Stockport County put their disappointing FA Cup exit behind them to secure an important point against a fired up Darlington side at Blackwell Meadows on Saturday.
It was fitting that two players who were sorely missed at FC United played a part in the result. A freak Scott Duxbury own goal upon his return to the side put the Quakers ahead, before a well-taken Jason Oswell finish in the 91st minute brought the Hatters level.
County had the majority of the running in the first half, and Jason Oswell could have opened the scoring for the afternoon after a brilliant Adam Thomas cross was flicked just wide.
At the other end, County were almost punished after a mis-hit back-pass from Chris Smalley put Nathan Cartman through on goal, the striker however was tackled before he was ready to shoot and the Hatters escaped.
HT: Darlington 0-0 County
Stockport got off to the worst possible start following a resumption in play. Duxbury’s attempted block from an inswinging free-kick was only diverted into the roof of the net past the helpless Ben Hinchliffe and Darlington were 1-0 up.
County pressed following their set-back, and predictably had the greater share of shots and possession as the half drew on. Ben Mckenna and Bohan Dixon were both brought on as the away side sought a deserved equaliser.
Connor Hampson and Adam Thomas could both have got County off the mark, but it was National League top scorer Jason Oswell that saved Stockport again.
A well-worked move between Hinchliffe, Dixon and Dan Cowan saw the latter cross for Oswell, who took one touch to settle himself before brilliantly drilling into the bottom right corner of the goal.
In the final few minutes of action that followed, County were well on top and if presented with another ten minutes of play, probably would have won. As it stood though, the referee blew for full-time and the sides had to settle for a draw.
FT: Darlington 1-1 County
Squad: Hinchliffe, Cowan, Hampson, Winter (Ball, 46), Smalley, O’Halloran (McKenna, 77), Duxbury, Thomas (Dixon, 83), Walker, Stopforth, Oswell.
Unused Subs: Ormson, Brazel.