Northampton Town loan striker Joe Iaciofano hit a hat-trick for AFC Mansfield, but it was in vain as they went down to a remarkable 8-3 defeat at Morpeth Town.
Four goals in the final seven minutes put an unexpected slant on the Northern Premier League East Division match after the Bulls had battled hard to stay in contention against the leaders.
The visitors bravely fought back from 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 down to threaten taking a point at the high-flying Evo-Stik hosts before the late collapse.
Rudi Funk’s men were 2-0 down after just 10 minutes as Chris Reid and Sean Taylor struck.
Iaciofano hit the first of his treble eight minutes later, only for a Jonathan D’Laryea own goal to restore the leaders’ two-goal advantage.
Iaciofano converted the first of two successful penalties in the 38th minute, but the Bulls’ hopes of drawing level were dashed on half-time when David Carson made it 4-2 on half-time.
Iaciofano completed his hat-trick from the spot in the 57th minute and for almost half an hour the match was in the balance.
But in the final seven minutes Carson completed a hat-trick, and Jack Foalle and Reid again all netted.