West Bromwich Albion scored twice in the last six minutes to snatch a draw with automatic Championship promotion hopefuls Huddersfield Town.
The Terriers looked on course for a comfortable win after two goals from top scorer Danny Ward, the first of them a nightmare for Albion keeper Sam Johnstone.
But Albion dramatically turned it round with their first two goals in four home games.
First they got a lifeline from Karlan Grant’s fortuitous 84th-minute penalty and, barely a minute later, defender Semi Ajayi crossed for substitute Andy Carroll to head in a dramatic Baggies equaliser.
Huddersfield’s 17th straight league game without defeat lifted them back up to second in the Championship table. But Bournemouth, who have four games in hand, only have to avoid defeat at home by strugglers Derby on Saturday, to go back above them.
Albion are now seven points outside the play-offs – and, depending on Saturday’s results, may be even further behind going into next Tuesday night’s home clash with runaway leaders Fulham. But it looked for most of the evening as if Albion had gifted victory to Carlos Corberan’s Terriers.
After going close in the fourth minute when visiting keeper Lee Nicholls parried Alex Mowatt’s fierce left-foot volley, Albion then handed Town their 24th-minute opener.
Johnstone was way too casual in dealing with a backpass from Kyle Bartley and his attempted clearance cannoned into the advancing Ward as he closed down and flew straight in off his heel into the back of the net – the Terriers top scorer’s first goal in 11 games.
The Albion keeper then also could have done better for Huddersfield’s second, just after substitute Carroll’s introduction.
Huddersfield got away with a suspect challenge on Carroll, broke upfield and, when Johnstone could only parry Lewis O’Brien’s low shot, Ward’s low finish appeared to have secured victory.
That looked to be that, but the comeback began when Sorba Thomas was harshly penalised when he attempted to clear on the edge of the box with a raised boot as Mowatt ducked into a stooping header.
Grant stuck away the penalty then, almost straight from the restart in Albion’s next attack, Carroll got on the end of Ajayi’s right-wing cross and the former England striker’s header found the bottom left corner.
Even then Grant came close to winning it against his old club when his right-foot half-volley hit the crossbar, before Carroll came to the rescue at the other end with a brave headed goal-line clearance from fellow sub Tino Anjurin.
West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Bruce told BBC Radio WM:
“When you’re two down at home with five minutes left you’re grateful to get a point. But we’re actually a little bit disappointed as we gifted them two goals. Sam made a mistake but it’s how he reacts that matters. I’m sure he’ll have a sleepless night, but I’m sure he’s made mistakes before and I’m sure he’ll get over it.
“We started well, then made that mistake and you could feel the atmosphere change. We gave them the second goal as well. But it’s how you respond to mistakes that counts. And we showed a bit of spirit and fight. We didn’t give it up, which we did against Swansea. And, in the end, it turned into one of those crazy nights you get in the Championship.
“Andy Carroll took his chance well, as he does, but I didn’t expect it to be Semi Ajayi crossing the ball in for him. That gives us a bit of hope going into next week against Fulham. We certainly can’t be giving the best side in the division a two-goal lead, that’s for sure.”
Huddersfield head coach Carlos Corberan:
“It was very obvious we were better than them during 80 minutes, but the penalty changed the emotion of the game. We could have avoided it.
“From my view from the bench I did not see a penalty. Sorba touched the ball, but it’s not easy for the referee. But that’s why people love football, because these things happen.
“We had defended very well in the previous 80 minutes. But the penalty changed the game and the fact they scored fast could have cost us all the points, but we could even have got all three.”