Stockport County fell one match short of completing a perfect October as a second-half strike by Ryan Croasdale brought to an end a four-match winning run in all competitions.
But, despite this result, the Hatters produced a spirited home performance against the full-time ‘Carpetmen’ from Kidderminster – just as they had done on the previous occasion of suffering defeat, to League leaders Fylde, in late September.
Two changes were made to the team that had started at Chorley seven days earlier.
Josh Amis and leading scorer Danny Lloyd, who had both picked up knocks and accumulated four yellow cards (one away each from a ban), stood down to make way for John Marsden and Kay Odejayi in a 4-3-3 formation.
The first half featured a number of chances for both sides – although Sam Hornby was the busier of the two goalkeepers, as he parried James Hooper’s early free kick, as well as blocking a couple of further shots apiece from Hooper, who enjoyed a lively home debut, and the recalled Marsden.
The Hatters did, however, have cause to be thankful for their own Number One, Ben Hinchliffe, just before half-time when his legs kept out an Arthur Gnahoua effort at close range.
County made much of the running immediately after the interval – forcing five corners within 15 minutes. One of them was consequent upon a fine save by Hornby who tipped over Hooper’s shot from the edge of the box.
But after 65 minutes the visitors went ahead, when James McQuilkin’s cross from the left found Croasdale and the midfielder side-footed home from 12 yards.
The Hatters exerted some late pressure as they strove to get back on terms, but their appeals for a penalty after Marsden’s attempt appeared to strike the hand of a Harrier were waved away.
And a further flurry of three corners – two of which followed an effort from substitute Jimmy Ball that was deflected behind, and another Hooper shot that saw the Rochdale loanee once again denied by Hornby – also failed to produce a goal and salvage a point.
A County win would have taken the Hatters within a point of their visitors and one place of the play-off positions. As it is, they drop for the time being to 11th, while the Carpetmen lie third.
County: Hinchliffe, Ross (Capt.), Cartwright, Montrose (Carney, 81), Clarke, Smalley, Minihan, Stopforth, Odejayi (Ball, 68), Marsden, Hooper. Unused Subs: Meppen-Walters, Ormson, West.
Man of the Match: Hooper.
Attendance: 2,885 (147 away).