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Report: County 2-2 Wigan

Posted: Fri 03 Aug 2012
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James Gannon's young Stockport County side gained a hard earned draw in their final home game of a tough pre-season schedule.  Andy Halls and Danny Hattersley had given County a two goal cushion going into the break, with the young Latics scoring two second half goals to level the game.

Although failing to claim victory in the four home games against Blue Square Champions Fleetwood Town, Premier League Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic Gannon will know that his side will have learned much about what is required to compete next season.

Jon Nolan came into the side in place of Tom Collins in the only change from the defeat against WBA on Tuesday evening.

County started the game brightly knocking the ball around nicely in the opening minutes, with Craig Hobson and Danny Hattersley working well.

Hattersley looked to find strike partners Hobson's knock-down in the first minute, but Josh Langley recovered well for the Latics.

Adam Buxton had Wigan's first attempt on 7 minutes, firing high and wide Ian Ormson's goal.

Andy Halls, with his first goal for the club, gave County the lead on 9 minutes. Great work by Nolan released Sam Sheridan, who laid the ball into the path of the overlapping Halls just outside the box. The right-back smashing the ball home from an acute angle.

The Hatters claimed their first corner on 11 minutes, Hattersley doing brilliantly on the right to skim past Jonathan Lynch and fire in a deflected cross.

From the corner County grabbed a second as Lee Nicholls spilled the cross, Joe Connor heading the loose ball across for Hattersley to nod into an empty net.

Already looking quicker and stronger than on Tuesday night, County were pushing for more goals. Good work again by Nolan gave Hattersley a chance but the former Lancaster man could only head the ball straight into Nicholls' arms

The lively Nolan played Hattersley in on goal on 19 minutes, but the striker stumbled under a challenge from Langley and the chance was gone.

Former Everton youngster Nolan then tried his luck from range, hammering a shot just over Nicholls' crossbar.

A free-kick on 26 minutes, following a rash challenge from Alex Kenyon, saw Adam Dawson shoot high over the crossbar for Wigan.

County were looking dangerous from set-pieces, Sam Sheridan crossing for Hattersley to head wide, although the offside flag had been raised.

Nolan stole possession from Peter Aylmer outside the away side's area before playing in Sheridan. The ex-Bolton man looking unsure as to whether to shoot or pass to the overlapping Hobson, did neither and again a chance was gone.

Hattersley and Hobson, clearly forming a better understanding with each game, created another chance on the half-hour mark, Hobson flicking on for Hattersley to fire wide.

Callum Morris had the visitors first attempt on target on 35 minutes, a cross-shot parried by Ormson at his near post and out for a corner.

County should have made it a three goal lead on 40 minutes as Kenyon cleverly played in Hobson, before the striker found the unmarked Nolan in the box. Nolan rounded the keeper but with the angle too tight he pulled the ball back for Sheridan to fire goal wards. Nicholls spreading himself well to save to his right.

The half time whistle blew on a very impressive first 45 minutes from County, with Wigan mostly restricted to long-range efforts.

HT: County 2-0 Wigan Athletic

The second half began as the first, with County on the attack, Hattersley winning a free-kick when he was tripped by Sumner. Sean Newton's set-piece headed out for a corner. Newton's kick being headed wide by captain Joe Connor.

It was from another County corner that the visitors found a way back into the game.

Keeper Nicholls spilled the corner with his defence coming to his rescue and as the Latics broke away down the right through Filip Orsula, the Hatters defence was stretched.

Josh Sumner halved the deficit when he poked home passed Ormson after Orsula's effort had been palmed away by the County keeper.

Kenyon tested Nicholls with a stinging cross shot with Hattersley waiting any fumble, before playing in Newton with a neat pass down the left. Newton's effort deflected for yet another corner.

The visitors, having changed their shape, were now beginning to find more joy on the counter attack, Callum Morris outpacing Halls before firing over and they were level on the hour mark, Orsula tapping the ball home after Morris had found space behind Newton to pull the ball back for the striker to tap home.

Danny Rowe replaced Sheridan as Gannon looked to partner the on loan forward with Hattersley and Hobson in attack for the first time.

Unfortunately the trio lasted only a couple of minutes as Hattersley landed awkwardly after an aerial challenge and hobbled out of play to be replaced by Tom Collins.

Sumner came within an inch of giving Wigan the lead as his effort whistled passed the post with Ormson at full stretch.

Worryingly for Gannon, Hobson also picked up a knock just before the final whistle, the striker being replaced by Cameron Darkwah.

FT: Stockport County 2-2 Wigan Athletic

Starting XI: Ormson, Halls, Newton, Connor, O'Donnell, Tunnicliffe, Kenyon, Hattersley (Collins), Hobson (Darkwah), Sheridan (Rowe), Nolan.

Subs: Smith (G/K), Rothwell, Collins, Darkwah, Piergianni, Brownhill, Say, Rowe, Fagbola.

ATT: 916 (48)