OLD Boltonians were denied two points in their Premier Division title bid in the cruellest of circumstances on Saturday.
Leading Tottington United 2-1 at home, the Bury side grabbed an equaliser with the last kick of the game.
A dipping 25-yard shot from Jon Maylon brought dismay for Old Bolts. The result will have brought delight for reigning champions Prestwich, who pipped the Turton men to last year’s title and can do so again if they win almost all their seven games in hand.
Julian Stevens’ Bolts started well when Paul Wheatcroft fired them ahead from Dean Hailwood’s cut back on 35 minutes.
The lead lasted five minutes with mid-table Tottington equalising through Richard Woodward’s low shot into the bottom corner.
With the pitch cutting up in torrential rain, Bolts restored their lead on 75 minutes with a superbly executed chip from distance and a difficult angle from Hailwood and looked to be on their way to extending their lead at the top from eight points at the start of play to 10 until the dramatic finish.
“We are absolutely gutted,” said Stevens.
“It felt like a loss.”
Howe Bridge Mills shared the points in a remarkable eight-goal thriller at home to Rossendale Amateurs, which club official Wayne Anderton said could have had 20 goals.
In a topsy-turvy game, mid-table Howe Bridge went 2-0 up before finding themselves 4-2 behind and then staging a stirring comeback.
Liam Fitzmorris and Shaun Farrimond both finished neatly-worked moves to put the Atherton men in control inside 15 minutes.
But by the hour mark they were two goals behind.
Cue 18-year-old Martin Parkinson to cap an outstanding all-round performance in central midfield with two goals to grab a point.
His first was a tap-in following a goalmouth scramble, but his second was a memorable one which saw him power through from just inside his own half and strike a firm drive across the keeper.
The drama was still not over with centre-half Peter Monks making a breathtaking block to prevent a certain goal with the last touch of the game.
Farnworth Town’s dreams of lifting the Manchester Amateur Cup were shattered in a dramatic 4-3 defeat at North West Counties League club Maine Road.
To make the defeat even harder to take for Jason Tyldesley’s LAL Division Two side, they were undone by two crazy goals in three minutes.
At 3-1 up and seemingly heading for a memorable victory, a clearance stuck in a puddle allowing an easy tap-in, followed by keeper Paul Bentley pushing a shot against the crossbar only for the ball to rebound and ricochet in off an unsuspecting home forward.
After seeing defeat sealed four minutes from time, manager Tyldesley said: “I’ve been gutted all weekend.
“We were on top for 75 minutes and then to lose two goals like that, one to the elements and one a complete freak, makes it hard to take.”
Ian Teasdale headed Farnworth ahead, and after Maine Road equalised, Craig Broad restored the lead when he won a race with the home centre-half for Kyle Tyldesley’s through ball and lifted his shot over the keeper.
Ryan Flanagan made it 3-1 in a goalmouth scramble to put Town in control until the decisive, crazy three minutes.