Witton Albion 2-4 North Ferriby United
North Ferriby claimed what could be a vital win in their title campaign on the road at fellow promotion contenders Witton Albion. Coupled with Hednesford Town's draw with Ashton United, the victory saw the Villagers extend their lead atop the table to six points.
The game was played on a damp and slick Wincham Park pitch, and both sides' failure to assert dominance in midfield led to an end-to-end game packed with goalmouth action.
Witton were the first to threaten, full back Mat Wood's deep cross bouncing off the cross bar in the opening ten minutes, but overall it would be Ferriby who started the brighter.
After doing incredibly well to win the ball in the air, Ryan Kendall threaded a low ball across the box for Chris Bolder to rush onto, but the midfield talisman fired just wide.
However, a combination of Bolder and Kendall would lead to the visitors' breakthrough on 23 minutes, Bolder's through ball releasing Kendall one-on-one, and though home keeper Matt Cooper slid in to halt his march on goal, strike partner Anthony Wilson was on hand to bury the rebound.
Three minutes later, the Cheshire side levelled the scores when Adam Nicklin did well to keep out Steve Foster's header from Danny Andrews' cross, but couldn't stop Danny Meadowcroft knocking in the follow-up.
Witton then spurned a gilt-edged chance to take the lead when Gregg Anderson tripped Steve Foster in the box, but Anthony Gardner could only blast the resulting spot kick against the post.
Ferriby's reprieve was to be only temporary however, as on 33 minutes Josh Hancock's slice across goal was lifted over Nicklin by Foster to make it 2-1.
The replay from Billy Heath's men was almost instantaneous, when two minutes later Kendall was able to keep his feet in the box, hold off two defenders and expertly guide the ball around Cooper and into the bottom corner from a tight angle.
Ferriby's top scorer capped off an utterly thrilling first half by restoring his side's lead, running onto Danny Clarke's long ball and curling into an empty net after having his first effort blocked by the onrushing Cooper.
No doubt fuming at going behind twice in 45 minutes, Witton began the second period with purpose, and Ferriby had to withstand heavy pressure as Foster teed himself up for a half volley that went just over the bar, and a bobbling low drive by Hancock landed fractionally wide of the far post.
However, as the half wore on, Ferriby's first half attacking confidence returned and it seemed a matter of time before they put the game to bed.
Kendall continued to be a relentless thorn in the side of the home defence, having a dangerous chip deflect just wide of the far post, and soon afterwards cutting inside to ping another effort similarly just off-target.
The final blow was at last dealt on 79 minutes, when substitute Steve Ridley aimed a free kick into the box, and though Cooper saved well from Wilson virtually on his goal line, centre half Gregg Anderson loomed at the far post, with his effort striking the upright and the crossbar before finally bouncing down behind the line.
Bolder could have added a fifth when he drove Fry's corner just wide a short while later, but four proved enough as Ferriby picked up a hard-fought three points from a thrillingly open encounter.
Weather-permitting, the Villagers will be back in action on Tuesday night, as they attempt to play their twice-postponed League Cup tie at Sheffield.
Man of the Match: Ryan Kendall (Ferriby)
Ferriby: Adam Nicklin, Steve Gardner, Nathan Peat, Liam King (Russell Fry, 63), Gregg Anderson, Paul Foot (c), Danny Clarke, Chris Bolder, Anthony Wilson, Ryan Kendall, Ryan Williams (Steve Ridley, 77) Subs not used: Gary Bradshaw, Oliver Banks, Antoni Pecora
Witton: Matt Cooper, Anthony Gardner, Mat Wood, Ben Harrison, Danny Meadowcroft, Anthony Sheehan (c), Josh Hancock (Michael Moseley, 85), Ollie James (Joe Shaw, 79), Shaun Tuck, Steve Foster, Danny Andrews Subs not used: Josh Glover, Adam Clayton, Stuart Plant