Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughAt least we’re not Stockport - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough At least we’re not Stockport - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

At least we’re not Stockport

A top-half finish was the one modest objective riding on Cambridge United’s game at Macclesfield on Saturday, but even that proved elusive as the curtain finally descended on an eminently forgettable season.

It had all looked so promising for United and their 250+ travelling fans, when Tom Elliott poached his 16th goal of the campaign in the 15th minute at Moss Rose to give Cambridge the lead. But Pablo Mills equalised for the Silkmen before Guy Madjo hit a 30-yard screamer on the stroke of half-time that proved to be the winner.

The match and the result summed up United’s season – and so many of our games – in a nutshell. It all started so well before we got pegged back by the opposition and ended up being thoroughly outplayed.  Our 14th place finish – nine points clear of relegation but 21 short of the play-offs – was undoubtedly a fair reflection of a disappointing season.

On the other hand, we should be grateful we aren’t Stockport.  A Championship equivalent side a little more than a decade ago, County have tumbled through the leagues like a stone. Victims of serial mismanagement over many years, their relegation to Conference North was confirmed on Saturday with a 4-0 defeat at Kidderminster.

Stockport didn’t exactly go down fighting at Aggborough, but their fans certainly did as Kidderminster’s Lee Vaughan was punched in a game disrupted by crowd trouble. Play was suspended for half an hour when some County supporters ran on to the pitch after Anthony Malbon had given Harriers the lead. Punches were thrown by angry Stockport fans as the players were forced off the field.

When play resumed, Harriers won the game with ease, but missed out on automatic promotion as Mansfield’s 1-0 win over Wrexham saw the Blue Square title go to Field Mill. Harriers finished second and will meet Wrexham in the play-offs, with Newport and Grimsby contesting the other play-off semi-final.

Surely the biggest club to fall so far for purely football reasons – as opposed to financial ones, though they have also played a part in the club’s demise – Stockport’s ability to bounce back is far from certain. Possibly one of the poorest sides to visit the Abbey this season, falling to a 4-1 hammering by the U’s, County have been through no fewer than three managers during the campaign.  Eternal club favourite Jim Gannon was succeeded by Darije Kalezic, but the unheralded Bosnian lasted barely two months before being replaced by Ian Bogie, recently unemployed following his departure from Gateshead.

With Barrow, Ebbsfleet and Telford accompanying Stockport through the Blue Square Premier trap door, U’s fans are already pondering new opponents for next season. Chester and Welling have already secured their respective Conference North and South championship titles, with play-offs to decide who will join them. Meanwhile, Aldershot (probably) and one of six League Two clubs above them will descend to Conference ‘obscurity.’

Michael Barnes