Kidderminster 2 – 2 Stockport County
Replay: Stockport 3 – 0 Kidderminster
In the original fixture of this cup tie, Stockport will have been left scratching their heads as to what happened in the last 13 minutes to deny them their place in Round Three. Seemingly comfortable at 2-0, courtesy of a glancing first half header from Jason Oswell and a well-taken second from Darren Stephenson either side of a missed penalty from their hosts, it looked like they were coasting. But Kiddy had other ideas. From nowhere, they found an extra gear, and when Fraser Horsfall reduced arrears with 13 minutes left to play, it was game on.
Emmanel ‘Snoopy’ Sonupe, who had seen his earlier penalty saved, then restored parity with 10 to play as he latched onto a through ball and confidently slotted home the leveller.
There was even more drama late on. With just four minutes left, Fraser Horsfall was shown his second yellow card of the day and duly dismissed, and then they were denied the comeback of all comebacks when Stockport’s ‘keeper Ian Ormson not only kept out Liam Truslove’s driven attempt, but also blocked James O’Connor’s headed follow up to deny Kiddy a 3-2 win. That was the last action, so all back to Edgeley Park on the following Tuesday.
I can’t talk about Edgeley Park before mentioning (again) the food at Aggborough. Having tasted their famous soup in the last round, I opted for their famous Cottage Pie this time. And I tell you what, that is some meal. Loads of mash and meat and a thick gravy. Delicious. I suggest anyone paying Aggborough a visit tries the excellent matchday food.
Anyway, to Edgeley Park then, once the answer to the question: “What football league ground is closest to the River Mersey?”. Yup, back in the days when they enjoyed football league status, it was neither Goodison or Anfield that was closest but Stockport’s home, as the river snakes close by.
Getting to Stockport proved tricky. The forecast was for snow, and as I had to travel via Buxton – a Derbyshire town in which snow falls even in the summer months due to its height above sea level in the High peak – I was always going to hit the white stuff. At one point along the A6, between Buxton and Dove Holes, the snow came down heavy, and visions of my disastrous journey back from Manchester on my FA Cup run last season (in which my car skid out of control on a snowy hill near Glossop) came to mind. But I got through it, thankfully, and arrived with time to spare for a pint in the Sir Robert Peel pub, a stone’s throw from the ground. But to say it was freezing cold is an understatement. It was Baltic, with snow flurries greeting me and sporadic throughout the game.
The last time I was at Edgeley Park I saw my team, Forest, romp to a 4-0 victory en route to their promotion from the Championship to the Premier League back in 1997-98. Both Forest and Stockport have endured hard times since then, with The Hatters suffering a much worse fate, losing their league status and now sitting two tiers below League Two.
However, they can at least look forward to the FA Trophy Third Round, and dream of a trip to Wembley perhaps, courtesy of a 3-0 win in the replay. But it was far from as convincing as 3-0 suggests. In fact, Kiddy outplayed them for the most part, and if their players had had their shooting boots on, the scoreline and outcome would have been different. Harriers created a host of chances, 12 in all, all wasted, with shots not even testing keeper Ormson. And they were made to pay on 25 minutes when birthday boy Rhys Turner did well to keep the ball under control on a shimmying run before hammering it past the Harriers ‘keeper from close range.
Even after the break, the visitors dominated, and created more opportunities. But it wasn’t to be, and with a quarter of an hour left to play, a driven attempt from Ben McKenna deflected in before an injury time penalty, converted by Bohan Dixon, made the scoreline appear extremely harsh on Harriers.
But Stockport had finished the job they had failed to complete on Saturday, and it’s them whom I follow to Maidenhead tomorrow.
Images from Kidderminster
Images from Stockport