Alfreton Town tasted defeat for the first time in 2016 after a 3-2 defeat at home to AFC Telford United.
The Vanarama National League North strugglers looked down and out when Dan Bradley restored Alfreton’s lead in the 76th minute with a stunning goal, but to their credit they fought back with two goals in the final 12 minutes of the game.
A bland first half had seen Lindon Meikle’s shot loop up off a defender and Sam Jones’ header drifting only just wide, while Reds’ keeper Matt Duke had to halt a dangerous Connor McCarthy bye-line run before holding a low John Cofie drive.
Goal-less at half-time there had been little indication of the five-goal thriller to come, the game erupting in the 57th minute when Andi Thanoj scored directly from a free-kick after Jones had been impeded on the edge of the area.
Alfreton had stepped up the tempo markedly, Jones then swivelling neatly on Bradley’s 62nd minute pass to smash the ball against the foot of keeper James Montgomery’s right-hand post.
Five minutes later though the Bucks were level when Josh Wilson was presented with the ball unmarked ten yards out, after Cofie’s cross had taken a vital deflection, burying the ball low past Duke.
Meikle was clean through as the Reds made an immediate response, Graham Hutchinson fortunate to escape with the game’s only caution after pulling his opponent’s shirt on the edge of the area - Thanoj this time could only find the defensive wall with his free-kick.
Bradley’s goal was the product of a solo run that saw Alfreton’s skipper force the ball through a cordon of Telford players before delivering an unstoppable shot from 18 yards.
Within two minutes though Telford were level again, Wilson once more the scorer with a towering header from a Lucas Dawson free-kick, but Alfreton were still going for the jugular and another attempt by Bradley was turned behind by Montgomery, the corner triggering a scramble in which Todd Jordan had an effort blocked on the line.
McCarthy was allowed to sprint all the way down the left flank from the half-way line before cutting in and firing low and accurately into the far corner of the net with eight minutes remaining, and the visitors had succeeded in turning the game on its head.
Alfreton surged forward in an effort to make amends, forcing several corners in their quest, one such delivery in added time seeing Bradley’s shot blocked after the keeper had misjudged the flight of the ball.
ALFRETON: Duke; Moyo, Jordan, Heaton, Allan, Bradley, Thanoj,Doyle, Meikle [Smith 85], Jones [Leesley 76], Robertson.Sub not used: Nyon.