It was just about as good a weekend for Oakham United as they could hope for.
Not only did they win a dramatic Leicestershire Senior Cup tie after a late Stuart Lambie goal took the game into extra time. But the Rutland side’s two closest rivals at the top of the PDFL Premier, Coates Athletic and Pinchbeck United took points out of each other after playing out a 1-1 draw.
As a result the path has been cleared for Oakham to move top of the league if they win either of their two games in hand on Coates who are top by just two points.
For a long time on Saturday it looked like Oakham’s six game winning run was about to come to an end against Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division side Earl Shilton Albion who led 2-1 with the clock ticking 90 before Lambie came to the rescue.
In extra time Robbie Dance scored his second of the match and substitute David Laughton found the back of the net to send United through to the quarter-finals of the competition.
Oakham played well throughout the match but in the opening exchanges the home side took advantage of the slope and slow surface to put real pressure on the United goal.
But Oakham eased the pressure and went ahead through a pure strike from Dance.
That signalled a shift in the momentum of the game with Oakham getting on top but just before the break Earl Shilton capitalised on an error at the back and levelled the scores.
In the second half Oakham came out firing on all cylinders and only an extraordinary display by the Albion goalkeeper kept them at bay. On 70 minutes the Leicestershire side went down to 10 men after a poor challenge on Dave Laughton.
But the man advantage did not ease Oakham’s job of breaking down the stubborn home side and in the 85th minute it looked like Earl Stilton had snatched an unlikely result, converting a breakaway goal.
But three minutes into injury time Lambie produced a moment of class to strike a half volley to take the game into extra time.
Laughton came on as a substitute for the injured Seb Archer-Fearn and his fresh legs made the difference against the 10 men. He scored 10 minutes into added time before Dance added the fourth of the afternoon.
If results go their way on Saturday Oakham could go top of the PDFL Premier at the weekend, but first they must win at bottom of the league Crowland to give themselves any chance.
OAKHAM: Simon Dalton, Craig Welbourne, Olli McCann, Stu Lambie, Eddie McDonald, Robbie Pearce, Adam Rothery, Robbie Dance, Rik Phoenix (Alex Brown), Seb Archer-Fearn (Dave Laughton), Ben Easson. SUB UNUSED: Wayne Oldaker.