The Hatters began December by deservedly recording a first-ever victory at Gloucester City, leapfrogging their hosts into ninth place.
The Tigers were ultimately undone by two County players with feline associations – as agile goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe made an early penalty save, before second-half substitute Kaine Felix scored the only goal of the game to secure three points.
County’s line-up included three changes from that which had taken to the field at Edgeley park in FA Trophy action against Bradford Park Avenue a week previously.
Mark Ross re-assumed the captaincy from Michael Clarke and was joined by Scott Duxbury and Jimmy Ball, who replaced the poorly Max Cartwright, with John Marsden and Felix named among the substitutes.
Proceedings got off to a potentially difficult start for the Hatters, when, after seven minutes, Clarke’s foul on leading scorer Luke Hopper led to the award of a penalty.
But Hinchliffe – who had saved the only other penalty given at Stalybridge – dived to his right and parried Joe Parker’s spot-kick on to the post before smothering the ball.
There were three more penalty shouts in the first half with County unsuccessfully appealing for a challenge on Lloyd and claiming a handball, as well as escaping after the ball struck the hand of Chris Smalley following his attempted clearance at the other end.
Otherwise, the best chances of scoring before the interval came County’s way – with Kay Odejayi’s header and a low drive by Lloyd from the edge of the box both stinging the hands of home goalkeeper and captain Jasbir Singh.
The Hatters continued to show the better attacking credentials after the break, but had to wait until the 73rd minute to make the crucial breakthrough.
And it came just three minutes after the introduction of Felix, who latched on to an Odejayi flick from a Ross throw-in, before firing home from 12 yards out.
Josh Amis came close to emulating his fellow substitute, when, shortly after his own arrival, he fired over from close range following Lloyd’s cross from the left.
But the Hatters held out for a win – with their Number One Hinchliffe making a final cat-like intervention six minutes from time, as he saved Craig Reid’s well-struck shot on the turn.
FULL-TIME: Gloucester 0, County 1 (Felix, 73)
County: Hinchliffe, Ross (Capt.), Duxbury, Montrose, Clarke, Smalley, Minihan, Stopforth, Odejayi (Amis, 79), Ball (Felix, 70), Lloyd (Meppen-Walters, 86). Unused Subs: Ormson, Marsden.
Booked: Stopforth, Duxbury.
Attendance: 539 (218 representing The Twelfth Man)