LISMORE Workers showed their ability to lift under pressure with three goals in the final 12 minutes allowing them to snatch a dramatic 5-3 home win over a plucky Ballina in Far North Coast premier league soccer.
The Redmen scored after just two minutes through Jamie Hill and a second goal came from Shaun McDonald not long after.
But Ballina clawed one back by half-time when David Bowder steered in a free kick and they drew level when Dave Betterridge scored from another set play just after the break.
The Seahorses took an unlikely lead when Justin Stockham capitalised on some sloppy defence.
With less than 15 minutes remaining Workers needed something special - and they rose to the occasion with a withering finish.
First the Redmen drew level with a booming volley from McDonald, before a clinical finish from Bill Latimer regained the lead.
The two combined to put the icing on the cake with a whipping cross from Latimer cleverly deflected into the net by McDonald, wrapping up his first hat-trick and a memorable fightback.
"Ballina gave us a real scare," Workers coach Scott Collis said. "Their set pieces caused us some problems, but our boys decided they would not give up and showed great character to finish the way they did."
Lismore Thistles ended a two-game losing streak in style with a 9-0 home thrashing of cellar-dweller Tintenbar-East Ballina keeping them in the top three.
Matt Armstrong, Ryan Parmenter and Nathan McCann all scored doubles.
Tintenbar remains on the foot of the ladder and to avoid relegation needs to overtake Goonellabah, which is just three points ahead after a 4-1 home loss to Lennox Head.
The Sharks led 2-0 by the break thanks to a brace from Paul Kirkland and, despite having Conan Griffiths sent off, they went on with the job.
Richmond Rovers consolidated second place at the expense of Alstonville's semi-final hopes with a 4-2 away win yesterday.
Rovers led 2-0 but Villa had equalised by the break.
Joanthon See proved to be the match-winner with two second-half goals.
Competition leaders Byron Bay will take on neighbours Bangalow tomorrow night to complete the round.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.