Sunday, 26 August 2012

Stockport County – Edgeley Park

24th August 2012

Stockport  County 1-2 Gateshead

A first ever dip into the depths of English non-league football here, although I should imagine, given Stockport County’s long tenure in the Football League prior to their demotion in 2011, Edgeley Park is a long way from being a typical Conference Ground.  

Indeed, I would suggest, the uncovered end apart, the ground would not look out of place in the Scottish Premier League; the place resembling a cross between Starks Park and Fir Park.  Reflecting upon this fact, I hoped the ground had not served as an unwelcome reminder to Stockport Manager Jim Gannon (or James, as he has apparently re-branded himself) of his unhappy stint as Motherwell boss in 2009. 

No Scots in the home side I noted, but I did see a familiar name in the visitors’ line-up: Paddy Boyle, who I had witnessed a few times last season, floundering aboard the sinking S.S. Dunfermline.  To be fair, he actually did fine this evening.

Both clubs had made solid starts to the new season and my early impression once battle commenced, was that Stockport looked by far the likelier lot.  With their defence able to effortlessly cope with what little the Gateshead attack could throw at it, the home lads looked particularly dangerous down the flanks from where Andy Halls in particular looked a menace.  And it was as a consequence of the visitors’ inability to deal with a cross, that Stockport’s Joe CONNOR hit the opener.  A lead his side held until half-time with little difficulty,

The interval gave the opportunity to peruse the programme - a hefty 72 page affair.  A fair amount of it consisted of ads, but squirreled away within were a number of pleasingly well-written articles.  

Programmes have come a long way since the fanzine boom of the 1980s compelled clubs to move away from the dull Pravda-esque publications which used to be trotted out, but few articles I have encountered have quite captured such a delightfully surreal sense of the absurd as those lines attributed to one Orson Cartier in this evening’s programme.

Mr Cartier's handwork - I do appreciate I am
infringing copyright here, and will be
happy to remove this at the request of
anyone from Stockport FC.

The second-half looked initially to be wending its way in the direction of the first before, in a swift 10 minute spell, Gateshead scored twice through Ryan DONALDSON and Micky CUMMINS, without it has to be said really having to do terribly much.  The first benefited from a crucial deflection off a defender, whilst the second looked well offside. 

I could see the bewildered looks on the home defenders’ faces, like pick-pocket victims, asking each other “Now, how the heck did THAT happen?”

County attempted to pick up the pace but any ambitions they may have harbored to attempt to pass their way through the visitors’ defence were seriously hampered by the increasingly greasy surface caused by the now incessant rain.  

A switch of tactic involving pumping high-balls into the box, just played into the hands (quite literally) of Gateshead ‘keeper Adam Bartlett, and the visitors were able to hold onto their slender lead and send the shirtless Heed hoodlums home happy. 

Edgeley Park - Stockport County FC

Edgeley Park Main Stand - recently renamed in honour of former Manager Danny Bergara

Edgeley Park - The Cheadle End

Edgeley Park - The Railway End

Gateshead's Josh Gilles prepares to take a throw-in late in the second-half.

Gillies once more - slightly more active.

Panorama of Edgeley Park, Stockport.


  1. Nice little article about my team, as you say the programme is very decent and is often picking up awards.

  2. Yes, that was an enjoyable visit that one. I ended up in the Away section for no other reason than it was absolutely tipping it down when I arrived, and that was the first entrance I came across.

    I had hoped to spend some time poking around the intriguing looking reservoir behind the ground, but time was too tight really. Perhaps next time......?