REPORT: Stopforth & Ball lead Hatters revival in Warwickshire

Goals from the impressive Gary Stopforth and Jimmy Ball led the Hatters to a crucial three points in Nuneaton, as County returned to winning ways at Liberty Way.


County made two changes from the team that went down to Blyth Spartans, with Ian Ormson making his first appearance for the season in place of Ben Hinchliffe, who made the bench. Michael Clarke also returned to the starting line up following his knee injury.

County started brightly in the windy conditions but it was Nuneaton that had the best early chance, with Jordan Nicholson poking wide from just six yards out.

The Hatters then went ahead, courtesy of the predictably pin-point Jason Oswell. The league’s top scorer volleying home from just outside the six yard box following a Scott Duxbury flick.

And it was soon 2-0, on the stroke of half-time Gary Stopforth’s shot was blocked by a Nuneaton defender before the home side’s clearance hit the County midfielder on the back before it flew into the net.

HT: Nuneaton 0-2 County

Nuneaton came out fighting in the second half but couldn’t create a clear cut chance, Ian Ormson’s dropped cross almost made its way to Daniel Nti before the County goalkeeper recovered well to snuff out the danger.

Just as Nuneaton had begun to show real intent, they were dealt a sucker punch of a goal courtesy of Jimmy Ball. The midfielder smashed home a free-kick from 25 yards to score his third of the season and County’s third of the day.

The manager-less Borough huffed and puffed as the half drew on, and finally had their goal following an O’Halloran foul in the area. Nti saw his spot-kick saved by Ormson before slotting home the rebound to make it three one.

Warburton had a chance to extend County’s lead as the game drew to a close, and non-league veteran Exodus Geohaghon saw himself sent off for pulling Oswell back when clear through on goal, but the game ended in a satisfying 3-1 victory for County to put them two points off the play-offs with two home games to come.

FT: Nuneaton 1-3 County

Starting XI: Ormson, Cowan, O’Halloran, Ball, Clarke, Smalley, Stopforth, Walker (McKenna, 63), Oswell, Warburton (Winter, 87), Duxbury (Hampson, 77).

Goals: Oswell (36), Stopforth (45), Ball (68).

Unused Subs: Hinchliffe, Dixon.

Attendance: 737



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