STOCKPORT COUNTY 3, EASTLEIGH 0
High-flying Stockport County shot down The Spitfires as victory against Eastleigh lifted them into third place in Vanarama National League.
For those interested in history, the famous World War Two fighter plane first flew from Eastleigh Aerodrome, now Southampton Airport.
But the town’s football team shot itself down as an own goal from Andrew Boyce, a spectacular diving header, was the start of the Hampshire’s downfall as County made it eight straight league victories to soar from seventh to third place in the table.
County added two further goals from Paddy Madden, his 12th of the season, and substitute Connor Jennings to seal another impressive victory.
Indeed, it could well have been by an even wider margin as County were denied by the frame of the goal three further times.
Manager Dave Challinor named the same side which beat Altrincham 4-1 in their last league match one week earlier.
Jordan Keane and Ollie Crankshaw, who both started Saturday’s FA Trophy tie against Larkhall Athletic, were ruled out through injury.
County made the breakthrough after quarter of an hour when Boyce, trying to cut out a dangerous right-wing cross from Macauley Southam-Hales only succeeded in heading into his own net.
They suffered a blow when striker Scott Quigley, whose season has been badly disrupted through injury, limped off in the 35th minute to be replaced by Jennings.
County doubled their advantage five minutes before the break. Antoni Sarcevic cut in from the right and set up Madden whose shot was deflected trickling into the net, almost in slow motion.
Any hopes of an Eastleigh comeback effectively ended just after the hour when they had centre back Christian Maghoma sent off for picking up two bookings in little more than two minutes. From the second Ryan Rydel floated a free kick over the defensive wall which clipped the top of the crossbar.
County made their extra man pay when they added a third goal. Will Collar was initially denied by the upright. The ball was quickly recycled to Jennings to fire home from six yards for his fifth goal of the season.
And moments later it was almost four as Ryan Croasdale hit a swerving drive from 25 yards which crashed against the crossbar.
In the dying minutes, Southam-Hales was denied by a super save from Joe McDonnell as Eastleigh, who had 49 fans making the 440-mile round trip, left empty handed as the remainder of the 4,634 crowd left Edgeley Park with their side having taken another step towards their goal of regaining their EFL status they lost in 2011.