The away side took the lead on 11 minutes when Hans Hateboer's cross found Michael de Leeuw at the far post to give Groningen early hope of beating Willem II and FC Twente to eighth place in the table.
Groningen went back in front again on 24 minutes as good work from Slovakian winger Albert Rusnak offered De Leeuw the chance the grab his second goal of the afternoon.
No sooner had the visitors retook the lead than they were pegged back as Moroccan international Adnane Tighadouini scored his 13th of the campaign with a header from another Sarpong cross.
De Leeuw completed a first-half hat-trick on 31 minutes with a strike that beat Jelle ten Rouwelaar at his near post.
Groningen looked to have finally given themselves daylight as Tjaronn Chery guided a free kick beyond the reach of Ten Rouwelaar.
NAC fought back with two goals in five minutes as Tighadouini netted his second of the game before Fernandez added another to his tally with 14 minutes remaining.
While the away side snatched three points as Hoesen scored an 87th-minute winner, Groningen were beaten to eighth by FC Twente's late fightback at Heerenveen.