On my first visit to Edgeley Park, I instantly got the feel how Stockport County is a much bigger club than their current National League North status suggests.
It was a huge match for County, as they hosted unbeaten in seven Spennymoor. With Stockport being on an unbeaten streak themselves in all competitions stretching back 21 matches, it was always going to be a tight affair between the sides.
The match in the first half was on a knife-edge, you knew one goal would secure the three points – it was that close, albeit Spennymoor did have the better of the chances in the first half.
Matty Warburton was at his creative best and looked really fired up for the match, which transcended throughout the team. Sam Minihan never stopped running up and down the right-hand side flank, alongside man of the match and match winner Sam Walker, whose long-range free kick 20 minutes from time gave the home side the three points.
A National League North record crowd of 6311 spurred the home side to victory, the atmosphere was one that, you got a sense of County are going up, that it was their year. They are the front runners, despite being second at the time of writing.
They’re very much the horse in second place throughout the race behind a leader who has led from the start, and then the leader starts to run out of gas near the final hurdles – and here come County on the outside edging ever closer, to eventually overtake and win the race.
A win over Boston United tomorrow night will see the Hatters take pole position, and it’s very hard to see them drop any lower. With 12 matches to play and a tie against Chorley three matches from the end of the season, it would be very much in their own hands.
The crowd were amazing throughout and really were the 12th man County needed in this must-win game. The reception at the final whistle erupted around the ground. The fans and players alike, both come across as they know this is their long-awaited chance of promotion and a step closer to where they belong in the football league.
For far too long the Hatters have been sleeping giants, and it’s fantastic to see them finally wake up in spectacular fashion under Jim Gannon.
Photo Credit: mphotographic.co.uk