Following their loss on Tuesday night, Abbey Hey were looking to recover and improve their home form as they went up against Stockport Town who were yet to win a game in the league. Former Abbey Hey player Leighton Egan made his return to the Abbey Stadium while Connor Brotherton made his home debut for the Abbey and captain Luke Hincks made his return to the starting eleven.
The first forty-five minutes started, and the Abbey were looking solid at the back with vice-captain Aaron Fleming and Jay Hamzat being the two centre backs. They were confident when moving the ball around and were trying to grab an early goal as they were trying to exploit Stockport’s defence.
Ten minutes into the game and Stockport had to deal with an injury blow with their goalkeeper Andrei Stinca coming off the pitch and they had no backup goalkeeper with them. This forced the Stockport skipper Matthew Grimshaw to step up and put the gloves on as Stinca was replaced by Clayton Gorman.
Minutes later, Abbey Hey should have been 1-0 up with Jordan Lazenbury who caught out Chiek Thiam at the back and pulled a shot away close to the by-line aiming it straight at the stand in keeper. But he should have squared it across the box because, Rhys Clooney was unmarked and was screaming for it but ultimately, Lazenbury went for goal.
Abbey Hey decided to keep swapping wings with Smalley on the right and Clooney on the left which was a move that nearly paid off. Clooney looked more threatening coming in from the left flank and Smalley was able to play off full back Daryll Grant. Half an hour in and Stockport were struggling to find their bearings as Aaron Knight seemed to be the only threat that the visitors had who was sitting in that number ten role.
A weak goal kick from Stockport landed at Clooney’s feet who was just outside the box produced a shot on his left foot but was aimed straight at the keeper. Near the end of the first half, Clooney would be put in the book for pulling John Clarkes shirt.
Second half was underway and within the first 10 minutes, Abbey Hey went in front thanks to a corner from Dylan Norris who found Smalley at the front post who headed it home. Five minutes later, Abbey Hey and Stockport made their changes with goal scorer Smalley coming off for Ryan Waterhouse, Paul Sunderland for Luke Hincks and Rourke Neal coming on for Max Dickov for the visitors.
Fifteen minutes left, Stockport started to get some rhythm and were being on the offensive as they were looking more threatening in the final third. The game was starting to turn into end to end football as Abbey Hey wanted to get into Stockport’s area and keep possession there whereas Stockport were wanting to get back into the game.
With a number of minutes left, the visitors nearly had an equaliser as they executed a great move with Gavin Salmon slipping the ball through to Rourke Neal who hit the post.
Abbey Hey struggled to go forward but they showed grit and determination when it came to defending Stockport’s attacks for the remaining 15 minutes.
Abbey Hey’s second home win now puts them into 6th place and they will be travelling to Sandbach United on Tuesday. Stockport were unfortunate not to grab a point at The Abbey Stadium and are now in 15th place, but they can recover from this performance on Monday as they face Cammell Laird on home soil and can possibly grab their first win in the league.