Sean Brennan's last-minute penalty earned Drogheda United a point in an otherwise dire spectacle with fellow title-chasers Shelbourne at Tolka Park.
Substitute Dayle Rooney had given Shels the lead 15 minutes from time and the Reds looked set to hold out, even when Alan Byrne saw red five minutes later, before Brennan levelled from the spot.
A largely forgettable first half was perhaps best summed up by the fact the biggest cheer went up not for any action on the field, but for referee Derek Tomney calling for a mandatory water break.
The second half was better, albeit far from a fiesta of football under the Drumcondra sunshine, with James English badly miscuing an opportunity early on.
A mazy run into the box by Adam Evans finished with the winger poking the ball into the direction of David O'Sullivan, but the ball run wide and the eventual shot was straight at Paul Skinner
English did manage to get the ball in the net just past the midway point in the half, but the whistle had already gone for the slightest of contact with the goalkeeper.
The moment of quality the game needed came when O'Sullivan turned the ball into the path of Rooney, and he raced between two defenders before rifling a half-volley into the top corner.
Drogheda had shown little to that point to suggest they could score themselves, but they were handed a lifeline when Byrne was sent off for a second needless foul on Conor Kane.
It took until two minutes from the end for them to fashion a chance, however, with Mark Doyle sprinting through on goal before hitting the ground under the challenge of Dean Delany.
Shels were adamant it was a dive, and Delany, along with Derek Prendergast and Lorcan Fitzgerald, was booked in the aftermath, while manager Owen Heary was sent to the stands.
Brennan sent Delany the wrong way from the spot, but to their credit it was the ten men of Shelbourne who pushed on for a winner.
English was inches from connecting with a cross before Reece McEnteer drew a save from Skinner in injury time, but Drogheda held on to move within a point of leaders UCD.
Shelbourne: Dean Delany; Arran Molloy, Dave Mulcahy, Derek Prendergast, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Mark Hughes, Alan Byrne, Cian Kavanagh (Dayle Rooney 46); James English, Adam Evans (Reece McEnteer 83), David O'Sullivan.
Subs not used: Lee Steacy (gk), Reece McEnteer, Aidan Collins, Shane Farrell, Gavin Boyne, Dylan Grimes.
Booked: Arran Molloy (63), Alan Byrne (66, 80), Dean Delaney (88), Lorcan Fitzgerald (88).
Sent off: Alan Byrne (80).
Drogheda United: Paul Skinner; Colm Deasy, Kevin Farragher, Luke Gallagher, Conor Kane; Sean Brennan, Jake Hyland, Ciaran Kelly; Mark Doyle, Lee Duffy (Gareth McCaffrey 59), Chris Lyons.
Subs not used: Luka Gratzer (gk), Lloyd Buckley, Victor Ekanem, Richie Purdy, William Hondermarck, Gareth McCaffrey.
Sent off: None.
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Conor Kane (Drogheda United).