FC United ended an unhappy sequence of four Evo-Stik Premier losses with a hard-fought 2-1 win over neighbours Ashton United at Gigg Lane on Monday.
It was Ashton who struck first through Liam Dawson on five minutes and he almost added to their lead when he blasted a free kick against a post.
FA Cup hero Mike Norton seized on a Richard Battersby cross to snatch an 18th-minute equaliser before setting up Matthew Wolfenden for FC’s winner midway through the first half.
It moved FC United up to 19th place in the league and showed they had responded after chief Karl Marginson urged his reeling Rebels not to let their heads drop after suffering a 10th loss in their last 13 league games at runaway leaders FC Halifax on Saturday.
Marginson’s men were given a head start as Jerome Wright fired them in front with a 33rd-minute penalty as they sought to avenge a 1-0 defeat by the table-topping Tykes in their last outing back in early December.
But, cheered on by the bulk of a bumper crowd of 4,023 – a new Evo-Stik League record attendance – Halifax hit back to win 4-1 and leave United still just one place off the foot of the Premier Division.
The scale of the defeat was, however, harsh on the struggling visitors, who were pushing hard for an equaliser before finally being undone by two injury-time goals, much to their manager’s consternation.
Marginson said: "This game was always going to be difficult for us, but once again we’ve not got our just rewards for all the effort we put in.
"We’ve now had two good contests with the best team in our division, pushing them all the way on both occasions, and we have to stay positive as we look to start climbing the table."
They hope to build on Monday’s victory when eighth-placed Bradford Park Avenue visit Gigg Lane on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).