STOCKPORT COUNTY FC

York City 2-0 Stockport County

County’s Cup Runneth Out, As York Ad-Minster Early Exit 

County bowed out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle for National League clubs, and finished the tie with 10 men, as the unbeaten ‘Minstermen’ of York City, from non-league’s second tier, scored twice in three first-half minutes at Bootham Crescent to advance to the First Round.

The Hatters took to the field, and in front of cameras for the second successive competitive match, showing one change from the starting line-up that had appeared live to the nation at Edgeley Park against Hartlepool. Loanee-striker Devante Rodney, who had played and scored in the friendly at Trafford four days ahead of the Cup-tie, earned his County debut-proper – replacing Adam Thomas, who was named among seven substitutes permitted for the competition.

On an overcast, but dry, late afternoon, and following a kick-off put back to 5:20pm for television, former Blyth striker Dan Maguire, who had scored the game’s only goal for Spartans at EP just over six months earlier, came close to haunting the Hatters again with his new club before two minutes were on the clock. But, after cutting in from the left, he fired narrowly over.

Kallum Griffiths and ex-Hatter Sean Newton lofted efforts at Ben Hinchliffe, as the National League North table-topping hosts continued to force the early pace. And, with 13 minutes played, Maguire connected with Newton’s low cross from the left to fire just shy of the near post.

The reigning NLN Champions had, until that point, been muted in attack by contrast – although Tom Walker had seen a well-struck shot blocked by the outstretched leg of home skipper Steve McNulty, and, subsequently, a Nyal Bell attempt from 25 yards was smothered by goalkeeper Peter Jameson, before Sam Walker’s deflected volley flew over following the contest’s first corner.

A few minutes after the first half’s mid-point, York took the lead – courtesy of Alex Kempster’s delivery into the County area. Whether intended as a cross or a shot, it evaded all in attendance to nestle in the bottom far corner of the net.

And one minute before the half-hour mark, the hosts’ advantage was doubled by Newton, whose thunderbolt from distance took a deflection off Festus Arthur to beat Hinchliffe and leave the scorer’s former club with a mountain to climb.

Just prior to the break, County almost halved the arrears after Ash Palmer headed Sam Walker’s chipped free-kick towards an unguarded net – only for David Ferguson to track back and clear.

HALF-TIME: York 2 (Kempster, 26; Newton, 29), County 0.

With the score at two in York’s favour, a next goal had the potential to be critical either way. And the Minstermen so nearly gained one within less than a minute of the resumption, as Kempster cut in from the right and his angled shot struck the crossbar.

Paul Turnbull drilled a shot beyond the right post, by way of County’s first chance in the new half, before Hinchliffe did well at the other end to parry behind a Maguire effort at point-blank range.

With 20 minutes remaining, Jordan Burrow headed home a corner from the left – although Referee Daniel Middleton had already blown for a foul, and the goal was ruled out.

County brought on Thomas, together with Adam Hammill and Elliot Osborne, in an attempt to pep up the attack. But the Minstermen were content to sit deep and then counter on the break – with Kempster again going close in added time, when he chipped just wide of the right post.

With three of the four added-time minutes played, County’s misery for the day was complete as Joe Leesley was shown a straight red card following a late challenge on Griffiths.

And so ended the Hatters’ FA Cup involvement – as well as what (this season’s FA Trophy draws notwithstanding) is likely to have been their final visit to Bootham Crescent, ahead of York’s delayed move to a new Community Stadium in 2020. Having provided the opposition for the ground’s first-ever Football League match in 1932, it remains to be seen whether they will have rounded off history by doing so for the last time in a Cup-tie, too.

FULL-TIME: York 2 (Kempster, 26; Newton, 29), County 0.

Team (3-5-2): Hinchliffe; Arthur, Palmer, Keane; Minihan, Turnbull (Capt.) (Osborne, 80), T Walker, S Walker (Hammill, 80), Leesley; Bell, Rodney (Thomas, 74).

Unused Subs: Cowan, Mulhern, Ormson, Garratt.

Booked: T Walker.

Sent Off: Leesley.

Attendance: 2,870 (485 representing The Twelfth Man).

Reporter: Gareth Evans.

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