TRAFFORD squandered a three-goal lead and had to share the spoils at Newcastle Town in Evo-Stik West on Saturday.

The visitors attacked from the start and after only 18 seconds Matty Bryan's low drive was held by Matt Johnson.

A Keil O’Brien header was blocked on the line as Trafford sought the opening goal and in the 17th minute an incredible goalmouth scramble saw Liam Ellis, Jack Dorney and Harry Winter all going close.

Trafford won a succession of corners and free kicks and deservedly took the lead in the 37th minute when centre-back Sam Heathcote strode forward and unleashed a superb low drive from 25 yards that flew into the bottom corner.

The second half began in a similar vein with Winter controlling the midfield and in the 55th minute Aaron Burns should have made it two when he shot against Johnson from point-blank range after great work by Ellis on the right.

Ellis screwed a shot wide of the far post shortly afterwards but in the 68th minute Trafford doubled their lead when Dorney fed O’Brien who coolly fired into the bottom corner from 15 yards.

Dorney’s thunderbolt from 25 yards was tipped over and Ellis shot past the near post as Trafford threatened to run riot and in the 73rd minute Burns made it three when he headed home at the back post following a piercing cross by Bryan.

The game appeared to be over as a contest and in the 79th minute Winter was substituted after a majestic performance in the centre of midfield.

However, this seemed to give the initiative to Newcastle and two minutes later Mike Conlon collected the ball in midfield and cracked a great drive into the top corner from 25 yards.

Trafford pulled players back into defensive positions and allowed Newcastle to push forward and in the 88th minute Chris Smith made it 3-2 when he netted at the back post after a Conlon cross from the right.

The hosts were now in the ascendancy and three minutes into stoppage time Trafford only half-cleared a free kick and Luke Dennis blasted a wonderful drive from 25 yards past Joao Mendes and into the top corner.

Tom Baker’s side are still in third and will be hoping to get back to winning ways on Saturday when they travel to Glossop North End.

The previous Wednesday, Trafford exited the Manchester Premier Cup at the semi-final stage with a 1-0 home defeat to Radcliffe.

A close-fought start to the game saw an O’Brien header cleared off the Radcliffe line with Lee Wilshaw nodding the rebound onto the roof of the net.

Radcliffe striker Ben Wharton then flighted an audacious lob from 40 yards that Matty Cooper clawed back from underneath his bar before Scott Metcalfe curled a free kick inches wide from 25 yards as the visitors took control.

Radcliffe continued to push forward in the opening stages of the second half with Cooper producing an excellent one-handed save to deny Michael Fowler and it came as no real surprise when Boro took the lead in the 62nd minute, Trafford failing to clear a left wing corner and Lacy tapping in from close range to secure progress for Jon Macken's men.