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Bradford survive

Pre-season tour
Gallen signs
Hornets sting Town
Owls shot down
Gray returns
Wijnhard crashes out
Worthington woe
Ayre departs
First home point
Bye Bye Brucie
New manager announced
Fans show anger
9 points to safety
First home win
Ndlovu at first sight
Town leap to safety
Macari wins award
More cup woe
Ndlovu joins Blades
Jamie jumps ship
Town hit rock bottom again
Morris' McApline move
Prodigal son returns
Biggest win
QPR doomed
Nearly there
The bitter end

Saturday 13th January.

January was always going to be short on league fixtures, but with the game against Crystal Palace postponed on New Years Day this was to be our only home league game of the month and against fellow strugglers 3 points would be a great bonus. How we didn’t take maximum points is a complete mystery when we dominated the vast majority of the game and hit the woodwork 3 times, but in the end we had to settle for just a single point.

The main change to the personnel on duty was the return of Chris Lucketti from injury with Kevin Gray returning to the substitutes bench, and although the team was virtually unchanged the attitude was much better. Right from the kick off there seemed to be a real sense of determination from the players to avoid a repeat of the previous Saturday’s debacle, and some crisp early tackling showed the visitors we meant business.

Town surged forward in the early stages and could well have taken the lead just after the quarter hour mark when Simon Baldry cleverly slipped past his marker and unleashed a delightful shot off the outside of his boot which unfortunately hit the crossbar with the keeper well beaten. This is a sign of Baldry’s newfound confidence, and had Town taken the lead at this time I think the margin could have been quite comfortable with Stockport defending quite desperately at times, and they had the look of a side whose main ambition was not to lose. This was slightly surprising when you consider that they recently beat runaway leaders Fulham, yet they looked decidedly unambitious and only created one effort of note in the first half.

Such was Town’s dominance that they led the half-time corner count 7-0, but once again seemed to lack the killer touch up front that we had enjoyed with Ndlovu in the side. That is not to say that Gallen and Facey didn’t play well because they did, particularly the latter who is managing to win more balls in the air and is fast becoming a player who can unsettle defences with his strong running, he had a great chance after 22 minutes but headed Thomas Heary’s cross over the bar.

Ben Thornley looked fairly lively against the club where he spent 3 months on loan a few years ago and brought a good save out of the Stockport keeper after 37 minutes with a typical run and shot from the edge of the area. Late in the half, Jon Dyson took a nasty knock to the face but continued playing until half time and just before the interval Ben Thornley mis-cued a shot from a Delroy Facey cross that seemed to elude everyone in the box but took a cruel bounce when he looked almost certain to score.

The interval disrupted Town’s flow, and Stockport looked livelier after their tea and biscuits although Town’s cause wasn’t helped by Jon Dyson who looked sluggish and out of sorts following his first half injury. This fact was not lost on Macari who eventually replaced Dyson with Adie Moses, although I was surprised that it took almost 15 minutes after the restart for this to happen as Stockport were taking advantage of our defensive weakness and creating a few scoring efforts of their own. With the defence restored to its full complement of fit players again, Town began to regain their first half dominance and never really looked in any danger of losing. Martin Smith was introduced as replacement for Ben Thornley after 67 minutes and this gave Town an extra dimension with his clever running on the left flank, but it was the right side that almost gave us the lead.

Once again, Simon Baldry surged forward on the right and as the Stockport defence back-pedalled he received a pass from Kevin Gallen and unleashed a venomous shot which rattled the crossbar, sadly the attempted follow up from Martin Smith ended up in the crowd. To hit the woodwork twice in a game is unlucky, but to do it three times tells you that it’s time to pack up for the afternoon and go home because you clearly ain’t going to score. Such was Town’s luck when Baldry teed up a super header for Martin Smith only to see keeper Lee Jones get a finger tip onto the ball to deflect it onto the crossbar and over for a corner once again.

It was a cold frustrating day for Town who did enough to secure all 3 points against one of their relegation rivals, but let’s be positive and look at an unbeaten league run which stretches back 8 games. If you can’t win your games then don’t lose them and at least keep the points ticking over. If we draw every game for the rest of the season we’ll get 45 points and this was enough to keep Notts County up about 4 or 5 years ago.

The bottom of the table is incredibly tight and with just 1 point separating the bottom six teams it is to be hoped that we can continue collecting points (preferably 3 at a time) because the teams who end up going down will probably be those who have yet to suffer a dip in form. Hopefully we got our bad run out of the way in September, October and November.


Stockport County 0

Position in table – 19th

Town – Vaesen; Heary; Lucketti; Dyson (Moses 59); Vincent; Armstrong; Baldry; Holland; Gallen (Gorré 87); Facey; Thornley (Smith 67). Subs not used – Margetson; Gray.

Stockport County – Jones; Flynn; Clark; Cooper; Gibb; Wiss; Fradin (Woodthorpe 82); Grayson; Wilbraham; Smith; Clare (Matthews 54). Subs not used – Dibble; Maxwell; Nicholson.

Referee – Roy Peterson (Peterlee). Attendance 10,988



All words and thoughts by Chris except where stated.

A big thank you to Machala for putting up with me doing this and Ian for his support and my Mum for her proof reading.

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