Gary Waddock's reign as the new manager of Wycombe Wanderers began with a point against Colchester United courtesy of Jon-Paul Pittman's late leveller in a riveting finale at Adams Park.
The second-half substitute latched on to an exquisite through-ball from Matt Bloomfield, making his first appearance since August, to lift the roof off the stadium and seal a well-deserved point for Waddock's side.
Colchester rarely threatened but were gifted a lead when Scott Shearer lost the ball to Kayode Odejayi outside the area, giving the visiting striker the easy task of breaking the deadlock, but the Blues showed tremendous character to bounce back and boss the game.
With debutant Scott Davies putting in a man-of-the-match performance in the middle of the park, the Blues belied their league position and secured a draw through Pittman just moments after the striker had been hauled down when through on goal, only for the referee to issue a lenient yellow card to the offending John White.
Gary Waddock made one change for his opening game in charge of the Blues, with loan signing Scott Davies replacing Jon-Paul Pittman.
The visitors settled the better of the two teams and good work from Kayode Odejayi and Anthony Wordsworth created the first chance for John-Joe O'Toole, but the Watford man snapped at the opportunity and dragged his shot wide of Scott Shearer's goal.
Waddock's men responded well and Davies was starting to stamp his authority on proceedings from the centre of midfield. It was his delivery from a free-kick that brought about the first Wanderers chance for Michael Duberry, but after meeting the on-loan Reading midfielder's teasing cross the Blues skipper couldn't direct his header on target from six yards out.
O'Toole, like Davies for the hosts, was at the heart of everything the visitors did, however, he will be disappointed he didn't work Shearer from 15 yards after neat passing from Odejayi and Wordsworth had put him through on goal.
The Chairboys had dealt well with the visitors' threat before a mistake from Scott Shearer gifted the U's the lead on 23 minutes. Michael Duberry's back pass got trapped underneath the Scot's feet, the lively Odejayi nipped in to steal possession and then rolled the ball into an empty net from 25 yards to hand Aidy Boothroyd's side the advantage.
Matt Phillips took the game to the U's in attempt to draw the Blues level and it was his pass that set up an effort for Craig Woodman. The 18-year-old covered good ground down the left, played in Woodman who, on his right foot, flashed a shot wide of Ben Williams' goal.
At the other end, Shearer had to be alert to tip over O'Toole's attempted chip from 35 yards. Marc Tierney then followed Danny Batth into the referees' notebook for a nasty foul on Kevin Betsy, but nothing came from the resulting free-kick.
The Wanderers were continuing to offer a strong attacking threat and after battling to win the ball back from Kevin Lisbie; Phillips tested Williams from the edge of the area.
A break in play of 10 minutes followed as referee Sarginson was treated for an injury before he was eventually replaced.
When play resumed, Odejayi was presented with a chance to put the visitors 2-0 up on the stroke of half-time, but somehow he headed over from six yards after a deflection had taken the ball into the path of the U's striker.
Matt Bloomfield replaced the injured Marlon Pack at half-time and it was the Blues that crafted the opening chance of the second period. Phillips did well to find Matt Harrold in the area but the Wanderers' no.9 didn't work Williams.
Waddock wasted no time in making his second substitution, as Jon-Paul Pittman replaced Ian Westlake on 55 minutes. Pittman's introduction nearly had the desired affect as he turned well and played the ball into the path of the onrushing Davies, but his curling effort went wide of Williams' right post.
Despite the Blues offering the greater threat going forward, Odejayi was the next to call either keeper into action. His low drive forced Shearer into a smart save after Wordsworth's knock down had laid on the chance for the on loan Barnsley forward.
Both Woodman and O'Toole then saw yellow for their part in a scuffle in the Wanderers' penalty area, as the long-standing rivalry between the two clubs came to the fore.
Pittman continued to offer a real outlet for the Blues and his speed of thought, accompanied by a lapse in concentration by O'Toole, saw the Chairboys forward go down in the U's box under what looked like a trip from the Watford loanee. But instead of pointing to the penalty spot the replacement referee booked Pittman for an alleged dive.
The referee was again called into making a big decision on 82 minutes and once again, in the view of the Chairboys fans, he got it wrong. JP raced onto a searching pass before being hauled down through on goal, only for the referee to issue a lenient yellow card for U's defender John White.
Pittman was then presented with a golden chance to draw the Blues level, but after steadying himself following a cross from the left, he dragged his shot well wide of the target.
However, moments later JP made up his for earlier missed opportunity with a stunning turn of pace and then an equally good finish to make it 1-1. The 22-year-old latched onto a majestic 60-yard pass from the impressive Bloomfield, took a touch and then fired low past Williams to send the Adams Park faithful into raptures with only three minutes remaining.
Waddock's positivity had paid off, but he would have been the first to congratulate Scott Shearer at the final whistle for his point blank save from to stop a deflected cross going in off Matt Harrold.
There was still time for the referee to wave away Colchester's penalty appeals for an alleged foul on O'Toole and Pittman to see a shot blocked, but the 18th league meeting between the pair ended in a 1-1 draw.