Mumbai FC reversed their six-game winless streak with a sensational 3-2 come-from-behind upset of JCT in a thrilling 10th round I-League match at the Cooperage in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The visitors were leading 2-0 into the second half before the script changed to their chagrin.
It was David Booth's desperate substitutions, bringing in half-fit striker Abel Hammond and winger Aseem K in the 54th minute, that changed the fortunes of the game.
The Ghanaian forward reduced the margin with a looping header in the 59th minute before his countryman Felix Aboagye restored parity in the 64th minute through another headed effort from a Kamaljit Kumar flag-kick.
It was left to man of the match Abhishek Yadav to fire home the match-winner, his swerving volley from 25 metres out in the 88th minute catching Karanjit Singh under the Phagwara bar totally off guard.
Earlier, Balwant Singh gave the visitors the lead, his chipped angular shot floating to the far corner in the 38th minute, taking everybody by surprise, probably himself too.
The speedy striker then laid the ball on a platter for Brazilian import Eduardo Escobar to increase the tally in the 51st minute after taking advantage of a slack Mumbai defence.
Their fourth win takes the promoted locals to 16 points and sixth position while the inaugural NFL champions remain stuck on 12 points and eighth position after crashing to their fourth defeat.
Mumbai FC never looked like winners in the first session before they got their act together in the second. Booth's decision to play his rookies in lieu of his suspended/injured players almost backfired. It was Hammond's strike which ignited the Mumbai fightback.
The match rose to great heights as both sides let loose a flurry of attacks and counters. JCT substitute Amandeep Singh had a fruitful time on the right wing as he sowed havoc in the Mumbai FC ranks with his speed and darting runs.
Both sides enjoyed slices of fortune, with John Benedict pulling off a goalline save for Mumbai FC in the first half and Balwant's superb effort coming off the post in the second. JCT too had a narrow escape as Hammond missed an absolute sitter with four minutes remaining. But their luck ran out as Yadav settled the issue two minutes later with is opportuistic volley.