Stockport Town secured their first win under Dave Wild following a hard-fought 2-1 win over Silsden in the Hallmark Security League on Saturday afternoon at Stockport Sports Village.
The Lions, who were reduced to 10-men for the second week in a row, maintain their unbeaten run under new boss Wild and move up the table to 9th as they look to mount a late playoff charge.
Goals from Adam Stubbs and Daryll Grant for the Lions cancelled out Daniel Illingworth’s equaliser in the second half shortly after Tyler Devlin was shown a second yellow card for Stockport.
The home side almost got off to a flyer as Cameron Darkwah played in Johnny Hurst inside the first minute but the Town winger could get the ball under control as Silsden keeper, Callum Jacovlevs, came to clear.
Nicholas McNally then missed two glorious opportunities for Silsden as the striker was played through on goal but scuffed his show wildly wide. Then just minutes later he found himself inside the Town area but once again miscued and skied his volley.
The 18th minute saw Town midfielder Conor Downes try his luck from 30-yards out and his strike forced Jacovlevs into a good save down at his near post.
Midway through the half saw Devlin receive a yellow card for a late challenge, much to the defender’s disgust as he felt he got the ball first.
Just five minutes later and Stockport’s Daniel Whiting came to his sides rescue as the goalkeeper pulled off three saves in quick succession to deny Silsden and Illingworth taking the lead.
With 33 minutes on the clock Town capitalised on consecutive corners as Stubbs rose highest inside the penalty area to guide his header into the far corner off the inside of the post to give his side the lead.
With half-time approaching Stockport were using their pace upfront to great effect as Silsden found it difficult at times to bring the ball forward with the Lions pressing his up the pitch, the visitors will have been glad to hear the half-time whistle when they did.
The second half saw Stockport go close to doubling their lead after Hurst’s shot was parried wide by Jacovlevs following Darkwah’s through-ball.
Ten minutes into the half and Silsden and their supporters were left stunned after Luke Taylor missed an open goal to equalise from five yards out, instead hooking the ball high over the bar and bringing Taylor to his knees in disbelief.
Thomas Bane almost found a second of the match for the Lions but his curling shot was cleared off the line by Silsden. A few moments later and Downes went on a mazy run through the centre of the Silsden defence but failed to convert his shot leaving the away side still in the game.
The 71st minute turned the match on its head following Stockport’s missed chances as Devlin argued with the referee once too many and the official gave him his marching orders, raising a second yellow card to the centre-back.
Silsden would take advantage of the extra man as Illingworth fired into the bottom corner past Whiting to bring the scores level and raise the nerves of the Lions players.
Despite being a man light Stockport came together as a unit and began their hunt to retake the lead. Darkwah came close to putting his side in front but he could connect on the cross from five yards out.
Entering the final minutes of the match and Silsden’s Jacovlevs pulled off a world-class save to deny Stubbs and Stockport a second goal, diving to his top right corner and tipping the ball over for a corner.
The home side piled on the pressure as the minutes ticked down and their patience was rewarded in the 87th minute as Grant popped up inside the area from a Town corner and volleyed the ball across goal and into the far corner.
Despite retaking the lead Stockport went far from defensive in added time as they searched for a third goal to kill off the match. Aaron Dwyer and Liam Bennion both came close but Stockport had done enough to secure a first home win under Wild as the referee drew the game to a close.
Stockport’s Assistant Manager, Phil Carratt, commented on his sides performance in Wild’s absence. He said: “I was disappointed with our first half performance even though we went one up. The lads were certainly made aware of how unhappy I was at half-time and in the second half I was extremely pleased with how the players responded to my instructions.
“I think we played some great football and created a number of chances from open play. When we had a man sent off the team showed tremendous character and worked hard as a unit, and in all honesty at times you wouldn't have thought we were a man down when we had 10-men.
“Overall I was pleased with the lads commitment and will to win, they showed great heart even after we scored what was to be the winner. We were still hungry to kill the game off maybe we should of scored one if not two more goals.”
Stockport Town are in action once again next Saturday as they travel to Widnes in the league, now on the search for Wild’s first away win as boss, kick-off 3pm.