Hatters Go To Town!
County made their shortest-ever trip for a competitive fixture, from SK3 to neighbouring SK8 – but, despite having to trek less than two miles to reach Park Road, the Hatters certainly travelled very well, as they put Cheadle Town to the sword in the Cheshire Senior Cup.
Eight goals were shared between five players – with Bohan Dixon and Adam Thomas scoring, respectively, a hat-trick and a brace, and Harry Brazel, George West and Szymon Czubik all netting their first senior County goals – as the Hatters comfortably negotiated the Preliminary Round match against their hosts from the North West Counties League First Division.
Several first-team regulars were rested for the tie, although Darren Stephenson returned to action, following his recovery from an ankle injury, for the first time in over seven weeks. And of five Academy players handed a start, as part of a 4-4-1-1 formation, the two full-backs, Alex Jackson and Josh Robinson, were making their competitive debuts – while another defender, centre-back Jordan Downing, was made captain for the night.
Wearing their all-yellow strip for the second successive outing away from home, the Hatters made much of the early running – and went close after five minutes, when a looping Thomas cross from the right was spilled by Danny Whiting, before the home goalkeeper clawed the ball over the bar.
Robinson and Stephenson fired shots just wide of Cheadle’s right post, before County took the lead with 17 minutes on the clock. A low cross by Stephenson from the left evaded all until it approached the far side of the area and found Dixon, who slotted past Whiting.
Nine minutes later, the advantage was doubled after a long kick by Ian Ormson was pounced upon by Thomas, before he rounded Whiting and tapped into an empty net. And on the half-hour mark, it was two for Thomas, as well as three for County, when he met a headed corner-clearance with a half-volley that took a deflection en route to goal from just inside the area.
The final two minutes of the half, together with added time, were to see the evening’s goal-tally double: first, Dixon blasted in a cross from the left by Robinson; a minute later, Jake Ambrose pulled one back for Cheadle at close range, after converting Remeece Brown’s squared ball from the left byline; and, with seconds to go before the break, another attempt by the hosts to clear a County corner fell to the unmarked Brazel, who rifled home to restore the four-goal lead.
HALF-TIME: Cheadle 1 (Ambrose, 44), County 5 (Dixon, 17 and 43; Thomas, 26 and 30; Brazel, 45 + 1).
Ormson was forced to make his first save of the evening just a minute after the resumption, as he tipped over Joseph Shaw’s header following an early second-half Cheadle corner.
But within another five minutes, County’s lead was further increased, and Dixon’s hat-trick completed – courtesy of a low volley from a cross by Stephenson on the left.
Whiting did well to tip over a shot by Will Holt from the edge of the Cheadle box after 64 minutes – but good work down the right on the part of substitute Adam Etches five minutes later left West with the simplest of tap-ins for County’s seventh. And nine minutes from time, the lively Etches – having fired an effort of his own narrowly over – returned to the role of provider on the right flank, on this occasion cutting back for delighted young substitute Czubik to score just over 20 minutes into his first-team debut.
All in all, not a bad way to begin November! Now for a trilogy of league matches, and entry into this term’s FA Trophy, before the month is out…
FULL-TIME: Cheadle 1 (Ambrose, 44), County 8 (Dixon, 17, 43 and 57; Thomas, 26 and 30; Brazel, 45 + 1; West, 69; Czubic, 81).
Team: Ormson, Jackson, Robinson, Holt, Downing (Capt.), Whitty, Thomas (Czubik, 60), Brazel, West (Peach, 75), Dixon, Stephenson (Etches, 60).
Unused Subs: Smith, Hoshieh.