Mark Allen twice fought back two frames behind to beat Jack Lisowski 6-5 in an epic semi-final at the UK Championship.
Allen found himself 2-0 and 5-3 down against an in-form Lisowski and needed all of his experience to make a stunning comeback in front of a noisy crowd at the Barbican.
There were a few early nerves in the opening frames as Allen missed a blue to the middle which allowed Lisowski to make a frame-winning break of 58.
As his new coach Peter Ebdon looked on and continued to write notes, Lisowski doubled his lead with a sensational 77 that included a great recovery shot on the black.
Both players had chances in the third frame and it all came down to the final red with Lisowski 60-44 up.
A superb safety battle played out and it was Allen who played a brave shot to the left middle at pace at a tough angle which ultimately won him the frame as he cleared the colours.
Amazing plant from Lisowski to win second frame
Allen was in first but missed a black off its spot, except this time he wasn’t punished, so he came back to the table and slotted a mid-range red to make a break of 63 and made it 2-2.
The drama continued after the interval as Lisowski played some inspirational snooker. However, he had some bad luck when a red went in-off as he potted a blue and gave Allen a chance.
Surprisingly, the Northern Ireland Open champion missed another black which you would normally expect him to get and Lisowski took advantage to clinch the frame.
Lisowski required a snooker to get back into the next frame with just the colours left on the table. He laid a beauty with the white behind the blue and the yellow down near the black.
Allen missed and Lisowski has another opportunity put his opponent in trouble again. But, he throws the chance away as the yellow sticks up for Allen to put away and take a frame that should have been over much earlier. All square again.
Three scoring visits put Lisowski in front for a third time before a massive frame eight saw some thrilling snooker.
‘Inspirational’ snooker from Lisowski – Shot of the match?
Lisowski potted a brilliant long red into the yellow pocket, but then missed a black as the reds split open. Allen immediately missed to let Lisowski back in, but he ran out of position after notching up 31 points.
In went another long red from Lisowski, until he missed the brown and Allen had his opportunity. The tension was clearly getting to both players as Allen couldn’t take advantage either.
Eventually, Lisowski got over the line after multiple visits to the table to get within one frame of victory.
Huge drama in eighth frame between Lisowski and Allen
With little to lose, Allen came flying out of the blocks and produced a four-ball plant which set him on his way to make a break of 115 – the only century of the match.
In the 10th frame, Lisowski potted another stunning long red which gave him his first opportunity but could only put 16 points on the board.
Lisowski missed a long red by a big margin so Allen found his rhythm to make a break of 74 and took the match to a decider.
How an unbelievable decider played out
Allen had first blood when he punched in a long red but he ran out of position after 36. A couple of safety shots followed before Lisowski went for a tricky red to the middle and potted it.
He showed no signs of nerves as he racked up the points but knew that he needed the final red which was on the right-hand side cushion.
Lisowski made a break of 57 and tried to clip it out with the white when potting the green but just missed.
It was all about the final red with the scores at 57-36 in Lisowski’s favour. This was snooker at its finest.
Lisowski fouled when trying to hit the red thinly, but it didn’t do too much damage. However, Allen laid a snooker a few moments later which Lisowski missed and he left a free ball.
Allen went for the green then he missed, only for Lisowski to miss the red. Allen potted the red and a colour but missed a yellow which he had to cutback.
Lisowski potted the yellow but left himself with a tough green. He missed it by some margin and it sat up for Allen.
This time after a monumental battle, Allen prevailed by potting the green, brown, blue, pink and black to conclude an epic match.
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