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Stockport 5-3 Bolton | Hatters leave Bolton feeling battered

Dave Challinor’s first win as Stockport County manager came in the most dramatic of fashions, as his Hatters side triumphed 5-3 in extra-time to stun League One Bolton Wanderers. 

By Amos Murphy

Bedlam at Edgeley Park as fans are on the pitch before its all-over

Ollie Crankshaw’s finish capped off a memorable night of football for Stockport County, who came from behind twice to leave Bolton Wanderers of League One feeling battered and bruised in an FA Cup tie for the ages. 

Scott Quigley’s lobbed effort put the Hatters in front during the first half of extra-time, with substitute Crankshaw sealing the win in the dying stages.

Goals from Elias Kachunga and an Ash Palmer own-goal had given the visitors a comfortable but not assured 2-0 lead after five minutes.

Positive play from Stockport saw them handed a lifeline after 24 minutes, when Paddy Maden converted calmly from the spot to reduce the deficit to one, but any dreams of a Hatters' comeback were seemingly squashed when a defensive mix-up presented Amadou Bakayoko with an empty net to score Bolton’s third.

Hope for the Hatters would remain at the break, as Scott Quigley flicked home with his head to set-up a tense second period, where Palmer would eventually get redemption at the Cheadle End by heading home the equaliser with five to play. 

County prevail in extra time

Lofting a cute lob over Joel Dixon in the Bolton goal, breathes were bated on all four sides of Edgeley Park, as Quigley’s second of the evening hovered above the goalline.

Moments after the ball had left his foot, the dominative striker was wheeling away in celebration - closely followed by a contingent of Stockport players - having put County ahead for the first time in the tie.

More dragged than taken off at half-time of extra time, there was little more Quigley could’ve left out on the pitch, with the former Barrow man looking to have finally found his rhythm in the County side. 

The victory was eventually sealed in the dying stages, when Crankshaw broke beyond a despondent Bolton defence to sneak home County’s fifth. 

Bolton bully absent County defence in disappointing first half 

Cup fever may have caught Stockport ahead of the historic FA Cup tie against League One Bolton, but it was a different type of sickness the home support were feeling after five minutes of the clash. 

Behind after just two minutes, Kachunga backed up his goal in the first fixture by opening the scoring early on at Edgeley Park. 

County defenders stood off and allowed the former Huddersfield Town forward to dance his way through their midfield, before tucking a right-footed strike beyond a frozen Ethan Ross in the Hatters goal.

If the opener wasn’t cheap enough, the hosts would find themselves two goals down moments later, when the ever-reliant Palmer bundled into his own net. 

A tough moment for the 29-year-old in front of the Cheadle End. 

Goals aplenty in classic cup tie for the ages

Despite the troublesome first-half performance from the hosts, a sold-out Edgeley Park continued to urge their side on, and the Hatters faithful were treated to a spirited Stockport response.

After the initial shock of conceding two early goals, Challinor’s side began to settle into the game and came close through former-Wanderers captain Antoni Sarcevic.

Breaking through in behind the Bolton defence, Sarcevic’s hesitancy allowed Dixon the time and space to smother his lofted effort. 

Their opportunity to cut the deficit arrived from 12-yards, after Ryan Rydel was bundled down inside the Bolton penalty area.

Madden stepped up to slot home and ignite what looked set to be the start of a Stockport comeback.

Alas, the tribulations weren’t to end there for a Stockport team intent on making life as easy as they possibly could for their League One opponents. 

Confusion between Ross and tracking defender Mark Kitching led to the latter nodding the ball back beyond the on-rushing goalkeeper, leaving an empty net for an almost equally-shocked Bakayoko to slide home into and make it 3-1.  

Just as it looked as if the visitors would enter the break with a comfortable two-goal lead, County struckback once more, with Quigley also adding to his returns from the first meeting.

A glanced header snuck its way past Dixon in the Bolton goal, setting up a finely poised final 45 minutes of football. 

Stockport surge as Palmer makes amends 

Popping up at the same net he had turned past his own goalkeeper 80 minutes prior, Palmer rifled a header into the roof of the net to restore parity.

What had been a gutsy second-half performance from the hosts was duly rewarded, having dominated for much of the period. 

Having achieved their first goal of not conceding at the beginning of the second period, Stockport enjoyed most of the possession and began to push their visitors back.

Unable to decipher which side were from the third-tier and which were from non-league, Quigley’s bullish presence at the top of Stockport’s attack continued to cause problems for the Bolton defence. 

Two snap-shots from the edge of the box presented little threat to Dixon in the Bolton goal, yet his all-round play provided County with the launchpad to enter the closing stages still in the game. 

On-loan Aston Villa midfielder Arjan Raikhy was brought off the bench for County to provide an extra buzz in the middle, with the youngster providing the assist for Crankshaw’s eventual winner. 

Match Information:

Stockport County: Ross; Palmer, Keane, Kitching; Rydel, Southam-Hales, Collar, Croasdale, Sarcevic; Madden, Quigley

Bolton Wanderers: Dixon; Aimson, Santos, Johnston, John; Thomason, Lee, Kachunga; Apolayan, Bakayoko, Sheehan

Attendance: 10,084

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