STOCKPORT COUNTY 1, SOLIHULL MOORS 0
Paddy Madden redeemed himself for an earlier penalty miss by scoring a last-gasp winner for Stockport County against in-form Solihull Moors in front of another sell-out crowd for home fans.
Madden’s hugely important 22nd goal of the season, which came in stoppage time, maintained the Hatters’ seven-point lead over second-placed Wrexham with six games left.
In a predictably tight encounter, County bounced back from their Good Friday defeat at Grimsby Town to keep their promotion bid on track.
County took to the field, showing two changes from the line-up that had started three days earlier with Ryan Rydel and Andy Cannon replacing Myles Hippolyte and the suspended Antoni Sarcevic respectively.
Current Hatter Lois Maynard, nearing the end of a season-long spell with the West Midlands visitors, was not permitted under the terms of the loan to feature in midfield against his parent club.
Rydel was instrumental in creating the contest’s first chance with less than a minute played, as his cross from the left found Will Collar who was denied by visiting goalkeeper Ryan Boot. And Sam Minihan provided an equally inviting delivery from the opposite flank as Scott Quigley met it to head narrowly shy of the far post.
The ‘Moors’, defeated just once in five previous visits to Edgeley Park and now arriving there on a 16-game unbeaten league run, launched their first attack of note as the quarter-hour mark approached. A surging run down the right by leading scorer Andrew Dallas led to a dangerous, low cross into the six-yard box, but Ash Palmer cleared ahead of the onrushing Danny Newton.
Rydel unleashed a ferocious shot from the left that flashed past the far upright, before Ben Hinchliffe ran off his line to clear with his legs from Dallas who, moments later, fired an effort on the right into the near side-netting.
Despite its relative openness, the game was without a corner until the half-hour had almost arrived after Rydel, teed up by Cannon, saw his attempt on goal deflected past the left post.
The Hatterswere handed a major chance within a minute or so of the restart after James Clarke’s misplaced header put Quigley through on goal, but the striker’s shot was kept out by Boot. And shortly afterwards, Boot was to deny County again, diving to his left to smother Madden’s penalty, after Rydel had been tripped by Clarke.
Rydel hit the right side-netting with a free-kick which was awarded for a foul by Harry Boyes on Collar and, following a Solihull dead-ball delivery by Jamey Osborne from the right, Ryan Barnett drilled wide of the far post at the other end.
County brought on Hippolyte, as well as Ollie Crankshaw and Connor Jennings, to pep up the attack in the later stages, although Collar and Ryan Croasdale were the Hatters initially to go closest with headers that soared into the arms of Boot.
Then came added time, Hippolyte with a cut-back, and finally Madden to poke the ball home for a big goal and three massive points to preserve the Hatters’ seven-point lead at the top of the table.
Stockport County (3-4-1-2): Hinchliffe; Hogan (Crankshaw 82), Palmer, Johnson; Minihan, Collar, Croasdale, Rydel; Cannon (Hippolyte 72); Quigley (Jennings 82), Madden. Subs (unused): Ashby-Hammond, Francis-Angol.
Goal: Madden (90+1) for Stockport County.
Attendance: 9,211 (186 visitors).
Report: Gareth Evans.