Taking on former a football league club and non-league giant was never going to be easy, but the Villagers pushed the Hatters all the way in their Cheshire Senior Cup First round tie at Edgeley Park on Tuesday evening.
Steve Lloyd was able to name a strong XI and was able to welcome Jack McKay into the match day squad after long layoff with injury. County manager Jim Gannon named a youthful team that included newly signed pro Szymon Czubik and former Winsford man Harry Brazel.
The early knockings of the tie saw the home side dominate possession and Ben McKenna had the first chance of the game, going close with an effort from distance.
It was the lively McKenna who gave the Hatters the lead as he took advantage of Patrick Hamid going to ground early to finish past Rob Cooke with ease.
Going behind sparked Barnton into life and they quickly took control of the contest, Ryan Malone went close with a superb solo effort before Jason McShane’s effort was deflected just wide.
A succession of corners for Barnton followed and they eventually punished their hosts at the fourth time of asking with George Webster finishing in off bar instead the 6 yard box.
Webster then gave the Villagers the lead with a fantastic effort from outside the area after some superb link up play from captain Chris Smith. Smith then went close with a header from a Malone cross right on half time as the Villagers finished the half well on top.
Half Time: Stockport County 1-2 Barnton
The second half saw Gannon’s men impose themselves on the contest and pinned the Villagers in their own half for large periods.
County’s pressure told on the hour mark when McKenna levelled the game, as he got on the end of a Sam Walker cross.
Despite the dominance the Villagers continued to threaten on the break with Smith forcing their keeper into a smart save down low.
With only twelve minutes to play the Hatters took the lead again with full back Brazel getting the final touch to turn in a cross from McKenna.
It was a lead Stockport would not relinquish as Czubik kept his cool after being played through on goal by Sajjad Elhassan to net on his full professional debut.
An outstanding double save late on from Ian Ormson denied Malone and Smith a late consolation goal for the Villagers but the home side played out the reminder of the game to progress to the next round.
Speaking after the game Barnton manager Steve Lloyd was proud of his side: “Couldn’t be prouder of the lads on another day with a bit more joy in front of goal, we could, maybe should have taken that tonight County’s experience & fitness bore through in the last 20, but they’ve been put through a proper cup tie there.”
Man of the Match: Ben McKenna
Stockport County: Ormson, Brzel, Robinson (Downing 46), Peach, Clarke, Whitty, Etches (Elhassan 61), Walker, Czubik (Farnworth), Jackson, McKenna
Unused Subs: Willian, Kershaw,
Barnton: Cooke, Crofts, Yearsley, Ford, Hamid (Kavanagh 70), Jason McShane (Wooley 79), Webster, Houghton, Irlam, Malone, Smith
Unused Subs: Kiernan, McKay
Highlights of the game can be found here: Stockport County 4-2 Barnton
Updated 18:27 - 24 Mar 2018 by Niall Owens