Stockport Town’s unbeaten run of four games came to an abrupt end as they lost 4-2 to rivals New Mills at Church Lane in this years Boxing Day clash in the Hallmark Security League.
The Millers turned the game on its head after going 2-0 down with goals from Ben Halfacre and Luke Hincks putting Stockport in front. But goals from Dennis Sheriff (2), Jake Pollard, and Nathan Neequaye (all former Lions), saw the hosts secure three points.
A game that was noted on the calendar at the start of the season did not disappoint as Stockport came up against a majority of their former players, now all Millers, in the reverse fixture from their 6-1 home demolition back in September.
The match got off to a positive start for the visitors as both Halfacre and Hincks came close to opening the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes but their efforts were just off target.
Dave Wild’s side did eventually take a deserved lead in the 11th minute as Halfacre picked up Justin Pickering’s through ball just outside the area, before curling a sublime strike into the top corner, leaving Liam Flynn with no chance.
With 20 minutes on the clock Halfacre came close to his second of the game as George Blackwell, a former Miller, played in the striker, only to see his shot fall wide of the near post.
However just minutes later the Lions did double their advantage, once again with Halfacre involved. The towering striker held up the ball well on the edge of the box before teeing up Hincks to drive a 25-yard effort past Flynn, with the ball bouncing just before it reached the keeper.
Midway through the half and the game was nearly killed off by the visiting side as Blackwell raced in on goal, only to see his shot saved by Flynn. However, picking up the rebound, the Town winger almost curled his next effort in from the byline, but Flynn had recovered to save once again.
As the game approached half-time Wild’s Lions were in full control of game and would have been happy going in at the break. But the hosts had other ideas and took their chance when it came in the 42nd minute, Sheriff stroking home following Pollard's through ball.
The second half will be a period of football that Stockport Town will want to forget in a hurry.
A substitution from New Mills proved pivotal in the game as ex-Town striker, Nathan Neeqauye, took to the field and the game changed from there. Within minutes of coming on, Neequaye raced past the Lions defence to set up Sheriff to tap home an equaliser on 59 minutes.
Just 10 minutes later and Sheriff almost had his hat-trick as a lapse in the Town defence saw him bare down on goal, only for Dylan Forth to put off a fantastic save in the Lions goal to deny him.
New Mills would then soon take the lead for the first time in the game as the Lions defence failed to clear the ball from their own six-yard area and Pollard popped up at the right moment to smash the ball home and send the home fans wild.
The 77th minute would prove to be a defining point in the match. Halfacre had the ball on the edge of the area and could have slipped in Jamie Hinchliffe for a one-on-one with Flynn, however the Lion’s striker chose to shoot, instead blazing his effort over the crossbar and wasting a chance for an equaliser.
Just three minutes later the game was put to bed as New Mills used their pace up front to their advantage and Neequaye raced onto a through ball on the left before sliding his shot under Forth in goal and make it 4-2 to the hosts.
Flynn made a wonderful late save for the Millers to deny Conor Downes’s effort getting the away side back into the game, but the damage was done as New Mills saw out the match to secure all three points.
The Lions will be looking to forget this game and have the chance to put things right when they take on Carlisle City this Saturday at Stockport Sports Village, kick-off 3pm.