Waitakere United needed five minutes and 20 seconds of added time to snatch a sensational last gasp 3-2 victory over a brave YoungHeart Manawatu at Fred Taylor Park.
Manawatu held the lead from the 52nd minute and it wasn't until the 78th minute that Waitakere drew level.
In a frantic extra five minutes the Manawatu defence and goalkeeper Ross Nicholson parried shot after shot before Brent Fisher finally stabbed the ball into the net from a goalmouth melee for the win.
Manawatu coach Bob Sova and his team were devastated.
They had given as good as they got against the former champions and to come away with nothing seemed rough justice.
To be honest, they had their chances to make the game safe. But then Waitakere's fightback in the closing stages was impressive.
It took 34 minutes for the first goal after a series of near misses.
Aaron Scott made ground from the back and found Fisher, who had two shots blocked before he nodded home a header from a rebound.
Manawatu were level seven minutes later. Waitakere defender Tim Myers tried a backheader to his goalkeeper from a long freekick but Seule Soromon nipped in and scored.
Seven minutes after the break Manawatu went ahead. A long goal kick found Soromon and his cross was expertly slotted home by Campbell Banks.
Soromon, Banks and Cory Chettleburgh all had chances to increase the lead but splendid goalkeeping by Danny Robinson and some last-ditch defending kept them out.
Gradually Waitakere began to gain some control. First Allan Pearce bounced a shot off the crossbar.
Then in the 78th minute Tim Myers had the final say after two corners had been scrambled clear.
It was mostly one way before Fisher's final flourish but Soromon drew a diving save from Robinson and Scott injured a leg and had to be carried off after a saving tackle on Jimmy Haidakis.
"We're heartbroken," said Sova. "We created enough to go ahead and they had a good spell to get back. But I thought we were the better team over 90 minutes.
"This puts us second to bottom and we're better than that. We're creating the chances but we're not putting them away."
Sova singled out defender Caleb Duncan on his NZFC debut for praise. He acknowledged Soromon's danger to the opposition but would have liked him to put away more of the chances created for him.
Waitakere player-coach Neil Emblen played three-quarters of the game on his recovery from a knee injury and he had sympathy for Sova.
"I feel sorry for Bob," he said. "His team played quality football and but for some good goalkeeping they could have scored more. But then we had plenty of chances towards the end.
"We really missed Roy (Krishna) and Benji (Totori) through suspension.
Those two give you that extra spark. Given that, this result was a bonus."
Emblen also had reassuring news about Scott, who he said had a dead
leg and should be fit to play against Auckland City next weekend.
1 Danny Robinson (GK)
1 Ross Nicholson (GK)
3 Aaron Scott (88 mins Rowley)
11 Scott Robson (Smith 80)
4 Tim Myers
10 Adam Cowan
7 Martin Bullock
15 Caleb Duncan
8 Brent Fisher
13 Nathan Cooksley
10 Allan Pearce
2 Nobuyoshi Ishi (Haidakis 84}
11 Neil Sykes
16 Raf de Gregorio
16 Neil Emblen (Pelter 74)
6 Matt Kennedy
17 Jake Butler
21 Cory Chettleburgh
18 Zane Sole (de Vries 59)
9 Seule Soromon
19 Dakota Lucas
23 Campbell Banks (Benson 86)
2 Jason Rowley
19 Matt Borren
15 Craig Wylie
14 Marco Paracchini
20 Ryan de Vries
22 Daniel Benson
21 Jack Pelter
20 Jimmy Haidakis
22 Liam Little (RGK)
3 Matt Smith
=2 yellow cards
= red card