Ten-man Stevenage fought to the final moment to secure an important point at Broadfield Stadium against promotion-chasing Crawley Town.
The red card came inside the first half - Miguel Comminges was shown two bookings and given an early bath - but Stevenage responded well and always inspirational Mark Roberts headed them into the lead.
After the break both sides had chances but Crawley's Sparrow ultimately got the game's second and final goal to leave the spoils shared.
Max Ehmer was handed a Boro debut after a few days training with the side in the week, but the game came too soon for both Alex Smith and Roarie Deacon who missed out on the squad. With two games in four days though, those not featuring would stake a claim for the home tie with Hartlepool on Monday afternoon.
Stevenage were winning the aerial battle in the final third and in the first half had chances aplenty to take advantage of a rejuvenated Marcus Haber, who dominated both centre halves in the air. With Robin Shroot playing off him and Lucas Akins and Luke Freeman on either wing, it was clear that anyone taking a gamble could be in luck. Unfortunately for Shroot though, his afternoon was cut short.
Comminges, booked earlier for a challenge as the home side looked to break from defending a corner, was booked a second time for a foul on the half way line. There were no complaints, but it meant that Shroot was replaced by Anthony Grant, with David Gray moving to left back and James Dunne dropping into the right side of the defence.
Despite the haphazard nature of the line up there was no lack of spirit and passion, Stevenage rallied and had chances to take an unlikely lead; Freeman, switching wings constantly with Akins, had the beating of both full backs and on the right nipped in nicely only to see his cross caught well by the opposition 'keeper.
Arnold made a good save after Proctor's effort and Walsh hit an effort wide but next was the glory moment for caretaker Player/Manager Roberts. Freeman swung a free kick into the area, it was flicked on by Gray and Robbo powered in to head it into the back of the net.
The away side led at the break and were worthy of it too, but it would always be a tough task with a numerical disadvantage. Proctor was first put through and denied by the offside flag and next headed wide an Adams cross but the equaliser came moments later.
Sparrow got the goal, a low shot into the bottom corner after some nice interplay from the home side.
Roberts' side continued to show heart and desire, the 446 travelling fans were in voice and were well and truly getting their money's worth.
Stevenage didn't only aim to hold onto the point, they pushed when they could for a winner. Filipe Morais saw a late effort saved and that was after more dominant work in the air from Haber had secured possession in the final third.
A 1-1 draw was the final outcome, both sides could have staked a claim for all three points but if they were awarded on courage then there would have been only one winner. A pre-match huddle with the team, led by Roberts himself, showed a united dressing room who had left everything on the pitch as the skipper had asked. A point was added to reach 50 for the season so far.
Stevenage: Arnold; Gray, Roberts, N'Gala, Comminges (Sent off 26); Akins (Morais 82), Dunne, Ehmer, Freeman; Haber, Shroot (Grant 27)
Att: 3395 (446 away)