PILKINGTON FC head into a crunch clash buoyed by a recovery that allowed them to take the points in a seven-goal thriller at Deva Athletic.

They had the worst possible start when Deva took the lead two minutes into the Cheshire League One clash on Saturday and later in the half fell two goals behind but they came out on top thanks to Luke Sephton's 14th goal of the season 10 minutes from time.

The victory sends Pilks to table toppers Middlewich Town on Saturday, just three points adrift in fourth place having played the same number of games.

Pilks responded to the early setback at Deva positively and both Dale Keenan and Graham Boylan had good opportunities to level the score.

Firstly Keenan turned in the six-yard area but somehow stabbed the ball wide and then Boylan blazed a penalty over the bar.

Pilks eventually managed to level on 20 minutes.

An early ball from keeper Rob Cork was brought down well by Adam Dixon and his quick switch released Luke Sephton, who drove at the heart of the Deva defence before rocketing his shot into the roof of the net.

Pilks seemed more composed than the opposition and generally in control of the game but their defensive frailties were on show again.

With 10 minutes of the half left they switched off twice in two minutes to allow Deva to edge in front.

They were two almost identical goals as Athletic were allowed the luxury of driving right through the middle of the defence for simple finishes.

It was something of a mystery as to why Pilks had got themselves into a position of being two goals adrift but they managed to get one back three minutes before the half when Andy Cook’s spectacular overhead kick gave the keeper no chance. A certain contender for goal of the season.

Pilks could have gone in level but for a clearance off the line when Ian Frazer’s far-post header had beaten the keeper.

The second half was all about Pilks pressing for the goals.

They had complete control of the game and restricted Deva to just a few breaks.

The equaliser came five minutes into the second half when Sephton won the ball back well and drove down the line before Boylan converted his pass.

Ten minutes later Pilks should have been ahead when David McGrath’s through ball put Sephton in one-on-one but he made it too easy for the keeper.

It took until the 80th minute for Pilks to take the lead for the first time in the game.

Dixon laid the ball off well to Boylan and his 40-yard through ball put Sephton clear for his 14th goal of the campaign.

Pilks survived a nervy end to the game when Deva had three corners, one of which was cleared off the line by Dixon, before the referee blew for full time.

A second game over the festive period will see Pilks host Garswood United on December 30.