Both teams finished with only 10 men – with Glentoran losing Bobby Burns and Crues midfielder Jordan Forsythe also seeing red.
Glentoran manager Warren Feeney was also dismissed.
The top-of-the-table clash between the Belfast giants certainly lived up to its pre-match billing.
Daniel Larmour shot the Crues into an early lead only for Glentoran to hit back with strikes from Jay Donnelly and Shay McCartan.
With the clock ticking down, the 10-man Glens looked to have done enough to have won it – that was until Jordan Owens came off the bench to plunder a last-minute leveller for 2-2.
Thrill-a-minute stuff that had the big crowd on the edge of its seat.
Ben Kennedy’s corner-kick picked out Larmour at the near post and he cleverly flicked home, giving Aaron McCarey no chance.
The Crues were caught cold five minutes later. Daire O’Connor’s quick throw-in sent Burns into the right channel and he pulled the ball back for Donnelly to thunder home with his head.
On 52 minutes, Kennedy was played through the middle by Jordan Forsythe, he skipped away from Paddy McClean’s challenge and attempted to lob McCarey from 30 yards but the big keeper plucked the ball out of the night sky.
Kennedy cut in from the right before trying his luck with a low shot that forced McCarey to save. When Burns recycled the ball, his cross ricocheted off Luke McCullough, but neither Philip Lowry nor Jarlarth O’Rourke could force home.
The Glens took the initiative on 67 minutes. Forsythe caught Junior inside the box and referee Raymond Crangle was left with little option but to award a penalty kick. McCartan stepped up to send Jonny Tuffey the wrong way from the spot.
Tuffey then produced a wonder save to keep out a shot from O’Connor before the game erupted for all the wrong reasons.
The home crowd were stunned when Burns was issued with a red card, apparently for time wasting when delaying taking a corner-kick.
Feeney was so angry with the decision he also received a red card and was sent from the dugout.
Glentoran looked to have done enough to win it until Owens came off the bench with 15 minutes left. And, he repaid his manager’s faith with that late party piece after Ross Clarke’s shot had been saved on the line by McClean.
In a frenetic finish, Forsythe was the second player to take an early walk after a foul on Fuad Sule.
GLENTORAN: McCarey, McCullough, Wilson, Burns, McCartan (Kelly, 82), Donnelly, O’Connor (Russell, 74), Singleton (Palmer, 57), Sule, McClean, Junior.
Subs (not used): Webber, Boyd, Walsh, McGinn.
CRUSADERS: Tuffey, Burns (Winchester, 75), Weir (Clarke, 46), Lowry (Owens, 75), Kennedy, Lecky (Anderson, 91), Forsythe, O’Rourke, Larmour, Heatley, McKeown.
Subs (not used): Kerr, Teelan, Smith.
Referee: Raymond Crangle.