Stockport boss Dave Challinor warned his “indestructible” side that there can be no letting up after a 3-1 win at Harrogate sent County top of League Two.
Antoni Sarcevic, a Warren Burrell own goal and Will Collar secured the Hatters an eighth consecutive win in all competitions, with Harrogate’s reply from George Thomson’s penalty nothing more than a consolation.
It was a comprehensive performance from the visitors, who also saw Odin Bailey hit an upright late on, with perfectionist Challinor also annoyed that the spot-kick decision deprived his team of a clean sheet.
“It’s a real, real good effort to win eight games in all competitions in a row,” he said.
“It does give you an indestructible feeling but we’ve just got to keep churning things out, whether that means steamrollering teams or digging in to get results.
“This was potentially a tough game because, with their gameplan, the back four and two central midfielders hardly moved, so it can be hard to hurt them in behind but, with the quality of our second-half performance, we should have won by more and it was never a penalty.
“We didn’t deserve to concede a goal, but that decision cost us that opportunity.
“Even at 3-1, it could have also flipped the game on its head because, if it had lifted them and they had got another goal, we could have been hanging on in a game that we were in absolute control of.”
Burrell’s own goal came after a brilliant run to the byline from on-loan Aston Villa attacker Louie Barry who ghosted past home pair James Daly and Liam Gibson.
Challinor added: “When he tiptoes along the touchline and byline like he did for the second goal, you think there’s no way he can stay up, but he has great balance.”
Harrogate boss Simon Weaver felt his team were defeated by a side destined for League One, but added that the hosts were still architects of their own downfall.
“We lost to a good team but, if you give them chances, they will take them,” he said.
“They were ruthless because our expected goals number was actually higher, so there’s reason to be optimistic moving forward because we looked quite creative and our front four worked really hard to prise them open on occasions.
“But two mistakes led to their first two goals. We started the game looking professional, solid and hard to break down but, just before 15 minutes, a fundamental error from a throw-in has given them a goal, as well as hope and belief.
“Josh March had already hit the bar for us by that point and we fought back with Matty Daly going close a couple of times but you can’t give away the first two goals in the way that we did against a team that I expect to go up with the quality that they have in their squad.”
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