Norwich boss Daniel Farke was left ruing the fortunes of the "most unfair sport in the world" as his side conceded a stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Preston.
Emi Buendia put the Championship leaders ahead with a fine long-range effort after 17 minutes and they should have had far more but for the wastefulness of Teemu Pukki, who missed a hatful of chances.
Those efforts ultimately came back to hurt them as a battling Preston levelled with virtually the final kick of the game courtesy of Brad Potts' deflected shot in the box.
That denied the Canaries a 10th win in 11 games and they now need a maximum of 13 points to guarantee promotion.
Farke said: "To concede such a sucker-punch in the last moments of the game, of course we are really disappointed when the dust has settled. It was under really strange circumstances.
"We didn't deserve not to win this game but football can be the most unfair sport in the world and even out of nothing sometimes you can concede so in general I have to praise my lads under these circumstances to show such a performance, such a mentality and also such an attitude.
"I think it was a really good first half, our lead could have been even a bit higher at half-time and the second half we were absolutely dominant.
"We didn't allow them to have one chance. We created so many chances. My gut feeling was in such a game in such difficult circumstances we missed too many chances.
"We had so many situations to score the second goal and finish the game completely. Once Tim Krul put the ball up front the four minutes were over and everyone expected the final whistle."
While the visitors were left disappointed, it was a perfect ending to a first game in temporary charge of North End for Frankie McAvoy.
Following the sacking of Alex Neil after just one win in nine, McAvoy hailed the positive reaction with Preston delivering just the sort of determined and dogged performance they have been lacking of late.
They were ultimately rewarded for that in fortuitous circumstances, with Potts' strike moving the hosts 10 points clear of the bottom three.
McAvoy said: "We were looking for a positive result, that was the biggest thing for us.
"I thought it started reasonably well and then we lost our way a little bit in the game.
"We ended up one-nil down and that was the disappointing thing for us because we had worked so hard on what the game-plan was going to be.
"I just thought the effort, the work-rate, the hunger and desire they showed out there is excellent and that is what you are looking for as a coach.
"We put Pottsy up top and said to him 'Brad, there's two minutes to go plus injury time. Just get yourself up top'.
"He's a big lad, he can win a flick-on, or get in the box and take something in. Which we actually did.
"He managed to shake off a defender and turn. Fortunate enough for us it took a deflection and ended up in the back of the net."