Carlisle and Forest Green both missed the chance to take over from Newport at the summit of Sky Bet League Two on a dramatic day at both ends of the table.
The leaders saw their winless run extend to four after they were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Crawley.
Ryan Haynes put the Exiles ahead with five on the clock in Sussex, but an own goal by Mickey Demetriou got the Reds back on level terms.
With the hosts reduced to 10 men in the 59th minute, when Tarryn Allarakhia was given his marching orders, it seemed the ideal opportunity for Michael Flynn's side to return to winning ways but they had to settle for a point.
It was enough to see Newport remain in first place though after Carlisle let slip a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 at home to Bolton.
Aaron Hayden, Lewis Alessandra and Omari Patrick netted in the first half for the Cumbrians but they were stunned by Wanderers who scored twice in the final four minutes thanks to Nathan Delfouneso and Peter Kioso to earn a share of the spoils.
George Thomason had grabbed what looked likely to be a consolation for Bolton in the 44th minute and the squandered opportunity leaves Carlisle in third and two points off Newport.
Earlier in the day, Forest Green missed the chance to take over at the summit after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Exeter in a 1pm kick-off where 1,767 supporters were in attendance.
Aaron Collins fired the away side ahead in the 16th minute but namesake Archie Collins got the hosts back on level terms and the points were shared in Devon with Rovers still second and a point off the leaders.
Carlos Mendes Gomes' double saw Morecambe make it four consecutive wins to move up to fifth after a 3-1 victory over managerless Grimsby.
Ian Holloway left the Mariners on Wednesday and although they took the lead in the 21st minute through Matthew Pollock, the Shrimps' in-form attacker turned the tide of the game with a second-half double before Adam Phillips wrapped up the points with a stoppage-time third for the home side.
Salford joined Morecambe in the play-off positions following a 2-0 triumph at home to Walsall after goals by James Wilson and Liam Burgess.
Cheltenham could have jumped up to second with success over Stevenage, but the relegation-threatened outsiders fought back to pick up a point on the road after Jack Aitchinson cancelled out Liam Sercombe's early effort.
Stevenage are now propping up the table, however, after first-half goals by Simeon Akinola and Timothee Dieng helped Southend move off the bottom and extend their unbeaten run to five games with a 2-0 win over Essex rivals Colchester.
In the battle of the league's top goalscorers, it was Paul Mullin who inspired Cambridge to a 2-1 home win over Leyton Orient.
Danny Johnson's 16th of the season put the O's ahead but Wes Hoolahan equalised 10 minutes into the second half and Mullin then hit his 18th of the term soon after to seal the points.
Mansfield leapfrogged hosts Scunthorpe after a five-goal thriller and ended a four-match run without a win under new boss Nigel Clough.
George Lapslie grabbed the opener in the 16th minute and an own-goal by Manny Onariase put the visitors two up before Farrend Rawson put through his own net to reduce the deficit.
Jordan Bowery's strike on the hour mark made it 3-1 and despite a John McAtee goal, it was the Stags who triumphed.
Michael Jolley saw Barrow beat Port Vale 2-0 in his first game in charge after goals from Scott Quigley and Patrick Brough to ease their relegation fears.
Bradford also aided their efforts in the fight to beat the drop with a 1-0 win at Tranmere after Lee Novak's 62nd-minute goal.
While Oldham lost 2-1 at home to Harrogate despite Conor McAleny's opener after Bobby Grant saw red and George Thompson hit a double for the divisional new boys.