15 April 2023

Dave Challinor challenges Stockport to build on late escape with Carlisle win

15 April 2023

Dave Challinor challenged his promotion-chasing Stockport players to follow up their last-gasp 1-1 draw at Gillingham with three more precious points against Carlisle in midweek.

Will Collar’s 89th-minute strike rescued the visitors a point at Priestfield after George Lapslie had given the Gills the lead.

County sit two points behind third-placed Stevenage – who won 2-1 against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday – and boss Challinor insists his side need to keep up the heat heading into the business end of the season.

He said: “It’s a good point in the end because it looked like it was going to be one of those days for us.

“It’s been a long trip so we’ll take a point from a losing position.

“If we can pick up four points from two really, really difficult away games against Gillingham today and Carlisle on Tuesday then it will be a really good return.

“We’ve still got the opportunity to do that.

“We’ve always said there will be fluctuations in terms of the table, so we didn’t get ahead of ourselves when we moved into the top three last week. On any given day it can change.

“The most important thing is that we do all we can to be in the top three come that Bank Holiday Weekend in May – I’m not going to be too fussed about where we sit at the minute.”

Stockport goalkeeper Ben Hinchcliffe denied both Alex MacDonald and Tom Nichols during the first half-hour of the contest.

Myles Hippolyte forced Glenn Morris into a fingertip save after the break before Lapslie volleyed home Gillingham’s opener after Akil Wright’s clearance inadvertently hit Ryan Croasdale and deflected into his path.

But the Gills’ hopes of claiming a ninth home win in 10 games were denied when Collar rose the highest to loop a header over Morris late on.

Gillingham boss Neil Harris, whose side sit 18th and nine points clear of safety, said: “I thought we were excellent today.

“We were very good with our press and in transition, then we scored a very good goal.

“Stats will show that Stockport had a lot of possession – maybe 60 to 65 per cent – but they never really hurt us.

“They went to a front five late on, but even then the only frustration is that we didn’t win the first contact for their goal.

“The glass is definitely half full for me today. We equalled them on the pitch.

“That’s the challenge we want right now – I can’t praise the players highly enough after that performance.

“Since Christmas, Stockport have been the best team in the league, so it’s great for us to see how we measure up to them as we prepare for next season.”

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