Stockport overcame a Gainsborough Trinity side that managed only one shot on target, as The Hatters comfortably won 1-0 at Edgeley Park.
Despite County notching up 20 shots on target, it was a solitary Jason Oswell goal in the end that separated the two sides.
The game began with County playing in a 4-3-3 formation, Walker dropped in for the injured Winter with Michael Clarke reclaiming the captains armband.
The game began with County kicking towards the Railway End, but clear chances were at a premium, the visitors content to sit back and let their hosts keep possession.
Jason Oswell had the best of a small handful of Stockport chances, forcing debutant ‘keeper Henrich Ravas into pushing the ball round the post.
HT: County 0-0 Gainsborough Trinity
The second half began in much the same way as the first ended, with County dominating play without creating much. Fortunately, the lively Ben McKenna was on hand to almost single-handedly put The Hatters in front.
Tenacious play and intricate footwork on the left saw him beat three Trinity defenders, before the winger brilliantly crossed for Oswell to glance home off the post in front of the Cheadle End.
The goal forced the visitors to come out of their shell, for 60 minutes they’d been content to soak up pressure but Oswell’s eighth goal of the season meant The Holy Blues now had to attack.
But Trinity’s new high-lined defence meant that County began to find gaps in the previously reliable Gainsborough back four.
First, substitute and new signing Tom Walker almost scored with his first touch of the game, a squared ball from Warburton put the former Bolton man one-on-one with Ravas, but the attacker could only strike the post before the ball bounced to safety.
Next, Stephenson was played through by Duxbury before rounding the ‘keeper and, somehow, smashing his shot over the bar from 8 yards out, to the disbelief of the Cheadle End crowd.
New-boy Walker then rounded Navas again after another ball over the top before seeing his delayed shot blocked by a desperate Blues defender.
Minihan, Ball and Warburton all had further chances to score, but fortunately, Oswell’s header was enough to give County the three points.
FT: County 1-0 Gainsborough Trinity
Team: Hinchliffe, Cowan, Duxbury, Ball, Clarke, Smalley, Minihan, Walker, Oswell (Stephenson, 64), Warburton (Hampson, 74), McKenna (T Walker, 62).
Unused subs: Ormson, Brazel
Scorers: Oswell (54)