Hearts are now three points adrift at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership despite coming from behind to rescue a point against Motherwell.
Conor Washington's close-range strike four minutes after the break earned a draw for Daniel Stendel's side. That came after Christopher Long put the visitors ahead at Tynecastle after dispossessing Craig Halkett and rounding Bobby Zlamal.
However, Hamilton Academical's late winner against Kilmarnock heightens the Tynecastle club's relegation fears.
The draw does not do much for Motherwell, either, with their advantage over Aberdeen in the race for third place cut to a solitary point.
Both these sides had welcome pick-me-ups in the previous week, with Hearts disposing of Rangers in the Scottish Cup before taking care of Hibernian in the league, while visitors Motherwell ended an eight-match run without a win by hammering Ross County.
So it was no surprise to see both sets of players having a real go from the opening whistle.
Confusion between Declan Gallacher and Mark Gillespie at the back almost led to a Hearts opener, before Rolando Aarons had a fresh air shot from 12 yards at the other end after good build-up play.
The strong wind was giving defenders all sorts of problems, and when Gillespie had to race out of goal to clear, the ball fell to Sean Clare, who took aim from inside his own half. His effort was on target, but the ball held up in the wind and allowed Motherwell time to get back and clear.
Both teams had to make early changes through knocks, with Clare and the visitors' Allan Campbell making way but Motherwell dealt better with the disruption, and duly took the lead.
Halkett was slack in possession and allowed Long a clear view on goal. The former Everton trainee took the ball round Hearts goalkeeper Zlamal, and fired into the empty net.
The Pole in the home goal was having another interesting afternoon, with his decision-making called into question when he elected to head clear despite the fact he was inside his own penalty area.
Steven Naismith and Washington both passed up chances for an equaliser, but Motherwell had a golden opportunity to make it two when they had a four-on-one advantage on the break.
However, Long chose the wrong option and the chance was gone - with Zlamal coming out to challenge the striker, but the appeal for a Motherwell penalty was waved off.
Stendel made a second change at the break, with Oliver Bozanic being replaced by Liam Boyce, and the hosts drew level within four minutes of the restart. Naismith cut the ball back, and Washington raced in to hammer home his fourth goal of the campaign.
The home fans among the Tynecastle crowd of 17,339 were now in full voice, as Hearts looked for the win that could possibly lift them off bottom spot. Boyce, Naismith and Washington were combining well, with the former spurning a decent chance.
But at the other end, the visitors almost snatched a second. Liam Polworth's header was punched out by Zlamal, but Long's rebound shot was tame and allowed the goalkeeper to save with ease.
Declan Gallacher also came close with a header from a David Turnbull cross and Jermaine Hylton was thwarted by a fine save as Motherwell looked for the win.
Head knocks to both Boyce and Jamie Walker meant there were six minutes of time added on and, during that, Naismith missed from two yards out and Michael Smith blasted over, meaning a point apiece was the result at the end of a pulsating 90 minutes.
Aaron Hickey has been the one ray of light for Hearts this season, but he was given a tough afternoon by Motherwell winger Rolando Aarons.
On loan from Newcastle, he was outstanding from the first minute, and his pace and trickery was a constant threat to the Hearts defence all afternoon. He fully merited the man of the match award.
Hearts manager Daniel Stendel: "Everybody knows that we are fighting well, and tried to win this game against one of the best teams this year. We are not stable enough at the moment.
"We brought on another striker and it worked for a while. But after this we want too much too quick, and we need a little bit more patience. When we play more in possession we have more chances."
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "I thought it was a penalty on Jermaine Hylton. [Bobby Zlamal] made no contact with the ball at all, and for me it's a penalty.
"For a club like us to come here and create that many opportunities, the gameplan worked very well, but unfortunately we didn't take all the points."