An incredible match was won 8-3 by tabletopping tile-chasers BULWELL -- after they trailed 2-0 with only eight minutes of the first half left.
Stunned by Derby outfit Allenton United, The Bulls hit back with four goals in 24 minutes to lead 4-2.
And then after a red card for the home side, they went on the charge again with four more strikes in the last ten minutes.
The drama kept Bulwell two points clear at the head of the Central Midlands League, South Division table with just five games to play. Clifton All Whites and South Normanton Athletic continue to breathe down their necks, but they still have to play each other.
The afternoon could not have started more badly for Terry Witts’s troops.
First they learned that both of their overseas stars, Emmaneul Kashila-Kanyinda and Ako Abdullah, had returned to their homelands of Belgium and Kurdistan respectively.
And then, having crashed 3-0 to Allenton earlier in the season, they found themselves two down in the opening 17 minutes.
First, an excellent cross from the left found Steve O’Connell unmarked to head home at the far post. And then after wasting a simple tap-in, Shaun Roberts added a second, smashing home from close range when Bulls’ wideman Jamie Walker failed to track back.
Walker made amends with a couple of goals in the final eight minutes of the first half that tipped the match on its head.
First, Ross McCaughey produced a pinpoint ball for Walker to coolly slot across the ‘keeper into the bottom corner. And then man-of-the-match Ryan Bowen showed terrific footwork down the right to set up a chance for striker Connor Croft, whose effort came out off the ‘keeper for Walker to slot home.
The goals left Bulwell off the hook for a poor half. But they started the second period like a house on fire.
Croft put them in front, netting from close range when Walker’s shot was saved, and a quickly-taken free-kick by McCaughey found Bowen, who drilled home.
As the action refused to relent, Allenton were gifted a lifeline at 4-3 when Bulls’ ‘keeper James Wheat somehow let an innocuous effort from Danny Briscoe to go through his hands and under his body.
But within minutes, Briscoe had returned the favour by getting himself sent off for his over-vociferous reaction to a 50-50 challenge by visiting skipper Dwayne Soar. Bulwell duly took full advantage by running riot in the closing stages.
Substitute Marek Vipond scored twice within minutes of going on for the injured Croft, slotting home after Bowen had again shown his full-back a clean pair of heels and then firing home.
And two more goals followed in injury-time as Ian Marley found the roof of the net from an acute angle and then Bowen capped a virtuoso display with a cool finish from eight yards.