UTTOXETER Town threw away a half-time advantage, and capitulated in a 20-minute closing spell on Wednesday evening to all but end their Staffs County Senior League title dreams.
Town travelled to Norton with a string of absentees. Tommy Smith, James Curley, Jack Holley, Rob Collins, Chris Richards, Mark Hodson and Mark Springall were all missing from the squad which had defeated Kidsgrove Athletic 10 days earlier.
With a threadbare outfit available, manager Mark Grimley drafted Jon Lamburn and Rob Weston in from the reserve side for their first starts of the campaign.
Town started well and Martin Gadsby forced the keeper into an early save when the Norton stopper tipped over a header from following Kyle Esplin’s cross.
Keeper Alex Langridge was a bystander for the majority of the first half as Town controlled proceedings comfortably without creating too many clear cut chances.
The visitors took the lead on 30 minutes when Matty Redshaw tricked his way superbly to the byline before delivering for Gadsby to head home at the far post.
Half time came with Town in charge and Redshaw had an opportunity to extend the advantage twice early in the second half.
The striker saw an effort saved when through one-on-one , before edging a half volley wide from 10 yards.
Town paid the price when a corner fell kindly to their number 10 who turned and slammed home the equaliser – before grabbing the lead less than 90 seconds later, when another swift break was finished well by United’s left winger.
Town still had a host of chances to get a point, Gadsby and Esplin missing two of the most presentable.
A swift counter-attack added gloss to the scoreline when Hughes ran through to nick the ball past Langridge into an empty net.
Town travel to Redgate Clayton on Saturday, kick-off 2.30pm, with the focus now on securing the runners-up spot.
Town; Langridge, Woods, Price, Bagley, Marshman, Sowter, Weston (Crookes 76), Lamburn, Esplin, Gadsby, Redshaw.