The Stockport Diaries – Part XIII

It has become a Tuesday tradition that we hear from Matt Porter about how his Stockport side are getting on. We’ve reached the penultimate update of season 1, but what does April have in store? Catch up with Part 12 here

It’s make or break time down at County, I keep on being wished luck when I nip into the pub or the chippy, but it’s with a smile and I am glad of the support. It’s been such a good season so far and I’m determined to make it count for something, but I am damn nervous. Thanks to Easter weekend we have 5 games this month, and it’ll take us within 2 games of the end of the season so we’ll pretty much know our fate by the end of this page, sit back and enjoy the ride!

A very credible draw for Rangers in their first leg. They couldn’t could they?!

1

Our first game of the month is at home to Swindon who are second to bottom and who we comfortably beat away despite Fraser Digby playing ridiculously well in their goal. A similar performance would go down well, especially given they have unfathomably dropped Digby now. Kevin James and Tom Youngs are the only absentees so I can put out a strong team, unchanged from our last outing.

2

A very good first half in terms of scoreline, 2-0 up although it is a little more even than it suggests. If Digby was in goal for them it’d be nil nil I suppose. The big blow is after 10 minutes though when Armstrong is stretchered off, hopefully it’s only a precaution. Swindon fans sing about roundabouts, well I suppose they have to be famous for something.

3

The second half starts well enough, but then Swindon score and nerves kick in. This gets even worse as we have a man sent off, but I switch to 4-4-1 and it nullifies them, the last 15 minutes go without anything happening, for once a boring finish suits me absolutely fine. You can smell the tension around the ground, but we hold on, another 3 points towards the play offs at least.

4

5

We are looking pretty good for the play offs now and I reckon we can look up instead of down. 6 games to go….. Armstrong is out for a month, which isn’t ideal but it could be far worse.

6

We have 5th place Reading up next, and if they don’t win they can forget automatics, we would be in a similar position with a loss. Youngs, James and Armstrong are out, Tomlinson comes in and Bennett for Carlita but otherwise I am keeping things the same, stability is important right now.

7

A ridiculously open first half gets even the sleepy Reading fans on the edge of their seats. (Fun fact, did you know that at Reading they pre pour hot drinks at half time in preparation for the rush instead of just beer like most grounds? Tells you a lot really…) Anyway, a great first half sees them have a goal disallowed and then us go straight up the other end and score through the fantastic Luis Cavaco, if we can just hold onto this one…

8

Oh this is getting cagey, so damn cagey. In the second half not much happens, but I get really defensive in the second half, drop to a 5-4-1 and hope for the best. They don’t have another chance. I breathe a sigh of relief. That pretty much should guarantee us the play offs, but I want so much more.

9

We are right in this now, my post-match interview sees me desperately try to keep the ‘take one day at a time’ cliché going, but it’s hard. I know we’ll probably fall agonisingly close, but I want to believe!

Struggling QPR are next up at home before 2 away games to finish off the month. It’s a bank holiday Monday game because obviously our players aren’t tired enough at this point in the season so they have to play 2 games in 3 days. Brian Barwick obviously reckons if he can manage to drag himself to 2 prawn sandwiches in 3 days then footballers can play 90 minutes twice, good logic and no flaw at all.

We play with such an energetic formation that I have to make wholesale changes. To add insult Neil Edwards has taken a knock, only out for a couple of days but it’s enough so the oh so handsome Carlo Nash takes a break from pulling the ladies to play a bit of football. This is going to be a challenge for what is basically my reserve team.

10

A great first half in which we should be more than 1 up, and we nearly pay for it but for a smart Nash save on the stroke of half time. Let’s not throw this one away boys, come on, we can do this, for hats, England and St George! (I may have got carried away with the moment, everyone in the dressing room stared as if I was a mad man, but I think it made the point. And no, hats is not a typo.)

11

Great performance, great result, no nerves. I feel like I’m walking on clouds as the crowd sing ‘we are going up’ gleefully…. We can do this, I’m sure we can do this. That was the reserves for goodness sake!

12

I hadn’t realised why they were singing so loudly…. We’re only fucking second boys! Don’t get carried away though, 3 of our last 4 games are away so we still aren’t favourites by any means.

13

Well I never… Gordon Durie man of the match!

14

All change for the visit to Bradford, pretty much back to the first team, although Nick Wright is very unlucky to lose his place.

15

A good first half, solid, and we are 2-0 up and they do nothing. More of the same will do my heart rate the world of good, no pressure at all really although we do lose Lauchlan to injury.

16

3-0 but 3 injuries, on balance though I’d take that. I am that nervous I’m struggling to make light of things, such as being in Bradford and the fact we are delayed after the game as someone has stolen the coach wheels whilst we are playing. I am glad to get away, but their football team have at least been hospitable.

17

It’s looking like a 2 horse race, and I desperately don’t want to lose it. I have 2 away games against bottom half teams, with Birmingham at home sandwiched in between. I am desperate for this to happen, but we have been playing really well and if we keep it up for 3 more games we are there, we are in the Premier League. Don’t get scared now.

18

Heidenstrom is on international duty. Seriously. Key match at the end of the season and we lose players to internationals? Joke league. I go mad and call into a radio phone in, but accidentally end up on ‘Jezza’s confessions’ on Century FM, with a little known radio DJ called Jeremy Kyle who is making a name for himself by telling it how it is. He does point out that Man City’s keeper is also away with his country, so does help. He’ll never make anything of himself though, he is far too in your face for the general public. We’ll never become such a hysterical nation as America, surely?

19

We batter City. They do literally nothing in an attacking sense, we should score a hat full, but we go in at the break only 1-0 up. We could live to regret that, City surely can’t be that bad in the second half, but I encourage the boys and don’t let them know my fears, so preoccupied is my mind that I forgot to do the half time screenshot…. 1-0 Tomlinson!

Well of course inevitably City’s replacement goalkeeper, a young Nicky Weaver, is superb behind City’s porous backline, but even he can’t stop Charana keeping up his rich vein of form, and I was wrong, Weaver aside City are just as rubbish in the second half. I thought this could be a very tricky match but it proved otherwise, 2 to go, hopefully Sheffield United lost today to make our job easier.

20

Oxford couldn’t do us a favour so we are still neck and neck with the Blades, and also pleasing to see is that Heidenstrom helped Norway to a credible nil nil with Italy. Poor old Bury have succumbed to relegation, and Swindon will follow them unless they score about 14 goals in the next 2 games.

Chelsea and Manchester United are battling for the title in the division above, a division I really hope we will be playing in next year.

The next update will I sincerely hope be a 2 game one. It could be a 5 game, or worst case scenario a 4 game. Keep the faith County fans, keep the faith. See you in a week!

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

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