NANTWICH TOWN 1, STOCKPORT COUNTY 2
Two late goals from Alex Reid helped Stockport County come from behind to snatch victory at Nantwich Town where they won through to the semi-finals of the Cheshire Senior Cup.
Behind for an hour, striker Reid saved the day as the Hatters secured a 10th successive victory in all competitions, edging out Northern Premier League hosts and trophy holders Town by the odd goal.
It was deserved as County largely dominated possession before Reid was able to translate that into goals.
County rang the changes with not one player taking to the field who had started in National League game at Barnet three days earlier.
The mix of senior and youth included 19-year-old midfielder Luke Nock, making his full first-team debut after appearing as a substitute at Macclesfield in the previous round – while the bench once again comprised in its entirety players from the club’s academy.
Millenic Alli had the first chance of note on a blustery evening, courtesy of a low shot that fizzed past the right post. And five minutes later, Connor Jennings connected with a cross from the right by skipper Sam Minihan before heading over.
But the hosts, who had lifted the trophy for the last two seasons in which the competition had been played (most recently in pre-Covid 2018-19, when they knocked out County in the semis), made their first chance truly count just ahead of the quarter-hour mark.
Argentinian Thommy Montefiori, known locally the ‘Cheshire Messi’, pounced on a loose ball inside the Hatters’ half, played a neat one-two with Joe Mwasile, and finally cut in from the left to drill his shot past Ethan Ross and into the far-bottom corner of the net.
County, trailing in a match for the first time in nearly two months, looked first to restore parity through Jennings, who, having been teed up by Elliot Newby, fired wide of the left upright, and then through Reid, whose volley was caught by home goalkeeper Andy Wycherley.
On the half-hour, Newby went close with an effort from a tight angle on the right that fizzed across the goalmouth and beyond the far post. And Reid did likewise seven minutes before the break, narrowly clearing the crossbar after good work on the left by Ethan Pye.
County continued to enjoy the lion’s share of opportunities after the break with Reid and Alli heading off target from respective deliveries on the right by Minihan and Newby. And just after the hour, Josh Edwards’ in-swinging low corner from the same flank struck the outside of the near post before Jordan Keane fired over on the rebound.
But just over 15 minutes from time, the Hatters were back on level terms, as a cross from the right by substitute Keane Barugh was nodded on by Jennings to Reid, who bundled in the ball from close range.
Jennings volleyed past the near post following another Minihan delivery from the right, and Edwards tried his luck from 25 yards with a shot that was held by Wycherley, as County strove to settle the tie without going to penalties.
And with one minute of normal time remaining, they succeeded in doing so with Reid rising to head home Newby’s looping cross from the right.
Stockport (3-5-2): Ross; Holding (C Johnson 59), Keane, Pye; Minihan, Newby, Nock (Barugh 59), Jennings, Edwards; Alli, Reid. Subs (unused): Harrison, Osifo.
Report by Gareth Evans