Stockport and Hartlepool will meet in the National League semifinals with the opportunity to punch their ticket to the playoff final at Ashton Gate in Bristol. The two sides are fighting for promotion to the Football League and are just two wins away from reaching the more lucrative world of League Two.

Stockport will host the match at Edgeley Park on Sunday. Thanks to finishing third in the National League table, they will host the match. The Hatters’ third place finish also allowed them to bypass the quarterfinals and move straight into the semifinals of the end of the season playoff tournament.

Hartlepool finished fourth in the National League standings with 76 points from 42 matches. Pools ended the campaign just one point behind Stockport in the league table. Manager Dave Challinor’s team defeated Bromley 3-2 in the playoff quarterfinals. Hartlepool were 3-0 up at the halftime break thanks to goals from Rhys Oates (two goals) and Luke Armstrong. All three goals came in a flurry of scoring over the course of eight minutes. Bromley made a spirited comeback in the second half scoring twice, but ultimately came up short.

Stockport are on a great run of form at the moment. Simon Rusk’s team are unbeaten in 18 straight matches in all competitions. While they finished the season strongly and came third, Stockport have not been good against Hartlepool in their last three meetings. Can the Hatters end their current winless streak against Stockport?

Stockport vs Hartlepool Betting Odds

 

Hartlepool are unbeaten in three straight National League games versus Stockport. Two of those three matches ended in wins for Hartlepool. Their two matches played in 2020-21 ended a win and draw for Pools. Hartlepool won 4-0 at home in the teams’ first meeting. Oates, Ryan Johnson, and Armstrong (two goals) got onto the scoresheet for the team. Stockport had two players sent off during the game – Ashley Palmer and John Rooney.

Stockport were much better in the second meeting managing a 1-1 draw. Hartlepool’s Gavan Holohan opened the scoring just after halftime but Stockport’s Patrick Madden equalised with 12 minutes left to play. The second match between the clubs had no red card incidents.

Leading sportsbooks have Stockport as the favourites to win the match at full-time. Stockport are at odds of 21/20 to win the match at full-time and end a three-match winless streak versus Hartlepool. The Pools are at odds of 3/1 to win at Edgeley Park on Sunday to continue their unbeaten run versus the Hatters.

The teams may need extra-time or penalties to sort out which side makes the final. They are at odds of 47/20 to draw at full-time. Stockport are at ½ to qualify for the final while Hartlepool are at odds of 6/4 to qualify. The winner of the semifinal will play either Notts County or Torquay United in the National League Final.

Stockport vs Hartlepool Team News

Hartlepool’s Newcastle United loanee Lewis Cass missed the team’s 3-2 win over Bromley in the National League semifinal due to a hamstring injury. The defender is a doubt to play in the semifinal versus Stockport, which could be a big miss for the team. Hartlepool conceded 46 times during the season, the sixth-fewest goals in the National League.

Stockport, on the other hand, allowed just 32 goals to opponents. It was the fewest number of goals allowed in the entire league. Cass’s injury is said to take four weeks to heal. However, Challinor is hoping the defender may be ready after just 10 days of rehab.

Rhys Oates scored twice in the quarterfinals versus Bromley and his final strike proved to be the goal to send Pools into the semifinal. Oates scored 14 goals the National League while teammate Luke Armstrong added 13 of his own. Pools scored the fourth-most goals in the National League with 66. Stockport did three better, tallying 69 goals, the second-most in the division.

Stockport are led in goals by forward Alex Reid. He tallied 16 strikes for the Hatters in the league. John Rooney added 14 of his own to the team’s cause. Rusk has had more time to rest and work with the squad than Chanillor has with his team. That could work for or against the Stockport manager in the semifinal. Hartlepool could use the momentum built against Bromley to their advantage.

Stockport vs Hartlepool Prediction

Both teams to score: YES @ 4/5 - BET NOW

 

Two of the last four matches between Stockport and Hartlepool ended with both teams scoring goals. All four of those matches were played in the National League. The teams’ last played out a 1-1 draw, which could be the final result at full-time on Sunday. Don’t expect Hartlepool to thrash Stockport 4-0 again.

Rhys Oates to score anytime @ 11/4 - BET NOW

 

Oates scored twice versus Bromley last week to power Hartlepool into the semifinal. He was brilliant scoring twice in an eight-minute time span. The 26-year-old winger has scored 17 goals in all competitions – including two last week – in 39 matches. He leads Pools in goals and scored earlier this season versus Stockport in the team’s 4-0 win at home.

Over 2.5 goals scored @ 1/1 - BET NOW

 

Nine of the last 14 matches in all competitions between Stockport and Hartlepool finished with over 2.5 goals scored. That includes the 4-0 victory Hartlepool claimed at home earlier this term. Pools shouldn’t run away with the game like they did at home. However, we could be in store for goals. Hartlepool raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first half against Bromley only to concede twice in the second period.

Stockport were second in goals scored in the league with 69. They averaged 1.6 goals per game in the league. Hartlepool scored 66 goals and averaged 1.57 goals per game during the campaign. This will be a close game, but Hartlepool could use the momentum they achieved in the quarterfinals to qualify for the final. They are on a three-match unbeaten run versus Stockport and could push it to four matches unbeaten.