TOWN powered their way into the play-offs with a really good-looking six pack.
Lee Clark’s side bossed a crunch contest from start to finish, notching their first after just 95 seconds and their last two minutes into time added on, and the manager will have been delighted not just with the margin of victory but the fact that six different players made the scoresheet.
Anthony Pilkington, Theo Robinson, Jordan Rhodes, Danny Drinkwater, Gary Roberts and Lee Novak, with a penalty, were the players who registered as Town chalked up their biggest away win since April 1989, when Bury were beaten by the same score.
The margin of victory equalled Town’s best ever away league triumph, 7-1 over Sheffield United in November 1927, and it was the third win by six goals this season (after the 7-1 Galpharm triumph over Brighton and 6-0 home win over Wycombe).
News that Colchester United had been held 1-1 at home to Tranmere Rovers, meaning they are eight points adrift of Town with only six to play for, capped a great day for the 3,424-strong travelling army, but Clark will already be thinking about the final two games, Colchester at home on Saturday and Exeter City away seven days later, and what lies beyond.
Going into the play-offs with momentum will be the aim, and this result, achieved on a threadbare and tricky pitch at Edgeley Park, will have made several managers take notice.
As ever, Clark demanded a strong start, and he got it when Stockport old boy Pilkington struck with many fans still filing into the ground.
Roberts kick-started the breakthrough move with a neat pass to Rhodes who crossed towards Robinson.
The centre was slightly over-hit, but Robinson turned neatly and laid the ball back to Pilkington, whose ninth of the season came from a low shot which deflected off defender Sam Barnes to leave keeper Owain fon Williams stranded.
It was just the start Town were seeking, and Antony Kay came close with a low shot from Drinkwater’s sixth-minute lay-off.
Fon Williams blocked Pilkington’s 12th-minute shot with his chest as Town continued to press, although already-relegated Stockport had a useful outlet in Jabo Ibehre.
The burly striker netted twice for Walsall against Town a year ago, and came close with a 13th-minute shot on the turn.
However normal service was soon resumed, and Rhodes twice tested fon Williams with shots and sent a fierce drive just over before Robinson made it 2-0 in the 37th minute.
The architect was Drinkwater, who made a surging run into the penalty area, holding off David Perkins, with the ball breaking to Robinson, who slotted home his 15th of the campaign.
It was a big setback for Stockport and a major lift for Town.
Roberts was busy at the start of the second half, crossing for Kay to stretch fon Williams with a header then having a go himself, before Robinson had a looping effort held on the hour.
Click below for a special picture gallery of all six goals plus pictures of Town fans enjoying themselves in the sun.Related content
Roberts put an overhead kick wide and Robinson’s shot was deflected for a corner, but Town fans didn’t have too long to wait for a third.
It arrived in the 67th minute, with top scorer Rhodes notching his 23rd of the term from close range after Barnes’ clearance from a Pilkington cross hit a post and rebounded into the striker’s path.
Roberts was denied when his 80th-minute shot was cleared off the line by Andy Halls, but the fourth arrived five minutes later when Drinkwater lofted home his second Town goal direct from a free-kick 20 yards out awarded for a foul on substitute Nathan Clarke.
Rock-bottom Stockport were reeling, and they were punished twice more in time added on to complete a scoreline which equalled their worst-ever home defeat by Peterborough United in 1961.
Roberts chalked up the fifth and his eighth of the season when he took possession from Drinkwater and beat fon Williams all ends up with a lovely shot.
Then substitute Novak notched his 13th goal for Town from the penalty spot after Drinkwater’s determined run into the box was illegally halted by Barnes.
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