Jason Oswell’s seventh goal of the season proved enough for a second successive Saturday win by the Hatters in a game they dominated for long spells.
On another day, however, County’s margin of victory could have been far more emphatic, as Trinity’s goal was besieged for much of the second half and its woodwork struck twice.
County began in a confident, composed manner – although, for all the Hatters’ monopoly of possession, 13 minutes had passed before they first mustered an effort on target.
Oswell’s shot from the edge of the box was tipped around the left upright by debutant goalkeeper Henrich Ravas, who had joined Trinity on loan the previous day from Derby County.
The Hatters then endured another half-hour’s frustration in the face of Gainsborough’s rearguard action, before they had Trinity’s goal properly in their sights again.
Sam Minihan’s through-ball found Matty Warburton – only for the latter to see Ravas smother his close-range shot.
County began the second half in much the same vein as the first – and Jimmy Ball became the latest Hatter to be denied by Ravas, when the Slovakian shot-stopper smothered his volley from the edge of the box.
But after 54 minutes, the Hatters made the decisive breakthrough. The lively McKenna skipped past Josh Lacey on the left, before delivering a cross that Oswell headed in off the far post.
Tom Walker took his bow in a County shirt just after the hour-mark and within a minute he came close to marking the debut in the best way possible, after being played through by Warburton.
The former Bolton Wanderers and Bury winger side-footed past Ravas, but his dream of an early goal as a Hatter was thwarted by the left upright.
The visitors had just one attempt on target – courtesy of Lewis Collins – but the low drive by the on-loan midfielder from Mansfield Town was comfortably gathered by Hinchliffe six minutes from the end of what had been the quietest of afternoons for County’s number one.
FULL-TIME: County 1 (Oswell, 54), Gainsborough 0
Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Cowan, Duxbury, Ball, Clarke (Capt.), Smalley, Minihan, S Walker, Oswell (Stephenson, 65), Warburton (Hampson, 74), McKenna (T Walker, 62). Unused subs: Ormson, Brazel.
Man of the Match: S Walker.
Attendance: 3,006 (27 away).