A Lewis Wilson goal deep into stoppage time helped Bideford salvage a point against Thatcham Town in the Southern League Division One South.
Wilson smashed home for his first goal for the Robins in the 95th minute for it to finish 2-2 at the Sports Ground.
Thatcham, who took the lead twice in the second half through Conor Lynch, had been reduced to nine men inside the final 15 minutes as George Smith and Kieran Jordan received second bookings.
Lynch’s first came six minutes into the second half before Adam Carter levelled things up with 20 minutes remaining.
Lynch gave Thatcham the lead again from the penalty spot a couple of minutes later before the quickfire red cards, which led to the Robins going all-out in a bid to salvage something from the game.
It means Bideford are still searching for their first win of the league season, with four points from their opening six games.
Both teams went into the game with nothing in the win column and neither raced out of the blocks in a match that was played in the middle third for most of the opening half-hour.
Things didn’t really click for Bideford going forward either, through a mixture of loose passing and physical defending from the visitors, who were often on the end of any second balls.
Neither Liam Kingston nor George Legg saw too much of the ball early on, but it was Legg who was the busier keeper as the half wore on.
Charlie Lawrence had multiple efforts from the edge of the penalty area, and while his first and second efforts were high then wide, a third forced Legg into action to tip the ball over the bar.
Ryan Turner and Carter both went close for the hosts too, with the latter forcing a good save from Legg.
Joe Charles’s shot in the penalty area forced a save from Legg five minutes into the second half, but seconds later it was Thatcham who had the lead. Lynch wriggled in behind the Bideford defence as the visitors went from one end to the other, and he squeezed a low shot underneath Kingston as he came out to meet him.
Bideford brought on Tiegen Rosenquest and Wilson to freshen things up going forward and eventually hauled themselves level with 20 minutes remaining. Aaron Taylor’s long free kick was nodded back across goal by George Nancekivell and into the path of Carter, who headed home from inside the six yard box.
The parity wasn’t to last long though and within two minutes Thatcham had the lead again. A defensive mix-up led to James Mayne bringing Lynch down in the penalty area. The striker dusted himself down and stepped up to take the penalty, and while Kingston was able to get a hand to the spot-kick to his right, it ultimately settled in the bottom corner.
From there the match descended into madness as Thatcham’s 11 men became nine in a matter of minutes. Both Smith and Jordan were given their marching orders by referee Stacey Ford for second bookings, and both could have been avoided.
Smith’s second yellow came in the 79th minute after he kicked the ball away not long before Jordan refused to relinquish the football as substitute Javan Wright looked to to get the game moving.
When Niall Heeney headed straight at Legg in the 90th minute it looked as though it wasn’t going to happen for the Robins, but deep into stoppage time, with Kingston playing passes from the halfway line, it eventually broke for Wilson, who with space in the penalty area, smashed the ball past the Thatcham goalkeeper.
Bideford: Kingston, Taylor, Byrne (Rosenquest 66), Charles (Wilson 61), Mayne, Down, Nancekivell, Heeney, Carter, Turner, Lawrence (Wright 77). Subs not used: Milton, Wood.
Thatcham Town: Legg, Gwavava, Pettet, Koroma, Voller, Smith, Fragata (Miller 83) , Branker (Newbrook 75), Lynch, Alves (Darboe79), Jordan. Subs not used: Miller, Harry, Pagliaroli.