Lancaster City let a two-goal lead slip in stoppage time as bottom of the table Padiham snatched a dramatic point at Giant Axe on Tuesday night.
Tom Woods’ second of the night on 89 minutes looked to have secured back-to-back wins as Darren Peacock’s side took a 3-1 lead.
But an earlier clash of heads meant seven minutes of stoppage time were played with a patched up City defence exposed as excellent finishes from Thomas Bradley and Robbie Bromley made it a night to forget for the Dolly Blues.
Peacock’s side had led 2-0 through two goals from Woods and Jacob Davis.
Accrington Stanley loanee James Jenkins pulled a goal back for the visitors, who had former Blackpool striker Brett Ormerod making his debut, after a Mike Hale error but Woods’ late strike looked to have sealed the points.
But after a crazy finale, with Padiham’s goals coming in the 91st and 92nd minutes, City were left hanging on for a point.
Their cause was not helped by a string of defensive absentees, without captain Neil Marshall, Rob Henry, Gavin Clark and Ryan Elderton, Peacock also saw goal scorer Davis limp off in the run up to Padiham’s first goal.
The hosts were well worth their first half lead however.
Ryan Winder fired just wide on the quarter hour, Tom Kilifin stung the palms of Ross Dawson with the Padiham ‘keeper also rushing out to deny Lee Dodgson before City got their noses in front on 37 minutes.
Dodgson turned provider and his right-wing cross allowed Woods to slide in and score from close range.
It was two on 41 minutes when the impressive Davis rose highest to head home Ryan Winder’s right-wing corner.
After a scrappy start to the second period City came close to making it three either side of the hour mark, Sam Bailey testing Dawson from distance before the Padiham ‘keeper scrambled to save substitute Josh Donnelly’s follow-up.
Dawson was called into action again two minutes later, saving from an under-pressure Ryan Winder who had taken Aaron Taylor’s pass in his stride.
The Blues should have been out of sight but weren’t and Padiham got themselves back into the game on 68 minutes, Hale spilling Dominic Craig’s shot from distance with Jenkins on hand to hammer home from close range.
Davis limped off injured in the build up the goal with Billy Akrigg, already playing out of position at right back, forced into duty at centre back.
It was no surprise City looked vulnerable and the visitors spurned an excellent chance to draw level 15 minutes from time, Bradley firing over from 10 yards after the ball had dropped to him in the box.
Shortly after Taylor should have restored the hosts’ two-goal lead but could only send his free header over after Kilifin’s cross from the left.
A clash of heads between City’s Ben Hudson and Craig Haynes brought a lengthy stoppage before the Dolly Blues appeared to make the game safe when Woods again converted from close range, this time after excellent wing play from Donnelly.
No-one could have predicted the carnage to come as first Bradley fired a fine half-volley from the edge of the area into the top corner before Bromley hammered home from 18 yards as Peacock’s side failed to clear their lines.
Substitute Bromley then nearly won it with a free-kick deeper into stoppage as City were remarkably forced to cling on for a point on a night that encapsulated their season so far.
Lancaster City: Hale, Akrigg, Hudson, Davis (Orfally-Alzubaidi), Bailey, Dodgson (Donnelly), Hunter (capt), Winder, Kilifin, Woods, Taylor. Subs not used: Birch, Hoyle, Donlon.
Padiham: Dawson, Clarke (Bromley), Wilks (Walsh), Haynes (Willoughby), Murphy, Young, Balazs, Craig, Jenkins, Ormerod, Bradley. Subs not used: Hudson, Sharples.