Vauxhall Motors left it late to snatch all three points at Ashton Athletic, as they came from 2-1 down to win 3-2 with Lewis Buckley’s injury time winner sparking wild celebration at Brocstedes Park.

Buckley’s earlier strike had put The Motormen ahead just after halftime before goals from Deklan Hill and Joshua Nicholson had given the home side a shock lead. Vauxhall levelled through Ben Holmes with eight minutes to go, setting up the grandstand finish which Buckley delivered in the 92nd minute, sending the away bench and the travelling supporters mad.

Vauxhall went into the game suffering from three suspensions with captain Tom Mitchell, defender Ethan Gouldbourne and midfielder Haydn Cooper all missing from the match-day squad. On a more positive note, they could stretch their lead at the top by eight points with a win and results elsewhere.

The first half was a poor affair. The pitch helped little to add to the football and a theme of the half was bobbling balls being miscued over the fence and the referee calling for a new one.

Rather symbolically, the only notable chance of the half came about from a mis-hit cross. George Colville’s flighted the ball got caught in the wind and looked set to loop over Ciaran O’Loughlin in ‘The Motors’ goal, but much to the relief of the away side it skimmed the bar and went over.

The second half brought a new lease of life to the game with the replacement of Aaron Dawson for Sean Moscrop a sign from manager Michael McGraa of the lacklustre first half.

Vauxhall should have been ahead on 51 minutes when some smart work down the right flank by Michael Burkey created a headed chance for Buckley from the edge of the six-yard box, but his stooping header was skewed wide.

The visiting fans would only have to wait another minute to take the lead though as Buckley atoned for his errors to put the table-toppers one nil up. More smart work from Burkey created a shooting chance, but his tame side-footed effort looked set to trickle into Joe Smith’s hands in the Ashton goal.

The youngster was unable to hold the shot and Buckley was the first to react, getting to the loose ball, rounding the keeper and slotting home into an empty net.

Vauxhall Motors vs Ashton Athletic

The away side never looked comfortable despite taking the lead, and they would only hold it for four minutes as Ashton pulled a goal back through Hill.

Nicholson harried ‘The Motors’ backline and was rewarded as he broke through and was able to play in Hill whose strike on goal was well saved by O’Loughlin. The rebound fell to Matthew Reid whose first time strike from the edge of the area cannoned off the post, hitting O’Loughlin on the back and falling on to the line for Hill to lash home.

It was the 68th minute when Vauxhall fell behind in the game. O’Loughlin’s kick was intercepted by Nicholson. The deflection fell for Joe Mswalie who was able to round the keeper and then set-up his strike partner to tap into a vacant net from inside the area.

With less than 10 minutes to go, it looked as though the top of the table side were going to succumb to a loss away at bottom of the table. That was until Holmes sparked a comeback as his late run into the box was picked out by Burkey’s cross and he headed home.

Two minutes into the allocated four of stoppage time, Buckley stole the win for Vauxhall. After a smart one-two with Burkey, he was able to slot home coolly from the edge of the area. Wild scenes ensued with the whole away bench pouring onto the pitch to celebrate a hard-earned three points.

The result gives Vauxhall Motors a perfect record so far for January and puts them seven points clear at the top going into the Cheshire Senior Cup. Meanwhile Ashton have been left adrift at the bottom of the table going 13 points behind their nearest competitor.