Stockport County chalked up their first draw in over two months, deservedly sharing the spoils at Nuneaton with a scoreline that precisely replicated the clubs’ two meetings last season.
The latest contest’s two goals arrived within five first-half minutes of each other.
Josh Amis netted for the first time since the first week of the current campaign to put County ahead – only for the hosts’ leading scorer Aaron Williams promptly to get ‘Boro back on terms.
County’s starting line-up featured just one one change from that which had taken to the field in FA Cup action against Woking a week earlier. Courtney Meppen-Walters replaced Sam Minihan, as the Hatters adopted a 3-5-2 formation.
Interestingly, the hosts fielded, in goalkeeper Christian Dibble – once a loanee at County in 2014 – and striker Joe Ironside, two sons of ‘keepers – Andy and Ian, respectively – who had once plied their trade between the sticks at Edgeley Park.
With fewer than ten minutes of the first half remaining, the game’s one chance of note had seen Dibble block Gary Stopforth’s second-minute header.
And Nuneaton’s Number One again came to the rescue over half an hour later, when he tipped a glancing Amis header around the left upright.
From the resulting corner, the Hatters took the lead as Amis won a challenge to meet Danny Lloyd’s delivery and rifled home a deflected low drive.
Five minutes later, County failed properly to clear a corner at the other end. And when Jordan Nicholson’s cross from the right was headed back across goal by Billy Daniels, Williams used his own head to apply the finishing touch to send the sides in level at the break.
Just as the Hatters had largely enjoyed the better of things in the first 45 minutes, so too did Nuneaton for much of the second half as captain Kelvin Langmead headed a free kick over, Ironside volleyed wide of the left post, and, either side of those efforts, Ben Hinchliffe kept out two Nicholson shots.
But the Hatters mounted a late charge – and could well have claimed all three points in the closing stages.
Substitute Kay Odejayi saw his downward header, following a Stopforth cross from the left, narrowly clear the bar, Meppen-Walters stung Dibble’s hands with a volley from 25 yards, Michael Clarke prodded a corner from the right just wide of the near post, and Dibble parried away a shot by another substitute, John Marsden.
The Hatters remain in 11th, but with two home matches to follow in the coming week.
County: Hinchliffe, Ross (Capt.), Cartwright, Meppen-Walters, Clarke, Smalley (Minihan, 87), Stopforth, Montrose, Amis (Odejayi, 63), Ball (Marsden, 87), Lloyd. Unused Subs: Ormson, West.