Yeovil Town crashed out of the FA Cup at the First Round stage, as National League North side Stockport County embarrassed them by a 1-3 scoreline. With 43 places between the two sides, and the Hatters now largely a part time outfit, the gap between the two sides on Saturday afternoon was non-existent despite Alex Fisher's 8th minute header that set his side up for a strong start. But Mathew Warburton's free kick, and a close range finish by Nyal Bell turned the tie on its head, and Stockport deservedly reached the Second Round after a defensive mix-up allowed substitute Frank Mulhern the chance to put County through.
The Glovers went into the match making two changes to their starting line-up compared with last weekend's defeat at Morecambe. Alex Fisher had recovered from an illness and he displaced Yoann Arquin who sat on the bench. Rhys Browne joined him on the bench as Alex Pattison came back into the side again. On the bench Gabriel Rogers dropped off the teamsheet for the first time this season, with the homegrown players rule not applying to the FA Cup.
It took Yeovil just eight minutes to assume what might have looked like a dominant position. With their first attack of the game, Wes McDonald thread the ball to Carl Dickinson whose looping cross to the back post found Alex Fisher who headed home for a 1-0 lead. So far, so good and exactly what Yeovil would have wanted to settle themselves down against a County side who had started the match off in a typically competitive fashion for a cup game.
Stockport's best early chances fell to striker Nyal Bell. He dragged a shot wide of the post after Stockport had cleared from a Yeovil corner to push straight up the other end of the park. Then after Mathew Warburton had forced a corner off the legs of Tom James, Bell got another chance when he turned and blasted a shot over the crossbar from close range.
Yeovil were forced into an early change when Olufela Olomola went down away from the ball, with the suspicion that he'd suffered a repeat of his Tuesday night injury, where his hamstring seemed to be causing him problems. Omari Patrick came in to replace him, but a further change was required eight minutes later just as torrential rain came down onto the pitch. Alex Fisher appeared to suffer an injury to his left leg after going in for a tackle, and that meant a new forward line as Francois Zoko replaced him.
Stockport's next move was to force an equalising goal. As Elliott Osborne ran forward, Bevis Mugabi slipped on the greasy surface, leading to Tom James being forced to foul the Hatters player. There was exact punishment for that infringement as Mathew Warburton stepped up to fire the free kick past the wall and into the back of the net for a 1-1 scoreline.
Just four minutes later, things got worse. Two years ago against Solihull Moors, the Glovers had thrown away a lead by conceding two goals in quick succession to non-league opposition, and the same happened again, as a low cross from Elliott Osborne went across the face of the box, allowing Nyal Bell the chance to finish from close range. This time the striker got it right, and Stockport were suddenly winning. Yeovil were 1-2 down.
Yeovil tried to get back into the match before the break, but cleared the crossbar on three separate occasions, with Alex Pattison and Omari Patrick clearing the goal, before a Tom James free kick from 20 yards out also ended up doing the same during first half injury time. Apart from the goal itself, Yeovil hadn't done enough to worry Stockport's keeper, whilst their defending had offered Stockport too much hope at the other end.
The second half opened with Yeovil going close as an Omari Patrick shot was parried by Ben Hinchliffe into the path of Wes McDonald. Unfortunately when he shot at goal on the rebound, defender Ashley Palmer had got into the right position to clear the ball off the line. The start was extreme end to end stuff, with Elliott Osborne having a long range shot before Sessi D'Almeida got forward to fire wide of the left-hand post. Once again though, hitting the target was the problem - Francois Zoko headed over the bar, followed by Alex Pattison hitting a long range effort that also did the same.
Just past the hour mark, Stockport made a double substitution. Taking off both of their goalscorers looked to be a gamble, but one of their replacements Frank Mulhern was to seal the result for his club. Shaun Donnellan appeared to be attempting to shield the ball back to Nathan Baxter, but the pair got themselves in crossed wires and Mulhern was the more alert of the three, taking advantage to walk the ball home into an empty net for a 1-3 lead.
One of Yeovil's best moves of the half saw Alex Pattison burst forward before feeding Wes McDonald. Unfortunately his final shot was parried by Ben Hinchliffe for a corner. But Stockport were not entirely sitting on their lead at this stage, with Frank Mulhern once again being dangerous on the break, trying to chip the ball past the advancing Nathan Baxter, but then watching the attempt go wide.
As time ran out, Yeovil hit the crossbar as Tom James was found in an advance position from a Rhys Browne cross, finding his header parried by Hinchliffe onto the bar. But as the Glovers tried to pile players forward, they seemed to also run out of ideas in the supply chain, and Stockport managed the final 15 minutes out of the game surprisingly comfortable by keeping men behind the ball to snuff out Yeovil's gradual attempts to put James, then Bevis Mugabi into those forward positions. It didn't work, and time ran out almost embarrassingly comfortably for the Hatters. Yeovil were deservedly dumped out, by a side that were better organised on the day.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 1 Stockport County 3.
Scorers: Alex Fisher (1-0, 8 mins), Mathew Warburton (1-1, 34 mins), Nyal Bell (1-2, 38 mins), Frank Mulhern (1-3, 62 mins)
12. Nathan Baxter
23. Tom James, 5. Bevis Mugabi, 27. Shaun Donnellan 3. Carl Dickinson (Capt)
10. Jake Gray 20. Sessi D'Almeida 17. Alex Pattison 21. Wes McDonald
9. Alex Fisher, 24. Olufela Olomola
1. Stuart Nelson 7. Rhys Browne (60 mins for Jake Gray) 8. Omari Patrick (20 mins for Olufela Olomola) 13. Francois Zoko (28 mins for Alex Fisher) 18. Yoann Arquin 29. Enes Mahmutovic 30. Alefe Santos
1 Ben Hinchliffe
2 Sam Miniham 5 Ashley Palmer 6 Dan Cowan 3 Scott Duxbury
4 Jordan Keane 8 Sam Walker
11 Mathew Warburton 10 Elliot Osborne 7 Adam Thomas
9 Nyal Bell
12 Jordon Downing 13 Ian Ormson 14 Connor Dimaio (59 mins for Mathew Warburton) 15 Darren Stephenson 16 Euan Frank Mulhern (60 mins for Nyal Bell) 17 Adam Etches 18 Szymon Czubik
Yeovil Bookings: Omari Patrick (90 mins, off the ball incident)
Stockport County Bookings: Frank Mulhern (89 mins, kicking ball away), Scott Duxbury (90 mins, off the ball incident)
Yeovil Match Statistics: Possession: 53%; Shots: 21; Shots On Target: 4; Corners: 10; Fouls: 7.
Stockport County Match Statistics: Possession: 47%; Shots: 9; Shots On Target: 5; Corners: 4; Fouls: 9.
Referee: David Rock (Northamptonshire). Assistants: Thomas Harty (West Midlands) and Christopher Husband (Worcestershire). Fourth Official: Scott Jackson (Taunton).
Attendance: 2,550 (with 542 Stockport County supporters).
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