Longridge Town go into the Christmas period well placed in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division after beating Hanley Town on Saturday.
Jon-Jo Morris’ second penalty of the afternoon in stoppage time was enough for Lee Ashcroft’s players to leapfrog Charnock Richard into second place.
Ashcroft had warned in advance that his players could not take victory for granted against a Hanley side at the wrong end of the table.
So it proved as they cancelled out Town’s lead on three separate occasions before Morris eventually settled matters late on.
It took Town only 14 minutes to open the scoring at the Mike Riding Ground thanks to the prolific Paul Turner.
However, they were pegged back just after the half-hour as Oliver Putnam saw the away side on level terms.
Turner then scored his second goal on half-time to give Town the lead again, only for Hanley to equalise on a second occasion with Oliver Mellor netting on 52 minutes.
The lead was Town’s for a third time just after the hour when Morris scored the first of three penalties in the final half-hour.
Penalty number two came on 71 minutes, allowing Neil Cope to drag Hanley level for a third time at 3-3.
There was to be a late twist, however, as Town were awarded their second spot-kick with time running out.
Again, Morris made no mistake to settle a breathless encounter in Town’s favour once and for all.
With the departure of Fin Sinclair-Smith to FC United of Manchester, Morris has been a key player in recent weeks, having also scored against Congleton Town and Skelmersdale United this month.
Ashcroft said: “Jon-Jo has been sharp and bright for us.
“He’s been patient but he’s been given his chance and he’s taken it.”