Alfreton Town’s run of four successive victories ground to a halt at Edgeley Park on Saturday, where they lost to a third-minute Stockport County goal.
For some of the Reds’ players the crowd of 2839 may well have been the biggest they had played in front of, amidst the grandeur of a stadium that had housed Championship football as recently as 2009.
Not so latest signing Durrell Berry, with considerable League experience, who replaced the injured Stefan Galinski in an otherwise unchanged starting line-up - however it was difficult for Alfreton to break down a stubborn County defence, and consequently home keeper Danny Hurst was rarely troubled.
An early slip by Tom Allan, with barely 20 seconds on the clock, almost let in Kayode Odejayi but keeper Matt Duke was alert to the situation, but Stockport took a third minute lead when Ryan Ellison volleyed home a Jake Kirby corner from the edge of the area.
Karl Ledsham almost doubled the Hatters’ advantage ten minutes later when his header from another Kirby corner was parried by Duke on the line, Ledsham then seeing his follow-up scrambled clear.
Hurst dealt with a looping Jamie Jackson header as Alfreton began to respond, the cross supplied by Niall Heaton, then back at the other end only a superb tackle back by Cliff Moyo halted Max Hazeldine’s progress in the 21st minute.
Jordan Robertson sent Heaton on a foray deep into Stockport territory 12 minutes later, his jinking run ending in anti-climax with a low drive wide of the near post.
Heaton was in more familiar surroundings six minutes from the break, tackling back to thwart another Hazeldine threat, then Jackson could not quite generate enough power on a header from a Ryan Wilson cross to cause any worries for Hurst.
Another Wilson cross heralded the start of the second half, but skipper Joe Leesley fired inches over following Jackson’s lay off.
It was however the hosts who came closest to scoring a second goal, Duke stretching to tip over from a thunderous drive by Joe Garvin from 25 yards.
Moyo again came to the Reds’ aid 11 minutes from time when he marshalled Hazeldine on a lengthy run, just doing enough to cause the striker to fire wide, then John Johnston embarked on a similar sortie in response but his end product was even more wayward.
Sam Berry had a clear header from an added time Leesley corner, but it just managed to evade the back post, and Alfreton had to be content with eighth spot in the Vanarama National League North following their first defeat in four weeks.
ALFRETON: Duke; D.Berry (Johnston 54), Moyo, S.Berry, Allan, Heaton, Wilson, Leesley, Jones (Thanoj 64), Robertson, Jackson (Ironside 54). Subs not used: Draper.
Attendance: 2,839 (123).