1 - 0Full Time
Spennymoor suffered a narrow defeat to Stockport in front of a crowd of 6,311 supporters at Edgeley Park.
Sam Walker’s second half free-kick which found its way in from distance settled a tense and intriguing top of the table encounter.
Moors had a strong penalty claim turned away moments later, but the referee was unmoved after goal scorer Walker blocked a shot with his arm from a Callum Williams cross.
Jason Ainsley named the same starting eleven that defeated Leamington a week previous, with Chris Elliott returning to the bench after being left out.
With Stockport a point ahead of Moors at the summit of the National League North, the implications of the result were evident from the start, as both teams played out a tense opening.
It was Moors who carved out the contest’s first meaningful opening, but Shane Henry couldn’t connect with a superb Rob Ramshaw cross.
The home side, who were on a high following their progression to the FA Trophy semi-final, came close when a corner dropped to Matty Warburton, but Matt Gould reacted sharply to deny County’s top marksman.
A boisterous atmosphere was dampened after a scrappy spell around the thirty-minute mark, but as the half drew to a conclusion, it was Ainsley’s men who took control of proceedings, coming close on a number of occasions.
First, Stephen Brogan’s corner was headed goalward by James Curtis, but a Stockport defender diverted the ball over the bar to prevent a certain opener.
A flurry of corners followed, and Andrew Johnson came inches from converting from close range. Glen Taylor prodded a ball across the six-yard box, but the winger couldn’t get the required connection to force the ball home.
Both teams emerged from the dressing room with a spring in their step and the tempo of the game went up another level, as the action swayed from end to end.
Johnson came close again with a trademark effort, cutting in from the left and testing the alert Ben Hinchcliffe with a swerving shot which was heading for the far corner.
The contest continued to thrill in a high tempo second half, and this time it was Stockport who came close to breaking the deadlock. Warburton struck a shot straight at Gould from the edge of the area.
But County were not to be denied minutes later as the match was settled from a set-piece. After Jamie Chandler was adjudged to have handballed just past the half way line, Walker whipped in a deep free-kick which snuck in past the outstretched hand of Gould.
A valiant Spennymoor kept going and had a clear penalty ruled out when Williams’ cross was handled by Walker, with the referee waving away a cluster of furious appeals.
Moors struggled to break down a solid County back line as the game drew to a close, and the full time whistle signalled rapturous noise from the home faithful.
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