Stockport’s first game of the new year proved to be a real challenge, they came up against a very powerful Broughton Park scrum and without any regular second rows found the opposition pack a real handful. On the scoreboard it was close throughout the game but it was Broughton Park who dominated most territory and possession, with Stockport having to defend their line on many phases. Despite the problems in the set pieces Stockport did create some very good scoring chances, the best coming from an offload by Tom Eaton, which gave Matt King a chance to run in under the posts. Some harsh refereeing decisions meant Stockport played 20 minutes of the game with only 14 men, however with 10 minutes to go the score was 20-20 and a draw might have been a fair result but Stockport went ahead with a Liam McGovern penalty on 35 minutes only for Park to score an unconverted try in the dying moments for a 23-25 final score. With results elsewhere Stockport drop to third place behind Carlisle and Blackburn.
Two early scrums had the Stockport pack driven rapidly backwards and it was clear this would not be an easy afternoon. A penalty to Stockport after a good break by wing Matt King gave the home side a line out 5 metres out and despite a fumble the drive gave fill in lock Richard Sackville-West a try, which McGovern converted after only 6 minutes. The Broughton Park right wing caught the kick off and Stockport were under pressure, a clearance kick was charged down and Park had a series of scrums 5 metres out, penalties were conceded and as the referee played an advantage a kick into the Stockport in goal are was not dealt with and Park got the touch down to make it 7-7 after 20 minutes. McGovern kicked a penalty but Stockport again failed to secure the kickoff and a penalty for offside allowed the visitors to draw level again for 10-10. A jinking run by Jordan Pearson set up a series of patient drives by the Stockport forwards and when the ball came out to Eaton he offloaded to King, running an excellent line to score under the posts, the conversion put Stockport ahead 17-10 at the break.
Early in the second half a very unfair yellow card was shown to Rhodri Mayor as he put in an aggressive but fair tackle. Broughton Park then put the pressure on the Stockport line but the defence was sound and Stockport held out to get a 22 drop out. A Simon Green turnover allowed Stockport to clear another Park attack but the visitors kicked a penalty for 17-13. The worst moment of the game came when the Stockport backs had run well and were into the Park 22 when a long pass was intercepted by the Park centre and he ran 80 metres to put the visitors ahead for the first time at 17-20 with 20 minutes to go. Yet another McGovern penalty put Stockport level with 15 minutes to go. The referee showed another yellow card and Stockport were without Tom Eaton for 10 minutes. There was some desperate defence by Stockport and Broughton Park knocked on a scoring pass. Green made a good break from the scrum and Mayor went 60 metres, with Stockport getting a penalty when he was stopped. McGovern converted for 23-20 with the clock running down. Park had a line out and drive, giving them that late try, so all Stockport had to show for a tough afternoon was a losing bonus point.
Next week Stockport are away at bottom club Anselmians.