Two goals either side of half-time were enough to see of bottom-placed North Ferriby, as Stockport County moved to within one point of the play-off places.
Stockport manager Jim Gannon named a similar team to the one that overcame Curzon Ashton in the FA Cup last weekend, with Stopforth joining the starting line-up in place of substitute Matty Warburton.
As the game began, and despite Ferriby only registering three league goals all season, it was the visitors who threatened most in the opening 20 minutes. Curtis Bateson was played into a one-on-one with Ben Hinchliffe, but could only shoot straight at the ‘keeper.
For County, Bohan Dixon had a 20-yard strike tipped over by Ross Durrant before Ferriby’s Kuda Muskwe saw his own effort tipped round the post by Hinchliffe as the game remained even in the opening stages.
The Hatters did make a breakthrough on the half hour mark, Sam Walker drilled a ball across the face of goal to allow Jason Oswell an easy tap in for his 11th goal of the season.
The Yorkshire side bounced back following the goal, and Bateson had another good effort saved by Hinchliffe, before County went up the other end and extended their lead, Scott Duxbury’s outswinging cross was met by Sam Minihan, who headed County into a two goal lead at half-time.
HT: County 2-0 North Ferriby United
Following a double substitution at the start of the second half, Ferriby halved the deficit. Duxbury and then Chris Smalley were both dispossessed, which allowed Darnelle Bailey-King an opportunity at goal, finishing smartly from the edge of the box.
Thankfully for the County faithful, the home side responded well to conceding and within a minute of the kick off, Duxbury had weaved his way around two United defenders before putting the ball on a plate for Oswell, who duly scored his second of the day.
Despite his two assists, the young left back had not finished and scored a deserved goal before the hour mark, beating Durrant to a high, bouncing ball and slotting into the gaping Cheadle End net.
The rest of the game saw County control the tempo of the match and limit the Villagers to half chances, Sam Minihan worryingly limped off for County in the final stages but Ferriby could not make the extra man count, with the game finishing 4-1 to Stockport.
Gannon’s men now sit one point below York, who occupy the final play-off spot, and the Hatters will be looking to make it three home wins on the bounce when they face FC United in the FA Cup next Saturday.
FT: County 4-1 North Ferriby United
Team: Hinchliffe, Minihan, Duxbury, Cowan, Smalley, O’Halloran, Thomas (McKenna, 78), S Walker, Oswell, Stopforth (Ball, 61), Dixon (Warburton, 61).
Scorers: Oswell (30, 58), Minihan (40), Duxbury (56).
Unused Subs: Hampson, Smith.