WINSFORD were well below their best but managed to re-assert their promotion challenge at the Barton Stadium on Saturday.
Their mid-table visitors controlled proceedings for much of the second half, but on a day when United's rivals at the top of the North West Counties League Second Division slipped up, the points were priceless.
A series of goal-line clearances and hesitancy in front of goal kept New Mills in with a chance.
United poured forward and scored in the eighth minute. Mark Quinn's flag kick was headed forward by Ryan Broadhead to be met by a half-clearance. Dave Chambers pumped home the loose ball.
The 16th minute produced one of the moves of the season but Adam Hughes made a fingertip save from Stuart Wellstead, after Quinn's expert pass and Rob Hopley's pace had cut through the New Mills defence.
Winsford lost their urgency after the break and New Mills threatened what should have been a comfortable win. They almost snatched a draw in the 89th minute when Gavin Hunter tried his luck from the halfway line. The ball caught the wind and only a brilliant save by Matt Conkie kept it out of the net.
UNITED: Conkie; Hutchinson, Chambers, Marsh, Stanton; Melia, Broadhead (Hurley 61), Quinn, Wellstead; Hopley (Hughes 83), Hanley.
Star Man: Chris Hutchinson, great all-round game. Next Best: Dave Chambers. Team Rating: 2.
Winsford United 1 Cammell Laird 2
Neil Marsh was sent off as championship rivals clashed at the Barton Stadium on Wednesday.
His dismissal may have cost United a point, but former North-wich Vics player Jamie Maguire could be disciplined by his club for deliberately getting an opponent red carded. The referee, too, admitted he may have been conned.
Maguire and Marsh confronted each other when the Lairds' player collapsed as if shot. The ref, believing Marsh had butted Maguire, whipped out the red card and Blues had to play the final half-hour with 10 men.
Another former Vics man, Ian Cooke, put the Lairds ahead in the ninth minute and James McCoy increased the lead from the spot after Ian Stanton was judged to have handled.
All the Blues had to show for an impressive performance was Chris Melia's last-minute goal, a penalty given for handball.
UNITED: Conkie; Hutchinson, Chambers, Marsh, Wellstead; Melia, Quinn (Hughes 88), Hurley (Booth 70), Wellstead; Hopley, Hanley (Broadhead 84).
Attendance: 197. Star Man: Rob Hopley, always a threat.
Match Rating: 2.