Walker and Cowan Join Hatters

Stockport County manager, Jim Gannon has bolstered his options in defence and midfield with the addition of Dan Cowan and Sam Walker, just days before the start of pre-season.

Cowan, who joins from Macclesfield, has been at the club since finishing his apprenticeship in 2014 and has made over 50 appearances before his release this summer.

The right-sided defender has also had loan spells at Ashton United and Chorley in recent years and after the announcement that Max Cartwright has left the club, Gannon was quick to add the 21-year-old to his side.

“I’ve seen Dan play every year for Macclesfield Town against my teams, and he has always impressed me”, he told the club website on Tuesday.

“The addition provides further depth, and restores some balance to the defensive options… He’s grown in maturity with first team games and I feel he has all the attributes to develop into a top defender”.

In addition, County fans can be excited at the capture of highly-rated midfielder Sam Walker, who joins the club on a two year deal after rejecting a new contract at Salford City for the coming season.

The 29-year-old has also had successful spells at Curzon Ashton and  Halifax Town, where he won the FA Trophy, and the central midfielder has been hailed as a potential replacement for goals now that top scorer Danny Lloyd has left for Peterborough.

“Sam scored seven goals and provided 13 assists in last season’s 37 appearances at Salford, which is a great contribution from central midfield”, Gannon told fans last week.

Sam and Matty Warburton provide us with two very good technicians for set plays, which at every level of football is becoming an increasingly important source of goals”.

Welcome to both Dan and Sam, we look forward to seeing you in pre-season.

2016/17 NLN Average Attendances

We compiled data from a number of different websites including football web pages and The Linnets to determine a list of average attendances for the 2016/2017 season.

Notable mentions should include AFC Fylde, who improved their attendance by 275% on last season and Salford City, who achieved 117% improvement on their 2015/16 attendance.

County can also be pleased with a 12% jump whilst the FC United hierarchy may be worred with a 21% drop in support last season.

  1. Stockport County – 3,477
  2. FC United of Manchester – 2,660
  3. FC Halifax Town – 2,156
  4. AFC Fylde – 1,961
  5. Kidderminster Harriers – 1,837
  6. Darlington 1883 – 1,739
  7. Chorley – 1,454
  8. Salford City – 1,430
  9. AFC Telford United – 1,182
  10. Altrincham – 1,149
  11. Boston United – 1,081
  12. Harrogate Town – 901
  13. Tamworth – 825
  14. Worcester City – 636
  15. Nuneaton Town – 626
  16. Gainsborough Trinity – 612
  17. Stalybridge – 569
  18. Alfreton Town – 546
  19. Gloucester City – 483
  20. Bradford Park Avenue – 453
  21. Brackley Town – 427
  22. Curzon Ashton – 405

In addition, the teams that were relegated/promoted to the league had the following average attendances:

  • York City – 2,558
  • North Ferriby United – 615
  • Southport – 1,140
  • Blyth Spartans – 648
  • Spennymoor Town – 623

 

Former Hatter Luca Havern joins Bradford

Former County defender Gianluca Havern, who scored a goal on his debut weeks before our promotion to league 1 in 2008, has joined Bradford PA after impressing for Telford in 2017.

The 28-year-old, who made 9 appearances in two separate spells for County, was captain and player of the year for AFC Telford last season.

The move rules out any lingering rumours that the former Hatter was due to return to the club this summer after an impressive spell for The Bucks.

Elsewhere in the National League North, Gus Mafuta joined Salford to become the Ammies 12th signing of the summer. Whilst Harrogate Town have strengthened with the addition of Alfreton Town defender, Terry Kennedy.

O’Halloran re-signs for County

Stephen O’Halloran has re-signed for County after two years with Salford City. The defender becomes James Gannon’s second summer signing of 2017.

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The popular defender has played a starring role in The Ammies last two campaigns, and was part of the side that reached the FA Cup second round in 2016 whilst simultaneously winning the evo-stik premier league. In his second year at Salford, he helped his side reach the play-off semi-finals before parting ways after the club decided to move full-time.

Gannon was impressed with the defender during his time at County and towards the end of his time with City, and the gaffer believes that the left-footed defender will add something to County’s, already solid, defence.

“I feel he offers great experience, footballing quality, and natural balance to the other two contracted central defenders Michael Clarke and Chris Smalley”, he told stockportcounty.com on Wednesday.

“The addition of Stephen provides the option of both quality and balance that will keep the competition sharp for any the two man central defensive pair”.

The defender is a qualified physiotherapist and will most likely continue that work full-time whilst playing for County semi-professionally.

 

 

 

 

 

Rivals strengthen for next season

As news broke earlier this week of Gannon’s first summer signing of 2017, many of Stockport’s National League North rivals were also strengthening their squads as they look to secure one of two promotion spots next season.

Tamworth made their first signing on Thursday as they brought in former Yeovil, Solihull and Kidderminster forward, Darryl Knights.

20-goal striker George Thomson joined Harrogate from FC United of Manchester whilst Town have also brought in Goalkeeper James Belshaw and midfielder Josh Falkingham from league rivals Tamworth and Darlington as they look to show a real statement of intent this summer.

Vanarama-National-League-North

Bradford Park Avenue have signed experienced attacker, Nicky Clee, with the winger calling time on his Altrincham career following 263 appearances.

Elsewhere, Seventh-placed Brackley Town have signed Solihull Moors defender, Connor Franklin, whilst Salford City made their second signing of the summer in the form of Liam Hogan, a former Stockport Town player who most recently played in the national league premier division with Gateshead.

Salford City 1-1 County

County shared the spoils with Salford as a Ritchie Allen penalty cancelled out a Danny Lloyd strike in an entertaining game at Moor Lane. 

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The play-off crunch match saw Jim Gannon go for a front three of Amis, Gonzales and Lloyd, as The Hatters fielded an attacking line-up at Moor Lane. A decision which appeared to pay dividends early in the game.

County started brightly and took the lead after some great link up play between the front men. Minihan, Gonzales, Ball and then Lloyd were all involved before the latter slotted past Jay Lynch in the thirteenth minute of the match. Salford threatened a couple of times after that but Hinchliffe and his defence were equal to the threat.

HT: Salford 0-1 County

The sell-out County allocation knew that City were going to come out pushing in the second half, and they slowly began to turn the screw on Jim Gannon’s men in the second half. It took a great save from Hinchliffe to deny Mike Phenix’s header in the 53rd minute.

Kaine Felix was brought on and had two great chances to bury the game, his first opportunity came after a persevering run, outpacing the defender before rounding the ‘keeper but firing over under pressure. His second opportunity saw a him go one-on-one with Lynch before firing wide, again after good defending from The Ammies.

Salford got their equaliser ten minutes from time, Sam Minihan adjudged to have fouled Michael Nottingham in what was a soft decision by the referee, Richie Allen slotted home the resulting penalty to secure an important point for City.

FT: Salford 1-1 County

Team: Hinchliffe, Minihan, Duxbury, Montrose, Clarke, Smalley, Amis (Ross, 64), Winter, Gonzales, Ball (Meppen-Walters, 81), Lloyd (Felix, 68).

Unused Subs: Ormson, Hampson.

Goals: Lloyd (13)

Attendance: 1,735

 

National League North: Weekend Preview

There are nine big matches taking place this weekend in the Vanarama National League North, with key games in both the race for promotion and the battle to avoid relegation.

downloadStarting at the top, the two form teams in the division play each other as AFC Fylde travel to Salford in what is a massive game, failure to win at Moor Lane would mean that Kidderminster could move to within three points of The Coasters if they win their two games in hand. Salford, meanwhile, would go second with a victory and surely, with 15 league games still to go, harbour their own thoughts of catching Dave Challinor’s men.

Chorley_fc

In another big match, Chorley look to consolidate their position in the top five as they host Darlington, whereas The Quakers will be looking to move back in to the play-offs after recently being replaced by Stockport County. In the other games of interest at the top, Tamworth and Halifax travel to Worcester and Altrincham respectively in games that neither team can afford to lose, especially if they want to keep pace with the leading five.

A win for County, however, could see them move into third position (albeit they’d have to beat Stalybridge at Edgeley Park on Saturday by at least 15 goals), and with other promotion chasing teams playing each other, a win for County is a must.

StalybridgeCeltic

However with Bridge currently 11 points from safety at the moment, they will also view Saturday’s game as an incredibly important one, a win or draw for Celtic would see them unbeaten in four and would really give their side belief that they can beat the drop.

Elsewhere in the relegation zone, Bradford Park Avenue  face Curzon Ashton and will aim to move to within a point of 19th placed Alfreton, whereas bottom club Altrincham host Halifax as they look to move into double figures this season and secure just their second win of the entire league campaign.

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In mid-table, Gloucester City could move into ninth position as they go head-to-head with AFC Telford at the New Bucks Head Stadium, The Tigers will be looking to build on their impressive win against Tamworth as they continue their surge for the play-offs.

In the final two games of the weekend, Gainsborough Trinity face Alfeton Town in a game which will see connotations at the bottom of the table, whilst 10th placed Harrogate Town take on Boston at York Street.