A last minute own goal by Danny Rowe meant that the Hatters lost a seven goal thriller against Southport at Edgeley Park having clawed their way back from three down.
The game started badly for County as a needless foul on Lewis King by striker Andy Owens saw the keeper land awkwardly outside his box, King immediately throwing the ball out of play to allow Rodger Wylde to look at his injury.
After treatment King was able to play on but within minutes he was picking the ball out of his net after Chris Almond had taken advantage of good work down the right hand side.
It got worse for the Hatters three minutes later as the visitors doubled their lead.
King made a terrific block to turn Chris Lever's effort away for a corner, only for Steve Akrigg to lash home from close range after the Hatters defence had failed to clear the corner kick.
King gave in to his injured knee to be replaced by Ian Ormson on 14 minutes, the keeper clearly struggling after the earlier knock. Ormson's first touch coming within minutes making a comfortable save from a Godfrey Poku cross.
County finally began to play their way into the game, brilliant play between Connor Jennings and Danny Hattersley saw the on loan striker in on goal, with former County star James Smith making a last ditch block.
Matt Mainwaring's 25 yard effort flew passed Tony McMillan's post, Hattersley's header from a James Tunnicliffe free kick sailed harmlessly wide before Danny Rowe's effort was saved well by McMillan after good play from Hattersley.
As if to rub salt in the wounds, County fell further behind during their best spell of the game.
A long ball over the top found Owens who took advantage of Ormson being in no man's land on the edge of his box to lob into the empty net.
with time running out at the end of the half County were handed a life line. A superb save from McMillan to deny Paul Turnbull led to a corner kick from which Turnbull exacted his revenge, heading home unmarked to claim his second goal of the season.
Within a couple of minutes and the Hatters were back in the match, Hattersley being upended by McMillan for a penalty. The keeper receiving a yellow card much to the dismay of the majority inside Edgeley Park. Hattersley picking himself up to blast home the resulting spot kick.
Poku was penalised for yet another foul as the half drew to a close, referee Bankes speaking to both the visiting player and Jennings after the two had come together after the free kick had been given. McMillan saving Turnbull's header from Sean Newton's free kick.
HT: Stockport County 2 (Turnbull, Hattersley pen) Southport 3
A change in formation for the second half saw Danny O'Donnell replace Craig Hobson with Joe Connor moving into midfield.
The Hatters began the half in good spirit, Newton delivering a cross from the left that just evaded the onrushing Hattersley. Two corners in quick succession keeping the visitors under pressure.
Having failed to take advantage of a slip by Tunnicliffe in his own box, the visitors succumbed to relentless pressure from County as Andy Halls, on the end of a sublime reverse pass from Jennings, blasted home his first senior goal for the club to level the scores.
It was all County now, Hattersley heading Newton's corner over the bar with McMillan beaten, the keeper then punching clear from another corner, saving a header from Hattersley before making the save of the match to deny Jennings from yet another corner.
The visitors began to play keep ball added to giving away a series of free kicks in an effort to frustrate County.
Showing they were still an attacking force Ormson claimed the ball well under pressure from a right wing cross before O'Donnell made a good headed clearance to deny Owens a second goal.
The Hatters, looking for the goal that would have capped the comeback, earned two quick corner kicks, the second of which was cleared on line by Akrigg, Lever clearing as Whitehead, on for Hattersley, looked set to pounce on a Rowe cross. McMillan then saving well from Jennings after the striker had been found by Mainwaring's neat pass in behind the defence.
The Hatters were to suffer heartbreak in the last minute of a pulsating match as Rowe, back defending a corner, headed into his own net to hand all three points to the visitors.
FT: Stockport County 3 (Turnbull, Hattersley pen, Halls) Southport 4
Starting XI: King (Ormson), Halls, Newton, Connor, Tunnicliffe, Hattersley (Whitehead), Hobson (O'Donnell), Rowe, Mainwaring, Turnbull, Jennings.
Subs: Ormson, O'Donnell, Whitehead, Collins, Sheridan.
ATT: 3,445 (183)