Nottingham Forest produced a stunning injury-time comeback to secure a well-deserved point in a 2-2 draw with Hull City at Eastwood Community Football Club.
The Reds had trailed 2-0 to goals from Emily Smith and Rebecca Beech and when Annabel McKechnie came off the bench to score in the second minute of stoppage time, it looked set to be only a consolation for Andy Cook's side in a match they had dominated.
There was to be further stoppage-time drama as Niamh Reynolds was brought down inside the Hull penalty area and Rosie Axten stepped up to coolly covert the spot-kick and ensure Forest would leave with a share of the spoils at the end of an entertaining contest.
Andy Cook made two changes to the side beaten 2-1 at Huddersfield Town as Charlotte Steggles and Sydnie Naylor were brought into the fold in place of Lucy Johnson and Rachel Brown who were both unavailable.
Axten was involved twice early on as her first-time effort was deflected wide before she set up Georgia Hewitt inside the penalty area but the defender's shot went narrowly wide of the target.
It was proving to be an entertaining and open affair at Eastwood CFC as Bex Rayner curled a terrific effort just wide of the post before Smith almost opened the scoring for the visitors but her long-range strike came back off Aja Aguirre's crossbar and Forest were able to clear the danger.
Forest were imposing themselves on the contest and had two good opportunities to hit the front midway through the first half. Rayner's first-time shot from Naylor's cross was beaten away but City goalkeeper Abi Wallace before Naylor's dipping 30-yard strike narrowly cleared the target.
Some great goalkeeping from Wallace denied The Reds the opening goal on the stroke of half-time as Rayner’s shot looked certain to find the back of the net. The midfielder carried the ball into the box and fired a powerful shot towards goal but Wallace did superbly to push the effort up and onto the woodwork to ensure it was goalless at the break.
It was a chaotic opening to the second half as a powerful free-kick from Steggles was well saved by Wallace before Smith gave City the advantage. Having collected the ball just outside Forest's penalty area, Smith's initial shot crashed off the crossbar but she kept her composure and rifled the ball beyond Aguirre at the second attempt to put the visitors in front.
Beech doubled Hull’s advantage only six minutes later with a wonder strike. The striker was able to find time and space inside the Forest half and having controlled the ball on her chest, she turned a hit a delightful half-volley that looped over Aguirre's head and into the top right-hand corner of the net.
The Reds were throwing everything at their opponents in a bid to get back into the contest and there were good opportunities for Raynet who hit the crossbar with a floated free-kick, McKechnie who saw her low shot well saved by Wallace's feet and Katie Middleton whose drilled effort went wide of the target.
Forest found a route back into the game in the second minute of second-half stoppage time through McKechnie's close-range finish. Lyndsey Harkin floated a well-weight ball into the Hull penalty area and as both the goalkeeper and a defender attempted to make the clearance, McKechnie was first to the ball and she knocked it past Wallace into the empty net.
Substitute Niamh Reynolds was then hacked down inside the away side’s penalty area on the 95th minute as The Reds were awarded a spot-kick. Axten proved she had nerves of steel as she calmly smashed home the penalty with seconds remaining to ensure a point was in the bag for Forest.
Forest: Aguirre, Greengrass, Harkin (c), Steggles (Reynolds 87’), James, Hewitt, Naylor, Moncaster (Middleton 58’), Tudor (McKechnie 58’), Rayner, Axten
Subs not used: Walters, Dexter
Goals: McKechnie 90+2’, Axten 90+5’
Hull: Wallace, Pederson, Jackman, Symington (Martin 32’), Pegrum, S. Smith, Tanser, Bott, E. Smith, Thompson (Allen 82’), Beech (Ackroyd 66’)
Sub not used: Padget
Goals: Smith 46’, Beech 52’