Ben Foakes and James Foster rescued a draw for Essex in their LV=County Championship Division Two contest with Kent at Chelmsford.
The pair put on an unbroken 142-run partnership for the sixth wicket in 48 overs to lead Essex to 166-5 after they had seemed odds-on to give Kent their first win of the four-day season.
Kent's hopes were hit by Foakes' unbeaten 86 and Essex captain James Foster was a more than capable foil as he finished on 52 not out at the close, with the pair gradually wearing down the visitors' attack.
Mark Davies had set up hopes of a Kent success when he produced a wonderful spell of medium-pace bowling that brought him four top-order wickets at a personal cost of six runs as the home side started their second innings in disastrous fashion.
Five wickets fell in 22 balls as they capitulated to a perilous 24-5 - still 60 runs short of making Kent bat again and with 61 overs minimum still to be bowled.
But Foakes and Foster rebuilt the wreck of the innings with sound technique and resourceful application before the captains eventually shook hands on a draw with 13 overs still available as Kent took eight points from the clash, with Essex settling for seven.
At the start of the day, Kent's Darren Stevens soon added the nine runs he required to reach his hundred, the fourth time in his last five championship innings at Chelmsford that the all-rounder has recorded a century.
The visitors added a further 82 runs to their overnight total to reach 296 all out, with Stevens reaching 136 before he fell to Ravi Bopara.