Nine-man FC United knock Stockport County out of FA Cup

Gary Stopforth

Nine-man FC United knocked Stockport County out of the FA Cup at the third qualifying round stage.

The home side had Matty Hughes and Mike Connor sent off in the first half of the replay, Tom Greaves scoring the winner after the break.

The Hatters will be more annoyed with themselves as they had led the original tie 3-0 at Edgeley Park.

The opening stages witnessed little in the way of clear-cut chances – with Greaves going closest for the ‘Red Rebels’ with a shot from outside the box that flew narrowly wide of County’s left upright after 14 minutes.

But 10 minutes later, events took a more dramatic turn when Hughes, acting as captain in the absence of the suspended Scott Kay, was shown a straight red card for tripping Bohan Dixon when the lone County striker was through on goal following a delightful defence-splitting pass by Winter.

And five minutes ahead of the interval, the Moston-based side found itself another player down.

Connor, who had been booked earlier after fouling Gary Stopforth, received his second yellow card for a challenge on Jimmy Ball.

Home goalkeeper Lloyd Allinson was then called into action for the first time, as he deflected behind a close-range effort from Ball.

And the Hatters, as they had done in the previous tie, came off for the break in the ascendancy.

Within a couple of minutes of the resumption, Steve Irwin struck the County crossbar with an in-swinging free kick from the left – before Mike Jones, one of two substitutes introduced for the second half, forced Ben Hinchliffe to parry behind a well-struck shot from distance on the right.

As the Hatters attempted to clear the resulting corner, Greaves stabbed home to give the hosts the lead they would never relinquish.

Having gone ahead, the Red Rebels still had to hold out for over 40 minutes, as much of the rest of the game proceeded to take place in their half.

County piled forward time after time – earning no fewer than 14 corners in the process, and forcing, through Hampson and Sam Walker, a series of low shots that Allinson did well to block or parry behind.

In the closing stages, Adam Thomas fired narrowly shy of the bar, and Dan Cowan’s pile-driver was tipped over by Allinson – but, ultimately, the Hatters could find no way through and were denied a trip to Telford United in the fourth qualifying round and the chance to win a place in the first round of the FA Cup.

FC United 1 (Greaves, 48), Stockport County 0

Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Cowan, Hampson, Ball, Smalley (Brazel, 73), O’Halloran, Thomas, Winter (Capt.) (McKenna, 63), Dixon, Stopforth, S Walker. Unused Subs: Downing, Ormson, West, Whitty, Czubik.
Booked: Thomas
Attendance: 1,688


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