North West Counties League Premier Division
Glossop North End 2, Stockport Sports 2
GLOSSOP played their part in a memorable match at Surrey Street on Tuesday night, which was an excellent advert for North West Counties League football, writes Stewart Taylor.
A fast-paced start by both teams saw the first threat to goal in the eighth minute as a free-kick awarded for a foul on the Saxons’ full-back Ricky Anane was driven goalwards by Callum Gardner and goalkeeper Ben Proctor was relieved to see it smash onto the crossbar and bounce away to safety.
This high tempo was maintained as both sides employed some slick passing on the excellent Surrey Street playing surface.
On 25 minutes, Dean McGregor broke clear chasing a high ball to be one-on-one with Russell Saunders in the Stockport Sports goal. The Saxons keeper pulled off an excellent save as McGregor tried to lob the ball over his head.
The Hillmen took the lead in the 48th minute when a shot from the left-hand side of the penalty area was expertly saved by Saunders, but the rebound fell kindly for the influential Sam Marshall who converted.
This inspired the youthful Stockport Sports side to push forward with renewed enthusiasm and their pressure was rewarded five minutes later. With the Hillmen bench disputing a throw-in on the dugout side, a quick free-kick close to the halfway line found Saxons winger Gardner in space on the right-hand side of the box. His wicked shot came back off Proctor’s far post and was tapped in from close range by John Marsden.
Stockport Sports now took control of the match, with much of the approach work coming from the right-hand side courtesy of some fine play from Anane.
The pressure finally told as, in the 68th minute, another cross from Anane was rifled in from close range by Marsden.
Coming back from a difficult spell under pressure and a goal down was never going to be easy but, showing great resolve, the Hillmen started to get their own passing movements going again. Andrew Sensale, on as a substitute for the last 15 minutes, showed good pace and awareness to trouble the Saxons defence.
With less than five minutes to play, Glossop’s man of the match Marshall chased a seemingly lost cause but managed to reach the ball close to the corner flag at the Trenches end of the ground. His excellent cross was calmly slotted in by Ben Connolly, much to the delight of the home crowd and the Glossop players.
Into injury time and the Hillmen sensed the possibility of taking all three points. A corner won by McGregor was swung in by Adam Oakes but only half cleared. The resulting cross was met by the head of Sensale and appeared to be goalbound until Saunders got down to his right to save.