Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Torquay United versus Stockport County
Venue: Plainmoor, Torquay
Date: Saturday 11th December 2021
Current Form (last six):
Torquay: D, W, L, L, L, W
Stockport: D, W, W, W, W, L
Torquay: Armani Little (9)
Stockport: Ollie Crankshaw (8)
Stockport fact file:
Year founded: 1883
Nickname: The Hatters
Last season’s league finish: 4th in National League
Stockport notable honours:
Division Three North:
Winners: 1921-22, 1935-36
Division Three/ Division Two/League One:
Division Four/ Division Three/League Two:
Associate Members’ Cup/ Football League Trophy:
Runners-up: 1991-92, 1992-93
National League North:
Manager: Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor was appointed as Hartlepool United manager in November 2019, succeeding Craig Hignett in the dugout at Victoria Park.
He arrived at Victoria Park on the back of a long and hugely successful spell as boss at AFC Fylde, during which he oversaw The Coasters’ impressive elevation through the footballing pyramid, which saw them rise from the Northern Premier League Division One North to the National League.
Challinor began his playing career with Tranmere Rovers where he came through the ranks to develop into a hugely popular centre-back at Prenton Park. While with Tranmere, he caught the eye due to his enormous throw-in – in 1998 he claimed the world record for the longest throw-in when he hurled a ball 46.34 metres to beat the record held by Andy Legg. Challinor enjoyed success with Tranmere, helping them to upset the odds to reach the 2000 League Cup Final – where they lost to Leicester City, before Stockport County paid £120,000 to take him to Edgeley Park in January 2002.
After a couple of seasons with the Hatters he was allowed to join Bury on loan in January 2004 and he made that move to Gigg Lane a permanent one in the following summer. He was installed as club captain at Bury and spent four years there before a knee injury forced him to retire from professional football at the end of the 2007-08 campaign.
Challinor was able to play part-time and became skipper of Colwyn Bay with whom he reached the play-offs with two seasons in succession and secured promotion in 2010. He was then appointed as player-manager of the club. His first season as manager saw the Bay finish as runners-up in the Northern Premier League Premier Division and they triumphed in the play-offs to win promotion to National League North. It was in November 2011 that Challinor was tempted away to join AFC Fylde as boss and his magic touch continued as they were promoted from Northern Premier League Division One North as champions in his season in charge.
The Coasters reached the play-offs in his first season in charge, while also making it through to the first round of the FA Cup. They went one better in the 2013-14 campaign when Fylde won the play-offs to take their place in National League North. In 2016-17 there was more joy for Challinor and the Fylde supporters as they clinched another promotion as Champions of National League North and he led the club in to the fifth tier for the first time in their history.
He then led them a third-place finish in the National League in the 2017-18 season, only to fall in the play-offs. In the subsequent 2018-19 season, he led the Coasters to Wembley twice where they won the FA Trophy and lost to Salford City in the National League play-off final.
After leaving the Coasters, Challinor was appointed as manager of Hartlepool United in November 2019 and in his first full season in charge – the 2020-21 campaign – he led them to the Play-offs, where they won promotion by beating the Gulls on penalties – after drawing 1-1 in normal time.
In November 2021, he returned to Edgeley Park as manager and is aiming for a second successive promotion from the National League.
Player to watch: Antoni Sarcevic
After being released by Manchester City as a youngster, Antoni Sarcevic kick-started his career with Woodley Sports before returning to the professional game with Crewe Alexandra in 2010. He then moved to Chester FC and won successive promotions from the Northern Premier League and National League North between 2011 and 2013.
Sarcevic’s next port of call was Fleetwood Town, who he joined in 2013 and he went on to score the winning goal in their 2014 League Two Play-off final win over Burton Albion – which was his 15th goal of the 2013-14 campaign. Further promotions from the division with Plymouth Argyle (2016-17 and 2019-20) and Bolton Wanderers (2020-21) followed before he signed for the Hatters in October 2021.
Position: Central Midfield
Date of Birth: 13th March 1992 – 29 Years Old
Former Clubs: Stockport Sports, Crewe Alexandra, Chester, Fleetwood, Shrewsbury, Plymouth, Bolton.
National League Stats 21-22: Played 7, Goals 0, Yellow/Red Cards 1/0
Stockport: Ben Whitfield
Last meeting: Stockport County 2-2 Torquay United – Saturday 18th April 2021
National League promotion-chasers Stockport and Torquay lost ground on leaders Sutton as they fought out a draw.
Macauley Southam-Hales fired Stockport ahead after 34 minutes with a brilliant curling finish from the edge of the area. However, Torquay, who had been unlucky when Connor Lemonheigh-Evans struck a post from a tight angle, were level through Scott Boden’s penalty five minutes before the interval.
Boden prodded Torquay ahead from close range in the 57th minute after his first effort had hit the crossbar. But Stockport levelled six minutes later when John Rooney’s deep corner was headed in at the far post by Ashley Palmer.
Stockport County (4-4-2): Hinchcliffe; Southam-Hales, Palmer, Hogan, Jennings; Newby, Rooney, Croasdale, Walker (Minihan 83); Cardwell (Bennett 89), Reid (Keane 85);
Subs not used: Fitzsimmons, Maynard.
Torquay (4-4-1-1): Covolan; Wynter, Sherring, Lewis, Moxey; Randell, Little (Cameron 73), Hall, Andrews (Whitfield 64); Lemonheigh-Evans; Boden (Kimpioka 64);
Subs not used: MacDonald, Waters.
Torquay United (3-5-2):
Ben Wynter – Joe Lewis – Dean Moxey
Byron Moore – Asa Hall – Armani Little – Tom Lapslie – Dan Martin
Klaidi Lolos – Sinclair Armstrong
Ben Barclay – Ash Palmer – Mark Kitching
Macauley Southam-Hales – Will Collar – Antoni Sarcevic – Ryan Croasdale – Ryan Rydel
Ollie Crankshaw – Scott Quigley
TT Pre-Match Talking Points:
Will any of the new #incomings feature in the starting line up?
Will Wright be thrown into line-up from the off?
Can United recapture their home form against an improving County team?