The Gulls, who were beaten by Swindon in midweek and have now played two games more than Paolo Di Canio's side, fell behind to John McCombe's 29th-minute goal but the game turned when Joe Davis was sent off for a professional foul on Rene Howe in the box, and Howe got up to convert the penalty.
The 10 men ended with nothing as substitute Ryan Jarvis headed home Eunan O'Kane's cross in the 74th minute.
Shrewsbury strengthened their hold on the third automatic promotion place as James Collins' 68th-minute goal saw off Morecambe. The Shrews survived the last 10 minutes with 10 men after Jon Taylor was dismissed.
Crawley climbed above Southend into fourth thanks to a 3-0 home win over Rotherham. Goals from Billy Clarke (43), Gary Alexander (53, penalty) and Pablo Mills (67) extended the West Sussex side's unbeaten run to six games.
Southend slipped up at Bristol Rovers, going down 1-0 as Matt Harrold's penalty four minutes from time proved decisive.
Cheltenham ended a run of four straight defeats with a goalless home draw against Oxford, who remain three points and one place behind the Gloucestershire side, while Crewe are now just a point outside the play-off places after condemning Hereford to their third straight defeat, a result which leaves the Bulls bottom of the league.
Dagenham & Redbridge climbed off the bottom as they recovered from a goal down with five minutes to go to win 2-1 at home to Accrington. The visitors forged ahead through Bobby Grant's 43rd-minute effort but the Daggers pulled level through Brian Woodall's header (85) and Scott Doe headed home a dramatic winner. Aristote Nsiala was sent off for Stanley in the final moments.
Burton's freefall continued as they suffered a ninth straight defeat at AFC Wimbledon, who hammered them 4-0.
Luke Moore put the Londoners ahead in the ninth minute and they added three more in the final 15 minutes through George Moncur, Byron Harrison and Moore again. Despite their awful run the Brewers remain 17th, one place ahead of Northampton - who drew 0-0 with Plymouth at Sixfields.
Bradford avoided a fourth straight defeat as they came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Gillingham. The Kent club led through Lewis Montrose's 25th-minute header and Simon Ramsden's 56th-minute own goal, but the Bantams earned a point as Nahki Wells (71) and James Hanson (84) got them back into the match.