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Match Report

 

Posted Thu 31 Jan 13 at 17:08 PM

Late goal keeps Hatters hopes alive

Adnan Cirak smashed home an equalising goal in the last minute of added time at the Victoria Ground to deny Gateshead the win that would have made them safe and guaranteed that the Hatters fight to stay in the Blue Square Premier would go on until the last day of the season.

In truth a point was the least that County deserved in front of a superb following from Cheshire,  with the blue & white army taking up the majority of the end behind the goal, outnumbering the 'home' support for a third successive away game.

Cirak started the game brightly having the first shot of the match in the first minute, before combining well with another recalled player, Javan Vidal, to create unease in the home defence.

Danny Whitehead's effort from the edge of box then had Adam Bartlett scrambling to his left to save, before Cirak created a chance for himself  which Bartlett tipped around the post for the first corner of the game.

The home side's first effort coming from top scorer Josh Gillies, his drive from outside the box going well wide.

Matt Mainwaring earned himself a booking after his high footed challenge on Micky Cummins saw the full back leave the field for treatment to a facial injury, the unfortunate defender being replaced by James Marwood.

County were looking the more dangerous with Cirak feeding a good through ball to Whitehead in the box, Whitehead outmuscled by James Curtis as he looked to shoot, Alex Kenyon's effort being deflected into the grateful arms of Bartlett after good work from Paul Marshall.

The home side won two successive corner kicks as they looked for a foothold in the game, Richard O'Donnell untroubled by either.

The first of several decisions to go against the Hatters came as a linesman's flag denied Cirak as he was through on goal, the ball having clearly been  played into his path by Curtis. The big defender then being booked for a cynical foul on Cirak.

O'Donnell was called into action to save a deflected effort before good defending from Jordan Fagbola and James Tunnicliffe cleared a rare Heed attack.

Bartlett made the save of the half to deny Whitehead after neat play from Cirak had brought his strike partner the chance.

The Hatters created another chance as a great ball from Marshall to find Cirak, was moved on to Lee Bullock in the 6 yard box, the midfielder electing to pass to Whitehead when the shot was on, Whitehead's effort drifting harmlessly wide.

The home side ended the half strongly, a foul by Kenyon on Gillies bringing a free kick which Liam Hatch headed well over the bar, James Brown then creating a chance for a shot from distance which went well wide.

HT: Gateshead 0 Stockport County 0

The second half began with Whitehead's early effort being saved well by Bartlett before the home side took the lead against the run of play and with considerable help from the match officials.

Good play down the Heed left earned the Hatters another corner kick which Sean Newton went across to take. With referee Backhouse overruling his linesman Bartlett launched a goal kick which found its way to Gillies in space on the right. The striker slotting home to give his side an unexpected lead.

The home side, now on the front foot began to create opportunities and only some superb defending by Fagbola, after he and Vidal had initially allowed Brown in, stopped a further goal scoring chance. Vidal and Marshall then combining to deny the Heed forward another chance.

The Hatters came close to levelling following another corner, Marshall's effort from the edge of the box whistling passed the post with Bartlett stranded.

With his team needing a goal Ian Bogie replaced Vidal with Jon Nolan, the Hatters moving to a back three with the full back being sacrificed having had a decent return to the team.

The home side had a lucky escape as Phil Turnbull appeared to handle Marshall's cross in the box, no penalty being given to the fury of the packed away end.

With time running out simon Hackney, on for Marshall, saw his volley blocked on the line by Curtis, Whitehead's strike from distance flew wide of the post and Kenyon had a volley well saved by Bartlett before the pressure finally brought the teams level.

With less than a minute of the four added remaining, Cirak lashed home the loose ball after Newton's shot had been saved by Bartlett.

FT Gateshead 1 Stockport County 1 (Cirak)

Starting XI: O'Donnell, Newton, Vidal, Tunnicliffe, Whitehead, Kenyon, Cirak, Fagbola, Mainwaring, Marshall,  Bullock.
Subs: Ormson, Sheridan, Nolan, Hackney, Windsor.
ATT: 685 (396) 
  

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