STOCKPORT County ended Bishop Auckland’s FA Cup dreams as they ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at Edgeley Park on Saturday afternoon.
Two fantastic finishes in the space of seven first-half minutes from the effervescent Danny Lloyd set County on their way to well deserved victory.
In truth the Vanarama National League North side should have won by a greater margin but failed to convert a number of second half chances.
Plucky Bishop Auckland were not overawed by the occasion and could have scored themselves through Andrew Johnson but their run in the competition is now over for another year,
County boss Jim Gannon made two changes from last week’s victory over Salford City, with fit again Josh Amis coming in alongside last weekend’s goalscorer Max Cartwright.
And it was Amis who was involved early on as he controlled and turned on the edge of the Bishop Auckland area, he proceeded to play in Lloyd who drew a good stop from keeper Edward Wilczynski.
Just a couple of minutes later it was Lloyd again who went close, his free-kick from 25-yards whistled just past the right-hand post with Wilczynski this time stranded.
The away side were certainly making themselves known – Scott Martindale picked up a yellow card for an extremely late challenge on Lewis Montrose.
— Nick McCarthy (@NickMcCarthyPT) October 15, 2016
— Mark Ross (@mark_fitness) October 15, 2016
They had their first shot on target as we approached the 25 minute mark, Jeff Smith stinging the palms of Ben Hinchcliffe with an effort from the edge of the area.
But they were soon hit by a sucker punch as the Hatters broke down the right-hand side, Mark Ross crossed the ball towards Amis, it was half cleared towards Lloyd, who controlled and then brilliantly volleyed past Wilczynski to give County the lead.
Auckland had a fantastic chance to level not long after as 19 goal-man Andrew Johnson broke the offside trap, but couldn’t beat Hinchcliffe who made a fantastic save.
And Stockport soon made them pay, the tireless Gary Stopforth with some excellent work down the left, teed up Lloyd just inside the area and he hit a rasping drive that extended Gannon’s side’s lead as they went into the half-time break.
Lloyd nearly started the second period as he ended the first, the former AFC Fylde winger hitting another volley just inches wide.
The side from County Durham were still fighting however, a pretty passage of play ending in a long-range effort from midfielder Priestly Griffiths going just wide of the left post.
— Stockport County FC (@StockportCounty) October 15, 2016
Just before the hour mark it was Lloyd again causing problems, his good work down the left wasn’t rewarded however, Amis miscontrolling with the goal at his mercy.
Stockport were in control by this point, substitute Craig Carney went close with a header and Lloyd forced another save from Wilczynski, as the home side looked to put the game to bed.
With 15 minutes left it was the side in blue still creating the chances – Carney crossing from the right towards Amis – his headed effort just over the bar.
The Hatters peppered the away goal in the closing stages but had to settle for two as they made their way into the first round proper and will eagerly await the draw on Monday night.
Bishop Auckland will now look towards league action following an FA Cup campaign they can certainly be proud of.
Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Ross, Cartwright, Montrose, Clarke, Smalley, Minihan (83′ Meppen-Walters) , Stopforth, Amis, Ball (57′ Carney), Lloyd (83′ Marsden).
Unused subs: Rule, Smith, Odejayi, Spencer.
Bishop Auckland: Wilczynski, Bennett, Hoganson, Colquhoun, Martindale, Francis (66′ Winn), Griffiths (61′ Orritt), Smith, Johnson, Ward, Elliott.
Unused subs: Nicholls, Thompson, Jury, Madden, Pocklington
Booked: Martindale, Elliott, Johnson
Referee: Danny Middleton
By Joe Canavan