City Slayers

Giant-Killing Deeds Of One-Time Wolves Midfielders

Paul Cook - helped bring down City.

We can find little reason to explain why we are using this piece other than there is a Molineux link and because Manchester City, the champions of England, currently stand more than 100 places higher in the football ladder than Stockport County.

Their paths, in League football, will probably never cross again, given the vast gulf in their respective resources as they contemplate futures in the Champions League and Conference respectively.

Yet it’s not so long ago that little Stockport were upsetting their big-time neighbours – and with the help, no less, of two midfielders with Wolves connections.

Paul Cook, who has just left Accrington to take up an appointment as Chesterfield manager, had a big say when the two Greater Manchester clubs met (in 1997-98) in a League game for the first time in 88 years.

He scored Stockport’s first goal in a 3–1 victory at Edgeley Park, Alun Armstrong and Brett Angell netting the others.

City duly had their revenge by inflicting a 4-1 defeat over the Hatters in the return but it didn’t stop them from being relegated to English football’s third tier.

The 1998-99 campaign, therefore, was the first in which Stockport had ever competed at a higher level than City and, when rivalries were renewed the following season,  the humble neighbours landed another unlikely blow.

They went to Maine Road in the December and won there for the first time in their history, with Tony Dinning emerging as the hero by scoring the winner from a penalty.

And just look at the rest of the list of one-time Molineux men on the field…..Mark Kennedy and Robert Taylor for City,  Tom Bennett, Kevin Cooper and keeper Carlo Nash for Stockport.

“Cooky’s goal at Edgeley Park was struck from about 30 yards, which was the sort of thing he was always likely to do,” said freelance journalist and former Stockport press officer Des Hinks.

“County were three up in half an hour and went on to finish eighth. It’s hard to believe now that they were so close to the Premier League and City were going the other way.

“I was at that game and the one at Maine Road, which had quite a story of its own. It was 1-1 near the end and there was a penalty which was dinked very cheekily past Nicky Weaver by Tony Dinning.

“Then he set off towards the corner flag to celebrate, clearly mimicking how Weaver had celebrated when his penalty save decided that epic play-off final against Gillingham at Wembley.

“A song actually started among County fans that day… the tune of the City anthem Blue Moon….

Tom Bennett - County hero.

“Blue Moon, you started singing too soon, You thought you were winning, Then up stepped Tony Dinning.”


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