Warrington Town left it late to see off 10-man Hyde United and make it seven games unbeaten.
Luke Duffy’s injury-time goal finally broke the resolve of the visitors, who played the last 20 minutes with a man less following the sending off of Harry Benns.
The Yellows had controlled large parts of the second half but just couldn’t get past Joe Green in the Hyde goal until Bohan Dixon’s blocked shot sat up for substitute Duffy to divert home through a ruck of bodies.
It stretches Warrington’s unbeaten run to seven, and with the top two both dropping points, enabled them to close the gap on the leaders.
Jordan Buckley ploughed a lone furrow up front for the Yellows against three central defenders, who largely managed to keep the in-form striker quiet.
A low shot from the edge of the box by the lively Dom Reid was the hosts’ first look at goal, before ‘keeper Green just snuffed out Buckley as he chased down a Mark Roberts ball forward.
The game opened up midway through the first half on a drizzly afternoon at Cantilever Park, and Jonah Mitchell fired a first warning shot for the Tigers from 25 yards that Dan Atherton watched wide.
Atherton had to be at his best to deny Krisel Prifti’s low, deflected free-kick, saving with an outstretched leg and then Roberts put in a superb block on the line to deny Tom Pratt from the rebound.
Sean Williams and James Baillie had a couple of long-range efforts comfortably saved but it was anyone’s game going in to the break.
Hyde made a double change at half-time, and they started the second half on the back foot, as Jack Mackreth particularly pushed them back down their left.
James Jones made a superb block that he knew little about to deny Dixon’s volley, before Reid had shouts for a penalty waved away after he was pushed over in the box.
Green was suddenly by far the most active player on the pitch, and he made a smart stop to deny Buckley from the left after Matt Grivosti had slid him through.
A mistake at the other end enabled Liam Tongue to have a shot from range that was pushed away by Atherton, but that would end up being the visitors’ last real threat due to the sending off.
Benns, one of the two changes at the break, was first cautioned for needlessly stopping a free-kick being taken on half-way, and he was then sent for an early bath when he scythed down Dixon on a Yellows counter attack.
While Hyde might have been happy with a point with 11 men, they would certainly have been happy with one with 10 men, and they retreated.
They responded better to having a man less and the Yellows struggled to impose themselves and create chances as they had done for the previous 25 minutes.
Josh Amis was chucked on for Harris, but it wasn’t until the 83rd minute that Green really had to stretch to make another save, getting down low to save a well hit shot by Roberts after Duffy had slid him in inside the box.
The Yellows showed signs of impatience as move after move broke down with sloppy final balls until the late drama.
They initially thought they’d won a penalty when the referee signalled for a handball that looked a yard or two inside the area – only for a free-kick to be given right on the corner of the box.
From it, Williams pulled back for Dixon, his shot was blocked, and Duffy diverted home the rebound possibly via a deflection to win the three points.
The Yellows remain fifth in the Northern Premier League and are next in action on Saturday at home to Chasetown in the FA Cup.
📸🤩 Capturing the moment!
— Warrington Town FC (@theyellows) November 6, 2021
Warrington Town: Atherton, Baillie, Regan, Harris (Amis), Roberts, Duggan, Mackreth (Grivosti), Williams, Buckley, Dixon, Reid (Duffy). Unused subs: Hough, Mols.
Hyde United: Green, Roscoe, Akiotu (Anderson), Jones, Fagbola, G Pratt, Prifti, Fogerty, Mitchell (Benns), Tongue, T Pratt. Unused subs: Ditchfield, Waters, Chew.