The Stockport Diaries Part VI

Matt’s back with his regular update from Stockport. It’s all going rather well so far, but what has episode 6 got in store? Catch up with episode 5 here

Well September went well, no curse of the manager of the month for the Edgeley boys, and to be honest we are in dreamland at the moment, can I keep the momentum going? First up is the second round of the Everton cup game, this could be my first big scalp. If you struggle to remember back to the first leg, we drew a cracking game 3-3.

The legends reappear for the second leg, and not just in the Stockport team. This is going to be a tough ask, but confidence is high.

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Well the first half did not go according to plan, it went far better! Despite the early loss of Cavaco to injury, we absolutely batter Everton, pull a couple of classic Southall saves from the great man but beat him twice, 2-0 at half time, and yet I’m still nervous.

Well Neil Edwards may feel threatened by the presence of a new goalkeeper, (I mean he is about a foot shorter and there isn’t much doubt who is the more popular in the Stockport branch of Oceana), he doesn’t show it and plays superbly to take Stockport’s first big scalp of the season despite yet another sending off, come on County!

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Plymouth in the next round, first leg at home, we are fast becoming the League Cup specialists, could we go further than last year’s semi-final? Probably not let’s face it, but who knows?!

Next up is a massive game away at top of the league Sheffield United. My eternal rotation of the 4 fit centre halves continues with Matty Bound dropping out this time, however a bigger problem is Heidenstrom getting a cold, he is back fit but only enough for the bench so Tommy Smith must step up. I have faith!

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One of idols is playing for Sheffield United, and no I don’t mean Mark Patterson as a Bolton fan, but Paul McGrath, if you never saw him play just think of the best defender in the Premier League currently. OK, stop laughing, then think of the best in La Liga. Yeah, he was far far better than that, despite his dodgy knees, no exaggeration necessary.

Anyway, on with the game. A fantastic first half is sealed with a 2nd goal from the outstanding Andy Mutch who is making himself rather undroppable at the moment, and Kiko Charana is doing a decent job on his return from injury in the Cavaco role.

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2-1 now and we are struggling, defensive mode coming in now

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Good win in the end, we seem to be good at winning when not at our best, to be frank I’m amazed how well this is going!

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The table makes good reading right now….

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One of the chasing pack is up next in the form of Middlesbrough, our conquerors in last year’s League Cup semi-final, it would mean the world to County fans to get at least a little bit of revenge. We could also really cement our place in the top 2 if we could get a result. The Boro team looks superb in an attacking sense on paper, full of big names who have achieved so much in the game or have bags of potential, and they have Mikkel Beck too. I am surprised then that it is their defensive record that has been their strength, its going to be a tricky game in which we will be without the suspended Sean Connelly, but we can welcome Heidenstrom back, and in the absence of Cavaco I go for Nick Wright to try and replace the Portuguese maestro, Charana having faded badly in the second half against Sheffield United.

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We lose Heidenstrom to injury after just 3 minutes, but otherwise the half passes without much happening, although Alun Armstrong does clip the post on the stroke of half time. I can see why Boro haven’t conceded many, they play very very defensively.

5 minutes into the second half and Neil Edwards is ‘struggling’, which is somewhat inconvenient as in the days of only 3 subs I don’t put a keeper on the bench, which was always going to bite me at some point but at least he can continue for now.

Well I had decided to keep faith in Andy Mutch which may have been a mistake given that soon after Boro take the lead he gets himself sent off for a second yellow for kicking the ball away. Stupid stupid stupid! After that we are lucky it remains at 1-0 until the end, a disappointing day all round really, we will bounce back though, and Matty Bound continues to revel in the captaincy which is heartening. The fans continue to be right behind us, and why shouldn’t they be?

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More bad news after the game in the form of injuries to Edwards and Heidenstrom for a week and 2 weeks respectively, time for Carlo Nash’s debut in the next game as his stats look better than Ian Gray, and Gray was useless in his last appearance.

We have some serious issues for our next game away at Swindon, I’m slightly confused as to why all my players are knackered, 5 players less than 90% fitness plus the 2 injuries. Only one answer to it, huge changes to the side, forgotten man Tom Bennett is finally fit and slots in for Tony Dinning who has to play at right back as Jim Gannon is on international duty. Tomlinson comes in for Mutch, and Smith, Lauchlan, Nash and Connelly also come in.

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Half time comes and my very makeshift team is 2-1 up, an absolute ‘wonderstrike’ put Swindon ahead but a Nick Wright double puts us deservedly ahead.

A very satisfying second half in that we created loads of chances, but found Fraser Digby in imperious form and hit the bar twice, and we nearly conceded an equaliser but for a superb save from Nash before we hit a third in the last minute to cement the win.

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So the first half of October’s league games sees us still sitting pretty in second despite the defeat to Middlesbrough. The victory at Swindon is especially heartening with half a team missing, maybe we will be able to sustain this against all the odds. Incidentally, Eric Nixon is now Derby’s number one ahead of Mart Poom and Russell Hoult, and is averaging 8.00 after 4 games, shows what I know (and I’m a keeper too), but I still maintain 600k at his age was decent.

Bad news in the wider football world, ouch… closer to home Tommy Smith is out for a couple of weeks after sustaining an elbow injury against Swindon, terrible timing given Heidenstrom’s injury, but Tom Bennett did OK so it’s not the end of the world.

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And finally…. Dammit Jim will you please make your damn mind up! Go if you want, no player is bigger than the club (sobs quietly)…

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More next Tuesday!

If you want to be a guest blogger like Matt, get in touch!

2 thoughts on “The Stockport Diaries Part VI

  1. Pingback: The Stockport Diaries Part VII | CM 97/98

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