High-flying Charnock Richard were knocked out of their stride by a wonderful opening 45 minutes from visitors AFC Blackpool.
AFC raced into a three-goal half-time leadin this Hallmark Security League first division clash at Mossie Park, and despite being on the back foot for most of the second period and conceding two late goals, they clung on to claim a crucial win.
Manager Stuart Parker shuffled his pack by recalling both Ryan Vaughan and Zac Wilkes to the starting line-up, with Matt Muscroft filling in at left-back. There was also the welcome sight of Jack Williams on the bench for the first time since his serious knee injury.
With a strong wind at their backs, AFC created the first opening but Ryan Charnley’s attempted chip was easily saved by Adam Halton.
The home side hit back strongly and the ever-dangerous Carl Grimshaw rattled the crossbar with a long-range shot. But then the visitors took control and on 25 minutes Marc Taylor’s diagonal ball found Charnley free on the right. He crossed low to the near post for Dean Ing to score.
AFC doubled their advantage inside five minutes as Ben Duffield prodded home from close range following a Rob Hanslip’s header ,
Then 10 minutes before half-time, Duffield hammered in a sumptuous volley that put Mechs in a Christmas dreamland.
Only a great save by Halton from Charnley’s shot prevented further damage before half-time.
Second-placed Charnock were much improved after the break. Spencer Bibby fizzed a free-kick just over the bar and then Callum Kirkland pulled off a great stop to deny Grimshaw.
With Vaughan holding the defence together, AFC weathered the storm and Williams made his return on the hour.
AFC’s only real chance of the second half fell to captain Taylor but his 25-yard screamer was tipped over by the flying Halton.
Charnock managed to pull one back through Grimshaw four minutes from time and Mark Adams added a second three minutes later.
But AFC saw out the final moments without further alarm to secure their best win of the season.
It lifts them out of the bottom three in time for Saturday’s year-ending home clash with Widnes.
Blackpool: Kirkland, Duffy, Muscroft, Taylor, Vaughan, Corbett, Charnley, Wilkes, Duffield, Ing, Hanslip. Subs, Williams, Errington.