MATCH REPORT: Stockport Town 1-2 St Martins

The Saints finally got off the mark away from home with a last gasp 1-2 victory over Stockport Town in an entertain game with chances and drama.

The Saints fielded 10 of the 11 who had performed well at Stone OA with Dave Hartshorn coming in to replace Jordy Davies who is away on holiday.

The game was placed on a surface to all the dissimilar to what the Saints where used to at The Venue, and that helped them settle quickly into the game.
The first real effort of note was from left back Calum Bennett, after quick thinking from Hands released Price and he pulled it back to Bennet who was middle to the goal but shot straight at the keeper.
The Saints where the dominant side in the open exchanges but where offered a warning on 16 minutes when Stockport’s number 8 showed great feet to waltz towards the box but he would have been disappointed with his finish.
The next five minites should have killed the game for the Saints as three big chances come there way. Firstly a massive penalty appeal when Price was unfairly handled trying to get to a lose ball but the referee hadnt seen enough to warrent a decision. On 19 minutes the best chance came when good work between Melusi and Price saw the latter feed in Karl Bailey, who hit his shot low and hard but the keeper pulled off an excellent save and held the ball. A similar theme arrived a minute later when Melusi released Bailey again, a hard shot was hit but unfortunatey it didnt find the target.
The next tenty five minutes seen the away side dominate the proceedings and it was a case of getting in good positions but the final shot or final ball was not good enough, which has been the story of our away form so far this season.
Half time 0-0 and a double change from the home side told the story of the first half. Dan Stevens and his staff must of been wondering if it was going to bite them on the backside.
The second half started spikey with the referee getting a few wrong decisions which where leading to other bad decisions. Parker somehow failed to get booked after wiping the impressive Stockport substitute.
On 63 minutes it was the best chance of the second half with Easthope getting himself into the box and finding himself in a good position but his effort on his weaker foot was wide.
Luckily a minute later, that was forgotten as the Saints took the lead. Stockport where wasteful in possession and passed the ball to Hartshorn, who worked tirelessly all game, and he released Melusi behind the back line, he drew the keeper out and unselfishly squared the ball to Karl Bailey for his Third and easiest goal of the season.
The Saints has a half chamce when Austins long kick got Bailey away but he couldnt bring it under his control to make it count.
Two minutes later, Stockport where attacking and the referee blew for a penalty. At first it looked like he has given it for handball, as Bennett has controlled the ball on his chest, so the Saints where furious, but the referee has spotted a trip in the box by Stoker on A Stockport player, which Stoker confirmed but says it was a yard outside the box.
The penalty was converted by the 14 who was a real danger for the home side all game and deserved his goal.
Stockport where on the front foot and The Saints where doing there best to help them. A waste of a quick free kick by Melusi give the ball back to the home side and they played in the forward but Stoker was excellent in his recovery tackle just as the forward was pulling the trigger, a real let off.
The Saints should of restoree their lead on 72 minutes, Parker going short for the corner and driving the ball across goal, Hands got something on it and not enough to divert it past the home keeper.
Stoppage time come and real drama.
Melusi got himself in behind again and crossed to the unmarked Harshorn, no one around him, he missed the ball completely, through tiredness as he has worked hard all game, and the Saints thought that was the chance, but as Stockport recovers the ball, they where pressed and substitute Tom Ash knicked the ball in the box and was brought down for a penalty.
The was a little confusion as to who was taking the penalty as Hands and Melusi both wanted to take it, but Melusi spotted the ball and sent the keeper the wrong way to secure the first away points of the season for the Saints.

All in all a deserved three points for the Saints though Stockport much improved in the second half, will be kicking themselves for not taking something from the game. The Saints move on to a difficult local derby against our friends from Ellesmere Rangers on Tuesday night, at the venue 7.45pm!

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