United came from behind to severely dent the title aspirations of their visitors, who are chasing Farsley at the top of the table.
From the start, it was clear that Parkgate’s lofty position was well merited as they proved to be a highly organised outfit and were more than capable of retaining possession.
As in the previous Saturday against Scarborough, United found themselves under pressure during the first quarter as the visitors controlled the tempo of the game.
The focus of their labours was to provide an outlet for the prolific Ashley Worsfold and Chris Wood, recently signed from Maltby and the scorer of two hat-tricks in his first two league outings.
But United’s rearguard has been growing in confidence with each recent game and Dean Whiley and Micky Allsop were both commanding figures at the heart of the defence, cleverly anticipating any likely danger.
From set-plays, Simon Baldwin in United’s goal dominated his area and subsequently clear cut chances were few and far between for the visitors.
As United slowly began to have greater influence on the game Gary Breach’s header tested James Jenkinson in goal and another header from Allsop drifted wide.
Nathan Parker struck two efforts from distance and Ben Bacon pulled an attempt across the face of the goal from 18 yards.
After the interval, there was a growing optimism that United could claim something from the game but the visitors were always a danger and on 53 minutes that menace proved clinical.
A corner was initially dealt with but the clearance fell to a red shirt and a swift return ball into United’s box was neatly headed past Baldwin, by Wood, from close range.
A few short weeks ago, United’s resolve may not have been as stoic against such a high-flying side but they set about getting back into the game with admirable spirit.
Martin Bowles worked tirelessly to create an opening and Martin demonstrated a willingness to get forward in his uncharacteristic role in midfield.
As the game progressed wide defenders Paul McGinty and Chris Murdock were also finding a little more room as Parkgate began to sit further back, protecting their vital advantage in their push for the title.
The introduction of the lively Shaun Rickford and 18-year-old Lord late in the contest gave United the impetus needed to recover.
Rickford had three good efforts within five minutes of his arrival and suddenly the Parkgate back line looked hesitant.
In the 70th minute Parker, perhaps fortunately, was adjudged to have been impeded in the box and the referee awarded a penalty to United.
Despite the protests, Rickford stepped up to fire a well-struck spot-kick to Jenkinson’s right. The visiting ‘keeper produced an excellent save but his parry fell to the onrushing Martin who bundled the ball home at the second attempt to register his first United goal.
Momentum was now clearly with Long Eaton and whilst the visitors would doubtless have settled for the single point at this stage, it was United who snatched a late winner.
Bowles valiantly chased a seemingly lost cause wide on the left to provide a lofted cross into the Parkgate area. A touch from Rickford found Lord and the youngster edged out a defender to turn inside and fire his accurate strike past Jenkinson with some style.
The victory was hard-earned and it was fitting that Lord should snatch a late winner with his first goal for the club after his patience in recent weeks.
United’s next game is in two weeks’ time against Selby Town, also at Grange Park.
Long Eaton: Baldwin, Murdock, Allsop, Whiley, McGinty, Parker, Bowles, Martin, Breach, Bacon (Rickford 64), Mushambi (Lord 68).