Longridge Town boss Lee Ashcroft praised his players’ character after winning 6-3 at Cleator Moor Celtic on Saturday.
Town’s squad was down to the bare bones but, despite trailing early on and then seeing a two-goal lead wiped out at half-time, they rallied again to pull clear in the second half.
Jay Hart took centre stage with a hat-trick, Paul Turner scored twice – and missed a penalty – while Tom Ince completed the scoring for the visitors.
It was an emphatic win for a Longridge side which had players featuring in unfamiliar positions but still did enough to claim three points.
Victory also means they are six points clear of Carlisle City at the top of the Hallmark Security league’s First Division North, albeit having played one game more than their nearest challengers.
“It proves we have characters because we were down to 11,” Ashcroft said afterwards.
“We only had 11 players but fair play to them, they knew we were up against it, they put a shift in and I’m a proud manager.
“It’s another massive three points against a team who aren’t bad; we were 3-1 up and, next minute, it’s 3-3 thanks to two great strikes.”
The six goals take Town to 82 scored in only 20 league matches this season, an average of more than four a game.
The performance came after a long journey up to Cumbria but Town’s squad shook off any inconvenience by putting their hosts to the sword.
“Going forward we were absolutely brilliant,” Ashcroft said of his players’ performance.
“Some of our football was outstanding; we were good at Carlisle City but the surface here was very good and it played into our hands.
“From being one down to 3-1 up and then 3-3 meant the first half must have been entertaining.
“We calmed them down at half-time but our football was good in the second half and we managed to score three goals.”