FC UNITED chief Karl Marginson conceded the Rebels were fortunate to step up their UniBond first division north championship assault with a 3-2 home victory over Newcastle Blue Star.
Sub Simon Carden's injury-time winner got FC out of jail after they'd squandered an early two-goal lead.Rory Patterson's double had put Marginson's men in control inside the first quarter.
But FC then allowed the visitors to draw level with two late goals before Carden's last-gasp strike secured a win which takes them to within nine points of leaders Skelmersdale, who crashed 1-0 to fellow title challengers Bradford Park Avenue.
"We very nearly shot ourselves in the foot, so, in the end, it turned out to be a massive three points for us," said Marginson, whose fifth-placed side will go top if they win their games in hand.
"We were by no means at our best, but credit to the boys for responding so well after Newcastle had equalised with just seven minutes left."
Meanwhile, second-placed Curzon Ashton wasted a chance to close the gap on Skem as they went down 1-0 at Garforth.
Premier leaders Witton remain firmly on course for the title and automatic promotion to Blue Square North despite being held 1-1 at Guiseley, but Ashton United's relegation fears returned with a vengeance in a 5-2 defeat at Eastwood.
Trafford maintained their firm grip on top spot in the Vodkat League with Scott Barlow's hat-trick helping them sink rock-bottom Nelson 4-2.