Corby Town produced a quite stunning fightback as their final home game of the Evo-Stik League South ended in a remarkable 4-4 draw with relegation-threatened Market Drayton Town.
The Steelmen’s home campaign looked to be heading for a bleak conclusion as they fell 4-0 down after just 46 minutes.
But substitute Jake Bettles scored with his first touch after coming off the bench and that sparked a siege of the Market Drayton goal as Corby battled their way back into things.
They got back on level terms with 10 minutes still to play and both sides had chances to win it after that with the visitors left in real trouble at the wrong end of the table after surrendering that four-goal advantage.
The Steelmen made most of the early running and Paul Malone headed over from a Jordon Crawford corner before Crawford, himself, stabbed wide of the target after good work from youngster Zac Allen.
Dan Smith made a decent stop to deny Joe Cuff after he went through for the visitors but Corby went mightily close to opening the scoring when a driving run from Sam Warburton ended with his effort hitting the top of the crossbar.
There was little sign of the madness that would follow but it all started on 34 minutes when the visitors took the lead as Lyndon Campbell beat the offside trap and beat Smith with an emphatic finish into the roof of the net.
And that sparked the collapse.
The Steelmen were caught napping three minutes later when Jud Ellis produced a smart finish following a throw-in and the game looked to be all-but over when 2-0 became 3-0 with Joe Cuff cutting inside an firing low into the corner after a swift counter-attack.
If that was bad, worse was to follow as just seconds into the second half, Dean McBride’s attempted header back to Smith went past the goalkeeper and into the net.
Most must have thought that was game, set and match. Wrong!
Steve Kinniburgh threw on Bettles and Dino Tuksar and barely 60 seconds had passed before the former had lobbed the ball over visiting goalkeeper Jay Nash to make it 4-1.
All of a sudden, the tails were up and if there was any doubt in the Market Drayton players’ minds then all-out panic set in on 66 minutes when Malone headed home Steven Leslie’s free-kick.
And from that moment on, a comeback always looked possible.
Allen should have scored the third when he blazed over an open net after Crawford’s shot had been cleared off the line.
But Bettles did make it 4-3 as he swept home after Malone had headed back into the danger area from another Leslie set-piece.
At the other end, Smith had to make a smart stop from Cuff and, almost immediately, Steel Park erupted as Corby got down the other end and Phil Trainer leve;lled things up with a magical flick from Crawford’s cross.
Most would have backed the Steelmen to go on and win it from there but they were almost stunned when Daniel Beddows rattled the crossbar with a superb strike to so nearly give Market Drayton the lead again.
In the end, there were no further goals although Crawford almost nicked it at the death with his strike was headed off the line by Campbell.
A crazy game and a somewhat fitting finale to a rollercoaster of a season at Steel Park.
At the end of it though, the Steelmen are now unbeaten in five matches and they will now love to finish things on a high at Peterborough Sports next weekend to ensure they head into the summer with a spring in their step...
Steelmen: Smith; Anton, McBride (sub Bettles, 51 mins), Malone, Warburton; Bell (sub Tuksar 51 mins, sub Watts, 88 mins)), Kennedy; Leslie, Trainer, Crawford; Allen. Sub not used: Aridegbe.
Market Drayton: Nash; Hartlebury, Gregory, McMullen, Walford; Beddows; Bennett-Tindall (sub Rosso, 62 mins), Ellis (sub Bradburn, 85 mins), Coney, Cuff; Campbell. Subs not used: Davies, Ward.
Referee: Paul Buck.
Goals: Campbell (34 mins, 0-1), Ellis (37 mins, 0-2), Cuff (40 mins, 0-3), McBride og (46 mins, 0-4), Bettles (52 mins, 1-4), Malone (66 mins, 2-4), Bettles (76 mins, 3-4), Trainer (80 mins, 4-4)
Bookings: Malone, Ellis, Gregory (all fouls), Coney, Walford (both kicking the ball away), Beddows (dissent),