Northwich Victoria 3 Ramsbottom United 4
Ramsbottom United played the “Get out of Jail” card when a late goal from substitute debutant Chris Denham saw them claim the three points that they had looked like throwing away.
After an uncertain start, the Rams dominated most of the first half and led 3-1 at the break only for Vics to hit back and level matters in the second half.
The match appeared to be heading for a draw before Denham’s dramatic late winner two minutes from time.
Ashley Stott had given Northwich a fourth minute lead when he latched on to a poor back pass from Owen Roberts to gratefully waltz around Grant Shenton in the Rams goal.
The Rams had Shenton to thank for denying Northwich a two goal lead when he produced a wonderful save in the 14th minute.
A minute later, they were on level terms when Grant Spencer was tripped in the box and picked himself up to convert from the spot.
Five minutes later, the Rams were 2-1 up when Darren Green chased a through ball, looking suspiciously offside, but the linesman kept his flag down, and he drove the ball past Tim Deasy in the home goal.
The visitors were suddenly looking rampant and it was 3-1 in the 37th minute when substitute Jordan Hulme raced down the right wing and crossed for the unmarked Lee Gaskell to tuck home.
Hulme and Spencer both went close to extending the Rams lead but Northwich were back in the game in the 66th minute when Gary Burnett slotted the ball home.
And it was 3-3 six minutes later when Northwich deservedly drew level as a static defence watched as Michael Clarke found space in the box to rifle the ball home from 10 yards, at which point there only looked like being one winner.
Gaskell tried to instill some life into a listless Ramsbottom side, with a low drive from 20 yards, but Deasy easily dealt with it.
Burnett, meanwhile, must have thought he’d won the game when he flicked a cross from the right goalwards, but the ball ended up in the side netting.
With just two minutes of normal time remaining, the Rams snatched an unlikely winner.
Another debutant substitute, Ashley Reece held off a couple of challenges before threading the ball through to Gaskell who sent over an inch-perfect cross for Denham to nod home.