IT'S third vs fourth in the National League this Sunday but league positions are thrown out the window for this game. 

Hartlepool United travel to Edgeley Park to face Stockport County for a midday kick off with both teams battling it out for a place in the National League play-off final. 

The winner will play either Torquay United or Notts County, who face each other at Plainmoor the previous day. 

One point seperated the two teams in the table at the close of play and both teams go into the game with lengthy unbeaten runs of form to boast about. Stockport haven't lost in 18 games whilst Pools recently had a 16 match unbeaten run of their own stretching to the beginning of May. 

Ahead of the match, let's see how the two sides have fared against each other in recent history...


It was a close game at Edgeley Park. 

Pools were holding out for the victory after Gavan Holohan buried his header into the back of the net from Lewis Cass' cross, which was the start of a four game scoring run for the Irish midfielder.

However, Dave Challinor's side were denied when Paddy Madden justified his price tag Stockport shelled out to secure his services with a sweeping volley into the bottom left hand corner. Former Pools full-back Macauley Southam-Hales providing the assist with a long throw into the box. 

The result left Pools in second place but plenty of teams around them, including Stockport, had games in hand on them in the promotion race.

HARTLEPOOL UNITED 4-0 STOCKPORT COUNTY (Tuesday 22nd December 2020)

It was a result that upset the odds as Stockport County endured a miserable night at Victoria Park. 

Pools had won just two of their previous 11 games while Stockport had won six out of the last seven. 

But County collapsed at the Vic in a game which saw Ash Palmer and John Rooney sent off for the visitors. 

Rhys Oates had put Pools ahead with a sublime run and finish from the edge of the box (not the first time we've hard that) before Palmer was dismissed. 

Further goals from Ryan Johnson and Luke Armstrong put Pools beyond reach. Rooney lost his cool with the linesman and was sent off for descent before Armstrong put the icing on the cake in stoppage time with a fourth. 

HARTLEPOOL UNITED 2-0 STOCKPORT COUNTY (Saturday 25th January 2020)

The Dave Challinor effect was starting to take shape for Pools with this result extending their unbeaten run to four games. 

Goals from Aidan Keena and Mark Shelton at Victoria Park did the damage as Pools were quietly dreaming of a late push for the play-offs. 

The two were brought in by the Pools boss, who was appointed in November 2019, and made an instant impact in the side. 

Only six players from that starting XI remain in the Pools squad to this day in Shelton, Ryan Donaldson, Gavan Holohan, Gary Liddle, Nicky Featherstone and Timi Odusina. That might tell it's own story.

STOCKPORT COUNTY 2-1 HARTLEPOOL UNITED (Wednesday 9th October 2019)

It was a result that spelt the end of Craig Hignett's time in charge of Hartlepool United. 

Stockport County's first win in seven games meant Pools were lingering above the relegation zone by just four points after 16 games, prompting owner Raj Singh to wield the axe on Hignett. 

Ash Palmer and Tom Walker fired County in front at Edgeley Park in within 21 minutes. Pools handed themselves a lifeline four minutes from time when Nicke Kabamba followed up Gavan Holohan's shot from the edge of the box. 

Ultimately it was a sour night for Pools but the game ushered in a new era under Dave Challinor and the squad has barely looked back since. 


Over 11 years ago, the two teams met in League One at Victoria Park.

Goals from Joe Gamble, Andy Monkhouse and Roy O'Donovan did the damge at the Vic in a game which had current Pools coach Antony Sweeney on the bench for Pools. 

They ended up finishing 20th that season and narrowly avoided relegation to League Two. This result will have gone a long way to retaining their League One status. 

For County, they endured a miserable season finishing rock bottom and were 25 points away from safety by the end of the season. 

How times have changed for both teams since then.