Non-league Matters: Thrills, spills and last-minute saviours during dramatic day across Greater Manchester

By Ross McLean & John McDougall

On another busy Saturday in the non-league, there was yet again plenty of drama for Greater Manchester teams.

In the Blue Square Premier, Hyde found themselves on the wrong side of a five goal thriller after losing 3-2 against Ebbsfleet United at Stonebridge Road.

Hyde found themselves leading 2-0 thanks to goals on four and eleven minutes from Ryan Crowther and Matthew Blinkhorn.

Neil Barrett pulled a 35th minute goal back for the Fleet, before second-half strikes from Nathan Elder on 72 minutes and Matt Godden on 79 minutes condemned the Tigers to defeat.

Meanwhile, Stockport County had a day to forget at New Lawn after losing 4-1 against Forest Green Rovers.

The Hatters were 3-0 at half-time after goals from Yan Klukowski, a Craig Hobson own-goal and James Norwood gave the hosts the advantage.

Sean Newton pulled a goal back for County on 76 minutes with a penalty, before Reece Styche added a fourth for the hosts on 87 minutes.

The Blue Square North clubs were all involved in FA Trophy third qualifying round ties, with Altrincham enjoying a comfortable 3-0 victory away at Worcester City.

The Robins scored three goals in six first-half minutes through Nicky Clee, Danny Hall and Damian Reeves, ending the game as a contest after half an hour.

Stalybridge Celtic were defeated 2-1 away at Matlock Town, despite taking a first-half lead.

Corey Gregory gave Celtic a 34th minute lead, before second-half strikes from James Lukic and Messiah McDonald gave the Gladiators victory.

Like Celtic, Droylsden also lost 2-1 to Rushall Olympic after succumbing to two second-half goals from Ahmed Obeng.

Carlos Logan’s 87th minute penalty ultimately proved to be nothing but a consolation strike for the Bloods.

Ashton United are now second in the Evo-Stik Premier Division after beating Garry Flitcroft’s Chorley at Hurst Cross.

The Robins fell behind in the opening minute and then again before half-time, but two goals from the irrepressible Aaron Burns and one from Chris Lynch secured a 3-2 victory.

FC Untied returned home from Derbyshire with a share of the spoils after being pegged back by lowly Ilkeston Town.

Nicholas Platt gave the Red Rebels an early lead only for Joe Maguire to deny Karl Marginson’s side all three points with a 73rd minute equaliser.

In Evo-Stik League Division One (North), Mossley won the game of the day against Ramsbottom United to stretch their lead at the top as Skelmersdale United were on cup duty.

In-form Sam Madeley gave the Lilywhites an early lead before Jon Robinson drew Rammy level, only for Adam Mather to net the winner shortly after the half hour mark.

It’s Clitheroe who now lead the chasing pack as they beat Curzon Ashton 2-1 at Shawbridge.

John Flanagan’s side came up against an inspired goalkeeper in Hakan Burton but trailed 2-0 before substitute Lee Blackshaw scored a consolation deep into stoppage time.

Elsewhere, Salford City conceded two second-half goals without reply to lose at Harrogate Railway Athletic, while Radcliffe Borough drew 2-2 at home to Bamber Bridge.

Borough led shortly after the break as goals from Laquan Esdaille and Tom Brooks cancelled out Andrew Bell’s opener, only for Alistair Waddecar to ensure a share of the spoils.

Trafford’s match at Prescot Cables’ Valerie Park was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Midweek action sees Curzon Ashton host Ossett Albion tomorrow evening in a league fixture while Radcliffe Borough entertain Bacup Borough on Tuesday night in the Lancashire FA Trophy second round.

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