“11 vs 11, we win the game, simple as.”

That was manager Tony Hackworth’s reaction as Pickering Town were undone in injury time at promotion-chasers Albion Sports in the NCEL premier division on Saturday.

The Pikes had been in complete control of the match and looked sure to return to Ryedale with the three points courtesy of a fine strike from skipper Wayne Brooksby 21 minutes into the contest.

But red cards issued to Jamie Thornton and Connor Avison threatened to change its trajectory, and they were duly punished for their ill-discipline in added time, Aran Basi and Robbie Fox striking within a minute of each other at the death to hand Albion victory.

Hackworth made two changes from the Pikes side that claimed victory over Handsworth last weekend, reinstating Avison and captain Brooksby back into the starting line-up.

Bradfordians Albion started well, seeing a penalty appeal waved away less than a minute into proceedings before a low cross just evaded everybody in the box. 

However, it was Pickering that struck first, Brooksby applying the finishing touch to a rapid counter-attack from outside the box with 21 minutes on the clock.

Chances were few and far between for the remainder of the half until Lewis Waddington let fly three minutes before the break, but despite beating Toby Wells, he saw his strike ruled out for offside.

Albion’s triple substitution at the break brought with it a renewed impetus, with Fox seeing his effort skim the side netting before rolling just wide of the net.

Pickering had failed to take advantage of a sin-bin for home defender Callum Hill, instead finding themselves down to 10 men after Thornton’s reckless challenge on Helmo Silva with just under 20 minutes left to play.

And things worsened for the Pikes 12 minutes later, Avison being perhaps harshly given his marching orders after catching his man late.

Sensing an opportunity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, Albion threw the kitchen sink at their opponents thereafter and were just rewarded in injury time.

First, Basi powered a far-post header past Wells to level the scores, before Fox struck a minute later to complete the turnaround at the death.

The Pikes return to action tonight as they host Fishburn Park in the second round of the North Riding Senior County Cup (7:45pm).