Stockport County 8(Croasdale 6,20, Wootton 12, Madden 23,53, 90+3pen, Cotterill 69, Olaofe 86) Sutton United 0
A game that matched the Sky Bet League Two leaders with the division's bottom team, but on recent form looked to be a much closer affair, proved to be anything but as Sutton's recent mini-revival came to a shuddering halt at Edgeley Park, four goals going past Dean Bouzanis before a quarter of the game had been played, and Stockport going on to inflict a defeat that had reached the humiliating category, and was a record post-war league defeat for U's, by the time referee Adam Herczeg ended the misery.
The fortnight without a game allowed Sam Hart, Omar Sowunmi and Ryan Jackson to take their places in a defence that was, unlike the back line that had finished against Horsham, entirely made up of defenders, although Louis John's hopes of a return ended when he pulled up during the warm-up. Inside the first minute Hart found himself in space from a Harry Smith pass and tried his luck from thirty yards, but the ball sailed high in to the Stockport supporters behind the goal and it was to be a portent of much of what would happen from then on. Within the next five minutes Dean Bouzanis saved well from Kyle Wootton at the near post, Fraser Horsfall sent a header just wide and then, after he had been fouled on the left by-line by Harry Beautyman, Ryan Croasdale scored the simplest of headers from Odin Bailey's free kick.
It was a perfect start to settle Stockport's anxieties after a run of six league and cup games without a win, and inside the next twenty minutes they had the points sewn up. Wootton slid in at the far post to convert a low cross from Kyle Knoyle and then, after Bouzanis had come out to save from Croasdale, Sutton failed to clear and the midfielder duly had his second of the afternoon as he shot home first time from Callum Camps' pass. Worse followed as Bailey set up Paddy Madden to sweep a low shot past Bouzanis, and the afternoon was already a case of damage limitation for Sutton, hitherto unbeaten in the league since the defeat at Wrexham in October. U's did reach the interval with no further harm done, although Wootton missed one glorious chance as he scuffed a shot wide from Croasdale's cross when it seemed easier to score, and on the stroke of half time there might have even been a goal back as Aiden O'Brien volleyed over from a good position after Stockport failed to clear a long throw.
Hart made way for Rob Milsom, also fit again after injury, at half time while Sowunmi didn't reappear for the second half, Christian N'Guessan dropping to centre back as Craig Clay came on, but any hint of a second half revival was soon snuffed out as Bailey's shot was deflected wide, and Ibou Touray's corner was headed in by Madden with little challenge from a defender and the ball travelling a long way to find the net.
Brimming with confidence, Madden sent a shot just wide from near the touchline before Stockport made a quadruple substitution, with Isaac Olaofe among the players coming on. The former Sutton striker's first touch was a shot saved by Bouzanis, but the next good chance came at the other end when O'Brien pulled a pass back for Josh Coley, who could only misdirect a shot from close range past the post. Moments later, though, Sutton's defensive afternoon reached its nadir as Ben Hinchcliffe's long clearance was miscontrolled by Bouzanis as the goalkeeper tried to play sweeper, and another substitute, Joel Cotterill, skipped past the stranded Bouzanis and found the empty net from thirty yards, N'Guessan trying unsuccessfully to block the shot inside the six yard box.
Olaofe hit the bar when he met Cotterill's low cross at the near post, but he wasn't to be denied a goal against his former club as he shot home left footed after Touray had exchanged passes with Jayden Richardson and crossed low from the left. There was still time for further indignity as Richardson hit the bar after being put through by Olaofe, but Touray's cross from the rebound hit Jackson on the hand, and Madden completed his hat trick with a penalty that Bouzanis got hands to but could only push in to the roof of the net.
Sutton: D Bouzanis, R Jackson, S Hart(sub R MIlsom H-T), O Sowunmi(sub C Clay H-T), J Kizzi, D Pereira, J Coley(sub O Patrick 79), C N'Guessan, H Smith(sub L Angol 79), H Beautyman, A O'Brien. Subs n/u S Arnold, L John, T Fadahunsi. Booked: Beautyman
Stockport: B Hinchcliffe, K Knoyle, I Touray, E Pye, N Byrne(sub J Richardson 84), F Horsfall, R Croasdale(sub A Wright 64), C Camps(sub J Cotterill 63), P Madden, K Wootton(sub I Olaofe 64), O Bailey(sub C Johnson 63). Subs n/u J Smith, N Powell
Referee: Adam Herczeg
Attendance: 8,703(94 away)
There was disappointment for the academy side on Saturday morning as they went down 3-1 at Plymouth in the Southern semi final of the EFL Youth Alliance League Cup. An early Plymouth goal was almost immediately cancelled out by George Vorster, but Plymouth, the leaders of the South West Division, regained the lead ten minutes before half time and secured a place in the Southern final against Portsmouth with a third goal eleven minutes from the end of the game.