Stockport County 6-0 Southport: Hatters into National League North play-off places with thumping win

Jimmy Ball and Harry Winter celebrate County's against Southport (James Gill)
Jimmy Ball and Harry Winter celebrate County's fifth against Southport (James Gill)

Stockport County returned to winning ways in incredible style against Southport with both Matty Warburton and leading scorer Jason Oswell both on target twice.

The win takes the Hatters into the National League North play-off spots.

It was County’s first six-goal haul in nearly 10 years, replicating the scoreline of a victory at EP against Wycombe Wanderers in League Two in December 2007.

Boss Jim Gannon made three changes to the starting line-up that had taken to the field in SK3 against Bradford Park Avenue three days earlier.

Stephen O’Halloran, following his recovery from an injury sustained at Spennymoor on the first day of the season, returned, together with Scott Duxbury and Darren Stephenson, in place of Dan Cowan, Connor Hampson and Chris Smalley, as the Hatters adopted a 4-4-2 formation.

County began the evening in the best possible way after only two minutes.

Former Sandgrounder Darren Stephenson started a move from the halfway-line that found Warburton – who, after playing the ball out to Oswell on the right, finished matters by converting Oswell’s first-time pass to give the Hatters an early lead.

Just over 20 minutes later, County’s advantage and Warburton’s tally were doubled from the penalty spot after Oswell latched on to a through-ball from Duxbury but was bundled over in the visitors’ box by Adam Dugdale.

The Southport defender was shown a straight red card, and Warburton calmly converted from 12 yards past former County loanee-goalkeeper Mark Halstead.

Following efforts by Stephenson and Oswell that flashed narrowly shy of the left upright, captain Harry Winter struck a further, decisive blow after 39 minutes.

Stephenson again initiated the attack – finding Duxbury, whose cross from the left was only cleared as far as the skipper. Winter duly fired home from 15 yards for his second goal of the season and the Hatters were three-up.

But still, with half-time approaching, they were not done. Stephenson won a corner just ahead of added time, and Sam Minihan’s short delivery to Sam Walker was crossed from the left by the latter for Oswell to head in County’s fourth of the night and his own eighth for the campaign.

The visitors went close two minutes after the resumption, when ex-County youngster Curtis Jones saw his header nodded off the line by O’Halloran.

But within another five minutes, and following the award of the first corner since the break, the Hatters had extended their lead further. Sam Walker’s dead-ball delivery from the right was met by Jimmy Ball, who opened his goalscoring account for the season with a right-footed shot.

And two minutes ahead of the hour-mark, County made it six. Sam Walker earned his third assist of the evening with a free-kick from the left that was headed in by Oswell.

FULL-TIME: County 6 (Warburton, 2 and 24 (penalty); Winter, 39; Oswell, 45 and 59; Ball, 52), Southport 0.
Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Minihan (Cowan, 54), Duxbury, Ball, Clarke, O’Halloran, Stephenson, Winter (Capt.), Oswell (Hampson, 69), Warburton (T Walker, 63), S Walker. Unused Subs: Smith, McKenna.
Booked: T Walker, Duxbury
Man of the Match: Oswell
Attendance: 2,702 (157 away)


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