of earth time, but several mental years for the spectators. With the crowd beginning to stir, especially at the sight of Cas running up and down the touchline, Town made a change. Off came the immobile soup kitchen and on came the human octopus. Or Mansaram for Onuora, if you must have it that way. Within a minute disaster, oh disaster. Stockport got a free kick a few yards inside the Town half, on the centre right. It was wellied in a straight line deep into the penalty area. Mansaram back-pedalled, a big bloke ran in from the wing, rose above the floundering Townite and headed across goal. Missed at the near post, the ball continued along the 6 yards box and hit the unmarked CLARE, rolling gently into the centre of the goal as Davison sipped some cough linctus.

Hamiltonyellow card


Cas68 mins
Jevons89 mins
Mansaramgoal64 mins


Martin Atkinson


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Not a surprise, as Town had been woeful, whilst Stockport had at least had some shots. Some very close shots. At this, Campbell was replaced by Cas, which brought forth some baffling booing from the Pontoon. Anyone of the midfielders could have been taken off, as they’d all been ineffective, with Hamilton perhaps the luckiest to remain on the pitch. No, that’s not fair to the others, take "perhaps" out of that sentence. Campbell had been sewn up like a handbag by his marker, though.

Town woke up a bit, raising the pace of their game. Or would that be panicking slightly? Mansaram received the ball with his back to goal near the left corner of their penalty area. With four defenders around he twisted, turned, started to dance to that Eastern beat, mesmerising with his hands and legs, a whirl, a swirl, a pot-pourri of limbs. With the defenders under his spell, he whacked a shot which appeared to be deflected a few inches over and wide of the top right hand corner. No corner, no appeal by Mansaram for a corner either. Town pressed, zipping in crosses, winning corners, threatening no-one. Boulding? No, a cross from the left lurched over the final defender and Boulding, 8 yards out at the far post headed down, softly, with the ball plumping up nicely into Colgan’s midriff. Young? Hello, coming forward at last he surged down the wing and hit a tempting cross into the near post. Great cross, shame about the strikers, neither of whom bothered to make that all important near post run. Another corner, from the right, an almost moment as the ball fell at the far post. Edwards turned and twisted to shoot from about five yards out. A defender threw himself across and the ball was blocked away for another corner.

Frustration mounting, the inevitable silly defeat looming, then from those mighty jaws leapt a saviour. A corner on the Town right was hit to the edge of the penalty area at the far post. Crowe raced in and steered a left footed half volley way wide of goal. The ball hit Boulding (I think) ricocheting off his shins and out to a Stockport defender standing 20 yards out, right in the centre. A wild, swinging swish and the ball arced up sideways. Crowe, about 25 yards out, leapt up and did a spectacular bicycle kick. The ball looped towards goal. The whole defence rushed out leaving just one man, the man of the hour. MANSARAM stuttered, twisted his body and flicked the ball just to the left of Colgan, who had wandered back on to his line and flapped. Mansaram ran back up field, dodging his ecstatic team-mates in a big game of tiggy.

For a few brief moments it felt Town could pull a remarkable rabbit out of an unremarkable hat. Cas crossed into the crowd, then into Colgan’s waiting hands at the near post, just in front of Mansaram. Stockport’s defence rocked a little as Town players started to do things like passing to each other and running at them. You know, those things that professional footballers do when you see them on telly. Who says television isn’t educational? With about 10 minutes left, Cas hurled a long throw into the area from underneath the Police Box. Mansaram flicked the ball on and it bounced free on the edge of the area, in the centre. Anderson twisted and shot all in one movement, but weakly. The ball just rumbled along the ground, gathering moss, The players turned and ambled upfield, Colgan decided to lay down for a while, taking a quick nap after his exertions. After all, he’d played for nearly an hour. When he awoke the ball was still rolling across the penalty area, eventually stumbling against the foot of the right hand post and bouncing out for a goal kick. Five minutes later a Town break, Mansaram with an excellent quick low ball releasing Boulding on the centre left. Boulding waited for the defender, drifted in, then out, hitting a low shot from near the corner of the 6 yards box. The ball went slightly to Colgan’s left. He bent down and the ball careered away to his right, spinning across, then back towards goal, forcing him to leap around like a concerned rabbit. Colgan plucked the ball off the line as the Pontoon awaited the latest gift from goalkeeping heaven.

For Town that was it. But don’t ever get the impression they bossed the last quarter of an hour, for Stockpot were dangerous on the break, only thwarted by their own striking inabilities. That’s two-touch Wilbraham to you and me. Errors continued in the Town defence and midfield, especially from our resident Des, who had people hiding underneath their seats in horror whenever he went near the ball. For he did get near the ball, but never to it. He went left as the ball went right, he went up as everyone else went down. Anderson drifted past two players and rolled the ball into Hamilton 35 yards out, unmarked. A wonderful position, ready for a Des drive. Hamilton stopped, jumped up as though someone had just switched on the electricity and cringed when a Stockport players ran 10 yards to nick the ball away. Having said that, he did win a free kick in the 85th minute by falling over, so it wasn’t an entirely wasted afternoon. Sometime towards the end, Stockport had another one of those cross shot volleys which went a few inches wide of the post. It was either from the left or right, of that one can be sure. There were quite a few moments of danger which required Crane’s big boots or Edwards’ big brain to smother. And then there was Davison’s dribble and defence splitting pass across the face of goal as a striker harried.

As the game entered the three minutes of added time Jevons came on for Anderson and he touched the ball just the once. The match ended with a moment that summed up the day. Town rolled forward, urged on by the now roaring Pontoon. Hamilton received the ball near the half way line, on the right, weighed up all options and hoofed the ball out of play, almost knocking a steward’s socks off. The crowd groaned, the whistle blew, we all went home.

A very, very bad team performance, with the midfield absent, the defence occasionally dozy and the attack almost non-existent. Stockport were able to dictate the game, and so it was bitty, broken, frustrating and a waste of time and money for all Grimbarians. A Scrappy Doo rather than Scooby Doo day. Stockport should have won, Town could have nicked it. In the context of the game, a point gained really. It was the polar opposite of last Saturday and probably the worst league performance of the season. And yes, that does include the game that dare not speak its name.

There you are, gone, over, finished. Like a bit of tummy turmoil after a suspicious sandwich, no need to think about this game again.

Nicko’s Man of the Match

No-one excelled, with all making a faux pas at some stage. Young tackled well and was extremely determined, so a big mention in despatches to the once Wednesday whacker. However, after the use of a very fine tooth comb, MIKE EDWARDS gets the nod for some late blocks and sweeps. He also got a bonus point for the surreptitious use of his right hand inside the Town penalty area.

Marky’s UnMan of the Match

So bad they named him twice, Des-Des Hamilton. A staggeringly inept performance, with only a couple of things he can look back on with any satisfaction, and one of those was remembering to lock his car boot before the game. Was he still in British Summertime? What is his function? Des, why? It was embarrassing.

Official Warning

M Atkinson. Apparently referees judge themselves on whether they appeared to be in control of the game. Well, this may explain his resort to whistling Dixie every few seconds, You can’t lose control of a game if you never let it start, can you. Hardly a mucky game, hardly any tough tackles, but a game with no flow. Curiously, he didn’t give free kicks when Stockport went through a phase of diving badly. In the great scheme of things he was just a bit annoying, though he had habit of getting in the way of Campbell (in particular). He should have booked himself for persistent obstruction. Nowhere near Clattenburgian in his monstrosity. So, a generous 5.572.

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