Stockport County made it 12 leagues games unbeaten with a 2-1 win victory at home to FC United of Manchester in the National League North.

Goals from Elliott Osbourne and substitute Scott Duxbury put the hosts in a commanding position before Jerome Wright responded from the spot for United, who finished the game with 10 men.

Stockport made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Alfreton Town last weekend, Mark Ross and Steven Duxberry dropped to the bench allowing starts for Connor Hampson and Kaine Felix.

Dave Carnell replaced Adriano Basso in the FC United goal following his red card against Chorley and Matthew Wolfenden also missed out with a back injury. Jake Williams, Gareth Arnison and Kieran Glynn all made the visitors’ starting 11 as Jerome Wright and Dale Tonge dropped to the bench.

County, who remain narrowly outside the play-off positions, settled quickest out of the two sides and dominated the opening exchanges with Lewis Montrose controlling the midfield well.

Both sets of fans were in fine voice as FC United grew into the game after weathering early Stockport pressure, but County continued to threaten with right-back Sam Minihan causing problems down the wing.

The Hatters continued to probe, winger Danny Lloyd’s dangerous ball across the face of goal went straight across to Osbourne who set up Montrose on the edge of area, but Carnell did well to get across to his bottom left.

Tom Browne picked up the game’s first booking just after twenty minutes for bringing down Jimmy Ball, but the resulting free kick from Osbourne was poor and County continued to pass up opportunities as both Kaine Felix and Josh Amis headed off-target.

Osbourne was working effectively in the middle of the park, spreading play and winning the ball back and although it looked like only one team was going to score FC United remained strong at the back.

But the visitors were unable to hold out until the break. Lloyd played Osbourne through on goal and the midfielder confidently struck the ball past Carnell to the delight of the home support.

United manager Karl Marginson was left with a bitter taste however, as captain Harry Winter had been off the field receiving treatment for a nose bleed following a clash in the air with Montrose.

Half time: Stockport County 1-0 FC United of Manchester

Stockport started the second half much the brighter, a foul on Minihan resulted in an early free kick but Lloyd’s header went narrowly over despite looking like it might dip into the net.

Lloyd continued to be a key threat for County, and minutes later cut inside from the left only to see his shot blocked by the ever-committed United defence determined to stop the hosts from doubling their advantage.

FC United struggled to break from their own half in the 15 minutes following the re-start, but had a penalty appeal turned down after Jimmy Ball’s error allowed Nathan Lowe to break into the area. Referee Marc Edwards decided the midfielder went down too easily under a challenge from Michael Clarke.

Lowe was booked minutes later for a reckless challenge on Felix who required treatment, the break in play allowing Jerome wright to join the field of play in place of Kieran Glynn. Minutes later County replaced Felix with Scott Duxbury.

The substitutions were both significant ones. Just minutes after coming on Duxbury made it 2-0 to the Hatters when he prodded home from close range after Lloyd managed to flick on Minihan’s long throw-in.

It was far from game over however, as just four minutes later FC United were awarded a penalty. The referee penalised Amis for a handball in the area, and substitute Wright brought United right back into the contest.

County had a number of opportunities to put the game beyond the visitors in the final ten minutes, Lloyd purposefully cutting inside from the left flank which demanded a good save from Carnell, before drawing a double save from the keeper in the closing stages.

There was more drama to come when in the 90th minute the referee showed FC United’s Chris Chantler a straight red card, perceiving the defender to have elbowed the already announced man of the match Minihan as he rushed across to stop the flying right back’s progress.

Four minutes of added time allowed for some late pressure from the 10-men as they searched for an equaliser, but County held on to make it seven league games without a win for United.

A record attendance for the National League’s regional level of football was announced to great applause, with 5630 fans enjoying another exciting afternoon’s football at Edgeley Park.

Full time: Stockport County 2-1 FC United of Manchester


Stockport County: Ben Hinchliffe, Sam Minihan, Connor Hampson, Lewis Montrose, Michael Clarke, Chris Smalley, Kaine Felix, Elliott Osbourne, Josh Amis, Jimmy Ball, Danny Lloyd.

Subs: Mark Ross, Ian Ormson, Scott Duxbury, John Marsden, Sefton Gonzales.

FC United of Manchester: Dave Carnell, Jake Williams, Chris Chantler, Tom Brown, Scott Kay, Luke Ashworth, Nathan Lowe, Harry Winter, Jason Gilchrist, Gareth Arnison, Kieran Glynn.

Subs: Jerome Wright, Dale Tonge, Sam Sheridan, Greg Wilkinson, Tom Greaves.

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