It was heartbreak for Tranmere Rovers as Carlisle United took a share of the spoils with the last action of the game to draw 2-2.
Goals from Kane Hemmings and Elliot Nevitt weren’t quite enough for Rovers who had to settle for a point.
Tranmere were ahead within the opening quarter of an hour with a brilliantly worked team goal as Lee O’Connor slipped a ball in behind for Josh Dacres-Cogley who drilled the ball across the face of goal and on a plate for Hemmings who tapped in from close range.
Rovers could’ve been two to the good when Nevitt picked the ball up on half-way and drove at the Carlisle defence before seeing a low-driven shot well saved by Mark Howard at his near post.
Carlisle still held a threat in the game and had a golden opportunity of their own as Jordan Gibson went through but was pushed away from goal by Joe Murphy before the United man tried to chip the retreating Murphy, but his effort was blocked by Dacres-Cogley.
The away side continued to push for an equaliser with Kristian Dennis going close but seeing his effort swerve just wide after good work from Omari Patrick.
With five minutes of the first period left to play, Callum MacDonald was shown a straight red card for a tackle on Kelvin Mellor.
The delayed decision from the referee sparked a brawl on the near touchline once the red card had been shown which resulted in six yellow cards being shown by referee Charles Breakspear, including cautions for both respective managers.
As Micky Mellon made a half time substitution which saw Chris Merrie replace Josh Hawkins, it was the visitors who made the better start and within ten minutes of the second half they were level.
A quick corner routine saw Patrick pick the ball up out wide and drive inside before unleashing a powerful effort which deflected past Murphy to level the scores.
Rovers nearly took the lead again through Hemmings whose effort was well saved before Tom Davies had a header somehow kept out by a number of bodies in the way.
The visitors pushed for a winner and went close with 15 minutes to go as Morgan Feeney’s header was brilliantly saved by the Rovers shot stopper.
The resulting clearance from Merrie went over the final Carlisle defender and sent Elliot Nevitt through who calmly slotted home to give Rovers the lead once again in what was a frantic 30 seconds.
It was a nervy final few minutes as Rovers were reduced to nine men as Kieron Morris was given his marching orders for a high foot.
Tobi Sho-Silva blasted over from near the penalty spot with just a couple of minutes to go as the Rovers put their bodies on the line to defend their lead.
But with virtually the final kick of the game, Gibson’s effort from 30 yards cannoned off the post and fell perfectly to Sho-Silva who headed into an empty net.
Despite the heartbreak at the death, Rovers have to look forward with a huge game against fellow promotion hopefuls Bristol Rovers back at Prenton Park.