Mark Threlfall’s last-gasp penalty rescued a point for Barnoldswick Town at Atheron Collieries on Monday night.
Town had won five consecutive matches before losing 1-0 at Nelson on Friday night, and were staring a second-successive defeat in the face until Threlfall’s stoppage time spot kick.
The home side took a deserved lead on 16 minutes.
Ben Hardcastle got down the right and drilled in a low effort which keeper Jordan Gidley parried out to Mark Truffas, who finished from close range.
John Beckwith went close to an equaliser shortly after, firing a half volley just wide, but Town were on the backfoot in the first period, although Atherton squandered a number of opportunities.
The hosts continued to press after the restart, and Gidley was in inspired form to deny gilt-edged chances for Hardcastle and Kristian Holt.
With 10 minutes to go, Colls felt they should have had a penalty when Mark Battersby was nudged from behind, but the referee ignored appeals.
And in injury time, Town won a penalty – the award of which mystified most.
Threlfall took responsibility and scored the equaliser, and the final whistle blew not long after.
The point kept Town top of the NWC Premier Division table, with Nelson unable to leapfrog them after losing at Colne on Wednesday night.
Town host Runcorn Town on Saturday and are at Silsden on Tuesday night.