Despite dominating play throughout the 90 minutes, the Sea Robbers needed a last minute equaliser to grab a share of the spoils and remain in the title hunt – two points off leaders Ajax Cape Town.
Pirates conceded as early as the seventh minute, Erwin Isaacs getting on to Ricardo Skippers’ long ball to side-foot home; Jacob Mokhasi caught in no-man’s land.
Pirates stormed back, at least they tried to, but they found it hard to create chances against a resolute Peoples’ team defence.
Dikgang Mabalane was unfortunate to be denied by the post in the 22nd minute after a speedy counter had seen him break free down the right, while just before the break Lucky Lekgwathi flashed a header wide from a corner.
This was little respite for Santos in the second half as they found themselves regularly defending corners and crosses into the box, while the likes of Rooi Mahamutsa and Oupa Manyisa regularly got shots in, most of which were off target or blocked however.
Andile Jali also did his bit in attack and would have picked out the top corner with an 80th minute rocket were it not for a superb save by man-of-the-match Tshepo Motsoeneng.
But finally the pressure paid dividends when in the 90th minute Bongani Ndlulula made space in the box before flicking the ball into the net, with his back still turned partially to goal.
Jali was denied a late winner by yet another Motsoeneng save as the Cape side survived a late onslaught.