Stockport County deservedly won at Victory Park against the high-flying Magpies of Chorley for a first triumph over the Lancashire side since 1899.
Leading scorer Danny Lloyd bagged the only goal of the game in the 72nd minute of another spirited performance that has seen County stretch a winning October run to four matches and move to within three points of the play-off positions.
Just one change was made to the team that took to the field at Edgeley Park against Bishop Auckland in the FA Cup a week previously, as the Hatters’ new loan signing from Rochdale, James Hooper, went straight into the side in place of Jimmy Ball.
County did have the ball in Chorley’s net just after half an hour, when the first corner of the afternoon – delivered by Lloyd from the right – was bundled home at the far post by Chris Smalley. But the effort was discounted, after Josh Amis was adjudged to have fouled while heading the ball on.
A first half of otherwise few chances saw each team go close on just the one occasion with an effort that narrowly cleared the opposition’s bar. Sam Minihan did so for County, before Jake Cottrell responded in kind – flicking on a shot from outside the Hatters’ box by Scott Leather.
The Hatters made much of the early running after the break – with Amis skewing an effort over while off balance, Hooper shooting at home goalkeeper Sam Ashton, and the hosts’ choice as County Man of the Match, Lewis Montrose, firing wide of the left upright.
But the decisive blow of the afternoon was eventually struck after a 70-yard diagonal clearance by Ben Hinchliffe found Lloyd, who cut in from the left before slotting past Sam Ashton for his ninth goal of the season in all competitions.
The Hatters twice went close to extending their lead through substitutes, when Ball struck the bar with a dipping cross from the right, and Courtney Meppen-Walters’ shot following a corner was kept out by Ashton.
And Hinchliffe, with the assist already to his name, helped to preserve his side’s advantage by making two critical saves – blocking a close-range shot from Jason Walker and tipping over a header in added time by Adam Roscoe.
- Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Ross (Capt.), Cartwright, Montrose, Clarke, Smalley, Minihan, Stopforth, Amis (Odejayi, 82), Hooper (Ball, 69), Lloyd (Meppen-Walters, 82)
- Unused Subs: Marsden, Ormson.
- Booked: Amis, Montrose.
- Man of the Match: Montrose.
- Attendance: 2,464 (892 away).