Stockport County 3, Bradford Park Avenue 1
THE scoreline only told half of the story on what was a nail-biting afternoon at Edgeley Park – despite Stockport County winning by two clear goals.
Avenue made it a tense finale but the Hatters bagged a dramatic goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
It was a first defeat of the season for John Deacey's men in Vanarama Conference North but they will be hoping to get back to winning ways today when they host Hyde.
New signing Julian Banton was among the substitutes on Saturday but the young defender, signed from Sheffield United on loan until September 21, remained on the bench throughout.
Avenue went behind early on to a terrific Richie Baker goal. Baker sent in a left-foot strike from the edge of the area that flew past Avenue keeper John Lamb and into the top corner.
Deacey made a double substitution during the half-time interval, replacing former Bantams duo Scott Kerr and Joe Colbeck. Jack Rea and Richard Marshall were introduced instead.
The changes did not have the desired effect straight away and the home side doubled their lead on the hour mark. Lamb did well to parry a shot but Jack Ryan was on hand to slot the loose ball in.
Deacey used his last substitution to send on Danny Frost for Paul Walker and this time the change paid dividends.
Frost latched on to a ball bobbling on the surface and he got his boot under it to send it over the Stockport keeper.
With the home side showing signs of nerves, transferred from the big crowd, Avenue pushed for an equaliser that would have seen them maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
When a minimum of six minutes of time added on were signalled, there were groans from the home contingent.
But they weathered the extra period and Kristian Dennis got on the end of a low centre and steered the ball past Lamb for a third time.
Avenue dropped from fifth to eighth as a result of the defeat but could climb back up today as they host the basement outfit.
Hyde have yet to pick up a point after four games.