Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pitman's Bulls Go Goal Crazy in Cheshire

Tom Burrows reports from Edgeley Park.

The Bulls climbed off the foot of League Two as they made it six points from their last two away games, during which they have banged in nine goals.

After the four second-half goals at Northampton, they added five more without reply at Edgeley Park - an early double from the returning Rob Purdie, coupled with second-half goals from Mathieu Manset, Stuart Fleetwood and an own goal brushed aside a lacklustre Hatters side.

Jamie Pitman’s first game as temporary permanent caretaker manager saw a similar line-up to that which started at home to Accrington with Purdie replacing Dominik Werling on the left flank and Kenny Lunt remaining just off target man Manset as strikers Fleetwood and Guillem Bauza were left on the bench. Stockport remained unchanged as Robbie Williams and co, fresh from announcing a sell-out tour, aimed to make it 2 home wins in succession to cement their mid-table position.

Trouble on the motorways meant the boisterous Bulls fans slowly made their way onto the uncovered Edgeley Park away stand and saw the first chance fall to the visitors, James McQuilkin’s free-kick in an inviting position hit straight at the wall.

But the travelling fans didn’t have to wait long to celebrate (just nine minutes) as a long ball from Adam Bartlett was nodded on by Manset into the path of Lunt. It seemed the chance had gone until the Hatters defence provided a Halloween treat, dithering to allow Lunt to continue his run and although Glennon smothered well, the ball ran to Purdie – on his return from Oldham - who slotted home through the legs of defender Mark Lynch.

As Stockport sought to regroup, another well-worked move saw Manset hold the ball up and square to Lunt in space. Lunt’s shot from the edge of the area was well-saved low by Glennon, but the ball rolled to a grateful Purdie who placed the ball high into the net, sending the visiting entourage into raptures.

Stockport rarely threatened in the first half and the Bulls defence looked composed and organised. When they were called into action, a cross from Adam Griffin found the head of George Donnelly whose header seemed destined for the top corner, but as the vast Edgeley Park main stand erupted, Adam Bartlett flung himself to his left to thwart the Plymouth loanee.

Donnelly posed the most threat for the Hatters and looked a very useful front man, but the confident pairing of Tony James and Michael Townsend kept the Stockport top scorer at bay on several occasions. When Donnelly picked up a free-kick on the edge of the area he blasted straight into the face of his own player, cueing the entrance of the Stockport physio who doubled as an Arsene Wenger impersonator.

Hereford continued to threaten with Joe Colbeck picking up the ball deep in his own half and running 75 yards before his cross flicked up and hit Lynch on the hand referee Drysdale waving away the penalty shouts from the Hereford contingent.

Stockport’s pitch (under previous scrutiny for resembling a beach) was ideal for United’s passing football with McQuilkin to the fore and despite the Hatters having most of the possession as the game petered out towards half time, the pressuring from the Bulls midfield meant they were always going backwards.

The last chance of the first period fell to McQuilkin. His pot shot from 25 yards looked destined for the top corner but was well tipped over by Glennon.

Half Time: Stockport County 0 – 2 Hereford United

Following the events of a fortnight ago even the most positive Hereford fan refused to get carried away.

However, after 54 minutes, any nerves were settled when a ball from Lunt set Manset through to carry it forward and lift exquisitely over the on-rushing Glennon high into the net.

It was the Beast’s third goal in three successive games and he is clearly playing with confidence. He had his markers Jordan Rose and Mansour Assoumani in his back pocket for the whole game.

Manset and Lunt were replaced by Fleetwood and Bauza after 75 minutes, obviously signalling that the Bulls refused to accept the scoring was finished.

This assumption was backed up after 85 minutes where a ball forward found Fleetwood in acres of space and he ran forward and slotted under Glennon for his third goal of the season (following his double at Sixfields).

As streams of Hatters’ supporters left Edgeley Park, Fleetwood raced clear again on the left wing. His shot was well-saved by Glennon and the ball looped up in the air, hit Assoumani and rolled into the net as Fleetwood reeled away in delight and moved the Bulls’ goal difference from -15 to -10 and the Bulls off the bottom of League 2.

It was the Bulls largest away victory since their return to the League and their third consecutive League 2 victory at Edgeley Park.

Bring on Aldershot......

Stockport: Glennon, Williams, Assoumani, Rose, Lynch, Pulis, Turnbull, Simpson, Fletcher, Griffin, Donnelly.

Hereford: Bartlett, Green, Valentine, Townsend, James, Colbeck, Rose, Mc Quilkin, Purdie ( Weir 87), Lunt (Bauza 76), Manset (Fleetwood 75). Subs not used Heister, Kovacs, Stratford, Werling

Attendance : 4,017 – approx 300 HUFC Fans (-1 after United’s first goal due to heavy handed stewarding, or lack of)