Farnborough Town and Morecambe produced a memorable afternoon of attacking football, as bright and creative as the Blackpool illuminations just ten miles down the Lancashire coast.
Steve Watson, villain on Tuesday night after his sending-off at Aldershot, turned hero this time round after his 89th minute equaliser maintained Boro's five-match unbeaten away run.
Boro chief Graham Westley reverted to a three-man central defence, with Jim Rodwell returning from injury alongside Nathan Bunce and Barry Laker, while Garry Butterworth returned in midfield, and Rocky Baptiste replaced Ken Charlery who was sidelined with a calf injury.
The opening 25 minutes gave no clue as to the excitement that would follow, as Boro dealt easily with a Morecombe attack featuring nine-goal Wayne Curtis, the main threat coming down the Boro left where Lee Elam and Gary Thompson posed early questions of Justin Gregory.
Ryan Zico Black, who had represented Northern Ireland under 21's in the Ukraine last week, was also causing problems with his darting probing runs. But slowly, and largely through the efforts of Danny Carroll and the driving force of Watson, Farnborough began to take control, and should have gone ahead on 37 minutes.
Watson's quickly taken free kick caught the Morecambe defence napping, but Lenny Piper, clean through, shot straight at keeper Craig Mawson.
A minute later, Gregory's cross was met by Carroll whose header was tipped onto the cross bar by the busy Mawson. Almost immediately a poor back pass by Shrimps' left back Lee Colkin was intercepted by Piper who raced clear but again shot straight at Mawson.
As the game began to ebb and flow, Curtis found himself unmarked inside the Boro 18 yard box, but his goal bound drive from 12 yards was brilliantly turned aside by Tony Pennock plunging low to his right, and this was to be the first of several top drawer saves by the Boro keeper.
The second half began in much the same vein with Piper latching on to a superb through ball from Watson, but he fired wide, again, with just the keeper to beat.
However this appeared to galvanise the Shrimps into action, and with skipper Stewart Drummond starting to stamp his authority in midfield, Morecambe poured forward, and in a 20-minute spell, Pennock was called on to keep Boro in the match with a string of outstanding saves.
But the keeper had no chance on 70 minutes, when Adriano Rigoglioso, a former Liverpool Youth player who played with Michael Owen in the 1999 FA Youth Cup Final, fired home a 25-yard free kick — the Farnborough wall leaving Pennock clearly unsighted.
Pennock kept Boro in the match with a brilliant double save on 76 minutes, denying Colkin and Rigoglioso in quick succession as Morecambe looked for the decisive second.
The disappointing Baptiste had already been replaced by Dean Green, and the tiring Carroll by Gary Holloway, but it was the arrival of Chris Piper for the quietly effective Butterworth on 73 minutes which proved to be the key substitution — one which brought rewards a minute from time.
Following a spell of pressure, Chris Piper controlled well just inside the 18 yard box, crossed inside to Watson, and the Boro skipper fired home from 12 yards for his first Conference goal, and a thoroughly deserved equaliser.
BORO: Pennock; Warner, Gregory, Bunce Laker, Rodwell, Watson, Carroll (sub Holloway 66mins), Butterworth (C.Piper 73) L.Piper, Baptiste (Green 65). Not used: O'Shea, Osborn.
Ref: R Pollock. Att: 1,024.