Monday, April 22, 2024

Five-star display from Stockport sees them close in on League Two leaders

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Mar 2024

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Stockport gave their automatic promotion hopes a major boost with an emphatic 5-0 win over close challengers MK Dons.

Callum Camps, Paddy Madden, Tanto Olaofe, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and Neill Byrne scored the goals for the Hatters to earn them just a second win in their last eight matches.

Victory moves Dave Challinor’s team back up to second place – two points behind leaders Mansfield – having dropped below Wrexham earlier in the day.

The Dons looked the much more threatening side early on, with Stephen Wearne forcing a good save out of Ben Hinchliffe, Emre Tezgel sending a left-footed shot narrowly wide and Jack Payne’s free-kick clipping a post.

They went close again when Kyran Lofthouse pulled the ball back to Joe Tomlinson, whose effort was well blocked by Todd Kane.

But it was Stockport who went ahead just after the half-hour mark as Camps capitalised on visiting goalkeeper Michael Kelly’s inexplicable failure to gather an overhit pass into the box to finish into an empty net.

Tomlinson had a great opportunity to score a quickfire equaliser but his close-range shot was saved superbly by Hinchliffe before Alex Gilbey’s follow-up attempt went wide.

It proved to be costly as Stockport soon went down the other end and doubled their advantage through captain Madden, who calmly slotted home after being played in by Camps.

The game was effectively over as a contest shortly before half-time, with Olaofe scoring his 20th goal of the season after latching onto Madden’s looping pass and rounding Kelly.

The hosts further extended their lead early in the second half courtesy of Lemonheigh-Evans’ beautiful curling effort from distance, and nearly added another with Kelly tipping Madden’s shot against the woodwork.

Substitute Ellis Harrison had a chance to reduce the deficit with a free header just after the hour but it was not the Dons’ day and they remain in fourth place – three points behind Wrexham.

Hatters substitute Byrne put extra gloss on the scoreline in the dying moments, prodding in a fifth goal to wrap up a huge win.

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