A Paddy Madden hat-trick saw the Hatters use a brief midweek break from League Two action to win their second of three group-stage games in the English Football League Trophy at Salford.
Trailing by a couple of minutes, a much-changed County side leveled with a first-half penalty midway through the captain, who then scored twice more after the break to seal victory.
The Hatters took to the field on a balmy evening and showed 10 changes following their latest league game, with only Akhil Wright retained from the League Two line-up that started against Doncaster at Edgeley Park three days ago. Six of the seven substitutes on that occasion – with the exception of Joel Cotterill, who was on international duty with the Welsh under-21 team – were named among the starters, while academy defender Ellis Farrar made his tournament senior debut as a hatter.
The hosts, who made eight changes to their team following the weekend, not only created the first chance of the night, but took the lead with it. Two minutes later, they broke from inside the County half – before Junior Lumba, on the right, scored his opening Salford goal, converting Jordan Smith from close range.
The Tuckers tested Smith again half a dozen minutes later with a low shot from outside the box, which the Hatters’ goalkeeper dived for a gasp – Smith’s opposite number Joe Wright deflected Aston Mee’s header past the far post. Connected with Josh Popula’s delivery from the left.
In the 20th minute, the Hatters were back on level terms after being awarded a penalty when Popula was brought down by Dosin Olobade. Madden stepped up calmly to stroke the spot-kick to Wright’s left for his third goal in all competitions, split evenly between League Two, the League Cup and now the EFL Trophy.
Minutes later, Wright was forced into a save from the county captain, after being played through on goal by Madden Mee – just before the half-hour mark, Kyle Wootton’s header was deflected wide following a Callum Camps corner. ok
With the Hatters now enjoying a greater share of possession and chances, the 'Ammies’ looked good enough to get their noses back in front, when Kelly Nmai nodded to Tjawan Pedro – only for the latter to carve a volley down the left. Mail.
Another set-piece from Camps went close 10 minutes before half-time, when the midfielder’s free-kick on the left found Madden, whose header from wide range was bundled behind by the Salford keeper. Minutes later, Jaden Richardson turned Madden provider with a delightful assist.
An entertaining half came to its close when Pedro, from the edge of the area, hit a half-volley that flew high and wide of the County goal – leaving the tie all square at the break.
Half-time: Salford 1 (Dockers, 2), County 1 (Madden (penalty), 20).
Upon the restart, County introduced the second debutant of the night to replace the first – former Stoke youngster Taylor McMahon. A growing talent The plan in SK3 was brought to Farrar, who was injured on the left side of the defense.
Stevie Mallon stung Smith’s hands with a well-struck free-kick from the edge of the 'T’ shortly after the re-start – but five minutes later Madden grabbed his second after a fine display from Mee. Through-ball and slotting from right side of goal.
The Hatters looked to extend their advantage, Madden fired narrowly and Camps sent an overhead kick just wide of the right post – before Madden raced onto Richardson’s lofted ball and went one-on-one with Wright to complete his treble. the night
In this instance, the scorers didn’t have to worry too much – Wright quickly saved point-blank shots from substitute Kingston Flick and Madden, who saw his effort blocked by Ryan Watson in quick succession. And Alfie Henderson connected with a cross from the left by fellow home substitute Kyrel Malcolm and fired wide of the near post at the other end.
The Hatters, now with four points to their name in the competition, host Bolton in mid-November for their remaining group games.
Full-time: Salford 1 (Dockers, 2), County 3 (Madden, 20 (penalty), 51 and 67).
Team (3-5-2): Smith; A. Wright, Bond, Farrar (McMahon, 46); Richardson, m (flick, 64), c. Johnson, Camps, Popula; Wootton (Partington, 64), Madden (capt).
[Debuts for the following players, each with a unique SCAN [Stockport County Appearance Number]: Ellis Farrar (1459); Taylor McMahon (1460); Kingston Flick (1461); Luke Partington (1462); Harry Johnson (1463); and Joe Hillary (1464)]
Unused subs: Jones, Kenny.
Attendance: 1,355 (653 away).
Correspondent: Gareth Evans.
Photographer: Mike Petch.
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