The Hatters were knocked out of the FA Cup at the second hurdle as they were beaten by Southend United at Roots Hall although the final three goal margin was harsh as two late goals clinched the tie for the Essex side.
County's cause wasn't helped as Paul Turnbull received a kick to the back whilst attacking his sides first corner in the 3rd minute, the midfielder able to play on after treatment but clearly feeling the after effects.
Ian Ormson's fist action of the game was to comfortably claim the ball from the Shrimpers first corner, before making a good save to keep out long range effort from Michael Timlin, tipping the ball out for a corner kick. From the cleared corner Chris Barker's shot sailed harmlessly over the bar.
The Hatters almost opened the scoring as Ryan Creswell deflected Matt Mainwaring's cross just over his own bar after the midfielder had picked Sean Clohessy's pocket.
Tom Collins created a couple of opportunities with neat play on the right as the Hatters more than matched the home side although United striker Barry Corr wasted the chance to open scoring as he blasted over from the edge of 6 yard box after good work from Gavin Tomlin.
The big striker, playing his first game of the season, made up for his miss just after the half hour as he rose to head home after side had benefitted from a glaring error by the match officials.
Mainwaring allowed the ball to go out of pay after it had clearly come off a home player but with the linesman flagging one way the referee gave the throw the other allowing United to take advantage of the disarray in the County defence. James Tunnicliffe earning a booking for his protest.
The struggling Turnbull eventually leaving the field to be replaced by Danny Hattersley, himself returning from injury.
Great trickery from Collins brought a chance for Craig Hobson to level before the break only for the Hatters top scorer to shoot wide
HT: Southend United 1 Stockport County 0
The early decisions in the second half didn't go County's way as Hattersley's effort was deflected over bar with the linesman flagging for a goal kick to United whilst Hobson appeared to be bundled over in the box by keeper Paul Smith as he challenged for Hattersley's cross. Andy Halls earning a booking for a cheap foul. Tomlin's shot easily saved by Ormson.
Halls redeemed himself with a superb tackle to block a shot on the edge of the box, before sprinting forward to set up a break for his side.
The Hatters looked the more likely to score the next goal as they put their hosts under pressure. An Alex Kenyon volley fizzing just passed the post after Smith's poor punch out whilst Barker blocked a certain goal from substitute Danny Rowe, who had replaced Halls moments earlier.
Fellow sub Danny Whitehead, on for Collins, smacked a loose ball over the bar, another effort from Rowe was deflected out for a corner with County players appealing for penalty. From the resulting corner kick there was another big shout for handball before Hobson headed a Sean Newton free kick just wide with Smith rooted to the spot.
The home side looked to have put the tie beyond the Hatters as, on a rare attack, a defensive mix up created an opening for Timlin to find Marc Laird free in the box, the on loan midfielder slotting home to put his side two goals up.
The second goal appeared to unnerve the home side as they gifted a succession of opportunities possession to the Hatters, Mainwaring seeing an effort smothered by Smith, Hattersley shooting wide after a neat through ball from Rowe, before substitute finished the game in the last minute as he slammed home a loose ball in the County box.
FT: Southend United 3 Stockport County 0
Starting XI: Ormson, Halls (Rowe), Newton, Connor, Tunnicliffe, Kenyon, Collins (Whitehead), Hobson, Fagbola, Mainwaring, Turnbull (Hattersley).
Subs: King, O'Donnell, Whitehead, Hattersley, Sheridan, Brownhill, Rowe.
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