Stocksbridge Park Steels’ biggest crowd of the season witnessed ugly scenes as Dan Dillon was ordered off for a late lunge on FC United of Manchester winger Jerome Wright.
As Dillon walked down the touchline FC defender James Holden ran 30 yards to confront the on-loan Steels midfielder raising his arms.
Had the referee seen it the United man may well have also been red carded.
Dillon was then confronted by one of the estimated 600 United supporters in the 837 crowd. Dillon, who had stripped his shirt off, appeared to push an angry supporter away from him as he made his way to the dressing room.
The 37th minute incident threatened to turn nasty off and on the field, but order was restored when Dillon finally disappeared from view, leaving his team at that time drawing 1-1. Wright was later carried off with a gashed shin and played no further part.
Straight after the incident, Carlos Rocca whipped in a free-kick and although Ratcliffe got down to parry the ball away Matt Wolfenden was on to it in a flash to tuck the rebound away for the winner.
Earlier, Steels had got off to a great start. Chris Hall made a great run from just inside the United half on the left going past a defender before squaring the ball to Dillon to fire into the roof of the net.
Stocksbridge were the better side but couldn’t build on their advantage and as United came more into the game finally levelled on 31 minutes. Wolfenden tried his luck from long range and though Ratcliffe seemed to have it covered, the ball looped up in the air off the keepers punch dropping down over the line.
But Ratcliffe made amends with a great block at the start of the second half to deny Wolfenden his hat-trick from 12-yards.
Despite being down to 10 men Stocksbridge were always in with a shout. Brett Lovell and Richard Haigh at the heart of the Steels defence kept the United forwards relatively quite and Mark Ward was only a whisker away from earning a point with a curling 87th minute effort just past the upright, leaving United happy to run the clock down by taking the ball into the corners.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Frickley Athletic saw their relegation fears increase after a 1-0 home defeat in the six-pointer against fellow strugglers Ossett Town. Jamie Hopcutt grabbed the only goal.
Ross Hannah hit a hat-trick as Matlock Town romped to a 4-2 win at Marine as the Gladiators climbed to second in the table. Nathan Joynes gave Matlock a 20th minute lead and although the hosts levelled 11 minutes later Hannah restored the visitors lead eight minutes before the break. Marine equalised again but Hannah struck on 79 minutes to put Matlock in front for the third time before completing his hat-trick four minutes later to seal the points.
Buxton saw their play-off hopes hit with a 2-1 defeat at Ashton United despite taking a 65th minute lead through Chris Ovington as the home side hit back to score twice inside the last eight minutes.
Sheffield FC ended a run of three defeats on the bounce after coming from 2-0 down to beat relegation haunted Shepshed Dynamo 3-2 at Dronfield that gave Club a first win in six. The visitors were two-up in 12 minutes with Greg Smith heading in from corner with Rob Norris doubling the lead.
But the game turned Club’s way midway through the first half when Smith went from hero to villain after being given a straight red for a lung on Andy Gascoigne. Ant Lynam pulled once back on 26th minutes stabbing home from Brain Cusworth’s low cross.
Two minutes after the interval it was all square as Sheffield’s early pressure paid off when James Gregory broke clear of the defence to score with a cool finish.
With 13 minutes remaining Sheffield completed the comeback when a foul on Matt Roney in the box produced a penalty that Gascoigne converted.
Tuesday - Prem Div: Buxton v Northwich Vic, Halifax v Worksop Tn, Frickley Ath v Retford Utd, Stocksbridge v Burscough. Div One South: Romulus v Sheffield FC.