Stamford Lions came from behind three times to eventually beat AFC Stanground 5-3 in a thrilling Peterborough League Premier Division encounter on Saturday.
The victory took James Sheehan’s back to the top of the table, although title rivals Moulton Harrox and Netherton both have games in hand to overhaul Lions’ one-point advantage.
Sheehan said: “There was a stage on Saturday when we just thought it wasn’t our day, we worked hard to win an almost bizarre game.
“I would not like to guess what the goals-to-chances ratio was in this match. We did things the hard way but in the end we were pleased to have secured the three points.”
Lions started the stronger of the two sides and nearly took an early lead when Tom Edwards raced away from the defence before cutting the ball back to teenage midfielder Zac Stevens who saw his shot well saved.
Edwards then had a shot tipped round the post by the Stanground keeper before Joe Lippett saw a long range effort hit the bar.
Kierran O’Shaughnessy also struck the post as the Stamford side were in control but failed to take the lead.
Stanground sprung an attack of their own midway through the half as a piercing long ball caught the Lions defence square and Josh Staggs made no mistake as he lifted the ball over John Swales to give the visitors a shock lead.
Lions continued to press and soon pulled level before the break with an excellent strike from captain Danny Sheehan as he fired in an unstoppable volley into the top corner.
The second half started with the expectation that the home side would continue the dominance.
But Lions were caught cold as Stanground came flying out for the second half and retook the lead with a low drive into the bottom corner.
The Stamford side upped the tempo and Edwards finished off a Luke Ball cross after a slick passing move opened up the defence.
Lions penned the visitors back and bombarded the goal with shots as Edwards fired into the side netting and Jack Travers saw a shot roll wide.
Ball had a shot bounce off the inside of the post and cleared off the line and, despite the forward’s pleas that the ball had crossed the line, the referee didn’t agree.
Sheehan then failed to repeat his earlier efforts, this time shooting over the bar from the edge of the box.
Lions were struggling to find the back of the net but Stanground were not suffering from the same problem.
As the ball was lost in midfield, a swift forward pass was picked up on the edge of the area and a shot was deflected into the bottom corner to give the Peterborough side the lead for the third time in the match.
Edwards was looking a frustrated figure as time and again he had been denied but, with 15 minutes left to play, he burst away from his marker and fired in his second of the game to draw the sides level once more.
Lions finally took the lead for the first time in the 80th minute when Ball turned in a Jake Walton cross and the crisis seemed to be averted.
Walton then finished off the scoring with an excellent solo effort as he drifted past his marker and slotted past the keeper to seal a 5-3 victory in a very entertaining game.