STOCKPORT County stretched their run to five games without a win after a 4-2 defeat against an impressive Solihull Moors side in the National League North at Edgeley Park on Tuesday evening.
The unbeaten Moors put County to the sword with an impressive display of counter-attacking football, though the home side weren’t helped by the shaky display of their debutant goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara, who was at fault for at least two goals.
Neil Young made two changes to the side that drew at the weekend against Lowestoft with the injured Joe Garvin and Danny Hurst dropping out. Abs Baggie returned to the starting XI and there was a start for the aforementioned O’Hara in goal, the 19 year-old had joined from Manchester United earlier in the day.
It was Stockport who started the brightest, and from their third corner of the game they went close. Glenn Rule’s dangerous outswinging delivery was met by the head of the powerful Kayode Odejayi, unfortunately the former Tranmere man could only guide it wide of the far post.
And County’s next meaningful attempt came via the same route, this time it was Sean O’Hanlon heading wide when under pressure at the near post.
Despite the home side dominating the corner count, it certainly wasn’t all one-way traffic, the visitors looking lively on the break in the opening 25 minutes though the killer pass was often lacking.
They didn’t have to wait long for the end product to improve as, in the 27th minute, the Midlands based side took the lead. A flowing move from one end of the pitch to the other ended with Akwasi Asanti converting a low Michael Nottingham cross from close range.
And Asanti wasn’t finished there as just four minutes later he doubled his team’s goal tally as well as his own. Debutant O’Hara’s clearance from just outside the box went straight to the ex-Kidderminster striker who expertly curled the ball into the unguarded net from a tight angle.
As first-half stoppage time approached, the electric Asanti went close to grabbing a hat-trick as he showed experienced centre back Paul Connolly a clean pair of heels, this time O’Hara was on hand to make a smart save and somewhat atone for his earlier error.
County started the second period just as they did the first by forcing a corner, but this time they managed to turn it into a goal. Just over a minute after the restart, Moors goalkeeper Ben Siegrist flapped at the set-piece delivery and captain O’Hanlon converted after an almighty goalmouth scramble.
Buoyed by the goal the home side came again, Jake Kirby broke down the left and rolled an excellent ball into the path of Rule, the midfielder making his first home appearance since coming back from his 10-match suspension, could only find the palms of Siegrist, who parried the ball away to safety.
Solihull soon regained their two goal advantage, and it came in bizarre circumstances as an innocuous looking Stefan Moore cross from the left somehow beat O’Hara at his near post and nestled into the County net
The Hatters weren’t giving up though and they nearly notched another goal when a fantastic Rule cross found Kirby who crashed a header off the bar.
As the final 10 minutes approached, Kirby wasn’t to be denied with his next attempt. He picked up the ball on the edge of the area and produced a trademark rocket into the top corner that left Siegrist clawing at thin air.
All hope of a miraculous comeback was soon extinguished, just four minutes later Ryan Beswick met a ball over the top and lofted a stranded O’Hara to make it 2-4 and put the game to bed.
The result leaves Young’s side in eighth place but falling further away from the play-off spots, meanwhile Marcus Bignot’s men have cemented themselves in second place in the sixth tier.
Stockport County: O’Hara, Tonge, Connolly, O’Hanlon, Roberts, Rule (Morton ’70), Joyce (Robinson ’67), Kirby, Baggie, Evans (Colley ’74), Odejayi.
Subs not used: Ormson, Ellison.
Solihull Moors: Siegrist, Nottingham, Franklin, Daly, Streete, Dean, Moore (Walker ’74), Byrne (English ’83), Asanti, Beswick, Knights.
Subs not used: Armson, Cowan, Gittings
Referee: Scott Oldham
Assistants: Craig Buxton and Dale Baines
By Joe Canavan at Edgeley Park