Stockport County bounced back from last weeks home defeat to Guiseley, with a battling performance against a tough Ramsbottom side in the FA Trophy 1st Round. A Scott Spencer penalty and first goals for the club from Daniel Gregson and Jordan Lazenbury ensured County avoided a potential banana skin and put their names in the hat for the 2nd round, of course the £5,000 extra prize money will also be most welcome.
County got off to the perfect start after they were awarded a penalty in only the 2nd minute after a Ramsbottom defender was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area. With Captain Jamie Milligan not fit to start the game it was up to Scott Spencer to step up from 12 yards out and send the keeper the wrong way and give The Hatters the early lead they desperately wanted.
The game had started at a ferocious pace and the goal played no part in slowing proceedings down, Ramsbottom and County both created chances and we could have easily saw 2 or 3 more before 10 minutes were up.
After 18 minutes it may have looked like County had limited their chances of doubling their lead after top scorer Kristian Dennis was substituted with an injury he seems to be struggling with at the moment, and with all the chances created it was an unlikely scorer who did get the second of the game and indeed the second for Stockport County, centre half Danny Gregson had pushed forward for a County set-piece and when the ball fell to him 6 yards out he turned on a sixpence and slammed the ball home to double The Hatters advantage.
The game soon settled down from the alarming pace it had begun as the weather and heavy pitch no doubt took it’s toll. A few players made their way into the referee’s notebook, and we headed into the half-time interval with County two goals to the good.
HT: Ramsbottom United 0-2 Stockport County
Ramsbottom started the second half brightly, as expected chasing a 2 goal deficit, yet they rarely threatened Danny Hurst’s goal with any clear cut chances. Half chances for Dean, Spencer and Williams were all that Rammy could muster and Lazenbury who had been the early sub for Dennis, sealed the win for County as he rose to head home Chris Sharp’s cross on 81 minutes to seal the victory and ensure County were in the hat for Monday’s 2nd Round Draw.
Alan Lord was delighted with the result after the game, especially as this game was seen by many as a potential cup upset and even more so he was delighted by the performance, which had heart and character, something he felt they lacked 7 days ago at home to Guiseley.
Another plus for Alan Lord and Stockport County was the introduction of Development Squad player Connor Hancock, who made his 1st team debut as a 85th minute sub replacing the impressive Tunji Moses, Hancock is another success story of the development squad and I’m sure not the last one we’ll see progress through the ranks.
Spencer brothers share an embrace before proceedings get underway.
Ramsbottom United: Shenton (Capt), Smalley, Grayson (Robinson 62), Stopforth, Howson, Krou, Williams (Abadaki 78), Burton, Hulme, Spencer, Dean.
Subs not used: Morley, Kuba-Kuba, Slaven
Stockport County: Hurst, Belezika, O’Halloran, Moses (Hancock85), Gregson, Lees (capt), Baker, Lofthouse (Milligan 68), Spencer, Dennis (Lazenbury 18), Sharp.
Subs not used: Woolfe, Ormson.
Referee: Tom Nield
HT: Ramsbottom United 0 – 2 Stockport County
Ramsbottom United 0:
Stockport County 3: Spencer 3 (Pen), Gregson 24, Lazenbury 81