Sometimes salvation comes when you least expect it and from the unlikeliest of sources.
Andrea Migliorini, a journeyman Italian midfielder who arrived at Melbourne Heart for a try out this season with no great fanfare, is nobody's idea of a ''difference'' player.
But his wonder strike from some 30 metres which dipped, swerved and beat Adelaide United's Socceroo goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic all ends-up in the 55th minute of this topsy-turvy game sparked a Heart fightback that just might turn round the struggling club's season and save John Aloisi's coaching career.
When Migliorini followed up 11 minutes later with another powerfully hit shot to bring Aloisi's strugglers level at 2-2 then belief, finally, began to course through a team that had spent most of the game looking frightened, nervous and completely lacking in confidence.
And shortly afterwards, when referee Strebre Delovski blew against Tarek Elrich for a handball in the penalty area as he looked to clear Patrick Gerhardt's header, it was apparent that the football gods had finally smiled, at least for a little while, on the hitherto hapless Heart.
Replays showed the ball appeared to strike the defender's chest, but for Melbourne, which has endured a horror season with virtually no luck, this was a defining moment - a moment when a break went their way.
David Williams stepped up and stroked the spot kick to Galekovic's left, and with 20 minutes to go it seemed as though an extraordinary turnaround had been achieved.
But nothing can be taken for granted in a game such as this, and Adelaide, facing the humiliation of losing to a team that almost everyone else in the league had beaten this season, struck back in fortunate circumstances themselves.
With the clock ticking down, Marcelo Carrusca's free kick from wide on the left of the Heart area took a wicked deflection off Heart midfielder Massimo Murdocca before looping over the wall and past goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, making the score in this rollercoaster match 3-3.
That is how it finished: Heart is still yet to win a match this season, but after a second half like that it will feel as though it has made some sort of statement. Adelaide will know that this was two points it threw away. Like its host, it remains near the foot of the table as a result.
Before Migliorini's sublime intervention Adelaide had looked to be in complete control of the game, largely through Heart's ineptitude rather than any great quality of its own.
Yes, it created some pretty patterns and retained and recycled the ball effectively, but in truth it was given so much time and space by a shell-shocked Heart in the first half that it could hardly not have taken the lead.
Slipshod defending in the host's defence allowed Steven Lustica to open the scoring after Fabio Ferreira's third-minute cross was not dealt with effectively.
And Adelaide doubled its advantage in the 14th minute when Sergio Cirio, who had started the move, was allowed to run unchallenged from midfield, play a pass, grab the rebound and then fire past Redmayne.
The visitors then had the best of the half although things could have been very different had Heart's out-of-form striker Michael Mifsud taken any of the trio of gilt-edged chances that fell his way.
For a man who captains his country - Malta - and has played 100 internationals, far more is expected.
Twice he was through one on one with Galekovic and fluffed his lines, and on the third occasion he actually rounded the keeper but fired wide.
It looked as though his grievous errors would be the straw that broke the camel's back and cost Aloisi his job as the Heart's boss, but that was before Migliorini's amazing intervention.
Whether the Italian has any future with the club remains to be seen: he has been signed as an injury replacement for Dutch marquee man Orlando Engelaar, and would have to go when the former Netherlands international recovers from a broken leg - unless Heart gets rid of one of its other foreigners.
Migliorini is the sixth non-national on the Heart list and the club is only allowed five overseas players.
Whatever happens, however, Aloisi, and the Heart supporters, have reason to be grateful to the unlikely saviour whose stunning strikes - the first surely a contender for goal of the season - made this a game that will live long in the memory.
Much remains to be done by Aloisi and his players, but at least they showed the fight, commitment and desire which has not always been apparent this season.
As for Adelaide, there is little that can be taken from a game that it should have put out of reach before half-time and then scrambled to get a point from.
It is hard to see it as a finals contender on this showing.
Ladder after Round 8
|Western Sydney Wanderers||8||4||3||1||9||6||3||15|
|Central Coast Mariners||7||2||4||1||8||7||1||10|