COVENTRY Sphinx came out on the wrong side of a nine-goal thriller to crash out of the FA Vase, falling at the hands of Hanley Town.
The thrilling second qualifying round clash, in which the lead changed hands three times, was a devastating one for Sphinx to lose late on after clawing back a 4-2 deficit to draw level, before conceding in the 92nd minute to lose 5-4.
Mackenzie Faulkner got proceedings underway with a strike into the bottom corner on 11 minutes, but were pegged back by the hosts just before the half-hour mark when Callum Woodward converted from the spot.
Sphinx then went in front in first-half stoppage time when Ryan Harkin burst through on goal, opened up the angle by beating the keeper and then finished into an empty net.
The visitors hit back just minutes after the restart however, putting a stop to any momentum that Coventry had when Kallum Boyle beat Tom Cross in the Sphinx goal.
It was a goal which turned the tables, allowing Hanley to dominate proceedings and go ahead for a second time through Chris Budrys before the hour mark.
Even with Hanley reduced to ten men, Josh Bristow still managed to double the visitors’ lead on 72 minutes, which seemingly put an end to any hopes that the hosts had left.
But when Woodward notched his second of the game with nine minutes remaining, again from the spot after a foul on Sean Kavanagh, it was very much game on again.
Six minutes later, an indirect free kick nudged into the path of Lewis Noon was blasted into the corner to restore parity and set Sphinx up to win the game in extra time.
But that prospect was dashed in the closing moments of stoppage time, when Tim Barras finished off a counter-attacking move to dump Sphinx out of the Vase.
Sphinx return to Midland Football League Premier Division action on Saturday (3pm), visiting Newark Flowserve.