With just 15 seconds remaining at Foresters Park on Tuesday night and Linlithgow leading 2-1 in a ‘must win’ game, Tranent striker Brad Donaldson went down following a challenge on the edge of the box after a long throw-in and the referee pointed to the spot.
Jamie Docherty scored to spark wild scenes of celebration among the Tranent players and management, with Rose having earlier led 2-0 thanks to Mark Stowe’s penalty and a Sean Heaver strike before Owen Renton pulled one back with a free-kick goal on 75 minutes.
The 2-2 draw puts league leaders Tranent on 76 points with two league games to play, with Penicuik Athletic second on 74 points with two fixtures remaining and Linlithgow third on 67 points with three matches left.
"We conceded a penalty which I think was very, very soft,” Herd said.
"I can’t quite decide why the ref’s given it. I don’t know if it was for handball; the boy’s gone down awful easily.
"To be fair I don’t know if our second goal should have been allowed because in the build-up Alan Docherty’s maybe shown his studs. I don’t know if the ref’s tried to even it up but I don’t think it was a penalty.”
Linlithgow – who also drew 0-0 at Jeanfield Swifts in the league on Saturday – could still nick the title on goal difference if they win their last three games but that is an extremely tall order.
“I would say the league's away,” Herd said. “The Jeanfield and Tranent games aren’t the games that have lost us the league.
"It’s been the Dunbar, Hill of Beath and Inverkeithing games. Coming away from Jeanfield and Tranent with draws you are not too downbeat.
"It’s the results beforehand and obviously the gap that we had to close as well.
"It didn’t really leave us much room for error and we just fell short at the end.
"But it’s something that the boys can be proud of from where they’ve come from.
"They have achieved a final for the club for the first time in eight years, are in the last 16 of another cup and took the league title race to the last three or four games.”
Tranent still have to visit Linlithgow in the league a week on Saturday and Herd is keen to put one over on them given the wild celebrations following Tuesday’s fixture.
"The celebrations from Tranent were hard to take,” he said.
"They still have to come to our bit a week on Saturday so the boys have noted that down.
"I understand their celebrations, I get it. But I think they maybe went a wee bit over the top after the game.
"But if that’s how Tranent wat to go about things, that’s their issues not ours.”