Boston United Reserves secured a pulsating 4-3 victory over Nettleham at The Jakemans Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Goals from Liam Ogden and Tony Edwards had handed the Pilgrims’ second string a 2-0 lead but Nettleham roared back into contention through headed efforts from Chris Nuttell and Lewis King (twice).
Substitute Tom Sergeant hauled United level with eight minutes remaining and then blasted home a match-winning penalty four minutes from time.
The result was arguably fair on the balance of play but United’s reserve team looked like losing a match in which they spurned numerous clear-cut openings until Sergeant struck twice inside the final eight minutes.
By the time United opened the scoring, keeper Nick Taylor had already twice denied Ryan Semple, while Chris Hall had fired a 25-yard free-kick wide.
United’s breakthrough arrived on 16 minutes when OGDEN fired home a brilliant free-kick from 25 yards.
The lead was extended seven minutes later with EDWARDS looping a fine header over Taylor, following a James Reed assist from the right.
The game swung on a decisive two-minute spell. Hall embarked on a mazy run into the Nettleham area but after checking back inside, rattled the post with a close-range drive.
The visitors broke quickly and once Luke Jennings had advanced to deliver a telling cross from the right, NUTTELL ghosted in unmarked to arrow a neat header across Ricky Drury and into the bottom corner.
Nettleham levelled six minutes before half-time. United failed to deal with a routine corner and KING buried a close-range header to ensure the match was level at the break.
Edwards rattled the Nettleham crossbar within 30 seconds of the second period beginning, following Nathan Rawdon’s cross.
The visitors took the lead less than a minute later. Another flag-kick caused problems for the Pilgrims and KING sent a firm header into the top corner from six yards out.
The Pilgrims stepped up a gear and Josh Burge had a 20-yarder held by Taylor, while Ogden’s cross-shot flashed agonisingly wide without a touch being applied.
Sergeant was introduced, with Tom James following shortly afterwards, as the Pilgrims moved to 4-4-2 and then 3-4-3 in pursuit of a route back into proceedings.
James scooped a header over from virtually underneath the crossbar following a Semple cross, while Sergeant was only fractionally off target with a 20-yarder.
Salvation finally arrived on 82 minutes when Ogden’s left-wing cross was nonchalantly guided home by the head of SERGEANT from 12 yards.
And United went on to grab a winner when James was fouled in the box and SERGEANT absolutely rammed home the resulting spot-kick to cap a dramatic finale.
Boston (4-3-3): Ricky Drury; Mark Thompson, Lewis Sturman, Scott Dawson, Nathan Rawdon (Tom James 76); Chris Hall, James Reed (Tom Sergeant 66), Josh Burge (Richard Jackson 84); Ryan Semple, Tony Edwards, Liam Ogden. Subs (not used): Mitch Eustace, Steve Lovett.
Nettleham (4-4-2): Nick Taylor; James Straw, Tom Moore, Lewis King, Matt Ward (Connor McLeish 89); Luke Jennings (Callum Dye 43), Gareth Symonds (Steve White 72), Paul Burgess, Chris Nuttell; Nigel Wallace, Josh Rowden.
Referee: Chris Hearn