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Fenners: Red Card
Fenners: Red Card

Stockport Report Part 2

By: Richard Lord
Date: 31/12/2006

AS Town lined up for the start of the second half they had a back three of Newey, Whittle and Boshell. Bolland replaced Croft and played in midfield with Ravenhill, Pulis and Till as the Mariners went 3-4-2.

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Stockport were keen to keep possession and make it difficult for the Mariners and, as a result, there were few chances for either side until the game opened up on the hour mark.

County hit the outside of Barnes’ left post, and saw another effort from a similar angle whistle past the goal as the home side started to dictate things.

Michael Reddy was thrown on in place of Ravenhill as Buckley shuffled his pack to a 3-3-3 formation, but the bold move failed to reap any benefits.

The back three of Newey, Whittle and Boshell were becoming increasingly stretched, and Paterson dropped deeper down the left in order to link up with Newey.

Barnes made a couple of smart saves low down at his near post when Stockport found space down the right, and Town’s keeper didn’t do much wrong after his early mistake.

Reddy was played in by Rankin but his shot was well saved low down by the keeper, and the chance was flagged for offside anyway.

Pulis received a whack in the face when County tried to clear their lines, but with Paterson breaking, the referee pulled play back for the injury and then gave Stockport the ball to give all the way back to Barnes.

Substitute Michael Malcolm finally made it 3-0 when he pounced on a lose ball by Bolland and wriggled his way to the edge of the area before beating Barnes with a low shot that curled into the bottom corner.

Town had a half chance towards the end of the game but Bolland hit a rising ball well over the crossbar, and that was Town’s only real shot at goal in the second half.

At the final whistle the travelling fans made their feelings known towards the referee, whose decisions to ignore Town’s strong penalty appeals yet hand Stockport a penalty themselves and a man advantage were rather unbalanced to say the least.

Rankin, Paterson and Till all looked a threat in the first quarter of an hour but drifted further apart as the team tried to compensate for the loss of Fenton.

Their close passing and interplay in the opening period suggested that Town were more than a match for their opponents, but they never coped once reduced to ten men.

In truth, Stockport had a number of chances to increase the winning margin as they found gaps and dragged Town players all over the place, but their end product was lacking.

Town can maybe argue that if they got the rub of the green on the early penalty decision, or that it remained eleven against eleven, then it would’ve been a much tighter affair.

As it stands the Mariners have now lost three of their last four games - all away from home and without a goal - and they now face a resurgent Rochdale side, which recorded a superb 4-0 win over relegation rivals Boston United, at Blundell Park on New Year’s Day.

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