Hatters’ still in promotion hunt despite setback: Stockport County 0 Gillingham 0

Just two weeks ago, Stockport County were sitting on a perfect streak of five wins in their five preceding games, surging up the table and threatening the automatic promotion places.

Fast-forward to the present, and what previously felt like solid foundations for a late promotion push, now appear to be crumbling under the weight of Edgeley Park expectation.

In just over 72 hours, County fans have spent three of those hours watching football without catching site of a goal.

In both games, the Hatters came racing out of the traps looking as though they could notch a few goals over the course of 90 minutes, but in both cases, it’s failed to materialise.

Post-match reaction from County manager Dave Challinor

 After the game County manager, Dave Challinor, said: “The frustration is that, when you win five on the bounce, all of a sudden optimism goes through the sky, there’s the invincibility factor.

“Football’s never like that.”

Last night, County’s closest efforts came through Tanto Olaofe, clipping the top of the crossbar with a curling shot just before the half-time whistle.

The majority of play was dictated by the Hatters, with 72% possession across the 90 minutes and 17 attempts on goal, against a team that were clearly set up to play for draw.

Stats tell the story of a frustrating game for Stockport County

Many of those attempts came in the form of long balls and crosses from the flanks, each one getting frustratingly closer to connecting with the head of target man Kyle Wootton but never quite coming off.

Defender and long-ball specialist Chris Hussey was consistent in playing searching cross-field passes throughout the game but with them leading to little and appearing to be the only game plan the further the game progressed, fans began to grow increasingly impatient.

Club captain Paddy Madden returned to action as a substitute in the second half but didn’t seem quite up to his usual pace, perhaps a combination of returning from injury and team performance to forget.

Goalless draws against both Doncaster on Saturday (4 Mar) and Gillingham last night (7 Mar) hasn’t hampered County’s league position as much as it might otherwise have done in a congested play-off battle.

They remain in 6th place, but level on points with Salford at the base of the play-off places and with an in-form Mansfield holding two games in-hand, the Hatters need to find form to stay in the race.

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