Stockport County 3-1 Charlton Athletic

The Hatters’ FA Cup campaign continued with gusto, as a Will Collar hat-trick saw them knock out League One Charlton in their televised Second Round replay at Edgeley Park.

They did so, too, having gone behind early on, before Collar got them back on level terms midway through the first half, and struck two more, including a penalty, after the break to seal the tie.

County took to the field on a cold, clear night with an unchanged line-up from that which had started the League Two fixture at Hartlepool four days earlier. As had been the case for the original Cup-tie in South East London, a couple of young players yet to make their senior County debuts at Football League level – on this occasion, strikers Keane Barugh and Daniel Okwute – were among nine substitutes permitted for the competition.

In the course of a bright start, County earned the evening’s first corner, with just over a minute on the clock, and Ryan Croasdale unleashed a shot from outside the box that narrowly cleared the crossbar.

The managerless visitors, whose hot-seat Ben Garner had vacated two days ahead of the replay, showed, by contrast, seven changes from their previous Friday-evening starters in the league against Cheltenham. But from their first corner, in the seventh minute, they took the lead, after County failed to clear Charlie Kirk’s delivery from the left and the ball went in following a deflection off Akil Wright.

Richard Chin burst into the County area around the quarter-hour mark, before blasting over, and Chuks Aneke drilled beyond the right post, as the ‘Addicks’ looked to extend their early advantage.

The next scoring opportunity fell to the Hatters and saw them go close to equalising, as a low cross on the right from Macauley Southam-Hales found Paddy Madden, whose stooped header was goal-bound before being caught on the bounce by visiting goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray.

But with their following chance, and shortly after the first half’s mid-point, they did get back on level terms – as Ryan Rydel struck the right post with a low shot, before Collar buried the rebound.

Collar and Madden, on separate occasions before the interval, got behind the Charlton defence to prod the ball goal-wards – only for each effort to be gathered up by MacGillivray.

HALF-TIME: County 1 (Collar, 25), Charlton 1 (Wright (o.g.), 7).

The Hatters fashioned the first chance of the new half, with a Rydel free-kick from the left finding Collar, who glanced his header beyond the near post. And with another, more central free-kick shortly afterwards, Rydel drew gasps a-plenty by hitting the opposite upright.

Regular Charlton captain, George Dobson, who on this occasion had been introduced as a substitute upon the resumption, sparked no little controversy when he appeared to bundle Southam-Hales into the Cheadle End advertising boards – but escaped punishment.

The visitors proceeded to make additional, and attacking, substitutions by bringing on Corey Blackett-Taylor, Diallang Jaiyesimi and leading scorer Jes Rak-Sakyi. But County had the next chance of note – and duly converted it to go in front, as Myles Hippolyte’s cross from the left was knocked down by Kyle Wotton for Collar to rifle home his, and the Hatters’, second goal of the night.

Seven minutes later it was three for both Collar and County, after Dobson’s foul on substitute Ollie Crankshaw saw Referee Oldham point to the spot, and Collar stepped up to slot the penalty past MacGillivray and into the bottom-left corner.

A whopping, World Cup-like nine minutes were weathered to see the Hatters through, and they will next host Walsall in the Third Round during early January.

FULL-TIME: County 3 (Collar, 25, 73 and 80), Charlton 1 (Wright (o.g.), 7).

Team (3-5-2): Hinchliffe; Wright, Horsfall, R. Johnson; Southam-Hales (Crankshaw, 67), Collar (Camps, 90), Croasdale (C. Johnson, 90), Hippolyte (MacDonald, 90), Rydel; Wootton, Madden (Capt.) (Brown, 81).

Unused Subs: Jones, Evans, Okwute, Barugh.

Booked: Rydel.

Man of the Match: Collar.

Attendance: 6,242 (345 away).

Reporter: Gareth Evans.

Photographer: Ben Wright.


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