CONGLETON TOWN 3 STOCKPORT TOWN 0
(Cheshire Senior Cup Round Two)
As we ease into the new year the season is going well for the Bears, fifth in the League, into round four of the FA Vase, round three of the Macron Cup and on Tuesday they faced Stockport Town in round two of the Cheshire Senior Cup.
Attendances have improved this season, although there remain, in the town many ghost fans, seldom seen, often wondered at (writes Mike McLaughlin).
Tuesday night’s opponents were founded as recently as 2014 and are based at Stockport Sports Village. They enjoyed a brief association with Robert Smethurst and Robbie Savage, currently powering the newly reborn Macclesfield FC.
Last season, they finished 11th in the NWC Division One South, but this season sit proudly at the top, with a formidable 16-1-2 record.
They arrived at The Cleric Stadium a confident, determined and ambitious outfit.
It was a mild but wild evening, gentle rain that built steadily throughout the evening; 170 brave fans had assembled to see a solid Bears selection with a sparse bench.
Stockport, The Lions, began well. They looked a lively, sprightly side, moving the ball swiftly and skilfully. They could make but imperceptible impression on the home defence, however, and the Bears began to show them how to disconcert a keeper.
Johns and Pope were close to scoring and the Lions’ defence looked unsure, desperate at times.
It was no surprise when Pope headed firmly home a right wing corner on 20 minutes,; 1-0. The rain increased its tempo and Stockport did likewise, finally properly threatening the home goal, their moves penetrating into the area.
Only briefly, however, and a low, beautifully angled penalty from Chadwick made it 2-0 as the interval approached.
It had been an agreeable half, both teams commendable, but the Bears much more incisive.
At half-time it was 2-0 to the Bears.
The home side opened the second half on the attack and continued to pressurise their visitors.
After the hour the pace of the game subsided a little, neither side particularly intimidating the other.
Then, as the home keeper, way out of his area, and Bears’ old boy Morris dithered inexplicably, a sprightly Pope darted swiftly between them and rolled the ball gently into an open net from distance. Intriguing, but 3-0 whatever.
The game meandered on, all but done, the Bears in easy control as the rain fell remorselessly.
A good win, comfortable and convincing.