Matt is back with the second part of Stockport’s Premier League adventure. You can read about pre-season in part 1 available here
Well its time folks. Remember the date, 15th August 1998, Stockport’s Premier League debut. I’m a proud man, although a little nervous. We have a packed schedule, 5 games between now and the end of the month, and our start isn’t too bad really, Leicester and Blackburn away with Barnsley at home in the middle of it.
I am torn between my poor pre-season and my wish to attack, and I opt for the latter. Jarni and Dugarry are not fit, hopefully they will be OK for midweek. Not much more to say then just, here we go…
For the first 20 minutes we look nervy, overrun, and Leicester gain a deserved lead. We grow into the game though, and 10 minutes from half time Kasey Keller brings down Cavaco and is sent off, we have a penalty. Jardel steps up… he balloons it. Someone is laughing at me, I’m having the mick taken out of me for buying a fat striker with cheap puns about ballooning. We have a full half against ten men to come though, and the reserve goalkeeper is a greyed out teenager as Leicester have no reserve keeper, so surely we can pressure them and get something?
Neil Edwards man of the match, says it all really. Leicester go 2-0 up straight after half time, but its only when we go down to ten men that things improve, we pull one back and almost equalise, but a loss is a loss. I will persevere for the next game with my gung ho approach, and maybe then have a rethink.
What a signing this is! Impressive work from the Sheffield lads:
Jarni comes in for his debut but Dugarry is only fit for the bench. There is an air of excitement around the ground, and hopefully we won’t let them down. I have to drop Carlita for Jean Bray as I can’t have 4 non-EU players in the squad.
A perfect performance in almost every way in that first half, Dave Watson in Barnsley’s goal is superb, we hit the bar twice, and we are superb. 13 shots to zero, but its still nil nil. More of the same please boys!
The second half is more of the same, we hit the bar another 3 times although at least score from the rebound, Watson is inspired, and Barnsley create only one chance of note. More of this and I’ll be a very happy boy! The only disappointment is to lose Flynn to injury in the last few minutes, but he’s only out for a week.
Now this is what I’d call a leftfield appointment:
Blackburn away next, and although the temptation is to ease off the Keegan approach, I just can’t bring myself to do it! Three changes, 2 enforced as Flynn and Walton are injured so in come Bound an McIntosh, leaving a very un-Premier League looking back line, and Dugarry in for Armstrong who is knackered. My reasoning is similar to Big Kev’s back in the day, I haven’t got the quality to defend so let’s just try and score more than the opposition.
What a first half! The Stockport faithful in the Darwen end are going mad, we’re battering them, they can’t deal with Cavaco and we are 2-0 up, it really could be more. This Premier League lark is easy isn’t it?!
The second half is more even, but we hold our own and with our creaking back line still keep a clean sheet. I’m very pleased!
I know the table doesn’t really matter at this point, but hell I’m fifth!
Games come thick and fast early in the season and it’s Wimbledon (!) at home next (bizarrely with Ally McCoist up front). We are actually favourites for this one, so let’s not mess it up please…
Micky Flynn is back for McIntosh, otherwise it’s as you were. Come on County!
Half time and we’re in charge and 1-0 up. I’m in dreamland, the County fans can’t believe it, and it’s the beautiful long haired Dugarry with the goal.
Well that was as one sided as they come, 16,000 chanting for the mighty County, we battered them, and it could easily have been 6, but I’ll take 3-0. I was worried at the beginning of the season when I saw the fixtures that we’d end up bottom even after playing all the lower teams, how wrong I was, 3 wins on the spin, pretty much a quarter of the way to safety already!
3rd!!! Simic is only out for 2 weeks, so no disaster. It’s all going well!
Everton away to finish the month, and I see no reason to change. Simic is replaced by Connolly and Walton returns to replace the suspended Flynn, otherwise we go again in front of the Goodison cauldron.
Well as you may have spotted things don’t start well, I can’t even click off to take the 1 minute screenshot before Everton score, but after that we are once again in control, and Cavaco continues his impressive form by bagging a brace to take us in 2-1 in front. I am almost laughing with glee in the changing room, but try to hide it, don’t want complacency kicking in, wow never thought I’d say that in this division with Stockport…
The second half is an interesting one, we start well and should go 3-1 up, but then Everton change formation and batter me for 10 minutes, so I switch to a flat back 5 and play 5-4-1 and nothing happens for the last 20 minutes, perfect it seems we can defend a lead as well as playing samba football. Oh and there are 52,000 people watching, not sure how they managed to expand that stadium but hey ho!
Erm yeah, that… come on the County Boys! No more words required…
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