A LAST-GASP penalty snatched a crucial three points for Salisbury Hockey Club Men’s firsts in a topsy-turvy goal fest with rock-bottom University of Portsmouth.

Edging the 5-4 bonanza keeps the Lower Bemerton outfit on the coat-tails of leaders Gillingham in Hampshire Division 1 with three games to play.

Salisbury took the lead early on after Josh Willerton found Akram Ghuari unmarked at the back post to tap home.

They looked to be in control but two quickfire goals from the visitors saw them sneak their noses in front.

Ghuari then grabbed his second to restore parity, which was a carbon copy finish to his earlier effort, before captain Andy Renshaw jinked his way past three students and finished from a narrow angle.

Salisbury couldn’t hold onto their lead going into the break as a contentious penalty corner was dispatched by the visitors to level the scores at 3-3.

In the second half, Portsmouth took the lead with a sharp breakaway goal after some sloppy play from the home side. With both sides seeing men sent to the sin bin as the game started to lack discipline, it was Salisbury who capitalised. Last week’s hat-trick hero Tom Morton kept his goal scoring exploits going when he hammered a low strike into the corner.

And another mazy run from Renshaw almost produced the winner but this time his shot bounced out of the post, Willerton collected the rebound but his effort could only be stopped on the line by a foot. Morton stepped up and, although the keeper got a hand to it, the ball found its way into the top corner.

“We made life difficult for ourselves, we produced some really good stuff from an attacking point of view but defensively we caused ourselves problems,” he said.

“To get a winner so late on was vital and credit to the lads for getting back into the game from 4-3 down.”