BREIGHTMET United left it late but got their reward for a determined display with a 3-2 win at Chadderton Reserves.
Three wins on the trot have lifted the Moss Park side into mid-table in Division One and have illustrated the range of their qualities – Saturday’s being a game in which they were not at their fluent best but ground out a result.
A goal down after 10 minutes, they were back on terms 10 minutes later when Wayne Owen volleyed into the top corner and Simon Wilcox’s United got their noses in front when Danny Kerr scored from a tight angle, That was how it remained until the fifth minute of added time when Chadderton snatched an equaliser to seemingly salvage a point.
But Breightmet rallied again and sealed victory in the dying seconds with a cool finish by Gary McShane.
Division One strugglers Fives Athletic turned in their best performance of the season with a stunning 8-0 win at Stockport Sports Reserves.
Goals from Mason Sutherland and Ben Weaver gave the Walkden-based side a 2-0 halftime lead, which they extended to five just after the break with three goals in quick succession from Joe Capstick and a Josh Smith double.
Weaver scored his second to make it six and late goals from Ryan Ayres and Sutherland completed the rout.
Leigh Athletic’s recovery from a nightmare start to their return to the Premier Division continued when they came from behind to earn a 3-3 draw at home to league leaders Hindsford.
Barry Massey’s Squires Lane side remain three points clear of second-placed East Manchester, while the Latics are now looking more comfortable in 13th, just above the relegation zone.
Things were going according to the form book with Hindsford leading 2-0 at half time – both goals scored by Tom Valentine – but they lost centre-half Mark Chilton with a serious head wound just after the break and the disruption appeared to hand the initiative to the home side, who pulled a goal back with a sweetly-struck free kick by Anthony Walker.
Wes Bancroft restored Hindsford’s two-goal lead with an unstoppable free kick but the Latics would not be denied.
Karl Shepherd pulled one back with a header after Hindsford failed to deal with a corner then Andy Miller’s determination in the box forced a defensive mix-up in to net the equaliser 10 minutes from time.
Atherton Town have a double date with runaway Division One leaders Rochdale Sacred Heart after a comfortable 6-2 win against Elton Vale in the Murray Trophy.
The win booked Shaun Lynch’s side a semi-final tie against Rochdale, who have a 100 per cent record this season and whom Town visit in the league on Saturday.
Currently fourth in the table, the Atherton side were too strong for mid-table Vale.
Rob Mullineux put them ahead with a 35-yard strike, Matt Jackson scrambled a second from a corner and Nick Eastham made it 3-0 at the interval, by which time Vale were down to 10 men after having a player sent off.
Andy Aldred extended the lead from the penalty spot before Vale pulled one back, also with a penalty. Substitute Heath Ainscough netted a fifth for Town, who conceded an own goal before a sixth from Mark Prince underlined their superiority.