Sincil Bank was the place to be in the Third Division play-off semi-finals yesterday, with Lincoln City emerging 5-3 winners of a thrilling first-leg contest against Scunthorpe United.
While 10-man Bury were holding Bournemouth to a goalless draw at Gigg Lane in the other semi-final, Lincoln's Simon Yeo was the hero of the hour, coming off the bench to score two sweet goals in the last eight minutes to give his side the edge.
Scunthorpe must have thought they had done enough to claim a draw after coming back from 3-1 down in the second half. Alex Calvo-Garcia and Nathan Stanton dragged them back to level terms before Yeo's double.
Lincoln opened the scoring after 15 minutes through Simon Weaver. Stuart Benson floated in a free-kick that lured Tommy Evans off his line. The Scunthorpe goalkeeper was caught in no man's land and Weaver headed home from close range.
Five minutes later Lincoln extended their lead through Paul Mayo's fine volley, but Scunthorpe soon replied through Calvo-Garcia.
Lincoln added a third goal after 54 minutes when Dean Cropper cut the ball back to Paul Smith, who swept the ball in from close range.
Then came Scunthorpe's mini-revival, but Yeo's introduction after 72 minutes was to prove pivotal. With seven minutes remaining, the substitute allowed a long ball into the area to bounce once before driving it decisively past Evans. And in injury time, a remarkable win was complete with Yeo's half-volley from 12 yards.
At Gigg Lane, Bournemouth were unable to take advantage of Bury's indiscipline as Andy Preece's side survived the first-half dismissal of Jamie Stuart to earn a deserved draw. The Shakers dominated the opening 45 minutes, but the game turned in first-half injury time when Stuart was sent off for lashing out at Bournemouth's Wade Elliott.
The south coast side then piled on the pressure but Danny Thomas and Carl Fletcher both wasted excellent chances as Bury held on.