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Stockport 1-2 Barnet | Bees sting as County horror-show rolls on

In the week leading up to Halloween, it was the Stockport County boss Simon Rusk who had to witness a horror show, as his side suffered their fifth defeat of the season during a 2-1 loss to strugglers Barnet. 

Bees sting as County left wanting 

Ending a run of four matches without a defeat, a rugged Barnet showed one of the preseason favourites in the National League little respect, walking away with a deserved three points.

After finishing bottom of the division last season, if it weren’t for Covid-19 this clash wouldn’t be taking place, yet it was Barnet who looked leagues apart.

Goals either side of the break from Joe Widdowson and Reiss Greenidge gave Barnet a much-needed win in their efforts to steer clear of the drop-zone. 

What’s the story same old (bad defensive) story 

County players and staff had sprinted together into the dressing room for half-time as one, projecting a message of unity. No sooner had they reemerged for the second period were they behind once more.

If their defending for the opener was abject, their efforts for the second were criminal, as an unopposed Greenidge ghosted behind the Hatters’ backline to fire the ball into the roof of the net and reestablish Barnet’s lead. 

Another set-piece catastrophe for County, who have now conceded two or more goals in four league matches this season. 

Bold Barnet bully way back into game

Winless in their previous six meetings against Stockport, Barnet grew into the game after an initial spell on the back-foot and found themselves ahead after 20 minutes. 

Meeting a whipped cross to head home, Joe Widdowson wheeled off in celebration, much to the audible frustration of County’s Cheadle End who had spotted the ball was outside of the quadrant before the corner was taken.

Groans turned to boos midway through the first half when the visitors combined with a series of silky passes, before Ephron Mason-Clark only just ran the ball out of play.

Having started the game the better of the two sides, County’s reaction after going behind was one of lacklustre ineptitude, with the equaliser coming much against the run of play.

No cruise for County who struggled to set sail

Rifling beyond an outstretched Aston Oxborough, Oliver Crankshaw’s second league goal since arriving from Bradford last month was one of sheer class.

It was the first time the home side had threatened a relatively comfortable Barnet defence since the opening stages, yet no goalkeeper in the division, or even those above, would’ve had any answer to the 23-year-old’s strike.

Both John Rooney and Paddy Madden came close early on for the Hatters, all after home-deubtant Antoni Sarcevic fired a rasping effort against the post.

See of red to end feisty affair

What had been a tense encounter turned sour with a quarter of the game to play, as Macauley Southam-Hales was shown a straight red card for a hefty challenge on scorer of the first goal, Widdowson.

After a stoppage in play of over 10 minutes, Widdowson was applauded off the Edgeley Park pitch by a sympathetic home crowd.

However, that sympathy would not be granted to Jordan Thomas, who was also shown a straight red card almost immediately after play resumed.

Dragging down substitute Scott Quigley, the defender denied a likely equaliser, to which an animated Dean Brennan will be quietly thankful for. 

Match information: 

Stockport County: Ross; Kitching, Hogan, Palmer, Southam-Hales; Rooney, Croasdale, Sarcevic; Whitfield, Madden, Crankshaw

Barnet: Oxborough; Thomas, Woods, Greenidge, Widdowson, Taylor; Fonguck, Flanagan, Brundle; Mason-Clark, Marriot

Attendance: 4,363

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