NANTWICH Town fired three goals in the last seven minutes as Warrington Town threw away a 2-0 lead to go down 3-2.
Sean Cooke’s pinpoint free-kick in the fifth minute of injury-time completed a glorious turnaround for the visitors that looked highly unlikely when the Yellows doubled their lead barely 10 minutes previous.
There was no doubting that Nantwich’s enterprise deserved something from the game, but the Yellows will be extremely disappointed to have squandered the chance to go third in the table.
Nantwich set the tone from the outset, Wayne Riley blazing over inside three minutes having been gifted possession by a poor clearance from Karl Wills.
Wills made up for that error with a solid save from Theo Stair, who was to be a constant threat to the home defence.
But it was Warrington who were to break the deadlock, left-back Scott Metcalfe getting some space by the edge of the box and his cross was diverted home sharply by Lewis Codling at the near post.
It didn’t do much to change the pattern of the game, as Nantwich continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession and field position without doing too much with it.
They were restricted to long-range efforts from Cooke and left back Ibou Touray.
Warrington were dealt a blow on 36 minutes when Codling was forced off injured, though his replacement Scott Harries immediately forced a corner, his decent ball in turned behind with Simon Lenighan lurking at the back post.
It was Nantwich who finished the half in the same manner that they had played the rest of it, on top.
Right back Andy White cut inside and had a left-foot shot that deflected wide, before the best chance undoubtedly fell for Matthew Bell, who shinned the ball over the bar with only defenders in front of him after Wills had been lured out wide by Riley.
Warrington were brighter after the break and Metcalfe was starting to enjoy some success down the left hand side.
His blistering run from back to front created a chance for Harries, who curled his shot just wide of the far post.
Another chance fell for Peter Wylie, the right back hitting a shot wide of the angle of bar and post after the excellent Lenighan had broken things up in midfield.
Still Nantwich dictated the tempo, without being able to find the decisive moment in the final third.
And it looked to prove costly when on 78 minutes, Michael Grogan got up at the back post to nod back a corner where Lenighan and James McCarten were queuing up, the latter eventually tapping the ball in from eight yards.
That looked like it might be enough for Warrington, whose defence continued to be resolute in the face of Nantwich’s dominant offence.
As it was, it was the first real wobble of the match from the Yellows defence that paved a way back in to the match for their local rivals.
Confusion between McCarten and Wills resulted in a left-wing cross needlessly kept in play instead of finding the goalkeeper’s hands, and from the resulting ball in, all Grogan could do was tee it up for Cooke who didn’t need a second invitation to bury the ball in the bottom corner.
That gave Nantwich the momentum, and belief, they needed and on 87 minutes they were level, Curtis Jones getting above Grogan to power home a header and it was 2-2.
It seemed that a point might be enough for Nantwich, as it was Warrington who looked most likely in the closing minutes.
That was until the dying seconds, Stair released through the middle and forcing a one-on-one save from Wills, though Nantwich managed to force a free-kick on the edge of the box such was the nature of Warrington’s desperate defence.
Up-stepped Cooke, from 20 yards, and he curled it right-footed high in to the top left corner of the goal, leaving no chance for the goalkeeper, to secure a fine comeback win.
Warrington are back in action at home again on Saturday when they face Corby Town.
Warrington Town: Wills, Wylie, Metcalfe, Ventre, McCarten, Shaw (Grogan), Codling (Harries), Kinsella (Winder), Kilheeney, Gillespie, Lenighan. Unused subs: Nicholas, Cook.
Nantwich Town: Parton, White, Touray, Jones, Harrison, Bell (Hancock), Riley, Hall, Brooke, Cooke, Stair. Unused subs: Abadaki, Walker, Gordon, Bourne.