STOCKPORT County extended their unbeaten run to eight games in all competitions with a comfortable 3-0 win over Gloucester City at Edgeley Park on Saturday afternoon.
After a fairly dire first half, where the visitors just about edged proceedings, a brilliant second half display from County secured their third consecutive home league win in a row.
Richard Brodie gave the Hatters the lead with a glancing header from a Karl Ledsham free-kick moments into the second half before John Marsden lobbed Jasbir Singh to all but secure the points for James Gannon’s side.
The game threatened to end tamely but an unmarked Obi Anoruo headed in from six yards to make it 3-0 and wrap up another satisfying afternoon and week for the Hatters.
The visitors started brightly as Joe Hanks, who looked offside, was put through and tested Ian Ormson in the County goal with a stinging half-volley before a tame Omari Sterling-James effort was easily collected by the Hatters number one.
Gannon’s side grew into the game as a scruffy Brodie shot was flapped at by Singh – on his 22nd birthday – before Marsden volleyed wide from 20 yards.
With around 38 minutes gone Gloucester almost and perhaps should have taken the lead. Paul Connolly tried to jockey the ball out of the ball out of play but Colby Bishop robbed the ex-Luton defender.
The Notts County loanee set up Edward Williams, who saw his driving effort brilliantly blocked by Lewis Montrose, before the loose ball fell to Sterling-James who saw his effort blocked on the line.
The resulting corner was deep and was headed against the crossbar by Chris Knowles from three yards out.
County continued to wrestle for control of the game as Brodie was released over the top by Tom Field – making his home league debut after joining from fellow Vanarama National League North side Chorley last Friday. However Brodie, who hesitated as he took a nervous glance sideways at the linesman, produced a soft effort that was easily pushed away by Singh.
It was a scrappy and uneventful first half where it was hard to see why County were five games unbeaten in the league and seven in all competitions going into the game.
However Gannon’s half-time team talk must have worked wonders as the Hatters took the lead two minutes after the break.
Danny Morton was fouled on a maundering run down the right hand side and Karl Ledsham’s inswinging free-kick was glanced home by Brodie high into the roof of the net.
They almost doubled their advantage shortly after. Marsden, who was a bright spark throughout the whole game, saw a curling left-foot effort parried away by Singh.
Marsden, who signed for the club under ex manager Neil Young, got the goal he deserved just before the hour mark as a long ball was flicked on by Kayode Odejayi. The ball released Marsden who dinked over the advancing Singh with consummate ease for his fourth goal in the last four league games.
The visitors introduced Luke Hopper and Lewis Hall in an attempt to change the game but it was County who came closest next.
A cross from the left reached Odejayi at the back post and his cut back for County’s own substitute Anoruo was scuffed wide by the former Gloucester man.
Anoruo did finally come back to haunt his former side, with around three minutes remaining, as a Marsden cross from the right was nodded home with ease by the unmarked 24-year-old.
The results sees County extend their unbeaten run to eight games in all competitions.
The victory sees them rise above Alfreton Town into 10th place – in a good week for the Hatters after they reached the Cheshire Senior Cup final on Tuesday – and open up a six point gap on Gloucester who fall one to 13th.
Stockport County: Ormson, Morton, O’Hanlon (c), Connolly, Roberts, Montrose, Field (Garvin ’74), Ledsham (Ellison ’89), Marsden, Odejayi, Brodie (Anoruo ’56).
Subs not used: Smith, Menagh.
Booked: Roberts (’32), Brodie (’53)
Gloucester City: Singh, Green (c), Avery, Cundy, Hamilton, Knowles (Hopper ’69), Dinsley, Hanks, Williams, Bishop (Hall ’69), Sterling-James (Nkunga ’81).
Subs not used: Richards, Williams.
Referee: Scott Oldham
Assistants: Paul Ince and Richard Holmes
HIGHLIGHTS (credit to Dan Powell)
INTERVIEW: James Gannon post match (credit to Dan Powell)
By Callum Matthews at Edgeley Park