It finished 10-a-side with one point each – but Pinchbeck United paid the price again for missed chances and mistakes.
Corey Kingston’s opener for the Knights came before two red cards.
Dylan Wilson’s double in a five-minute spell then put Rushden & Higham United in front – only for Liam Ogden to preserve the unbeaten home record since promotion.
Overall, though, this was a case of two points dropped for Pinchbeck who were left frustrated as the Lankies celebrated a draw.
After their first league defeat at Buckingham Town, the Knights should have hit back with a comfortable win – despite the absence of three key players.
Kingston had already been denied by keeper Kyle Swailes before he broke the deadlock with a close-range finish.
Four minutes later, Aaron Cormack’s challenge on Nick Bishop sparked pushing and shoving – notably when Tom Brooks knocked over Rushden & Higham’s captain.
Brooks and Cormack were both dismissed but Pinchbeck remained in control.
Jack Withers, Bishop and Ogden came close but Josh Smith wasted a golden chance as Kingston’s effort was only pushed out by Swailes three minutes before the break.
Ogden, Smith and Withers had more opportunities to extend the advantage – but it seemed to be only a question of when Pinchbeck would go further ahead.
Lewis Cox, signed on a work experience loan from Lincoln City, had little to do other than a routine save from Jamie Mastipiero.
Wayne Abbott somehow failed to convert a header just two yards out but Wilson hit the target twice as Rushden & Higham took a shock lead.
His angled drive beyond Cox was soon followed by a tap-in after a left-wing cross from substitute Nathaniel Aosnal-Taylor.
Pinchbeck responded as Ogden was fouled on the corner of the penalty box and his free-kick curled in.
Wilson’s hat-trick chance was kept out by Cox before Aosnal-Taylor fired across the face of the goal.
However, there was still time for Pinchbeck to miss more chances for a winner.
Chris Shipley nodded wide after Withers challenged for Ogden’s corner.
Shipley’s low drive was also held by Swailes as Rushden & Higham took a point which had seemed so unlikely for long periods.
Pinchbeck will need to do better by converting those chances instead of throwing away more points this term.
3-4-3: Cox 7; Brooks 4, Withers 7, Jack Smith 7; Gordon 6, Shipley 7, Bishop 7, Ogden 8; Josh Smith 6 (sub Panting 60 mins, 6), Dunn 7, Kingston 7 (sub Eyes 76 mins). Sub not used: Gardner.
RUSHDEN & HIGHAM UNITED
4-2-3-1: Swailes; Harrower, Abbott, Kelly (sub Reynolds 70 mins), Paterson (sub Aosnal-Taylor 20 mins); Cormack, Mastropiero; Keeneyside (sub Adebayo 60 mins), Carter, Hunt; Wilson. Subs not used: I’anson, Lord.
Kingston (22 mins, 1-0); Wilson (60 mins, 1-1); Wilson (65 mins, 1-2); Ogden (68 mins, 2-2).
Brooks (violent conduct); Cormack (serious foul play).
Liam Ogden – always looking to create chances from wide role or central position, rewarded with second-half equaliser.
St Andrews (H) – Knockout Cup preliminary round, Saturday.