Stockport County had to settle for a draw against a well-organised, and in-form, Nuneaton Town side at Edgeley Park, after seeing an early second-half Danny Lloyd penalty cancelled out by a deflected equaliser just 10 minutes later.
There was an air of historical inevitability around the eventual scoreline, given that the last three contests between the clubs had ended in 1-1 draws. Results elsewhere see the Hatters drop a place to seventh – but just two points outside the play-off positions, and with only one defeat in 19 league outing.
County took to the field with the same starting 11 for the third game running – albeit in a 4-3-3 formation, as opposed to the 4-3-1-2 system that had operated at home to Nuneaton’s near-neighbours Tamworth seven days earlier – and also named an unchanged bench.
The visitors were quickest out of the blocks – and before the opening 10 minutes were up, Ben Hinchliffe had just got his fingertips to an effort by Billy Daniels, as well as parrying Jordan Nicholson’s low drive past his left upright.
But as the Hatters began to settle into the game, they were to enjoy the better chances for the remainder of the half. Sam Minihan saw his header tipped over by Tyrell Bedford, Sefton Gonzales blasted high a cross from the left by Lloyd, and Connor Hampson’s half-volley was cleared off the line by visiting captain Kelvin Langmead.
Having been left to rue their later first-half opportunities, the Hatters went ahead within just four minutes of the resumption after earning a penalty when Gonzales was tripped in the Nuneaton box by Alex Penny.
Lloyd – fresh from scoring against former club Tamworth the previous Saturday, and, five days later, being named the National League North’s Player of the Month for March, stepped up and, following a stop-start run-up, sent the spot-kick down the middle past the already-committed Belford for his 26th goal in all competitions.
But the lead was not to last for long. A minute away from the hour-mark, Nuneaton drew level courtesy of a shot from Ashley Chambers that took a deflection off Michael Clarke to send Hinchliffe the wrong way.
The Hatters went closest to edging ahead with a winner when, after 78 minutes, Lloyd cut in from the right to unleash a shot that hit the inside of the near post, before skimming across the goalmouth and beyond the opposite upright.
But, ultimately, April began for County as two of the previous three months had done, with a share of the spoils in SK3.
FULL-TIME: County 1 (Lloyd (penalty), 49), Nuneaton 1 (Chambers, 59).
Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Ross (Capt.), Hampson, Montrose, Clarke, Smalley (Felix, 46), Minihan, Winter, Gonzales (Odejayi, 80), Ball (Duxbury, 73), Lloyd. Unused Subs: Ormson, Meppen-Walters.
Man of the Match: Winter.
Attendance: 3,416 (58 away).