WINSFORD United’s run in last year’s FA Cup will have felt a lifetime ago after substitute Owen Pollitt’s late winner for Maine Road on Saturday.

His speculative strike from distance sneaked into the net despite Blues’ custodian Ross Heywood getting a glove on the ball.

It settled the outcome of a contest that the home team had dominated in the first half before their guests battled back.

Front man Connor Hughes had the simplest of tasks to score in six minutes after Jamie Roe had outpaced a ponderous Winsford backline to reach Jack Poxon’s pass.

Heywood made the first in a string of fine saves shortly afterwards, thwarting Roe with a boot.

Lee Duckworth’s men levelled after quarter of an hour when Michael Koral drilled a loose ball into the net after custodian Ryan Livesey had fumbled.

He redeemed himself to deny Callam Gardner, while Jordan Johnson’s shot was a lick of paint away from putting his side in front.

However Maine Road edged ahead a second time on 31 minutes, making the most of a stroke of luck when replacement Matthew Morgan ran clear after referee Peter Shacklady accidentally diverted Gardner’s pass into his path.

He finished smartly.

Heywood was equal to another Roe attempt, but produced his absolute best when he reacted instinctively to parry Hughes’ close-range effort from Richard Williams’ cross.

Koral served Johnson to restore parity early in the second half, the striker opening his account for the campaign at the back post.

Winsford cursed their luck when Will Foster’s header clattered the crossbar, while Hughes nodded wide at the other end.

Foster was unlucky a second time when Livesey blocked at a corner, although substitute Scott Taylor will wonder how he failed to score after fellow replacement Brandon Moores teed him up.

That pain will have been more acute when Pollitt’s shot crept in, although there was still time for Livesey to save when Johnson tried to force a replay.

Maine Road | Livesey (GK), Poxon, Inniss, Mason, Brown, Ormrod, Keyworth (Morgan 21), Langford, Hughes, Williams (Burgess 82), Roe (Pollitt 66) Subs not used Blundell, McGregor, Owen, Fowell (GK) Goals Hughes 6, Morgan 31, Pollitt 90 Booked Brown, Williams

Winsford | Heywood (GK), Skolorzynski, Bircumshaw, Rothwell (Riley 46), Middleton, Foster, Koral (Moores 66), Kerr, Johnson, Gardner, Steele (Taylor 46) Subs not used Duckworth, Hudson, Jennings Goals Koral 13, Johnson 52 Booked Rothwell

Referee Peter Shacklady

Attendance 165