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County 1 -0 Lonsdale
County began their season back in Football League A in style, with an impressive 1-0 win against Lonsdale. This opening fixture promised much, as Lonsdale were looking to retain their league crown with a new look squad and County had a point to prove in the league.
From the first whistle, County kept good possession and played the ball about nicely, which led to some early chances. Lonsdale keeper Matt Wood had to palm away a dangerous cross from the pacy Jamie Lovatt.
Despite County dominating the opening stages, it was Lonsdale who created the first serious chance. From a corner, James Beaumont’s header was brilliantly tipped onto the bar by Tom Kay.
This was a flash in the pan for Lonsdale though, as County continued to keep the ball and create countless chances. Duncan Gamm was constantly bombing forward from central midfield, firing over from long range before testing Matt Wood inside the area.
Next it was the turn of County striker Tom Candler to test Wood’s reflexes, as he turned well and forced a quick save from the Lonsdale stopper.
County’s ascendency grew as the half wore on. Candler was unlucky not to put them ahead when his left footed drive crashed off the bar.
This merely served as a warning for what was to follow. With Lonsdale failing to clear a corner, defender Anders Fries was left unmarked to volley in from close range and put County 1-0 up.
County will have been wondering how they weren’t further ahead going into half-time, with striker Daniel Brown heading wide from a few yards and a chance cleared off the line.
The second half was a much more cagey affair, with Lonsdale pressing for the equaliser and controlling the midfield much better than in the first half.
Lonsdale played some intricate pass and move football, and their pressure began to tell, as they forced a few corners which stretched County’s back line.
Indeed, they were unlucky not to add a second at the end of a breathtaking move which forced yet another superb save out of Matt Wood.
With only a goal in it, Lonsdale’s golden chance came towards the end of the game. Nico Nicolaides, who had an impressive game on the left wing, fired the ball across only for striker Pete McCarthy to head over from inside the six-yard box.
County comfortably saw out the final few minutes and ran out 1-0 victors.
Their captain Dale Vardy gave some insight into his team’s solid display, “We had an early pre-season and didn’t rush the team selection. We had lots of inter-friendlies which helped us narrow it down to the right players for the A and B teams.” He also commented that the team’s main objective was to keep the ball and pass it well, so as to “outplay” their opponents.
Lonsdale’s determination to retain their status as champions and County’s hunger to knock them off their perch, makes for an exciting season of football.