Stockport Town completed the league double over Hanley Town with a well deserved 1-0 victory at Stockport Sports Village.
After defeating their visitors on the opening day of the season 3-2, this time it was a single late Chris Sherrington goal that saw the home side continue their impressive home form in the league and maintain a position in the Division One playoff places.
Match conditions were tricky throughout as strong winds saw the ball ultimately do what it wanted in the air, constantly seeing goal kicks in both halves barely reach the halfway line.
Just 30 seconds into the match saw Stockport Town’s Ruben Abreu break through the Hanley defence but his half-volleyed shot trickled past Joe Hemming’s post.
The opening 10 minutes saw the home side attempt to pen Hanley into their own half due to the strong wind blowing against Hemmings’ goal kicks.
Luke Podmore found space down the left for Stockport and crossed in to find Jake Pollard but the wingers header was straight at the keeper.
Josh Thorpe went close for the visitors following a corner that found the defender inside the box but his header went just over Jacob Luty’s crossbar.
Sherrington could have bagged a goal in the 28th minute after great work from Abreu found the Stockport winger enter the box late but direct his header inches past the post as the scores remained goalless at the break.
The second half saw Abreu played in early once again after Sam Scott found the makeshift striker in front of goal but his shot was easily saved by Hemmings.
Playing conditions then worsened with rain and hail bucketing down but Stockport’s 3G pitch held its own before Nick Ward’s low drive inside the Lions penalty area was well saved by Luty at his near post.
The match was then paused as Hemmings went down after a collision with Abreu inside the box. The Hanley keeper was forced off with a nasty cut to his eye and was replaced in goal by outfield player, Nathan Grice.
Stockport did well to hold off a late Hanley attack, including three consecutive corners, before sealing victory through Sherrington.
Scott’s shot on the edge of the penalty area cannoned off the post before landing at Sherrington’s feet.
The attacker reacted coolly just 10 yards out and unleashed a powerful strike that creeped under the stand-in keeper, Grice, to send the Lions players into wild celebrations.
The end of the match saw the referee play over 10 minutes of added time due to the injury to Hemmings but the home side held on to secure a valuable three points against the division’s runaway leaders.
The victory sees Calum Sykes’ Lions rise back up into the play-off places in the North West Counties Football League with games in hand on Cheadle Town in fourth place.
Stockport Town travel to Northwich Manchester Villa on Wednesday night as they look to continue their playoff push, kick-off 8pm.