Two goals in the last four minutes from Andrew Waterworth and Chris Johns own goal saw Linfield snatch a point from the clutches of defeat at the Showgrounds on Tuesday night.
Coleraine needed a win to return to the top of the table, where they would have remained for at least a week with Crusaders not in league action until next Tuesday.
Linfield started sharpest with Jordan Stewart’s run ending up in a corner. Niall Quinn’s deep cross caused a second of panic in the Coleraine area before Lyndon Kane took control by clearing his lines.
The home side had their first chance in the fifth minute as tenacious pressing from Ciaron Harkin saw him overturn possession. Harkin found the unmarked Josh Carson who saw his powerful strike go to the right and wide.
Oran Kearney’s men kept the pressure on, winning a free kick twenty five yards from goal. Eoin Bradley stepped up but his effort was deflected for a corner the Linfield defence easily dealt with.
Darren McCauley's tricky run ended in a shot from 20 yards that forced Gareth Deane into action, while Bradley sent an inviting cross towards the penalty spot but no one was at hand to finish.
Coleraine finally took the lead in the 17th minute with a breath-taking move. Bradley switched the play to Carson, who slipped in Jamie McGonigle to finish first time into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Linfield went looking for a response with Chris Casement attacking down the flanks. He sent a tempting ball to the back post but there was no one there to tap home.
Oran Kearney’s men could have doubled their lead before the break, Bradley finding Carson and the latter’s volleyed effort came so close the crowd thought it was in.
The Bannsiders started quickest after the break, with Stephen O’Donnell dribbling across the edge of the box before trailing his shot to the right of the post.
Bradley continued to cause problems with his ability to hold the ball up. He found the run of ex-Linfield man Carson who forced a save from Gareth Deane.
The high Coleraine press was causing real problems, with most of the football being played in the middle third, and the Linfield defence held strong when Jimmy Callacher headed to safety as the ball headed directly for the unmarked Bradley.
20 minutes from time, Chris Johns kept his side in the lead with a marvellous save. Andrew Waterworth’s effort seemed to have sent Johns the wrong way only for the keeper’s outstretched foot to keep the ball from hitting the net.
Aaron Traynor broke down the left and once again found the dangerous Bradley his swivelling effort came ever so close to doubling his side’s advantage.
Moments later, substitute Ian Parkhill did just that as he fired into the top right-hand corner from inside the area after Darren McCauley had carried the ball 40 yards before playing him in.
The game was far from over, however, as Waterworth glanced home Niall Quinn’s cross four minutes from time to set up a nail-biting finish.
Four minutes of additional time were signalled as the Belfast side went in search of an equaliser, and in the first minute of injury time referee Raymond Hetherington awarded Linfield a highly dubious free inside Coleraine's final third.
Stephen Lowry’s free kick looping free kick cannoned off the crossbar before hitting keeper Johns in the back and rolling into the net to earn the Blues a share of the spoils.
Coleraine: Chris John, Lyndon Kane, Darren McCauley, Martin Smith, Eoin Bradley, Josh Carson, Gareth McConaghie, Ciaron Harkin, Stephen O’Donnell, Aaron Traynor, Jamie McGonigle (Ian Parkhill 69).
Subs not used: Adam Mullan, Steven Douglas, Matthew Kirk, David Ogilby.
Booked: Josh Carson (37), Jamie McGonigle (43).
Linfield: Gareth Deane, Mark Strafford, Jimmy Callacher, Andrew Waterworth, Jordan Stewart, Kirk Millar (Louis Rooney 73), Kurtis Byrne (Ryan Strain 52), Chris Casement, Jamie Mulgrew, Andrew Mitchell (Stephen Lowry 52), Niall Quinn.
Subs not used: Josh Robinson, Robert Garrett.
Booked: Mark Stafford (79).
Referee: Raymond Hetherington.
Extratime Player of the Match: Eoin Bradley (Coleraine).