The returning Zack Dale netted twice – including a late winner – as Barnoldswick Town came from behind to see off Irlam on Tuesday night.
Dale was the North West Counties Premier Division player of the year last term, having netted 34 goals and claiming 18 man of the match awards.
He started the season with Runcorn Linnets in the Evo-Stik West, after signing on dual registration from National League North side Ashton United, but has returned to the Silentnight Stadium, and continued where he left off.
Dale opened the scoring at Irlam after 18 minutes, before Irlam came out and pressed in the second half, scoring twice through Marcus Perry on 63 and 71 minutes.
The hosts could and should have added to their lead, with Town seemingly unable to stem the tide.
Then in the 85th minute, skipper James Crorken scored with a fantastic free kick from just outside the area, into the top left corner of David Jones net, to level matters.
And, quite unexpectedly, with two minutes left, Crorken threaded a great ball through the heart of the Irlam defence for Dale to run on to and score the winner.
That came on the back of Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Litherland REMYCA.
Town led twice in the first half, Mark Threlfall scoring after 38 minutes, before Shaun Airey restored their advantage on 42 minutes after Litherland had levelled through Jason McShane.
The homesters then equalised three minutes into the second half through David Crist.
Town had to wait until the 80th minute to draw level through a second Airey goal.
Both teams had a couple of good chances to win it, but a draw was probably the fairest result.
Town are in Emirates FA Cup preliminary round action on Saturday against Whitley Bay at Hillheads Park, kick-off 3 p.m., and on Bank Holiday Monday, Town host Winsford United in the league, at 3 p.m.