Grantham Town 3-3 Lincoln United
Action from Grantham Town's Boxing Day draw with Lincoln United, with Gingerbreads skipper Matt Tootle on the ball. Photo: Toby Roberts (61550531)
There was a lot of disillusionment amongst Grantham Town supporters at half time as another embarrassing defeat looked to be on the cards, with the Gingerbreads going into the break 3-1 down.
But despair turned to elation at the final whistle after the battling Gingerbreads scored twice in two minutes in injury time to make a draw seem more like a victory.
The Boxing Day Lincolnshire derby kicked off at a sunny Meres with wall-to-wall blue skies and the Gingerbreads playing into the wind in the first half.
The home side were undone early doors by the Whites' man-of-the-moment, Tobias Liversedge, who dribbled past several defenders before firing past Town goalkeeper Callum Hiddleston far too easily in only the second minute.
Grantham's first chance came in the sixth minute when Lee Shaw had a good run in on goal and forced Lincoln keeper Jack Steggles to tip the ball wide.
The Gingerbreads levelled the game a minute later when Ashton Hall put the ball into the back of the net following a Joe Stacey cross.
It was to be a short-lived stalemate though, with United regaining the lead in the 10th minute from ex-Gingerbread Kallum Smith's header.
Grantham were twice prevented from equalising a second time by Steggles, who tipped Kieran Hayes' close range effort round the post in the 11th minute and smothered the ball from a 17th minute goalmouth scramble following a Stacey free kick. Nathan Tyson was then unlucky to see his shot strike the Lincoln post on 19 minutes.
Town went two goals down in the 23rd minute, with another former Gingerbread, AJ Adelekan, heading in at the far post from a Matt Cotton corner kick.
Whites danger man Liversedge was running rings around the Town defence just before the half hour mark, laying the ball off finally to Jake Park who could only tip it straight to keeper Hiddleston.
Grantham had a couple of chances to pull a goal back in the 35th minute, with Tyson having two cross-cum-shots charged down in quick succession and then, two minutes later, Hayes lifted his effort over the United bar.
Lincoln's final opportunity to extend their lead further in the first half came on 39 minutes but Cotton's free kick sailed just wide of the far post.
With the wind now against them, United's second half game plan seemed to be one of out and out defence and they did not have a single shot throughout, with the Gingerbreads having chance after chance to close the gap.
Town's first real opportunity came on 54 minutes with a Hayes strike that tested Steggles' nerve. Debutant Declan Dunn had his shot charged down in the box two minutes later as the Whites continued to repel everything that Grantham threw at them, dispatching free kicks, corner kicks and shots.
Stacey got a good connection to a 71st minute cross but headed just wide of his target. Two minutes later, another header went narrowly wide as the diving Hall connected with Stacey's inswinging corner kick.
Town substitute Dan Cocks headed over in the 83rd minute as the chances continued to come.
Shaw's 86th minute shot zipped goalwards but Steggles managed to stick a foot out to prevent it going into the net.
A minute later, Josh Waldram's strike was blocked by the not inconsiderable girth of the United stopper, and seconds later Dunn headed over the bar.
The Gingerbreads were unable to get anything from a further corner and free kick, but the game changed as it went into added time.
Two minutes in, Town skipper Matt Tootle fired in a rocket of a shot from 20 yards that left Steggles flailing.
Grantham fans were on the edge of their seats as the clock ticked down, sensing a final, fairytale goal.
Brad Munns (61550428)
And it came when super sub Brad Munns came up for the second of Town's final minute corners and looped a header in from the edge of the box from Stacey's flag kick to signal euphoria in the stands from the Meres faithful, sending them home with smiles on their faces.
Grantham Town: Hiddleston, Tootle, Stacey, Hall, Jemson (Munns 80), McCrory, Hayes, Waldram, Shaw, Dunn, Tyson (Cocks 65). Subs not used: Leslie, Wright, Tait.