In-form Stockport earned a fifth straight away win as striker Alex Reid continued his scoring streak with a brace in an eventful 2-1 win at struggling Barnet in the National League.
The Hatters are now fifth with games in hand over all their rivals.
Reid pounced either side of the break following Ephron Mason-Clark’s second-half leveller to seal another away win for County, after the hosts had seen Anthony Wordsworth dismissed with a straight red for a lunge on Sam Minihan.
It was the man in form who fired County into another away lead inside the first half, as the former Stevenage forward latched onto Richie Bennett’s through ball and coolly lifted over Barnet stopper Scott Loach just before the interval for his fourth strike in five games.
Barnet debutant Bilel Moshni went into the book as Barnet furiously protested for offside, but the goal stood, and County took a hard-fought lead into the half-time break.
But the hosts were level less than five minutes into the restart, with the tricky Mason-Clark grabbing his second goal in as many home games against The Hatters as the winger stood unmarked at the back post to finish emphatically past Hinchliffe after a cross in from the left.
Barnet were reduced to ten men just before the hour mark when Anthony Wordsworth went in high on Minihan, with referee Alan Dale brandishing a straight red card for the forward.
The introduction of Mark Kitching seemed to give County fresh impetus late on, and the former Hartlepool man soon crossed excellently for Bennett to flick on and grab another assist as Reid pounced to prod home his fifth in as many games in the 75th minute to restore County’s lead.
And Gannon’s men successfully navigated three minutes of stoppage time to seal a big win and extend County’s fine unbeaten away run.
“This Saturday vs Sutton is big. It’ll be eerie going back to an empty EP, but a great game for our fans to watch on the stream,” said County boss Jim Gannon. “Sutton know what they’re about, they’re a solid outfit and it’ll be another measure for us of where we’re at as a top side.
“Sometimes you have to look at why you’re not at your best – two long trips, a home side desperate to get a result. Lots of factors to that, but we work really hard, we’re honest, and we were deserved winners.
“The nature of our first goal had Barnet steaming, and they drove to get a goal – but there was always a danger they’d go over-the-top in terms of dissent and anger. It’s a horrible tackle and a red card. That’s the kind of crap you want out of football.
“Their manager will go and say ‘it’s not a red, not a foul’ and so on, but that one moment can cost teams like that the game. That’s why they’ve lost tonight.
“We can take great credit from what we’ve done so far, but we have to carry it forward. The games are coming thick and fast. This is a great achievement for our lads, up and down the country and a real testament to their professionalism to keep winning.”