A storming first-half performance helped Frickley Athletic upset the form book with a 4-3 win over Skelmersdale United at Westfield Lane.
The Blues were 3-0 up at the break, thanks to goals from Sam Denton, Gavin Allott and Jake Picton.
United pulled two quick goals back to reduce the defecit in the second half, however, and almost pulled level when they hit the bar.
Allott’s second calmed the Frickley nerves a little, despite a third goal from United, as Frickley held firm to seal the win.
Frickley boss Karl Rose restored Luke Hinsley to his starting line-up alongside Allott, at the expense of James Burgess, but he almost saw his side go behind within the first 30 seconds of the game.
Shaun Tuck latched onto a through ball which had cut through the Frickley defence, but he could only lob the ball into the grateful arms of Tom Woodhead.
And Woodhead once again got the better of Tuck shortly after, when the Frickley goalkeeper reacted well to push away a close-range shot.
The save proved even more crucial when, two minutes later, Frickley went ahead as Denton rose highest to head home a Joe Wilcox free-kick from 18 yards out.
Allott then had three good chances to double Frickley’s advantage, before eventually getting his name on the scoresheet just before the half-hour mark.
Allott picked up a loose ball on the left of the box, beat two defenders and fired in a powerful shot that was too hot for United goalkeeper Zac Hibbert to handle.
Hibbert was beaten again two minutes later, but Allott’s curling effort went agonisingly wide of the post.
The United goalkeeper was replaced by substitute stopper Ryan McMahon, and soon after his opposite number Woodhead had to be alert to deny Tuck once again.
As the game ticked towards half time, Frickley went three up when Jimmy Ghaichem found Allott in space down the left. He in turn fed Picton, who curled a first-time left-footed shot just inside McMahon’s left-hand post for a 3-0 half-time lead.
In the September meeting between the two sides, Frickley led 2-0 at half time before losing 3-2, so must have feared the worst when United pulled a goal back shortly after half-time when Tuck finally got the better of Woodhead.
Five minutes later, the lead was cut once again when Peter Wylie’s angled drive made it 3-2. Then, United went within inches of levelling the scores when Ashley Dunn’s angled shot hit the post and flew across the face of goal.
Allott eased the Frickley nerves a little when he made it 4-2, heading Hinsley’s cross into the roof of the net from close range, but there was still time for more drama as Joe Holt tapped home from close range, setting up a tense finish for Rose’s men. Tuck had a late chance to nick a draw, but his attempted lob went well over Woodhead’s goal.
n Frickley: Woodhead, Wilcox, Gardner, Picton, Denton, Villermann, Fox (Oniama 64), Bloor (Kenny 73), Hinsley, Allott, Ghaichem. Unused: Fearon, Jeffs, Stratford.