There is a saying that 'all good things must come to an end', and Stockport Sports winning run was halted at four games following a disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Colne at Stockport Sports Village. On a day that The Saxons had the opportunity to move top of the table with a victory, they produced arguably their worst display of the season, their usual slick passing game looked lackluster and disjointed.
Peter Withe made just one change to his line up from last weekends thrashing of Norton United, Melford Knight restored to the starting line up for Lee Madin who was unavailable, Matty Ward moving into a more forward position to cover for Madin's absence.
It was clear from the outset that it was not going to be an easy game for The Saxons, they were more than matched by the visitors in the opening period and they created very few chances. Liam Irwin fired in a 25 yard effort that was well saved by the visiting keeper, while John Marsden, in such good form of late wasted an opportunity when sent clear by Ward. His miss-hit half-volley flashed across the face of goal narrowly evading the onrushing attackers.
It was the visitors who led at the break and on the balance of play it was no more than they deserved, the goal coming on 34 minutes, The Saxons keeper Russell Saunders misjudged a cross from the left as the ball was held up in the strong cross-wind, and Ashley Carter nipped in ahead of him to head home. It would be harsh to blame Saunders solely for the goal, The Saxons defensive display throughout the game was poor and completely out of character with that which we have seen in recent weeks.
The Saxons started the second period much better. Just seconds in Irwin had an opportunity to equalise but failed to connect to a right-wing cross from Ricky Anane.
As the second half progressed The Saxons finally began to take control of the midfield and create opportunities, and on 67 minutes they equalised. Marsden saw an effort cannon back off the hand of a defender who was clearly inside the penalty area. Rather than award a penalty the referee awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box. Fortunately for The Saxons Kyle Hamid made the decision irrelevant, curling a beautiful shot into the top right hand corner to level the scores.
Just minutes later Matty Ward had an opportunity to give The Saxons the lead. Receiving the ball wide on the right, he jinked between several defenders to go clear on goal. Sadly for him and the home supporters the Colne keeper reacted smartly to save Ward's effort. Ward's trickery has been a real joy to behold in recent weeks, his wing-play and creativity playing a huge part in the recent run of wins. It will surely not be long before clubs higher up the pyramid start to take notice of his talents.
John Marsden had a quiet match by his recent standards in front of goal, but he showed there is more to his game than just scoring goals by creating The Saxons second. Receiving the ball in midfield he rode a challenge, drove forward and then lofted an inch perfect ball into the area that was guided home by Liam Irwin. It was marvellous link up play between two outstanding young talents. Both can look forward to a massive future in the game if they continue in this vein of form.
Having gone ahead The Saxons as the home side, should have been able to close out the game, sadly though they were pegged back in the dying minutes. Irwin was harshly adjudged to have handled a cross in the area and Patrick O'Brien smashed in the resulting penalty to make it 2-2.
There was still time for the visitors to have a player dismissed for dissent, but not enough for The Saxons to mount a serious search for the winning goal. It was a disappointing result, but taking into account a below par performance it may well be a point gained rather than two lost. Colne deserve huge credit for their display. They were were the better side for lengthy spells of the game and they would have been very disappointed had they gone home empty handed.
The Saxons travel to face Wigan Robin Park at the Robin Park Arena on Tuesday evening kick off 7.45pm, before they entertain AFC Blackpool at Stockport Sports Village next Saturday. The Saxons went down 3-2 last time they faced the Blackpool side and will be eager for revenge in the return fixture against a side who are likely to feature a former Saxons player in full-back Ryan Stayte. Kick off is at 3pm and all are welcome.
Line Up: 1. Russell Saunders, 2. Ricky Anane, 3. Aaron Best, 4. Jamie Street, 5. Mike Tomlinson (c), 6. Melford Knight, 7. Jimmy Ogoo, 8. Liam Irwin, 9. John Marsden, 10. Kyle Hamid, 11. Matty Ward