FEELING despondent, and then delirious.

Winsford United could celebrate a victory their display deserved when substitute Brandon Moores lifted the coolest of lobbed shots over former teammate Ross Heywood with two minutes left.

Moments earlier, the replacement’s face had been red after he had hauled back an opponent by the shirt collar to concede a penalty.

Goalkeeper Michael Langley spared his blushes though, pushing Sam Freakes’ spot-kick around an upright.

And so Blues put behind them successive 4-1 defeats, the second of which had seen them eliminated from the FA Vase seven days earlier.

Justin Pickering had prompted Heywood, making his debut for Abbey Hey after leaving St Luke’s Barton Stadium earlier in the week, to save smartly early on.

At the other end, Ashford Blake diverted Matthew Cook’s cross the wrong side of a post.

Robbie Hatton was next to go close for Winsford, his looping header from Callam Gardner’s cross dipping just too late.

Heywood thwarted Gardner, while Djenny Bembo almost scored a spectacular opener after Langley had dashed from his line to reach a through-ball before Blake.

The visitors took the lead in the moments before half-time when player-manager Lee Duckworth swerved a free=kick into the top corner after Hatton was fouled.

Freakes replied in kind, steering his set-piece into the same part of the goal to equalise shortly after the interval.

Langley was relieved when George Noon missed the target after he had fluffed a clearance, and heavy rainfall soaked the pitch in the closing stages.

Winsford absorbed pressure from their hosts, and Will Foster had to time perfectly an intervention to thwart Noon in shooting stride.

Moores played a leading part in both penalty areas in the moments that followed, and his late winner keeps Blues inside the table’s top-five.

Abbey Hey | Heywood (GK), Cook, Brownhill, Wilshaw, Tinning, Hampshire (Haydock 58), Bembo, Freakes, Blake (Webb 76), Farrand, Swallow (Noon 64) Sub not used Gibson Goal Freakes 57

Winsford | Langley (GK), Skolorzynski, Lee Duckworth (Steele 60), Rothwell, Kerr, Foster, Pickering, Hopper (Moores 72), Hatton, Gardner (Hudson 63), Bircumshaw Sub not used Sherwood Goals Duckworth 42, Moores 88

Referee Michael Crusham

Attendance 58