LONDON - As the clock hit 90 minutes, Ramiro Funes Mori seized the lead and Everton celebrated as if a first win at Chelsea since 1994 was locked up.
Then, with 3-2 lighting up the scoreboard, the fourth official held up the board to indicate seven minutes of stoppage time at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
"They are celebrating for one minute, you need to add a minute," Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink says the fourth official was told.
Was the request granted?
When an engrossing second half entered the eighth additional minute, captain John Terry sent a back-heeled flick past goalkeeper Tim Howard to salvage a 3-3 draw.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez was irate. Not only with the referee's timekeeping — although the additional minutes indicated is just the minimum — but the fact Terry was offside.
"Refereeing-wise you cannot justify, you cannot explain that at this level," Martinez said. "Those two points have been taken away from us ... you cannot explain an extra 50 seconds on top of seven minutes."
History repeated itself for Everton, which also drew 3-3 at Bournemouth in November by also conceding in the eighth minute of stoppage time after taking the lead in the 90th.
Still unbeaten seven matches into his second spell at Chelsea, Hiddink accepted that Terry was offside. The defender saved the ailing champions, having scored an own goal at the start of a second half that produced all six goals.
The lengthy injury time allowed Chelsea to mount a comeback it seemed unable to produce in Jose Mourinho's final months in charge.
"I am very happy with the spirit, and the ambition, and the attitude of the team," said Hiddink, who remains unbeaten since returning last month for a second spell in charge until the end of the season.
While Everton dropped to 11th, the point does little to help Chelsea's improbable Champions League quest. Chelsea was still in 14th place, six points above the relegation zone and 14 from the top four.
The game was best summed up at times by the snapshots of Roman Abramovich, wrapped up in a club coat and appearing bored while alone in his executive box, as the players he pays so well offered little in the first half.
Only Everton looked like scoring: Bryan Oviedo side-footed wide, Romelu Lukaku cut through the defence but struck off-target, and Kevin Mirallas' effort was pushed away by Thibaut Courtois.
What the 45 minutes lacked in drama, the second half made up for.
Within five minutes of the restart, Terry managed to put the ball into his own net with a botched attempt to clear Leighton Baines' cross.
All the menace was coming from Everton, and it was rewarded with a second goal. Aaron Lennon sprayed the ball to Baines on the left flank, and his cross was whipped into Mirallas, who controlled the ball on the turn before striking.
Abramovich turned to his phone and was seen frantically typing. He had already sent his "Save Our Season" plea to 2009 FA Cup-winning manager Hiddink, who replaced Mourinho until the end of the season.
"Going down," the Everton supporters serenaded their hosts.
The taunts only served to galvanize Chelsea.
An audacious backheel by Cesc Fabregas was clawed away by Howard, but the goalkeeper was beaten twice in two minutes.
A muddle between Jagielka and Howard reacting to Fabregas' high punt forward allowed Diego Costa to nip in and walk the ball into an empty net. Costa returned the favour, backheeling the ball into the path of Fabregas, and the midfielder's deflected shot pulled Chelsea level.
Courtois' goal was breached again as the clock hit 90. Gerard Deulofeu crossed to the far post where Funes Mori acrobatically hooked the ball into the net.
But Chelsea didn't give up.
The fourth official's board said seven minutes were being added on.
"Maybe referees need a bit of help with technology, and the whole ground should see how long is (actually) left on a big clock," Martinez said.
It was approaching the 99th minute when Oscar headed the ball to Terry. Howard got a touch to the resulting flick-on but could not prevent it rolling into the net.
Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports