Steven Leslie hit a hat-trick for Corby Town but they suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak as they were knocked out of the Integro League Cup after a dramatic clash at Evo-Stik League South rivals Lincoln United.
The preliminary round tie finished 4-4 after the Steelmen had fought back on three occasions before taking the lead with 18 minutes to go.
However, a late goal from Matt Cotton sent the game into a shoot-out and, after 10 perfect penalties, Jamie Anton missed the target in sudden death and Kallum Smith scored with the next spot-kick to send Lincoln through by a 6-5 scoreline.
Boss David Bell picked a strong side and there were goals galore in an open first half with Lincoln drawing first blood when Danny Brooks fired home a 25-yard free-kick.
Corby levelled on the half-hour when Leslie scrambled home following a Lee Beeson free-kick but the hosts went in front for a second time when Sean Cann slotted past Paul Bastock after latching on to a long ball.
The Steelmen hit back almost immediately with Leslie firing home his second after a knockdown from Jordon Crawford.
They still trailed at the break, however, as Lincoln were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time, which was converted by Brooks.
But a remarkable game swung in the Steelmen’s favour after the break.
Crawford brought them level with a swerving long-range volley which found its way in off the post.
And Corby were then awarded a penalty of their own on 72 minutes with Leslie completing his hat-trick from the spot.
Both sides had chances to add further goals before the end but the Steelmen were denied victory in normal time when Cotton’s shot was deflected into the net in the fifth minute of stoppage-time.
There were no errors in the shoot-out until Anton dragged his spot-kick wide and Smith stepped up to beat Paul Bastock to seal Lincoln’s place in the next round.
The Steelmen are back in league action on Saturday when they host Newcastle Town.
Don’t miss more news from Steel Park in tomorrow’s Corby Telegraph