Stockport Town ease into cup semi-final

Ruben Abreu
Ruben Abreu strikes from range (Viaduct Video)
Stockport Town 4, Rochdale Town 1

Stockport Town progressed to the semi-final of the Reusch First Division Cup after they outclassed Rochdale Town with a thumping 4-1 victory at Stockport Sports Village on Tuesday night.

Goals from Lanre Olapade, Ruben Abreu, Andy Graham and Nathan Neequaye saw Calum Sykes’ Lions progress after overcoming a missed penalty and a second half equaliser from their visitors.

The game started fairly evenly, in a manner that, for the most part, did not give any indication of the dominance that the hosts would impose on their fellow quarter finalists.

Stockport had the first shot on target after six minutes as Adam Kay fired an effort on the half volley which went straight at Mike Smith in the Rochdale goal.

Abreu and Olapade were consistently dangerous down either wing, and it was the former who went close first, as he curled an effort towards goal, only for it to be tipped over by Smith smartly.

From that resulting corner, Graham had an effort deflected over after a neat routine with Jamie Kay, before driving a shot in from the edge of the box resulting in another corner.

Abreu was looking dangerous again just after the 18th minute mark, as he danced his way through a raft of challenges, even keeping the ball while floored, to force a good save out of Smith with his legs.

The hosts took the lead on 21 minutes, when Olapade took on Smith in a footrace to the ball after Neequaye had flicked on a long ball, and won. Knocking the ball past the keeper the winger calmly slotted it into the empty net to break the deadlock.

Adam Kay could have doubled the lead ten minutes later but was unable to convert following Neequaye’s driving run and lay off in the box, scuffing his shot past the far post.

Five minutes before half time, Rochdale had the best possible chance to go in at half time level. Jonny Thompson went down under a challenge from Graham, and Jason Hill stepped up only to blaze the spot kick over with the last meaningful act of the half.

Just after the second half restart Rochdale struck back through striker Adam Latham. Liam Bennion produced a great run down the right and his subsequent cross to the near post was perfect as Latham steered his header home to level the tie.

But, in two second half minutes the game was taken away from Rochdale as the home side produced an exhilarating spell of dominance.


First, Abreu showed great technique as he took an effort from range, the shot swerved through the air and moved from well outside the near post to nestle in the bottom corner, much to the amazement of Smith.

Graham then added to the deficit in the 67th minute when Jamie Kay played a fantastic pass over the top of Rochdale’s defence to find the Lions midfielder, who calmly dinked the ball past Smith to put the game out of reach.

Adam Kay very nearly added a fourth when he headed against the inside of the post following Olapade’s perfect cross, before Aaron Ashley was forced into a stunning save to deny Hill at the other end just minutes later.

Into the final 10 minutes of the match Ashley launched a ball forward and, through defensive errors, found Olapade, his initial shot was blocked before he slipped the ball to Neequaye who converted off into the top left corner.

The pair nearly recreated the trick minutes later, when Neequaye found Olapade in the box, only for his shot to be blocked on the line.

Ultimately it made no difference as Stockport Town ran out winners to progress into the semi-finals of the cup.

The Lions advance into the penultimate round where they will face either Holker Old Boys or Barnton at Stockport Sports Village on Saturday, March 19.