Carlisle United were made to suffer the ultimate heartbreak following an excellent performance as high flying Shrewsbury struck late to steal all three points in what was an explosive ending to the game.
United started on the front foot and a long throw from Grainger caused problems as Ellis hooked it into the air. Rigg trapped it and poked a shot through bodies, but Leutwiler saw enough to tip it round the post.
A half cleared corner was helped back into the danger area by Young and the Shrews stopper breathed a sigh of relief when it skipped into his hands as Sweeney bore down.
Carlisle kept the pressure on and Wyke appeared to be pulled back when he chased a huge ball forward. The referee waved play on as the home crowd screamed for a decision.
Matt Young was next to test the stopper when he bent a deep free kick to the far post, but Leutwiler readjusted to pluck it from beneath his bar.
More good football from United brought a quick exchange of passes as Meppen-Walter won a meaty challenge on the halfway line. He strode forward and found Sweeney, who then stepped inside with two on his tail. A reverse pass released Wyke, but an offside flag brought the move to an end as the big striker shaped to go round the keeper.
Patient work from Brough then gave Meppen-Walter time to deliver a good cross but Ellis was there again as Rigg tried to finish it off.
A string of crosses kept the Shrews back line busy and Leutwiler kept his side on level terms with a fantastic double save as Carlisle piled forward. A powerful goal bound header from Potts was punched away by the flying keeper and the follow up shot - a thunderbolt from 19 yards from Griffith - was touched onto the bar, and eventually swept clear, as a hand then a boot did just about enough to prevent it from bouncing over the line.
The visitors had little to offer up front and a wild volley from Woods summed up their first half as he wheeled away in disgust when it flew high into the Warwick.
United looked confident but they had to work hard for their chances as the half wore on with Shrewsbury happy to sit deep and protect their lines. A cross from Rigg, following a weaving run, was just in front of Wyke and another whipped delivery from Meppen-Walter had to be nodded behind as blue shirts ran into the box.
The Shrews saw more of the ball through the closing stages of the half and Collins should have done better when he ran onto a cut back from Gayle, as he pounced on a loose pass from Potts. It was a considered shot but Hanford was able to watch it wide.
Tyrone Barnett sent one right at Hanford as the visitors tried to build up a head of steam, but Carlisle reasserted some authority in time added on when Meppen-Walter expertly controlled the ball 25 yards out. He went for the spectacular with an accurate scissor kick and Leutwiler did well to push it away to safety.
The sides exchanged balls over the top after the restart but new Shrewsbury signing Tyrone Barnett wasted a gilt-edged opening when Demetriou picked him out with a lovely pass. The striker set himself but got his angles horribly wrong.
More good work followed from substitute Vernon as he twisted and turned by the corner flag. Grant called for it but another rasping attempt climbed too high.
It was Carlisle's turn to dig deep and Matt Young completed a vital goal line clearance as Hanford watched a crunching header whistle past and at the top corner.
The excitement levels increased as United found their attacking feet and Wyke led three markers out of the way to give Potts a clear sight. The slightest of deflections took it just past the post.
Potts took the corner short to the near post and Leutwiler had to react late as a cross-shot appeared from nowhere. His parry was enough to clear the danger.
Shrewsbury started to look like a top three side as substitute Scott Vernon linked play and hesitation from O’Hanlon allowed Collins to race clear. Stand-in Dan Hanford earned a huge roar from the crowd as he executed a wonderful one-on-one save.
The keeper went full length moments later to block an enterprising shot from Vernon and the saves proved to be vital as a Grainger corner was half cleared to Brough. He dinked it back in and hotshot signing Charlie Wyke made it four goals in three games with a cool close range finish.
It was centre stage again for Hanford as he kept a deflected right wing cross out with an instinctive block, and the break from Amoo from the clearance took him into the opposition half. Wyke kept pace but he couldn’t keep his balance and his volley from 12-yards rose over the target.
Potts found the side netting with a shot from the left flank as the sides continued to slug things out and Vernon put a header wide as he found unexpected space at the near post.
Grainger had to nod over from Collins as he tried to bend one in and a far post cross squirmed wide with Hanford committed as two yellow shirts slid in to try to finish it off.
The Shrews turned the pressure up in time added on and they broke home hearts as Demetriou and Collins found themselves in the right place at the right time to suck the wind out of the sails of what was set up to be a big night for the Cumbrians.
United - Wyke (67)
Shrewsbury - Demetriou (90), Collins (90)
United - Meppen-Walter (64)
Shrewsbury - Collins (90)
Carlisle United - Hanford, Young, O'Hanlon, Grainger, Brough, Potts, Griffith, Meppen-Walter, Sweeney (Amoo 60), Wyke (Asamoah 81), Rigg (Kearns 68). Subs - Eccles, Beck, Buddle, Thirlwell.
Shrewsbury Town - Leutwiler, Grandison, Demetriou, Woods, Ellis, Goldson, Collins, Lawrence, Gayle (Vernon 46), Barnett (Akpa Akpro 67), Grant (Clark 80). Subs - Vincent, Halstead, Randall, Mandron.
Referee - Mr Eddie Ilderton
Attendance - 3,624 (176 away fans)