Stockport Town took all the bragging rights on Derby Day as they came out 2-1 winners over local rivals Cheadle Town on Wednesday evening at Park Road.
The Hallmark Security clash saw the Lions come from behind after Richard Whyatt put the hosts in front in the first half.However Stockport’s topscorer, Ben Halfacre, struck two glorious freekicks in the second half to secure all three points for boss, Jake Davies, in his first full game in charge.
Stockport now secure themselves in 10th position in the Division One table, extending their lead over 11th placed Carlisle City to six points, and just two points behind Holker Old boys in 9th.
Wednesday evening was a match in doubt due to poor weather in the build up to the game, but fantastic work from Cheadle’s ground staff ensured that the match went ahead, and in turn became the only night’s action following postponements in all other North West Counties fixture that night.
The match got off to a good start for both sides, eager to show off their attacking prowess on what was a very slick pitch. Early chances saw Halfacre come close in a matter of minutes, but both attempts on goal were blocked by Cheadle defenders.
Home side Cheadle, under the management of Antony Trucca, responded to Stockport’s quick start and had a chance of their own as Whyatt was played in to the Lions penalty area but the Cheadle topscorer glanced his shot high over the crossbar.
Whyatt was in action again after he dispossessed Dahrius Waldron in the Stockport defence, before racing through on goal, however some excellent recovery work from Waldron saw him get back in time to put in a last ditch tackle and deflect Whyatt’s shot for a corner.
Former Cheadle player Luke Hincks, now playing at Stockport Town, had a chance midway through the first half as he dribbled through the centre of the park and struck a fine shot on goal, but it was well held by Cheadle keeper, Daniel Whiting.
As both sides approached half-time the match could easily have been 2-2 or 3-3 at that stage, however it would be the hosts, Cheadle, who would sneak a goal before the break.
From a freekick out wide on the left Chris Sherrington, a former Lion, swung in a dangerous freekick to the Stockport penalty area. As keeper Kyle Haslam came to collect he spilled the ball onto the ground, and with surrounded by bodies from both sides, it was Whyatt who reacted to poke the ball home from a few yards out.
Following the interval Stockport Town came out looking an almost different side from the first half, looking a lot more composed and with an extra sense of intelligence in their play. Following discussions with Davies after the game, this was due to a tactical change from the Lions manager.
As Stockport began to attack in numbers, forcing Cheadle onto the back foot as they searched for the equaliser, another former Cheadle player, Rhys Webb, was fouled just outside the hosts penalty area. Halfacre stepped up as captain and drilled the ball home into the bottom corner with an exquisite freekick.
With the game back level Cheadle would come close to retaking the lead in the 64th minute with a header at the back post, however they were denied by an outstanding recovery save from Haslam, after the Lions keeper had initially tipped the corner away from his goal.
Just two minutes after Cheadle's effort on goal, it was the visitors who capitalised and took the lead for the first time in the game. Another fantastic freekick from Halfacre, almost in the exact same spot to his first goal, with curl on the ball to round the wall and sneak into the bottom corner once again past a helpless Whiting.
As the heavens opened above Park Road, it was the away side who went for a next goal in an effort to kill the game off. Justin Pickering came close for the Lions after high pressure and a good run from the midfielder saw his shot well saved by Whiting.
The match trickled on as Cheadle saw chances go begging at the final hurdle and from Stockport’s counter attacks Webb almost sealed the result in the 88th minute as he raced in behind the Cheadle defence. The attacker had missed a chance just a few minutes earlier but this time he worked Whiting in goal, forcing him into a great save.
Cheadle pushed everything they could forward in the last few minutes, even seeing Whiting go up for a last minute corner. The hosts almost struck late had it not been for a wonderful last minute header from Stockport’s Adam Simpson, away from his own goal, with a Cheadle payer ready to strike passed Haslam.
The referee brought the game to a close as it sees Stockport take four points from their two encounters with their local rivals, following a 2-2 draw at Stockport Sports Village earlier in the season.
Stockport town are next in action away once again, as this time they travel to Bacup Borough on Saturday afternoon for a rearranged fixture after the original match was postponed, kick-off 3pm.