Cambridge United suffered a late fight back against League Two high flyers Notts County, who clawed back a three goal deficit in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Meadow Lane.
A stunning strike from Uche Ikpeazu had given United a half time lead before an equally impressive brace by Jevani Brown put the U’s into a clear three goal advantage, before Lewis Alessandra, Shaun Brisley and Jonathan Forte netted in the final quart of the game.
United lined with two changes, as Uche Ikpeazu and Leon Legge returned for Shaun Derry’s side which saw Greg Taylor take up a midfield role, due to injuries throughout the squad.
United showed good early grit in the game, as the Magpies clearly high on confidence looked to test David Forde. The keeper was kept quiet though as the U’s stayed firm, before the first chance of the match fell to Uche Ikpeazu at the other end of the field, but his attempt at the near post was cut out by a covering County defender.
Former Newcastle United man Shola Ameobi squirmed a shot through the legs of Jake Carroll on 15 minutes, and Forde showed sharp reactions at his near post to redirect the effort away from goal.
Jon Stead too went close for the hosts with a diving header which struck Forde on the chest, before the Irishman calmly dived on the loose ball.
And as a heated first half continued it was the U’s who looked the more dangerous on the attack, and the more determined with high quality performances right across the field giving Shaun Derry’s men a strong foot hold in the match.
The persistence paid off five minutes before the break, when the man that had stretched the Magpies continuously throughout the opening half, Ade Azeez, linked well with his strike partner Ikpeazu who duly cut on to his left foot and planted a peach into the top corner past the helpless Ross Fitzsimons.
United were two to the good within five minutes of the restart. Jevani Brown picked up a loose ball on the edge of the 18 yard box following a United corner, before rattling a shot off the inside of the post and into the net.
The game opened up for the remainder of the fixture as Notts pushed forward looking to break down the U’s, who themselves were finding further opportunities on the counter attack.
Ameobi looked to be in prime position to peg a goal back for the hosts when Jorge Grant’s attempt fizzed towards the striker inside the U’s six yard box, where he missed the ball completely.
However the U’s looked to have put the game to bed as a contest on 78 minutes when Brown again appeared in the right place at the right time, before producing impeccable technique to volley home a knock down from Uche Ikpeazu and send the travelling Amber Army into wild celebrations once more.
But the game flipped on it’s head when the hosts pulled their first goal back through substitute Lewis Alessandra with 15 minutes remaining, heading in at the far post from a deep Jorge Grant cross.
Shaun Brisley’s shot took a wild deflection minutes later, in which the ball looped over Forde in the United net to set up a nervy end to the game. And substitute Joanthan Forte delivered the final blow with moments of stoppage time remaining, producing an overhead kick to level for the Magpies in a barnstorming encounter.
Notts County: Fitzsimons, Tootle, Dickenson (Jones, 60 mins), Hewitt, Duffy, Ameobi, Grant, Hawkridge (Alessandra, 60 mins), Brisley, Yates, Stead (Forte, 73 mins)
Cambridge United: Forde, Halliday, Carroll, Legge, Taft, Brown, Elito, Taylor, Maris (Osadebe, 83 mins), Ikpeazu, Azeez