Stockport 1, Harriers 0

HARRIERS suffered their first defeat in ten games as they were edged out by a first half penalty in a thrilling Blue Square Bet Premier clash on Saturday.

Steve Burr's side were trailing to Sean Newton's spot kick on the strike of half-time.

But they were much-improved in the second half and threw the kitchen sink at the Hatters.

Harriers were put on the back foot by an energetic Stockport side who hit them on the break at every opportunity.

Keeper Nathan Vaughan was the hero in the first half for the Aggborough outfit with a string of saves.

He had to get a hand to Danny Hattersley's powerful cross shot from the right wing.

Moments later, Harriers' custodian showed razor sharp reactions to reach Craig Hobson's stinging drive.

Lee Vaughan created a decent opening with a typically accurate delivery moments later but Anthony Malbon headed over at the far post.

The away side were struggling to carve out many chances despite seeing much of the ball. They were relying on the raids of right back Vaughan, who was cynically fouled by Hatters skipper James Tunnicliffe. The County defender was shown a yellow card.

Vaughan was then felled by Newton's reckless two-footed challenge but somehow escaped a booking.

But it was County who were looking more dangerous on the attack and Craig Hobson back heeled a close range effort which was straight at Vaughan.

But Harriers' resistance was broken in the 44th minute when defender Josh Gowling brought down Hattersley in the box. Newton slammed the penalty into the top corner.

But Harriers nearly levelled the scores before the break. Malbon's superb long range effort was denied by a combination of keeper Ian Ormson and the bar.

County's keeper then denied Ryan Rowe from close range.

The second half started with Harriers skipper Keith Briggs and Hobson banging their heads together as they battled for the ball.  While Briggs had stitches and was able to continue, County replaced their man with Joe Connor.

It was the visitors who took control in the second half but lacked conviction in the final third to really test the home defence.

Former Stockport man James Vincent saw a meek header easily taken by the keeper. Nathan Blissett glanced a header wide and Briggs saw a well hit 25 yard effort easily taken by Ormson.

But Stockport still looked dangerous and Vaughan brilliantly tipped over Alex Kenyon's athletic volley.

Paul Turnbull and Tunnicliffe also had chances as the game became more stretched.

Substitute Marvin Johnson nearly found an equaliser but Ormson was equal to his shot after a speedy counter attack.

Moments later, Vincent's powerful drive was kept out by a full-stretch Ormson.

Harriers pushed for a leveller their endeavours deserved but in the end, Stockport's goal had a charmed life as County emerged triumphant.

Harriers (4-3-3): N Vaughan, L Vaughan, Demtriou, Vincent, Rowe (Peniket, 78), Malbon, Blissett, Briggs (Johnson, 70), Dunkley, Watkins (Storer, 60), Gowling.

Unused subs: Lewis, Williams Stockport (4-4-2): Ormson, Halls, Newton, Tunnicliffe, Whitehead (Sheridan, 72), Hattersley, Collins (Kenyon, 30), Hobson (Connor, 52), Fagbola, Mainwaring, Turnbull.

Unused subs: King, Rowe.

Referee: Anthony Backhouse