Wednesday, August 31, 2011

99 Problems, But A Pitch Ain't One


Edgeley Park from the Cheadle Stand. Note comedy head accidentally photobombing in the lower right.

It's a long time since I went to watch Stockport County. Despite them being my local club, the first football match I ever attended was Fulham away at Chester City in 1996. The second match I attended was Stockport, though, and I went quite a few times during my last year at school and my two years of Sixth-Form College. Those were probably the best years that Stockport have ever had, with players like Alun Armstrong, Mike Flynn, Jim Gannon, Sean Connelly, and Kevin Cooper. In the spring of 1998 I saw them finish 8th in the Championship, two places outside the playoffs for the Premier League.

Things are rather different now - last season saw them relegated out of the League for the first time since 1905. This seemed like a good time to return, so a couple of weeks ago me and my Dad went to see them at home to Ebbsfleet United.  I confess to no longer knowing who's who in the Stockport squad - the most familiar name is new manager Dietmar Hamann, the former Liverpool and Germany player.

The game itself was good. While Stockport played the better football, they didn't create many chances - the more direct approach of Ebbsfleet was much more effective, and they were slightly unfortunate not to be at least a goal up at half-time. In the second half, however, Stockport created far more chances, with a string of crosses low across the box from the right going unfinished in increasingly comic/frustrating fashion. Eventually the pressure told, Chadwick heading home from close range after yet another break down the right. That was about 20 minutes from the end, but unfortunately Stockport conceded a soft goal from a set-piece about 10 minutes later, perhaps having lost concentration due to an attempted substitution. While there were more chances for Stockport, none were serious, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. This was disappointing in that Stockport should really have won easily, but the point put them just outside the playoff places.


Corner to Ebbsfleet.

It was an enjoyable afternoon, and while I can't promise to be a regular attendee (£16 is fairly expensive to me) I would like to go a bit more often.