Two goals in the last three minutes capped a dramatic fightback by never-say-die Selston after a costly red card for opponents Sherwood Colliery.
Selston were trailing 2-0 to their fellow Central Midlands League, South Division high-fliers with only 25 minutes left when the home side had defender Ricky Starbuck sent off. And they cashed in to such good effect that they ran out 3-2 winners to rise to fifth in the table.
Starbuck had wrestled substitute Aaron Brady to the ground on the edge of the box, denying what the referee saw as a clear goalscoring opportunity. Not only did he have to walk, but Selston also made the most of the resulting free-kick as Carl Moore struck a wonderful shot into the top corner of the net.
With Sherwood visibly shaken, the visitors began to exert serious pressure. Sean Gregory was denied a penalty when he ran almost the length of the field, leaving several players in his wake, and appeared to be fouled right on the six-yard line. But Selston got their rewards in a rousing finale.
In the 87th minute, another substitute, Cam Short, crossed to the near post where captain Ben Moore was on hand to sweep home a right-footed equaliser.
And after a third sub, Tom Widdowson, had seen a shot blocked on the line, with the ‘keeper beaten, Selston celebrated a goal in injury-time that made it seven victories on the trot and ten games unbeaten.
The irresistible Gregory engineered it, winning the ball in midfield and spotting the run of the canny Brady. The veteran still had work to do as the ball bounced awkwardly high, but his deft touch lobbed the advancing ‘keeper, much to the delight of the away players and supporters.
The match had also opened with a goal as Sherwood, sitting in the top three of the table after seven wins from ten games, struck as early as the third minute, courtesy of star striuker Julian Topliss, who got on the end of a through ball and finished smartly.
Shellshocked Selston tried hard to hit back, with Steve Radzinski, Gregory and Carl Moore at the heart of their efforts. But eight minutes from the interval, Topliss pounced again, dispatching a penalty after he was adjudged to have been fouled by Daniel Henshaw.
The angry visitors felt the infringement had taken place well outside the area and, from the off in the second half, they bristled with the perceived injustice of the decision, taking the game to Sherwood. Influential skipper Ben Moore rallied his troops and both Carl Moore and Wayne Cooke went close.
The home side were still dangerous on the break, and missed a gilt-edged chance with a header before a long-range effort was tipped on to the bar by Selston ‘keeper Jake Simpson. But then the sending-off changed everything, and super Selston capitalised.