Champions Linfield remain 14 points adrift after failing to make any headway against bottom club Lisburn Distillery.
It looked as though the Blues’ opponents would erase an unwanted statistic going back over two decades when, with 16 minutes remaining, the Whites were on course for their first home league win over Linfield since October 1992 — a 1-0 victory that saw the departure of visiting boss Eric Bowyer.
They led through a well taken 41st minute goal by Jordan Forsythe (pictured) but the dismissal of left-back Aaron Traynor let Linfield back in and Gary Browne headed in an equaliser on 81 minutes.
“It could be a pretty fair reflection to say we got out of jail, getting the equalising goal after the sending off,” said Linfield manager David Jeffrey.
“You have to commend Distillery. They put up one heck of a fight and we only started playing when we got our goal.
“We tried to be as positive as we could and did absolutely everything tactically possible to try and get a result. It took a piece of brilliance from Ross Clarke, a great ball in and a great header by Gary Browne to get our goal.
“We really hoped we would kick on from our league victory last Saturday against Ballymena and I'm bitterly disappointed that we didn't do that today.”
Jeffrey’s disappointment was in stark contrast to the delight of home boss Tim McCann, who at the end purposefully made a point of congratulating each of his players.
This game was not about the bottom club defending, they would and should have taken a 2-0 lead against the champions had Jim Ervin’s excellent tackle not denied Jordan Hughes who had broken away on 54 minutes.
The Whites boss said: “They weren’t really causing us any problems, I thought we were controlling the game and once we went down to 10 men they had the advantage and we started to sit back and bring them onto us, but we defended.
“The players showed great character, fight and desire and I told them that — I told them to go out and match Linfield for work-rate and they did. I can’t speak highly enough of the players and we thoroughly deserved a point.
“It’s things like that that will hopefully turn our season and I said to the boys, let’s go the whole of December without getting beat.”