STOCKPORT COUNTY 5, VAUXHALL MOTORS 0
Stockport County lifted their first silverware for three years by winning the Cheshire Senior Cup for a seventh time, thanks to a five-goal triumph over Vauxhall Motors at Edgeley Park.
Alex Reid, late in the first half, and Connor Jennings, shortly after the break, both scored their fourth goals of the current season’s competition to put County in control of the final, before Elliot Newby, Jennings with a second, and Courtney Duffus added three more to secure the trophy in emphatic style.
The Hatters, as they had done in all four previous rounds, fielded a mix of senior and younger players and also rang the changes completely for the third successive round, with not one player taking to the field who had started in National League match at Yeovil three days earlier.
Jordan Keane, who had skippered the side against Crewe in the semi-final, retained the captain’s armband, and the bench once again comprised in its entirety players from the club’s academy.
Reid unleashed the evening’s first attempt on goal, with under two minutes on the clock, when his shot took a deflection off Ben Holmes and looped over the Railway End crossbar. And his fellow striker Duffus went close shortly afterwards, with visiting goalkeeper Ciaran O’Loughlin parrying the effort from the right beyond the far post.
As County continued to dominate in possession, Ben Whitfield saw a low shot deflected past the right post, before a last-gasp clearance by full-back Greg Drummond prevented Duffus from converting Newby’s cross from the left.
The Hatters hit the woodwork around the quarter-hour mark when another Newby cross from the left found Jennings whose header was tipped on to the bar by O’Loughlin. The ‘keeper was then called into action at the first half’s mid-point, stretching his left leg to block a shot from Antoni Sarcevic who, while two-thirds of the way through his three-match league suspension, was later in the half shown a yellow card for a foul on Ethan Gouldbourne.
Newby drilled a free-kick from the visitors’ ‘D’ just wide of the left upright, before the ‘Motormen’ – playing in a final for the first time and, having already finished their league campaign in eighth place, fashioned a first opportunity, which Craig Cairns fired over from six yards.
O’Loughlin then held on to a Scott Holding header, before rushing from his area to use his feet in clearing the ball away from the on-rushing Duffus. But, five minutes before half-time, he was finally beaten, as Reid headed home a Duffus cross from the right to put the Hatters in front.
County doubled the advantage within only two minutes of the re-start, when the ball fell for Jennings to half-volley into the bottom-right corner from the edge of the box. And the Hatters proceeded to go in search of further goals as shots by Whitfield and Duffus tested O’Loughlin.
Twenty minutes after bagging their second goal, the Hatters had a third. The previous two scorers played their part with Reid working the ball from the left flank for Jennings to tee up Newby, who drilled a low shot past O’Loughlin.
Fourteen minutes from time and following an in-swinging Newby corner from the left, Jennings scored his second, and County’s fourth, of the night courtesy of an angled shot from the far side of goal that was assisted over the line by Simon Thelwell’s deflection.
And six minutes later, Duffus latched on to a delightful chip from the right by Newby to head inside the far post, ahead of the presentation to the Hatters of the cup they had last won in 2016.
Stockport Couty (3-4-1-2): Ashby-Hammond; Keane, Holding, Francis-Angol; Whitfield (Green 87), C Johnson, Sarcevic (Johnston 70), Newby (Barugh 87); Jennings; Duffus, Reid. Subs (unused): Schofield, Tanswell Vargas.
Goals: Reid (40), Jennings (47, 76), Newby (67), Duffus (83) for Stockport County.
Attendance: 1,978 (128 visitors).
Report: Gareth Evans