Atherton Collieries started the New Year with a cruel 3-2 loss on the road at the hands of Lancaster City after two stoppage-time goals.

Strikes from Lewis Mansell and Enock Lusiama were not enough for the Stripes, while Brad Carsley, Jacob Holland-Wilkinson and Nico Evangelinos gave the Blues all three points.

The game started at a frenetic pace as, with only two minutes on the clock, Lancaster striker Dom Lawson was first to react to a deflected cross as his header glanced the Colls bar.

The early scare forced the visitors into life as a Ben Rydel free-kick was played into a dangerous area and the lack of a touch from either team forced Andre Mendes to make a scrambled save.

A succession of chances for either side followed as both teams entered the break level.

The side who would eventually break the deadlock were hosts Lancaster when Carsley turned home a cross from the left-hand side which deceived stopper Joe O’Shaughnessy within 10 minutes of the restart for the second period.

Similarly to the first half, the Colls’ malaise wore off and they were the better side following the goal, with a succession of chances from Jordan Scanlon and Jordan Boon being blocked by the stubborn Dollies defence.

This pressure eventually paid dividends, as captain Mansell capitalised on a defensive mishap to break one-on-one and make no mistake, hammering it into the top corner to level the game in the 70th minute.

Ten minutes later, substitute Adam Dawson had some quick inter-play with Mansell before delivering a cross for Lusiama to head home to give Colls a deserved lead with 10 minutes left to play, the in-form Spaniard notching a fantastic fifth goal in his last six outings in the Stripes and a sixth overall for the club.

After some steadfast defending from Colls, the hosts were level in added time.

They managed to float in a corner which caught the worsening conditions and fooled O’Shaughnessy enough to allow Holland-Wilkinson to force home a equaliser.

Less than a minute later, a long throw from Sam Bailey once again was carried by the conditions and struck the upright directly before Evangelinos bundled home the late winner to break Colls’ hearts.

Next up, Dave Chadwick’s side host Matlock Town at the Skuna Stadium on Saturday, looking to build upon a succession of strong performances and a respectable four points from the last three matches.