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County continued to keep the pressure on league favourites Pendle after another comprehensive victory over a resolute but ineffectual Furness side. Goals from Dan Brown and Gregg Galloway as well as a Furness O.G guided the men in yellow to all three points. Although County now go above Pendle on goal difference with one game to play, Pendle have a game in hand over their competitors.
In truth it was a one sided affair throughout and although Pendle were solid, they were eventually undone by County’s quality and had their goalkeeper Tom Hodgins to thank for keeping the score down.
The game started at a slow tempo with both teams taking measured approaches in the unusually bright conditions. Furness matched their opponent’s 4-5-1 formation and kept a rigid shape in the hope of springing a counter attack. Early chances were few and far between with both sides only threatening from set pieces, Edwards headed over a Wells corner for County whilst at the other end Rob Wade almost nodded Furness in front.
Wells’ left footed deliveries from corners were particularly troubling for the Furness defenders but each time the ball was scrambled away.
It seemed fitting that the deadlock was to be broken through a set piece. County skipper Jordan Gammie curled in an inch perfect 40 yard free kick as defender Rob Wade could only head past his own keeper into the far corner.
Conceding a goal gave Furness some imputes and they began to enjoy a prolonged spell of possession as George Shilton found himself in space outside the area but could only fire wide.
Furness continued to be compact but the pace and direct running of Greg Galloway meant their defence sat deep and at times had all 11 men behind the ball as County probed forward.
A throw in from the left saw Jamie Jones cut inside the box and force a smart stop from Hodgins with County continuing to press for a second. He made another excellent save from Brown moments later as the striker turned smartly on the edge of the box and saw his deflected strike loop up awkwardly.
At the other end County goalkeeper Liam Hartas had little to do during the first half but almost provided Furness with a gift, after he fumbled Shilton’s swerving long distance effort.
County doubled their lead shortly before half time courtesy of a goal crafted by some instinctive forward play from Brown. The striker anticipated a loose ball and headed himself clear of the static Furness defenders, finishing smartly into the corner.
Furness began the second half brightly but were mainly restricted to efforts outside the area, Lyddon found space to shoot but his effort did not trouble Hartas.
County clicked into gear and Edwards was foiled once again by Hodgins as his looping volley was tipped over the crossbar. Wells also almost added a third as his fantastic corner was headed off the line as it whipped inside the Furness near post.
County applied wave after wave of pressure but could not capitalise, as Gammie saw his volley from the edge of the box roll just wide.
Furness out of the blue then wasted their most guilt edge chance to get back into the game, as a short corner from Glennon caught County napping and his pull back saw three Furness players produce air kicks from point blank range.
This proved to be costly as County made the game safe with their third less than a minute later. Gammie’s long free-kick was headed intelligently back across goal by Brown and Galloway made no mistake with the finish, instinctively heel-flicking the ball into the gaping goal.
Furness were unable to muster much attacking prowess as County sat back and absorbed the pressure, Chris Rowley having their only effort of note which flew past the post.
County now face their final game of the season against Lonsdale with just one defeat and five wins from their six games, but must rely on Pendle to slip up in the upcoming fixtures to have any chance of claiming the League.