Kyle Cameron's excellent strike earned us a share of the spoils against second-placed MK Dons.
The skipper produced an excellent second-half strike to cancel out Daniel Harvie's effort.
With Jodi Jones away on international duty, Milton Keynes-born and former Don Adam Chicksen was the man to step in at left wing back.
David McGoldrick was also absent with a minor injury, so Sam Austin lined up alongside Dan Crowley behind Macaulay Langstaff.
In goal, Aidan Stone continued behind a back three of Cameron, Richard Brindley and Connell Rawlinson.
Aaron Nemane played on the opposite flank to Chicksen, with the familiar partnership of John Bostock and Matt Palmer lining up in central midfield.
With temperatures well into the 30s, the hosts claimed the first chance of the opening period as Jonathan Leko cut in from the left and curled a 20-yard effort straight at Stone.
Our first threatening moment came on 19 minutes as Nemane’s cross just evaded Langstaff, with Bostock unable to get the loose ball out of his feet quickly enough to fire it goalwards inside the area.
Clear-cut chances were proving few and far between for both teams but we created the first of the match on 29 minutes when Chicksen’s delightful cross presented Austin with the chance to loop a header goalwards, with the ball drifting agonisingly over the angle of post and crossbar.
We were controlling the play but received a warning of the hosts’ threat on the counter on 33 minutes when Ethan Robson produced a dangerous low cross from the left only for none of his team-mate to capitalise.
Moments after Bostock had been crowded out in the area once again, MK produced another dangerous break which saw Robson fire well over from 20 yards.
It had been a reasonably quiet first half for Stone, who had to push Max Dean’s shot behind after it took a big deflection as the interval neared.
And we should probably have gone into the break ahead when Crowley brilliantly released Nemane down the right and watched on as Langstaff could only turn his powerful low cross over the bar from six yards.
Any lingering frustrations from that miss were compounded within a minute of the second half beginning as an attack broke down on our right hand side, allowing the hosts to exploit a raft of space. Harvie was the beneficiary, ghosting into the area and coolly slotting the ball home.
After another nervy moment which saw Stone make a strong save to deny Dean, Luke Williams opted for a double change which saw Aden Baldwin and Tobi Adebayo replace Rawlinson and Chicksen, with Nemane swapping to the left-hand side.
And, after Alex Gilbey’s long-ranger flashed narrowly wide, the changes began to take effect as we regained firm control of the game with the excellent Crowley linking up superbly with Adebayo to deliver several dangerous balls into the area from the right.
It was from one of those crosses that Cameron was denied a volleyed goal from a Cameron Norman block – but the skipper didn’t have to wait much longer to get us back on terms.
Again, the threat came down our right-hand side as the Dons failed to properly clear Adebayo’s cross. Cameron was the first to the loose ball 35 yards out, taking one touch to push it out of his feet before unleashing a stunning strike into the bottom corner.
Both sides now had 25 minutes of normal time to find a winner and, while we continued to dominate the play, it was the Dons who offered the next seriously threatening moment as Jack Payne flashed a low shot across the face of goal and wide.
With seven added minutes looming, Baldwin saw a well-struck effort swerve into the grateful grasp of Craig MacGillivray before, in stoppage time, his marauding run saw him fouled 20 yards out. We failed to take advantage, however, as our short free-kick routine resulted in Palmer curling the ball wide of the near post.
Incredibly, two of the game’s biggest moments were still to follow as the sides exchanged golden opportunities to win it at the death.
Langstaff was the first to be denied as MacGillivray made an excellent reaction save to keep his close-range header out following a wonderful Crowley cross.
That left the door open for Ellis Harrison to be the hero but, in a similar miss to Langstaff’s first-half effort, he could only send a low cross from the right over the bar, consigning the match to stalemate.
STARTING XI: Stone; Cameron, Brindley, Rawlinson (Baldwin 58'); Chicksen (Adebayo 58'), Nemane; Palmer, Bostock, Austin (O'Brien 79'), Crowley; Langstaff
UNUSED SUBS: Slocombe, Tipton, Randall, Morias
ATTENDANCE: 8,011 (2,762)