Charlie Raglan netted the winner on his home debut as Cheltenham Town staged a remarkable second half comeback against ten-man Macclesfield to secure three massive points at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
The visitors finished the first half two goals to the good after goals from Michael Rose and Scott Wilson but went off a man down after Nathan Cameron prevented Jacob Maddox running in on goal.
But a brilliant second half display saw Luke Varney, Maddox and Raglan get on the scoresheet to win the match for Cheltenham in arguably the most entertaining match of the season so far.
Robins boss Michael Duff made three changes as Jordon Forster, Maddox, and Alex Addai came into the starting eleven.
After a cagey opening ten minutes, the visitors opened the contest through Michael Rose who converted from the spot after Robins stopper Scott Flinders had taken out Scott Wilson.
The Robins were handed an advantage just moments later; Macclesfield defender Nathan Cameron threw out an arm to stop the onrushing Maddox latching onto the bouncing ball, which compelled referee Anthony Backhouse to show Cameron a red card.
But it was the visitors who, out of nowhere doubled the lead after a poor pass from Cheltenham keeper Flinders fell to visiting forward Scott Wilson, who chipped the ball over the onrushing stopper to give Macclesfield a two-goal advantage.
Luke Varney tested Kieran O’Hara’s handling with fifteen minutes of the first half remaining after he turned well to produce a stinging effort at goal, but the visiting keeper held onto it well to stop Cheltenham getting back into the game.
A sad moment followed in the match after Jordon Forster fell awkwardly after a collision with a Macclesfield attacker which stopped the flow of the game and consequently meant the Robins defender was stretchered off.
Varney came inches closer to giving Cheltenham a lifeline after a good turn of pace by Alex Addai got him to the byline, but Varney failed to convert his low cross into the six-yard-box.
Substitute Kevin Dawson had the last chance of the half when he stretched to get on the end of a mishit from Chris Clements, but he failed to get a strike on target as the Robins went in at the break two goals down.
Cheltenham came storming into the second half and made a change when forward Billy Waters came on to replace Conor Thomas.
Waters did well to head a throw-in onto the onrushing Dawson, and his fierce drive forced O’Hara to fumble his effort away.
The Robins were back in the game too courtesy of a fabulous effort from Varney. Following some good build-up play down the right from Ryan Broom, the wing-back curled a cross into the area which was met spectacularly by Varney with a scissor kick to put the Robins back in the game.
It was nearly a copy of the Forest Green Rovers game as Cheltenham went on the hunt for an equaliser, but Maddox hit his effort straight at O’Hara – he made no mistake though in levelling the contest just minutes later.
Full-back Chris Hussey put a looping cross to the back post which Varney headed down into the path of Maddox, and the attacking midfielder volleyed the ball into the ground and into back of the net as Cheltenham got a deserved equaliser.
Cheltenham’s push for a winning goal ensued and visiting stopper O’Hara was certainly kept busy as he watched Alex Addai’s stinging effort fly past the post, and he did well to tip over a Clements free-kick which was heading for the top corner.
The brilliant saves continued for O’Hara as he somehow managed to deny Dawson from point-blank range, but he could do nothing to stop the Robins completing the comeback.
After a Cheltenham corner fizzled out to the edge of the area, Addai was waiting to curl the ball back into the danger zone and defender Charlie Raglan managed to scramble the ball over the line to complete the turn around and send the Robins faithful into raptures behind the goal.
The fifth goal of the game turned out to be the last bit of key action and it was a resilient defensive display from the Robins defence between then and the end of the match, but they held on to secure three massive points in their bid to secure safety.
ROBINS: Flinders, Broom, Tozer, Raglan, Forster (Dawson 38’), Hussey, Thomas (Waters 45’), Clements, Addai, Maddox (Pring 90’), Varney. Subs not used: Lovett, Mullins, Alcock.
MACCLESFIELD: O’Hara, Hodgkiss, Kelleher, Marsh, Wilson, Smith (Cole ‘45+5), Welch-Hayes, Maycock, Arthur (Evans 7’ – Lowe 25’), Rose, Cameron. Subs not used: Idem, Fitzpatrick, Vincenti, Andoh.
REFEREE: A. Backhouse
ATTENDANCE: 3,041 (242 away)