Stockport County 5-3 Bolton Wanderers (AET)

  • November 17, 2021 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL:

Bolton were knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup by non-league opposition for the first time in 110 years, losing 5-3 to Stockport County in a first-round replay at Edgeley Park.

Not since 1911 had Wanderers suffered a loss to a team outside of the EFL pyramid, when they were beaten 2-0 by Chesterfield - then of the Midland League - in a first-round tie at Burnden Park, which also happened to be the most recent instance of the Trotters going out at the first hurdle in three consecutive seasons - an unwanted statistic Ian Evatt's side have now matched.

After recording a 2-0 home victory over Crewe Alexandra last Friday, Evatt made two changes to his Bolton side as George Johnston replaced Will Aimson in central defence and George Thomason came into the midfield in place of MJ Williams, who missed out through illness.

As is usual when an EFL club visit one from non-league, the focus and pressure is on those from the higher division and Wanderers ensured any early pressure was nullified by taking the lead with a little over a minute on the clock.

Receiving possession midway inside his own half, Elias Kachunga raced forward and unleased a drive from just outside the box which took a wicked deflection before nestling in the bottom corner of Ethan Ross' goal.

Their perfect start got all the better just four minutes later as Josh Sheehan's low cross from the right looked harmless enough, only for Ashley Palmer to make a mess of his clearance and bundle the ball into his own net to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

Stockport's first chance of the evening arrived on nine minutes as former Trotters captain Antoni Sarcevic latched on to a flick, ran clean through on goal before shooting straight at Joel Dixon.

County were looking dangerous from set-plays and came close to reducing the deficit when Paddy Madden's goalbound volley was blocked by Johnston, but they did get themselves back in the game on 24 minutes after they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Lloyd Isgrove.

Madden took responsibility from 12 yards and made no mistake, firing low to Dixon's right-hand side to pull the score back to 2-1.

Ryan Croasdale shot into the gloves of Dixon from the hosts' next attack, moments before they shot themselves in the foot with some calamitous defending.

Dixon's long clearance from the back had Stockport under little pressure but Mark Kitching hadn't spotted Ross racing off his line, headed the ball beyond his goalkeeper and gave Amadou Bakayoko the simple task of prodding into an empty net from close range.

Kitching looked to make amends for his error by netting at the other end, only for Dixon to make a routine save from his effort, while Macauley Southam-Hales and Croasdale made a hash of a free-kick that was presented to them just outside the Wanderers area.

Bakayoko brought Ross into a simple save after he had stolen a yard on his marker on 41 minutes, shortly before Madden's flick from Southam-Hales free-kick failed to be pounced upon by Quigley at the far post.

Quigley did get himself on the scoresheet in the final minute of normal time, though, being afforded too much time and space inside the Bolton box to nod in from Ryan Rydel's cross - meaning Wanderers' lead was cut to 3-2 going into the break.

There were no changes as the players reported back for the second-half, which began with Bakayoko getting in ahead of his marker but failing to really trouble Ross with an outstretched attempt on goal.

From that point on, it was Stockport who looked the better team as they chased that elusive equaliser.

Quigley dragged a shot wide on 50 minutes, while Rydel sent a half-volley narrowly over the top shortly after the hour.

Quigley drilled an attempt over the crossbar midway through the half, before a rare venture forward from the visitors resulted in substitute Aimson firing high into the stand behind the goal.

Nathan Delfouneso and Xavier Amaechi were introduced to inject some fresh legs and pace into the Trotters attack in the final 16 minutes, but it was Stockport who continued to look the more likely as they pushed to take the tie into extra-time.

Southam-Hales' deflected volley went wide with 12 minutes to play, while Kitching saw a goalbound effort go behind in similar circumstances four minutes later.

County's persistance paid off on 85 minutes, however, as Palmer outmuscled a number of Bolton defenders to meet a corner and head past Dixon from six yards to make it 3-3.

Kachunga was booked for simulation in his attempts to win a penalty in the latter stages, shortly before the forward volleyed well wide as the League One outfit looked for a stoppage-time winner.

Ricardo Santos produced some outstanding defending to deny Southam-Hales in the final minute, while Delfouneso rolled a shot into the arms of Ross as the game went into extra-time.

Amaechi saw a free-kick blocked by a Stockport wall within three minutes of play resuming, moments before Ollie Crankshaw raced down the left-hand side before shooting wide from the edge of the box.

County would take the lead for the first time on 95 minutes, though, as Quigley latched on to a flick before lifting the ball over a stranded Dixon to make it 4-3 to Dave Challinor's men.

Substitute Arjan Raikhy sent a dipping volley just over the crossbar as the Hatters pressed for a fifth, but it was Bolton who came closest to netting next as Isgrove's burst down the right-side ended with a powerful cross that was somehow parried away to safety by Ross.

But it was to be game-over in the 119th minute as Wanderers pushed men forward, only to be caught short at the back as Crankshaw outpaced the flagging Thomason before seeing his scuffed shot bounce into the ground and into the far corner to spark a pitch invasion at Edgeley Park.

After several minutes of returning fans to the stands and the officials waiting for a replacement corner flag, referee Samuel Barrott called time on a dismal evening for Bolton, who suffered one of their most embarrassing nights on live national television.

Things don't get any easier for Evatt and his team, with a return to league action just three days away when they make the long and difficult trip to Wycombe Wanderers.

Stockport County: Ross, Keane (Minihan 90), Palmer, Kitching, Southam-Hales (Barclay 103), Collar (Raikhy 68), Croasdale, Sarcevic (Crankshaw 75), Rydel, Madden, Quigley (Reid 105)
Subs Not Used: Hinchliffe, Hogan, Jennings, Pye
Booked: Madden, Crankshaw
Goals: Madden 24(pen), Quigley 45,95, Palmer 85, Crankshaw 119

Bolton Wanderers: Dixon, John (Gordon 100), Johnston, Santos, Isgrove, Thomason, Lee, Afolayan (Amaechi 77), Sheehan (Aimson 45+3), Kachunga, Bakayoko (Delfouneso 74)
Subs Not Used: Gilks, Baptiste, Tweedley, Henry, Pettifer
Booked: Sheehan, Isgrove, Kachunga, Amaechi
Goals: Kachunga 2, Palmer 6(og), Bakayoko 28

Referee: Samuel Barrott
Attendance: 10,084

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
View Full Standings >>


Who is Bolton's 2021/22 Player of the Year?
32.58% Oladapo Afolayan
30.96% Gethin Jones
21.72% Ricardo Almeida Santos
5.51% Declan John
4.05% Kieran Lee
3.08% MJ Williams
1.78% Joel Dixon
0.32% George Johnston