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Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round match
played on Saturday, 20 October 2018, 3pm


Despite dominating most of the first half, Altrincham failed to score and paid the price when County took a 41st minute lead decidedly against the run of play. Having brought everyone back for a Stockport corner, Alty made three successive half-clearances but the ball came back in from the right and, at the back post, Palmer headed it back for Mulhearn to poke the ball into the net. Alty then lost Sean Williams to injury before the interval.

County improved after the break and continued to look solid at the back. In the 68th minute, a slip-up between Hampson and Hannigan allowed Warburton to get free on the right byline. He drew Thompson and slotted the ball home to make it 2-0.

After that, Alty did not look like getting back into the game and so the £25,000 prize money and a place in Round One went to the Hatters.


REFEREE: Mr Sam Mulhall

Altrincham were again unchanged. In the County squad was former Alty loanee, Nyal Bell.


STOCKPORT COUNTY (Blue shirst and shorts, white socks). 1. Ben Hinchliffe, 2. Sam Minihan, 3. Scott Duxbury, 4. Elliot Osbourne, 5. Ash Palmer (c), 6. Jamie Stott, 7. Adam Thomas, 8. Sam Walker, 9. Frank Mulhern, 10. Matthew Warburton, 11. Darren Stephenson. Subs: 12. Dan Cowan, 13. Ian Ormson (gk), 14. Jordan Keane, 15. Connor Dimaio, 16. Nyal Bell, 17. Chris Smalley, 18. Kallum Mantack.

ALTRINCHAM (Red stripes, black shorts, red socks): 1. Tony THOMPSON, 2. Andy WHITE, 3. Connor HAMPSON, 4. James JONES, 5. Tom HANNIGAN, 6. Jake MOULT (c), 7. John JOHNSTON, 8. Sean WILLIAMS, 9. Jordan HULME, 10. Max HARROP, 11. Owen DALE. Subs: 12. James POOLE, 14. Josh HANCOCK, 15. Tom PEERS, 16. Simon RICHMAN, 17. Shaun DENSMORE, 18. Liam GOULDING, 20. Elliot WYNNE (gk).


Prize money of £25,000 was a atstake, alomng with a place in the draw for Round One, at which stage the EFL clubs enter the competition.


Altrincham kicked off in bright sunshine, defending the away end at Edgeley Park. Although the visitors had started the better, it was County who won the first corner, in the sixth minute.

But, despite Altrincham's fluent, impressive play the only real action for home keeper Hinchliffe in the early stages was a save from Williams's long-range effort in the 20th minute.

At the back, Connor Hampson was impressing for Altrincham but there was a setback when combative midfielder Max Harrop was booked for a foul (24 mins).

Some five minutes later home left-back Scott Duxbury also found himself facing a yellow card, for a late challenge on Johnston.

Alty wasted their first corner as the largely one-way traffic towards the home goal was met by an organised County defence. Alty midfielder Sean Williams then hurt himself in making a midfield challenge, for which he was penalized.

When Stockport won a 40th-minute corner, Altrincham had all eleven players brought back to defend it. Consequently, two successive half-clearances failed to deal with the danger completely. On the third occasion, the ball was played across the box from the right and, at the back post, Palmer nodded the ball back goalwards. Before it could cross the line, Mulhern poked it into the net to give his side a lead which they did not merit at that stage (41 mins).

Worse was to follow as the crocked Williams now had to limp off, to be replaced by Poole (45 mins). Poole went into amore advanced midfield position as Harrop dropped deeper.

So, having been by some margin the better side in the first half, Altrincham went into the break undeservedly trailing.


County started the second half with more resolve than they had shown throughout the first forty-five minutes. Eleven minutes into the half, Hancock replaced Dale for the visitors. The game's next two corners went to the visitors, between which Stockport's Stephenson was replaced by Keane (61 mins).

Two Harrop shots flew off target as Altrincham were unable to work themselves into better shooting positions, nearer to goal. Disaster struck in the 68th minute when Hannigan and Hampson allowed Warburton to get free near the byline, right of goal. As Thompson came out, the County man eluded him and slotted the ball into the net to make it 2-0.

In the aftermath Hulme was booked for dissent, having rightly felt that in the build up a foul on him had gone unpunished (69 mins).

Another long-range effort from Harrop flew wide before County had a goal diallowed. A foul by Johnston had yielded ahome freekick which Thompson was unable to hold. The loose ball was put into the net but the effort was disallowed, presumably for a foul on the Alty keeper (73 ins).

Inside the box, Poole was then unable to gather a fine through ball from Harrop before Peers replaced Harrop (77 mins). Cowan then replaced Stockport's Man of the Match, Duxbury (79 mins).

Warburton then put a good chance wide as Alty struggled to get back into a game which they had dominated for long spells in the first half. County now continued to look the more threatening as Mulhern outmuscled Jones but Thompson beat out the striker's shot for a corner.

Alty's last chance, in normal time, came when Poole played in Peers but the keeper blocked the substitute's effort (90 mins). Added time saw Hancock become the third away player to be booked as what had started as a promising performance petered away into a disappointing defeat. Altrincham had been unable to convert their attractive first-half football into clear goal-scoring chances and, at the back, their defence had not been as watertight as County's well-marshalled formation. In the end, there could be no complaints.