Liam Hughes headed a dramatic late equaliser for Corby Town as they earned an FA Trophy second-round replay with Blue Square Bet Premier side Tamworth thanks to a 1-1 draw at The Lamb.
It was no less than the Steelmen deserved after a fine first-half display and a terrific late fightback after the hosts had taken the lead in the second period.
And it means they will now take on the Lambs again at Steel Park on Wednesday night.
The big question ahead of kick-off was what Steelmen boss Chris Plummer would do with the hole in the centre of his defence, which was caused by Stefan Galinski returning to Derby County after a three-month loan and Carl Piergianni beginning a two-match ban.
The answer was Hughes as the striker, currently on loan from Cambridge United, was picked alongside Paul Malone at the heart of the back four having previously had experience of playing in the position.
The Steelmen also welcomed back Sam Ives after illness while Lewis Webb was preferred in midfield with Tom McGowan having to settle for a place on the bench alongside the returning Greg Kaziboni.
Corby started confidently and they had the first sight of goal in a first half of few chances when Ives weaved his way into the area but took one touch too many as Tamworth were able to clear.
The visitors continued to have the better of the game but lacked a final ball or finish and it was the hosts who had the first shot in anger when Paul Walker held on to Tommy Wright’s 20-yard strike.
Avelino Vieira forced Tony Breeden into his first meaningful save as he got down well to stop a decent effort from the Steelmen frontman.
But Tamworth did have the best chance of the half when a long ball forward was missed by everyone and Marcus Kelly ran on but saw his shot blocked by Walker.
The home fans sent their team into the dressing-room with boos ringing in their ears, a sure sign of a job well done by Plummer’s men in the opening period.
Home boss Marcus Law reacted by throwing on former Aston Villa player Lee Hendrie and top scorer Adam Cunnington at the break.
And the Lambs started the half well with Hendrie forcing Walker into a good save before Lewis Webb tested Breeden at the other end.
But there was more purpose to Tamworth’s game and they took the lead on the hour.
Peter Till’s cross from the right was deflected into the path of Wright and he made no mistake with a clinical finish.
The hosts continued to create the better openings after that with Till and Wright both being denied by the impressive Walker.
The Steelmen did look dangerous on the counter-attack and they went close when Malone’s fierce strike was blocked by a home defender.
Corby continued to pile on the pressure and the breakthrough did come as the game moved into stoppage-time.
Greg Kaziboni’s shot was deflected for a corner, Sam Ives whipped it in and Hughes rose above everyone to head it into the top corner.
It was a well-earned goal after a good display and there will be nothing for the Steelmen to fear in the replay on Wednesday.
Tamworth: Breeden; Courtney, Oji, Marshall, Regan (sub Cunnington, h-t); Till, Kerry (sub Barrow, 90 mins), Baldock, Kelly; Moke (sub Hendrie, h-t), Wright. Subs not used: James, Collins.
Steelmen: Walker; Horne, Malone, Hughes, Crowe (sub McGowan, 77 mins); Webb, Wedderburn; Semple (sub Kaziboni, 72 mins), Ives, Moreman (sub Manga, 89 mins); Vieira. Subs not used: Richardson.
Referee: Paul Rees.
Goals: Wright (60 mins, 1-0), Hughes (90 mins, 1-1).