Corby Town are still unbeaten in Vanarama National League North after teenage striker Kabongo Tshimanga bagged an eight-minute hat-trick at Hednesford Town to secure a 3-3 draw.
The Steelmen were 1-0 down after 100 seconds, 2-0 behind with just 10 minutes on the clock and second best throughout the first half.
But for the goalkeeping acrobatics of Paul Walker and some wayward finishing, they would have gone into the break further behind.
Corby were a different team at the start of the second half.
Hednesford supporters afterwards pinpointed the loss of skipper – and long throw specialist – Ben Bailey through injury at half-time as the turning point, but for Corby boss Tommy Wright, the second half was all about his side’s character.
From the whistle, they were quicker to the ball, won every 50-50 challenge and went forward with a pace and purpose that suggested they would score whenever they attacked.
They scored three times – Tshimanaga on target in the 48th, 51st and 56th minutes – to snatch the lead, but were pegged back by Nathan Modest’s 63rd-minute strike after Corby failed to clear.
Eight minutes later, Tshimanga went close to restoring the Steelmen’s lead and though the high tempo, back-and-forth action continued until the final whistle, the only chances fashioned were half chances.
Wright, who’s seen his side take six points from their opening games this season, said: “The first half was the worst we have played, probably even worse than we played at Harborough Town in pre-season (when Corby were beaten 4-1).
“We just didn’t turn up and everything we thought Hednesford would do, they did.
“We just didn’t deal with the long ball into the box, which was frustrating. I thought we would deal with it better.
“We didn’t play football in the first half and when we did in the second half and started getting the ball down the channels, we got three goals.
“I’m almost disappointed to draw a game because we were winning, but we were also losing for long periods of time.”
Don’t miss more Steelmen news in Thursday’s Corby Telegraph