Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Torquay United V Stockport County – National League
Date: Saturday 30th November 2019
National League form (last 6):
Torquay United: W – W – W – L – L – L
Stockport County: D – L – W – W – D – L
Last time the two teams met: Stockport County 0 Torquay United 4 – 28th September 19
A brace from Jamie Reid helped to inspire the Gulls to a thumping win away to Stockport County on manager Gary Johnson’s 64th birthday – their first at Edgeley Park in 15 years.
The first meeting of the campaign between last season’s National League North and South champions, saw the Gulls take an early in the 18th minute from the penalty spot following a shirt pull on Robbie Cundy by Frank Mulhern. Jamie Reid duly converting.
Stockport then conceded a second soon after, as a shot from Reid was adjudged to have taken a deflection off Festus Arthur before crossing the line. They later conceded a second own goal on 42 minutes, as Jordan Keane turned a cross from Ben Whitfield into his own net.
On the stroke of half-time, Reid struck with a stunning second which effectively ended the game as a contest and afterwards Gary Johnson said “I will remember this birthday for a long time – it’s one of the best I’ve ever had”.
Manager: Jim Gannon
If there is anyone who is worthy of the title ‘Mr Stockport County’ then it is hard to look beyond manager Jim Gannon, who spent a decade of his playing career at Edgeley Park and is currently in his third spell as manager of the Hatters.
After starting his playing career with Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland, Gannon moved to England to join Sheffield United in 1989, but failed to make an appearance for the Blades.
In 1990, his association with the Hatters began when he was signed by the late Danny Bergara which saw Gannon begin a ten-year spell as a player at the club. During this time he would win two promotions and appear at Wembley four times, and also chip in with a number of goals from midfield.
After winding down his playing days with spells at Crewe Alexandra and Irish side Shelbourne, Gannon started his managerial career with Dundalk before becoming Stockport manager during the 2005-06 season, following a successful spell as caretaker manager. In the 2006-07 season, the Hatters missed out on the play-offs, but in the subsequent 2007-08 campaign Stockport won promotion to League One after beating Rochdale 3-2 in the play-off final.
At the end of the 2008-09 season, Gannon was made redundant as manager after the Hatters went into administration and his managerial career then took in stints with Motherwell, Port Vale and Peterborough United. He returned to Stockport for a second time in the 2011-12 season, following the resignation of Dietmar Hamann, but his second spell proved to be less successful as he was sacked after 14 months in charge.
Gannon then took charge of Northwich Victoria in 2013, before returning to Edgeley Park for a third time in January 2016 and last season he led the Hatters to the National League North title.
One to watch: Elliot Osborne
After impressing Jim Gannon following a loan spell from Southport in September 2018, the Hatters was sufficiently impressed with central midfielder Elliot Osborne to turn his temporary transfer into a permanent one two months later. He then went on to play a key role in helping Stockport to win the National League North title and has so far looked at home at National League level.
Classic Encounter: Torquay United 4 Stockport County 0 – Tuesday 25th April 06
The Gulls turned on the style to see off fellow relegation battlers Stockport, as they produced a four-star display to continue their ‘Great Escape’ bid under Ian Atkins.
United made a dream start as Lee Thorpe, on loan from Swansea City, opened the scoring with a stunning overhead kick on four minutes. Thorpe then headed home to complete his brace in the 18th minute, which was followed five minutes by a close range effort from his strike partner Jo Kuffour.
Three minutes into the second half, Danny Hollands read a flick-on from Thorpe before volleying home past Stockport keeper James Spencer. The Gulls then followed up this result with a 2-1 away win over champions elect Carlisle United, which all but secured their League Two status – before drawing 0-0 with Boston United on the final day of the season.
Dan Cowan – Festus Arthur – Ashley Palmer – Joe Leesley
Paul Turnbull – Sam Walker
Adam Thomas – Elliot Osborne – Devante Rodney
Ben Wynter – Robbie Cundy – Kyle Cameron – Ramarni Medford-Smith
Kalvin Kalala – Joe Lewis – Matt Buse – Ben Whitfield
Saikou Janneh – Ruairi Keating
COYY – Steve