IT was messy, but this is 1874 Northwich’s most eye-catching result since they were promoted.
Ian Street’s men ended the contest with nine players following the dismissals in stoppage time of Ryan Mitchell and Paul Connor, but more memorable was the visitors’ recovery from 2-0 down.
They climb to fourth in the standings as a reward.
Matthew Beadle, not for the first time since his switch from Maine Road in the summer, was Northwich’s match-winner.
He converted substitute Mike Brandon’s pass with a minute left, cutting in from the left to strike with power past Runcorn goalkeeper Stuart Plant.
It seemed an unlikely outcome after Sam Houghton had punished a defensive error to put the hosts two-goals ahead after an hour.
The teams has traded chances in the first half, with Town’s Sean Breen curling an effort narrowly wide after five minutes.
Dave Short blasted a free kick over at the other end, while Plant turned away Sakeel Abdullah’s attempt.
Runcorn edged ahead shortly before the break, Andy Potter converting from the penalty spot after Craig Farnworth had tripped Paul Shanley.
Houghton intercepted a clearance on 59 minutes, then shot past Matt Conkie from outside the area to double his team’s lead.
Northwich replied instantly when Brandon, on for Farnworth, steered a header past Plant after Beadle had returned a partially-cleared corner.
An equaliser arrived three minutes later, Beadle unleashing a violently-hit effort from distance that flew into the hosts’ net.
He kept cool with time running out when Brandon slipped the ball into his patch, securing victory for his side.
Referee Steve Rudd showed a yellow card to seven players in a hard-fought contest’s final half hour, then sent off Northwich duo Mitchell and Connor – the latter for a second caution – in injury time.
Runcorn Plant (GK), Potter, Kinsey, Lawton, Latham, Spearitt, Shanley, Keddie, Breen (Webb 88), Thompson (Williams 70), Houghton Subs not used Roberts, Lester, Patton Goals Potter 40 (penalty), Houghton 59 Booked Lawton, Spearitt
1874 Conkie (GK), Mitchell, Duckworth, Farnworth (Brandon 55), Aston, Woolley, Connor, Abdullah, Short, Beadle, Ward Subs not used Fossdyke (GK), Bowyer, Crofts, Jones Goals Brandon 61, Beadle 64, 89 Booked Farnworth, Short, Beadle, Ward, Conkie, Duckworth Sent off Mitchell (violent conduct), Connor (two cautions)
Referee Steve Rudd (Leyland)
Additional reporting by Garry Clarke