Dave Challinor pragmatic about top-three hopes after Stockport stun champions

·3-min read
Will Matthews/PA Wire

Dave Challinor described Stockport as “one special group” after becoming only the second team to win at Leyton Orient this season but remained pragmatic about their hopes of snatching automatic promotion on the final day.

Goals from Akil Wright, Callum Camps and Connor Evans secured an impressive 3-0 victory for County at the League Two champions and they received a further boost when third-placed Northampton suffered a late home defeat to Bradford.

Those results have left Stockport two points behind the Cobblers heading into the last round of the season, where Challinor’s men host relegated Hartlepool and Northampton go to Tranmere.

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Challinor said: “If we do what we do well next week, which is all I can ask, then I can’t ask for more.

“We are one special group. If it has to be the play-offs, so be it.”

Wright and Camps gave County a two-goal advantage inside the opening 10 minutes at Orient and from there they remained in control before substitute Evans wrapped up matters in the 81st minute.

Stockport were backed by 1500 of their vociferous fans who were also tracking events in Northampton’s game and Challinor celebrated with those supporters when news of Bradford’s late winner came through.

“It was the first time in 13 years as a manager that I wanted to know what was going on elsewhere,” he added.

“To start the game like we did was excellent and made us more comfortable although not easier by any stretch and overall, we thoroughly deserved all the three points.

“Orient wanted to win the game because it was a special occasion for them collecting the League Two trophy.

“Set-pieces were important which we used well and it was great to get the second goal so early because it allowed us to control the game.

“We were missing some big players for us today but we’ve got a couple of days to assess our injured bodies and it helps with the last game of the season not coming until Monday week.”

O’s boss Richie Wellens had no complaints about the result as Stockport became only the second side after Newport in October to win a league game at Brisbane Road this season.

“We were playing against a team who were quite aggressive, and we were miles off it,” he said.

“We were nowhere near it, but it is understandable.

“It’s still a brilliant day, the club has been on a great journey for the last 14 months, and to see all the players on the pitch with their families – they will remember this for the rest of their lives.

“Next week’s game at Bradford City is difficult because we want the players to enjoy it, but we’ll try to be as professional as we can because it’s a massive game.

“It’s been a long gruelling season but every player in the squad has played a part in our success no matter how many minutes they’ve had on the pitch.

“The morale and vibe in the changing room is something like I’ve never seen before, whether as a player or a manager.

“It fills me with immense pride to be part of this club.”