TRAFFORD travelled to Lancashire side Burscough on Saturday and returned with a valuable three points. They then saw other results go their way, with both Skelmersdale United and Mossley each dropping two points.
The result did not reflect the visitors' dominance, outplaying the hosts for 70 of the 90 minutes.
In fact Trafford almost took the lead as early as the third minute when Andy Smart's free-kick was headed over his own crossbar from point blank range by a home defender, the ball somehow evading the net in bouncing no more than two yards from the goal line.
Trafford custodian Tom Read had to be alert to tip over a stinging David Lynch effort soon after, on 12 minutes, Shelton Payne broke the deadlock with a wonderful individual effort.
The winger ran at Burscough's two left sided players, Louis Mayers and Phil Quirk, beat both, before letting fly an unstoppable shot that left home keeper Tim Horn rooted to the spot.
Payne then had a great chance to make it two four minutes later when he beat an on-rushing Horn to a loose ball, but faced with an open net placed his shot wide. Will Ahern also squandered a good chance to double the lead when he screwed a shot wide of Horn's near post.
Trafford continued to lay siege to the Burscough goal and added their advantage on 24 minutes. Liam Shipton broke free down the left, and despite his cross glancing off Linnets defender Dave Roberts' head, the ball fell kindly for Payne who fired across Horn and into the far corner.
The game then settled down for the rest of the half with neither side creating much in terms of clear-cut chances, Trafford seemingly happy with their work so far. However, on the stroke of half-time, they did have a great chance to put the game to bed when the ball fell to leading scorer Michael Oates but, from 12 yards, his volley went out for a throw in.
HT: Burscough 0-2 Trafford.
Whatever the Burscough manager said to his side at the break looked to have worked, as his side dominated the opening stages of the half, and within five minutes they had a goal back, David Lynch cleanly firing home from 20 yards. The home side then thought they had equalised when Louis Mayers headed past Read, but the offside flag cut short the celebrations.
Just before the hour mark Trafford were denied a penalty when the ball appeared to strike an arm, but the referee waved away their protests, before Mayers was denied by a good point blank save by Read.
Trafford then began to reassert themselves on the game with 25 minutes remaining, Martyn Andrews going close, before substitute Chris Palmer failed to connect properly from five yards, and the ball was cleared off the line. Michael Oates was then denied by the feet of Horn as Trafford pressed to put the game beyond Burscough, and they got their wish soon after when on 78 minutes Martyn Andrews was tripped in the area, and the referee this time decided to award the spot-kick. Shelton Payne stepped up and despite Horn's mind games of "I'm gonna save it, I'm gonna save it", placed the ball beyond his outstretched right arm, to complete his hat-trick.
Oates and Andrews both had further chances as Trafford easily saw out the game without further alarm.
They now go onto two straight away games, the first on Tuesday night at mid-table Bamber Bridge (7.45pm k/o), and on Saturday they travel to Harrogate Railway Athletic (3pm k/o).