With Shrewsbury Town already ensured of a Conference play-off place and visiting Gravesend & Northfleet firmly ensconced in mid-table, the Gay Meadow clash had the look of an end of season run-out for both sides.
So nobody would have forecast what proved to be a feisty encounter, that saw referee Joe Moss brandish six yellow cards and order off Shrewsbury full-back Darren Moss - as the teams a battled to 1-1 draw.
Moss was sent off for a two-footed, but completely unnecessary lunge, at Andy Drury, which brought a straight red that is likely to sideline him for Shrewsbury's upcoming play-off fixtures.
However, the ten-man Shrews took the lead five minutes before the break when Luke Rodgers fired home - but with 20 minutes remaining the visitors drew level when central defender Lee Shearer netted with a glancing header.
With their place in the play-offs already booked, Shrewsbury player-boss Jimmy Quinn took the opportunity to give teenage goalkeeper Joe Hart a first-team debut - with the youngster impressing throughout - and also give recalls to midfielder Martin O'Connor and striker Colin Cramb, neither of whom finished the match.
O'Connor was withdrawn due to an injury shortly after the hour, with Cramb substituted in the 40th minute - taken off by manager Quinn before the short-fused forward was also sent-off.
There was little of note before the 26th minute - at which point Moss was dismissed and four minutes later Gravesend had the opportunity to enforce their advantage when they were awarded a penalty following O'Connor's foul on James Pinnock.
However, Drury fired the ensuing spot-kick high over the bar, a miss they were made to rue in the 39th minute as Rodgers raced onto a through pass from Ryan Lowe to score his 12th goal of the season, neatly lifting the ball over Gravesend goalkeeper Charlie Mitten from ten yards.
Despite being down to ten men, Shrewsbury held sway for much of the second half, but were pegged back when Shearer flicked Drury's free-kick past Hart at the near post.