Stockport wasted a glorious opportunity to begin the New Year with a much-needed win when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Edgeley Park by a battling 10-man Port Vale.
Ben Burgess opened the scoring for County from the penalty spot on the half-hour after Steve Rowland had been shown the red card for pushing Jim Goodwin's goal-bound header clear with his arm.
Stockport had the majority of the game in the first half, forcing seven corners, but Kevin Ellison, Burgess, Luke Beckett and Goodwin all wasted good chances.
But Vale deservedly earned their first point in six games when Steve Brooker's 71st-minute shot from the edge of the box curled past Lee Jones.
Burgess wasted a gilt-edged opportunity to secure a win for under-fire County boss Carlton Palmer, but shot against the bar with the goal at his mercy.
The draw keeps both sides deep in the relegation dogfight.