Barnoldswick Town stunned high-flying 1874 Northwich at the Silentnight Beds Stadium on Saturday, as they continued their fine home record with a 2-1 win.
Town – in their first home game since November 3rd – collected their seventh win in front of their own supporters in 10 games.
Stewart Airdrie’s side caught the visitors cold, going in front after only two minutes. A crossfield ball was collected on the right flank by John Beckwith, and he cut inside, ghosting past several defenders before scoring with an angled drive from the edge of the area.
Shortly after, Town had a numerical advantage as Northwich’s Louis James was sent off.
Chasing Beckwith as he raced onto a through ball, James brought him down on the edge of the area, and was deemed to have denied a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Barnoldswick looked to press home their advantage, and Beckwith and Joe Gaughan both forced saves from Northwich keeper Greg Hall.
But the visitors grew into the game, only to find keeper Jordan Gidley in superb form.
He tipped an angled drive from Danny Thomas over, before producing good saves to deny Matty Ward, Ryan Jackson, Stuart Wellstead and Matt Beadle.
Town retained a threat on the break, and just before half-time, Gaughan twice sent efforts wide, while Jake McEneaney fired a cross across goal, and Harry Thompson lifted a shot over the bar.
The start of the second half was delayed while a replacement official was found to run the line in place of senior assistant Martin Rushworth, who moved into the middle replacing injured referee Colin Whittaker.
Town searched for a second goal, and Hall had to make an instinctive save from point blank range to deny Gaughan, with James Longley on hand to tap home the rebound. However, the stand in assistant – 1874 board member John Coats – raised his flag to indicate off-side.
But Barnoldswick doubled their lead in the 62nd minute when a corner was drilled low into the area, and the unmarked Gaughan smashed the ball home.
Northwich had a lifeline in the 73rd minute as Matt Woolley launched a long, angled ball into the box, and Jackson held off a challenge at the far post to drill a low shot in from a tight angle.
Deep into stoppage time, Gidley pulled off a fine save, and Ryan Mitchell tucked in the rebound, only for Town to breath a sign of relief as he was flagged off-side.
Town are at Alsager on Saturday.