MALVERN Town were denied a remarkable comeback victory in the FA Cup on Saturday as Rugby Town equalised in the dying stages to force a replay.

Rugby had led 4-1 at half-time but goals from Harry Clark, Lewis Platt, Alex Bell and Matt Turner put them 5-4 up heading into stoppage time. 

But in the 97th minute of the game, Josh Thomas flicked a header past Keiron Blackburn to send the tie to a replay on Tuesday evening at the HDAnywhere Community Stadium. 

It had been an awful start to Malvern's season, falling 2-0 behind inside seven minutes after a brace from Rugby's David Kolodynski.

The Hillsiders were given a lifeline on 20 minutes when Mark Magee’s cross was turned into his own net by Loyiso Recci.

But the relief was short-lived as Jordan Wilson headed home at the far post in the 22nd minute before Roger Lee made it 4-1 soon after. 

Malvern were shell-shocked and it looked as if they were heading out of the FA Cup in comprehensive fashion at the break.

But it appeared to act as a reset for the visitors and when Jordan Annear set-up Clark to reduce the deficit. 

$02 quickly became 4-3 when captain Platt's low-drive found the corner of the net and all of a sudden, it was very much game on. 

The tide had well and truly turned and when Rugby's Barry Fitzharris was shown two yellow cards in quick succession to receive his marching orders, Malvern sensed victory. 

Three minutes later, Bell popped up to head home the all-important equaliser and then, with six minutes of normal time remaining, Malvern took the lead as Turner tapped home from close range after Rugby's keeper Matt Hill fumbled in the box. 

But the drama was not finished and in the seventh minute of stoppage time, Thomas rose highest to flick a header home to send the most incredible cup tie to a replay.