Portsmouth striker Aruna Dindane struck deep into stoppage time to earn his side a valuable point against Sunderland in their Barclays Premier League survival bid.
Darren Bent had given the visitors the lead from a penalty in the 12th minute at Fratton Park, with Ricardo Rocha sent off in the build-up to the opener.
With Avram Grant sent to the stands, it looked like there was no way back for Pompey, but Sunderland had Lee Cattermole and David Meyler dismissed and then Dindane struck at the death.
Grant proved that whatever happens this season, he and his players are going down with a fight. After a first half where he had a player sent off and a penalty appeal turned down, Grant snapped and went eyeball to eyeball with Kevin Friend after marching onto the pitch to confront the referee.
He let out all of his frustrations on Friend after another day of chaos in Pompey's troubled season - they kicked off knowing no agreement had been made with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs over halting a winding-up petition.
Grant insisted his players would give everything even if it was their last game, but the last thing they needed was the poor start they suffered in the 12th minute.
Bent's opener came after a bizarre series of events. It started when Kenwyne Jones met a long ball and delicately backheeled over the Pompey defence, with Bent racing into the penalty area and going down after getting clipped by Rocha.
Friend's credibility dipped when he showed a red card to Hassan Yebda and the Algerian headed towards the dressing room before Rocha called him back.
The confusion did not put Bent off and he tucked away his spot-kick off the post for his 16th of the season.
Pompey had the opportunity to reply midway through the first half when Frederic Piquionne headed a deep cross back into the danger zone, with Dindane then wriggling past Michael Turner.
Dindane just had Craig Gordon to beat but the Scotland goalkeeper stuck out a leg to divert the ball to safety.
Jamie O'Hara then raced through on goal but his heavy touch led to the ball running away from him, and he also had a long-range effort that curled just wide.
Sensing they needed to get something from the game to salvage something from their season, Pompey applied pressure and Papa Bouba Diop crashed an effort into the side-netting.
Then there was Matthew Kilgallon's challenge on Dindane in the penalty area that enraged Grant.
In contrast, the only negative aspect of Sunderland's first half was when Steed Malbranque appeared to pick up a shoulder injury, with Bolo Zenden coming on.
Grant watched the second half from the directors' box as punishment for blasting Friend, and he saw plenty of fight from his side despite playing with a man less than the visitors initially.
They were appealing for a penalty again when Turner challenged Piquionne. Friend turned it down but immediately made it 10-versus-10 by dismissing Cattermole for a challenge on Angelos Basinas, six minutes after the midfielder had received a first yellow card of the match.
Pompey were furious with Friend again, just before the hour mark, when George McCartney appeared to bring down Piquionne.
As the hosts poured forward, Sunderland had chances to wrap up the match on the counter-attack. Firstly, Jones headed on for Bent to race through - but David James produced a fine save to deny his England team-mate.
From the resulting corner Kilgallon then struck the inside of the post with a volley from the edge of the penalty area.
Meyler was dismissed late on after a clash with Steve Finnan, two minutes after coming off the bench - but that was not the final twist of the match.
In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Dindane met O'Hara's deep cross and headed home.