Stockport Town dominated from start to finish as they overcame Atherton LR 2-0 at Crilly Park on Tuesday evening in the Hallmark Security League.
Ben Halfacre came off the bench to give the Lions the lead in the second half, before Jamie Hinchliffe wrapped up the three points.
The match marked Town’s fifth straight away game and they put last weekend’s defeat at Bacup Borough well behind them as they took the game to Atherton!
In the early stages of the match it was battle for possession on a pitch that was far from flat, however Town proceeded with their passing game and went close through Hinchliffe after Lee Constantine played the striker in on goal, but LR cleared.
Minutes later Aaron Dwyer exploited the LR high line and raced in on goal but mixed up his angles as he struck the ball wide of Louis Murray’s post.
Atherton hit back with a couple of attacks of their own, firstly through Theodore Kidd as the striker stole the ball off Adam Stubbs before seeing his shot well saved by Lions keeper Daniel Whiting. Then Adam Owens teed up a shot from outside the area but the strike fell wide of the mark.
In the 26th minute it was deja vu for Dwyer as he was once again played in on goal but the pitch would be his foe as the ball bobbled up just as was about to let fly, and with that LR recovered to clear their lines.
Unfortunately it looked like the game was against Dwyer as for a third time in a 20 minute period the striker was played through on goal, beating the offside trap but not beating Murray with an audacious chip as the goalkeeper recovered to save.
Just before half-time teenager Jack McConnell had a strong shot from 25-yards out well saved by Murray in goal as both sides went in at the break level, despite numerous chances for Stockport.
The second half saw both sides resume battle for possession but Town were keen to open the scoring as Halfacre came on up front in place on wing-back Leon Murphy.
With Atherton going close up one end through Kidd, just 60 seconds later down the other end Stockport took the lead through Halfacre. A glorious cross in from Constantine on the right saw the Lions striker control and take a touch before slotting under an on-rushing Murray in goal.
In the 64th minute the Town striker almost repeated his Silsden performance with a brace off the bench, but his powerful shot from outside the box went inches wide of the mark.
The away side would wrap up the game in the 68th minute as John Pritchard’s freekick into the box was met by Stubbs who crashed his header onto the crossbar, however Hinchliffe was on point as he tapped in from a few yards out to double his sides deserved lead.
As the match went on it became attack versus defence as Town searched for a third goal to killed the game off completely and they went close through another substitute, Ben Connolly, but the wingers lob over the keeper was cleared off the line!
Added time saw Stockport once again on the attack despite having the result in the bag, Halfacre once again coming close to his second of the game with a point-blank volley straight at Murray in goal who did well to push over the bar for a corner.
The referee drew the match to a close with his final whistle as the result never looked in doubt once the first goal went in. A result that will have pleased manager Dave Wild as his side now look ahead to a local derby versus Cheadle Town.
Played on Good Friday, the Stockport based derby will see Wild involved in his first Stockport-Cheadle derbies and the Lions will be on the hunt for revenge following a 2-0 away defeat at Park Road earlier in the season through a difficult period for the club.
All the action gets underway at Park Road on Good Friday, kick-off at 1pm.