After the side's 9-0 thrashing of Accrington last weekend, it was cup action at Stockport Sports Village against Wigan Athletic for County. As finalists last year, the Hatters aim to go one step further and win the entire competition. Since the loss to Middlesbrough in December, the side have added a new midfielder, Melissa Von Bargen, as well as seeing the return of Masa Butler from injury.
A slight delay to the kickoff of the game halted things pre-match, with the referee being delayed in transit to the game. A familiar approach to the game from manager Ronnie Green saw the regular 4-3-1-2 formation in action again, the opposition fielding an equally attacking lineup to start the game.
Upon starting the game, a number of good runs from Douglas down the left opened up space for Mapp and Hayes in the middle of the park. Both sides of the pitch showed real attacking intent with Reeves and Wilson making runs from the right. One good bit of play on the right from Reeves saw her play a driven cross into the six-yard box, which was knocked home by Mapp to give County the lead.
The Latics were level shortly after. A long ball over the top lead to a miscommunication between Hancock and Blackett, the former passing back to her goalkeeper, only for the ball to race past Blackett and be tapped in from near range by the onrushing striker.
The game wasn't level for long, as a good cross from the left following a darting run from O'Reilly saw Chloe Mapp direct an inch-perfect header towards goal to make it 2-1 with her 24th goal in 14 games this season.
Wigan then drew level again as O'Reilly fell just outside the home box, the visitors were quickest to react with a good looping effort from the right which dipped over Blackett, hit the woodwork then bounced into the goal to draw the sides level at 2-2.
Some good individual work from Douglas through the middle put the Wigan backline under pressue, one mistake by the centre-back put Douglas through on goal, who chipped a lovely shot over the 'keeper and into the goal to regain the lead for the Hatters.
HT | County 3-2 Wigan
Some early chances for Hayes and Mapp in the early minutes of the second half forced some strong saves from the Wigan goalkeeper, who was without doubt the standout performer for the visitors on the day. It was a lacklustre second half for both sides, with County getting inside the opposition more often but coming up short more times than not thanks to some heroics from the goalkeeper.
As the half drew to a close, a couple of substitutions were made, with Stokes replacing Mapp and Von Bargen replacing John. A corner, whipped in from the left, fell to Abi Hayes, who opened up some space and placed the ball into the back of the net to extend County's lead to 4-2. It was the centreback-turned-striker's fourth goal in two games.
A final change saw Rachel Mason make her home league debut for the first team this season in place of Abi Hayes as the Hatters switched to a 5-3-2 formation for the final five minutes.
FT | County (Mapp 2, Douglas, Hayes) 4-2 Wigan
Team: Blackett, Wilson, O'Reilly, Hancock, Connor, John (Von Bergan 75'), Jones, Reeves, Mapp (Stokes 67'), Douglas, Hayes (Mason 86').
Unused Subs: Massey, Butler.
POTM: Hanifa Douglas
Att: 54 (18 away)
After away wins over Warrington, Bishop Auckland, Chesterfield and Chorley en route to their tie against Middlesbrough, the Hatters travelled to Billingham Town FC for their hotly-anticapted clash on Teeside.
County were without a number of first-team players, Katie Brusell, Jeneyah Webb and Jade White still out with injury. Chaneece Reeves and Shellby Wolstencroft were late withdrawals, both dropping out of the squad on matchday, while Emma Massey was also unavailable. This allowed for call-ups for Imogen Porteous-Williams and Yasmin Ahmed, with the former starting the game. The side were also two coaches short, with Dave Billington and Chris Cookson unable to travel for personal reasons, meaning Peter Attfield took goalkeeping coach duties pre-match.
A quick break from kickoff got the game underway, as Chloe Mapp started the game with a long ball over the the right flank, which was duly met Hanna Wilson in a good position. The early pressure from the visitors almost lead to a goal, with Abi Hayes striking over the bar from close range.
The home side then took control of the game, having the majority of the ball for the majority of the first period, while also coming close a few times themselves with a number of good chances. If not for some brilliance from Blackett in the County goal, the home side could have very much been ahead by the halfway mark.
HT | Middlesbrough 0-0 County
The second half seemed to be much of the same, however County began to make good runs in behind. Hayes was making life difficult for the 'Boro defence. The traditional 4-3-1-2 formation became, at times, a flatter 4-3-3 as the Hatters continued to try and break down the Reds.
County very nearly took the lead through Jodie Hancock as the home 'keeper fumbled a corner, which was well whipped in by O'Reilly. Both Hancock and Connor we stood by the far post however neither of them were able to direct the ball goalless.
Boro eventually broke the deadlock on the counter. A good ball through found the feet of the attacker, but Lauren Blackett was there to make the block. Blackett then lost control of the ball, resulting in a simple tap-in for Eleanor Dale, giving the home side the lead.
From then on, Boro continued to pile on the pressure, coming close a number of times before referee, Andy Himsworth, called an end to play and an end to County's FA Cup exploits this season.
FT | Middlesbrough (Dale 70') 1-0 County
Squad: Blackett, Wilson, O'Reilly, Hancock, Connor (C), John, Jones, Porteous-Williams (Replaced by Ahmed), Mapp, Douglas, Hayes
Unused Sub(s): Attfield
POTM: Sophie John
For a full gallery of images, click here.
For the manager's interview, click below.
A week away from action for the first team allowed for some rest for a team that haven't had the easiest starts to the season but have racked up 10 consecutive wins in all competitions.
A plague of injuries has swept the team, with Jade White still out following her injury against Bishop Auckland in October, as well as Katie Brusell and Jeneyah Webb, out with shoulder and ankle injuries respectively. Kath Jones was also out this week. This meant that Ronnie Green had to make a number of changes, calling up three development players for the game, Holly Stokes, Niamh Nolan (who had played previously for the first team on a regular basis before a nasty injury) and Yasmin Ahmed.
A uncharacteristically slow start for the Hatters lead to some early pressure from the visitors, who were unable to hit the target despite numerous attempts. The early breaks for County were predominantly down the left, with Hanifa Douglas and Claire O'Reilly having good time on the left to make runs in behind.
Abi Hayes was the first County player to get a shot away, getting through one-on-one with the goalkeeper before blasting the ball just over the bar after losing balance taking the shot. Eventually it was Chloe Mapp who broke through, from a great ball by Niamh Nolan, after some quality build-up play in the midfield from Chaneece Reeves, Nolan, Sophie John and Hanifa Douglas. Mapp getting the first with a well-placed finish into the far post to make it 1-0.
An injury to one of the visiting players, following a free kick just outside the box for County, allowed for a break in play as the physio treated the injured Merseyrail player.
HT | County 1-0 Merseyrail. (Mapp)
A much faster paced start to the second period for County allowed for some excellent chances, most natably one for Nicola Connor which was unfortunately hit well over the bar from close range. Abi Hayes continued to cause issues for the Merseyrail defense as she used her pace and strength to break through the back line.
The midfield was where the game was mostly being played during the second period, as Nolan, Reeves and John all made good efforts to keep the visitors at bay. Green made two substitutions, with Nolan and Hayes being replaced by Ahmed and Stokes respectively.
County were then seemingly delivered a blow almost seconds after the final substitution was made, as Chloe Mapp went down with what looked to be an ankle problem. The Hatters were forced to play the dying minutes with ten players. The visitors piled on the pressure late on, with the home side only having one player past the halfway line for large chunks of the last 15 minutes.
Mapp returned to the field of play and allowed for Stokes to push further forward. A good ball over the top lead to a miscommunication between the goalkeeper and one of the centre backs, as Stokes lobbed the onrushing goalkeeper before outmuscling the last defender and tapping home from close range to make it 2-0 on her debut.
FT | County 2-0 Merseyrail. (Mapp, Stokes)
Squad: Blackett, Wilson, O'Reilly, Hancock, Connor, John, Nolan, Reeves, Mapp, Douglas, Hayes.
Subs: Ahmed, Stokes.
POTM: Abi Hayes.
Our media team has been becoming more developed over the past few weeks following the sides' success in both the league and the cup, with new videos, photos and match reports going up weekly. The introduction of new graphics has begun, with a number of contributors offering their services for the good of the club.
SCFC19 is the club's new set of designs, based on the work of a London-based firm, made internally by the media department for our club's Blues, Development and Under 18s team.
Blogger, The Non League Nomad, has come onboard with some goal graphics for our first team, under the umbrella of his graphic design page, SXI Designs, who provide free graphics for non-league clubs up and down the country.
We have also had Chloe Lizzie Designs come onboard to produce first team match graphics for the rest of the season.
Thank you to both designers who have offered their services free of charge, we would definitely recommend.
With the first team having no fixture this week due to postponed fixtures in both the league and the Cheshire Cup, the media team travelled to Stockport Sports Village for the Development Squad's fixture against Altrincham Reserves in the Cheshire Womens and Youth League.
Rosie had almost a full squad to choose from, opting to bring in Emma Massey who had been a part of Ronnie Green's squad over the past few weeks. One omission was Rachel Mason, who was unable to play, allowing for Under 18s player Ellie Rowley to be called in for her first start. Holly Shute started at right back, the winger starting in place of Yasmin Ahmed who missed part of the warmup. Katie Vickers kept her usual place at the left of defence, while Jessica Tonge lined up alongside Rowley in front of Niamh Attfield in the County goal.
It was a fast start for the Hatters, with Holly Shute being fouled just inside the opposition half for a free-kick. The free-kick, taken by Shute, was curled into the box and met by the head of Katie Vickers who put the ball past the Robins' goalkeeper and into the back of the net to give County the early lead.
This was quickly followed by scuffle in the box from a corner which Holly Stokes headed towards goal, hitting the woodwork in the process. Maia Lewis was on hand to place home the rebound from an awkward angle, doubling the Hatters' lead with just 17 minutes on the clock.
Following Lewis' goal, which gave County some breathing room, Emerson made two changes, bringing on Jess Gallagher and Yasmin Ahmed for the goalscorer, Lewis, and Holly Shute.
A quality ball over the top from Katie Vickers fell to the feet of Holly Stokes who performed some mild acrobatics, almost roundhouse kicking the ball into the goal from the edge of the box to add another to the goal tally and extending the Hatters' lead.
Next to get in on the goals was Niamh Nolan, who took the ball about 25 yards from goal just a minute after Stokes' goal. She opened up some space for a shot and drilled home an effort from distance, making it an almost impossible task for the goalkeeper who couldn't react to the power of the shot as County lead 4-0 just after the 20 minute mark. The midfielder brought out her inner Alan Shearer with the celebration, a single-armed affair.
The Robins scored what looked to be a consolation goal just before the break, getting in down the left and curling it past Attfield in the County goal.
HT | County 4 (Vickers, Lewis, Stokes, Nolan), Altrincham 2
A shaky start to the second period, as Altrincham came close a number of times to breaking through. An injury to Porteous-Williams just after the restart also didn't help matters. Emerson changed shape, with Shute moving to the left of midfield and Gallagher moving further out on the right, leaving space for Massey and Stokes down the midfield.
Massey acted as the workhorse of the attack, making runs at the defensive line before playing good balls to her fellow attacking players. But County were denied by a more organised defensive setup from the visitors, who eventually used their ability to break on the counter attack to pull another two goals back in the game which made for nervy viewing for a portion of the second half.
Those nerves were short-lived however, as Holly Stokes made a good run in behind the defense, being fouled in the area for her troubles. Captain, Niamh Nolan, took the ball and drilled it home to regain the two-goal cushion that County so desperately needed.
FT | County 5 (Vickers, Lewis, Stokes, Nolan (2)), Altrincham 3
Squad: Niamh Attfield, Holly Shute, Jessica Tonge, Ellie Rowley, Katie Vickers, Jessica Hill, Niamh Nolan, Imogen Porteous-Williams, Holly Stokes, Maia Lewis, Emma Massey.
Subs: Yasmin Ahmed, Jessica Gallagher.
POTM: Holly Stokes
Following the side's successful trip to Yorkshire yesterday afternoon, the SSE Womens FA Cup Second Round draw was made by the Football Association this afternoon.
The Hatters have been drawn away to Middlesborough in the next round, which is due to take place on Sunday 2nd December.
The hosts currently sit third in the National League Northern Premier, their last result being a 2-2 draw with Fylde on Sunday.
More details will be announced in due course.
Fresh off the back of the delights of the men's team's win yesterday in the FA Cup against Yeovil, the Ladies travelled to Barnoldswick for their FA Cup First Round tie against Chorley. The game was moved to Barnoldswick in Yorkshire, a entire marathon away as the crow flies from Chorley's home, Victory Park, due to an Emirates FA Cup clash between Chorley and Doncaster Rovers that very same afternoon.
The extra distance played havoc with both sides' preparations as an incident on a nearby A Road meant a significant delay for the arrival of some County players, moving kick-off back 25 minutes.
Manager, Ronnie Green, made a couple of tactical changes with the side's shape, opting for a flat 4-5-1 instead of the usual 4-3-1-2. Emma Massey came in in place of Hayes, starting out on the left of the midfield, with Kath Jones filling the same spot on the right. Chloe Mapp started up top alone.
The Rememberance Sunday minute's silence was impeccably observed by all in attendance.
A slow start to the game for both sides, County attacking towards the "Sewer End", named after the United Utilites Facility behind the stand, during the first period. The majority of possession fell down the Hatters' left-hand side early on, with Massey and Reeves linking up nicely.
It became apparent from very early into the game that top scorer Chloe Mapp was isolated up top as County seemed to be missing the attacking support of Jeneyah Webb and Katie Brusell, who were both missing from the squad. That said, Emma Massey, Hanifa Douglas and Kath Jones all did well in the opening 30 minutes to try and get in behind the strong Chorley back-line.
One player on top form for Chorley was their goalkeeper, who made a string of quality saves during both halves.
A lacklustre half of football was eventually brought to a halt with scores level, the Hatters had the majority of the possession in the first period, but were unable to make it count.
The home side came out of the blocks at pace following the restart, attacking down both flanks with pace and eventually breaking through with a good run down the right, the cross was headed home well from close range to give the Magpies the lead.
Chorley nearly doubled their lead with another good run, down the left this time, but the ball was held well by Blackett in the County goal.
With the Hatters on the back foot for the majority of the half, Green made a substitution, with Abigail Hayes replacing Emma Massey. This change lead to a change of formation too, reverting to their usual 4-3-1-2 as Hayes went up top to provide support to Chloe Mapp.
This change brought about an immediate difference in tempo, with Hayes making a number of incisive runs at the Chorley defence, freeing up space for her team-mates. A good cross from the left was headed goalwards by Mapp, but an outstanding last ditch save from the Chorley 'keeper kept the lead intact.
County eventually got what they deserved with a great looping ball from Sophie John, which was met by Chloe Mapp and slotted into the bottom corner to make it 1-1 with just minutes remaining. This goal serving as a potential lifeline to take something from the game against opposition from a higher division.
The girls in blue continued to pile on the pressure, forcing the home side into errors. A good run from Mapp took her past two defenders and the goalkeeper, before being upended by the 'keeper who received a yellow for the infringement of the rules.
The pressure continued to mount, with Hanifa Douglas being fouled at the edge of the area. There was just seconds on the clock and both sides were preparing for an extra 30 minutes of extra time. Claire O'Reilly and Chloe Mapp stood over the ball, deciding between them that O'Reilly was to take the free-kick.
O'Reilly stepped up and drilled a shot towards the far post, the effort was deflected and went straight into the back of the net with what became the very last kick of the game. Every single person in the stadium ran to O'Reilly as the Hatters rejoiced in their victory, the home side appearing dejected as they seemingly threw away a game they had in the bag.
FT | Chorley FC Women 1-2 Stockport County LFC (Mapp, O'Reilly)
POTM: Sophie John
A full gallery of the game is available here.
A trip to Barnoldswick approaches as County take on National League side, Chorley at the SilentNight Stadium on Sunday. A massive game for the girls, who are unbeaten thus far this season, against a side they played twice in pre-season.
The game sees the home side move their fixture from Victory Park in Chorley to the home of Barnoldswick Town FC, a considerable distance away from the Magpies' base in Lancashire.
We spoke to manager, Ronnie Green last weekend ahead of the game, where he expressed how the Hatters can play without pressure as they are the bookmakers' underdogs this weekend, a rarity so far this season.
Chorley Women v Stockport County LFC
SSE Womens FA Cup Second Round
Sunday 11 November - 14:00
West Close Road,
Adults £3, Juniors FREE.
Next in our series of posts about members of our committee is Martin Randles, commercial coordinator at Stockport County LFC.
At a young age I wanted to have a career in football. I represented Manchester Boys and Greater Manchester County as a school boy along with spending 2 years at Bolton Wanderers and 3 years at Stockport County before making a decision to leave Stockport County to pursue a career away from football. I continued to play football at a semi-professional level until a serious knee injury ended my playing days at the age of 23. I Currently work as a Mechanical & Electrical Building Services Manager for Eric Wright Construction.
When I am not being dad's taxi for Charlotte and Olivia I joint captain a men's tennis team who last year won the division. I took up running 4 years ago as a hobby and completed my first half marathon last year in aid of the Alzheimer's Society raising over £1400. Although I am not as fit a Pete Attfield I do try to complete over 600 miles each year!
What I do at SCLFC:
I am on the committee at the club and help with the commercial side aiming to keep as many as our partners as possible. I am also the manager of the Under 18's team.
How long have you been doing it:
I started coaching when Charlotte began her second season at under 10's, which is almost 7 years ago. I then joined the committee the following year.
How did you get involved:
Charlotte had played for the under 10's which had a mix of under 10's and 11's for the following season. I made the offer of helping out until they found a manager/coach for the new under 10's and have been involved ever since!
Where would you like to see SCLFC in five years:
Within the next 5 years I would like to see SCLFC have more involvement with the men's team which would include shared facilities. It would be great if the junior section could become an academy and players began to play for older age groups to improve their development. The first team gaining promotion is key to the progress the club needs to make and under the current management feel this is more than achievable.
Tips for others:
I don't really have any tips for people in similar roles. The main point I would like to make is keep the clubs ethos and encourage all members be that committee or coaches to be fully supported be one club not one team.
After last week's great win over title rivals, FC United of Manchester, the Hatters travelled to the Fylde Coast to take on a Fleetwood side who had only lost once in the league prior to this fixture, against the aforementioned FC United.
The County side saw three changes, Shellby Wolstencroft, Jeneyah Webb and Katie Brusell all missing, leaving limited attacking options for Ronnie Green to choose from, with only Chloe Mapp and Emma Massey being strikers by trade. A surprise choice of forward line started the game as Chloe Mapp, currently top scorer this season, and centre-back Abigail Hayes leading the line. Hanifa Douglas replaced Katie Brusell just behind the two, while the 'usual eight' of Blackett, Wilson, Hancock, Connor, O'Reilly, Jones, John and Reeves lined up behind her.
A moment's silence was observed before kickoff, for both Rememberance Sunday next weekend and also the tragic events that took place at Leicester's King Power Stadium last Saturday.
The game started fast, with Wilson making some incisive runs down the right, coming close to setting up Mapp early on as she missed a glorious chance to give the Hatters a lead within the first two minutes. The game was building into a familiar pattern, with Jones, Reeves and John holding most of the play in midfield.
A good piece of buildup play from John, allowed her to play the ball to Reeves who, in turn, put a wonderful pass into Chloe Mapp. Mapp reacted quickly with a first time effort, slotting it past the on rushing 'keeper and into the back of the net.
From the moment the goal was scored, the game's tempo changed. The Wrens were instinctively giving away more fouls and leading County into doing the same.
A break for the home side saw a rare Fleetwood shot, as Lauren Blackett made an outstanding save to keep the Hatters ahead. The lead wasn't intact for much longer, however, as a mix-up in the midfield lead to the Wrens pulling level through Lauren Oatley.
The remainder of the first half was relatively back and forth, with Abi Hayes being the only oter County player to really come close to scoring, some excellent defensive work from Fleetwood keeping Hayes from being able to get any really attempts on the Town goal.
An evidently tense start to the second period for the Hatters as Fleetwood continued to make it difficult for them. Tempers flared on the far side of the pitch as Hanna Wilson got into an altercation with one of the Town players. There was a vocal presence from the home supporters who looked to unnerve County's stalwart right-back.
A noticable disagreement across the pitch between coaches from both sides over an offside call took the sting out of the game for a minute or so, while the referee attempted to deal with the growing animosity on the pitch. Chaneece Reeves was booked by the official for her vocal disapproval of a tackle by one of the Fleetwood midfielders.
Reeves made an impact with her football though, making some good runs down the left. She eventually found herself in a great position, where she crossed the ball into the six yard box to the awaiting Hanifa Douglas. Douglas took a touch and smashed the ball home from close range giving the Hatters the lead.
Hayes came close again, with a charging run through the backline, lobbing the keeper and hitting the crossbar before the ball bounced kindly for the Town 'keeper.
As the full-time whistle approached, County made two changes, bringing on Massey and Porteous-Williams with just minutes remaining and switching to a flat 4-5-1, with the two substitutes out wide.
The referee eventually drew the game to a close with the Hatters taking all three points in what arguably turn out to be their toughest game so far this season. With another trip to Lancashire in the FA Cup next week, County will be looking to iron out any issues in training on Wednesday.
FT | County 2 (Mapp, Douglas), Fleetwood Town 1 (Oatley)
Team: Blackett, Wilson, O'Reilly, Hancock, Connor, John, Jones, Reeves (Porteous-Williams), Mapp, Douglas (Massey), Hayes.
For a full match gallery, click here.