With the bottom two teams in the league playing each other, KSH were under pressure due to a run of results that saw them on zero points from four games.
And that moved to five games without a win, which would have been even more painful given that they were 2-1 in front and lost 3-2, conceding a goal at the death.
That has now opened up a four-point gap at the bottom of the East Superleague.
Kennoway started brightly with a couple of opportunities then two chances for Bryce for the home side; the first in the 18th minute when his lobbed effort beat the goalkeeper but drifted wide of the target. Then two minutes later, he powered his way past a few challenges to get a shot away that hit the side netting.
The start of the second half saw Whitburn with a glorious chance to open the scoring; Duncan played in McQuillan, but the striker pulled his shot wide of the target when it looked easier to score.
This let-off seemed to galvanise the home side, and Band tested the Whitburn keeper with a shot from the edge of the area.
Ten minutes into the second half, the striker was rewarded when he outpaced Griffin after a pass from Bryce; he then entered the penalty area and placed a shot past the helpless keeper.
It was a relief and a confidence boost the home side needed. The next chance saw another shot from Band saved and turned away for a corner kick. From the resultant corner, R.Muir saw a header flash across the goal.
With 18 minutes remaining, Whitburn drew level when fine striking play from Brass saw the bustling forward hold off a few challenges before spinning and hitting a low drive into the bottom corner of the goal.
Three minutes later, KSH regained the lead. A late run from D.Muir saw his volleyed effort deflected wide for a corner kick. This time Johnstone’s corner eventually arrived at the feet of Doig, who scored with a cool finish.
The battle continued with Whitburn levelling two minutes later when a long ball was latched upon by Docherty and he lifted the ball over the advancing Swinton.
The game looked up for grabs for either side and in the very last minute Band played in Bryce only for the striker’s effort to be smothered by the relieved Whitburn keeper.
The unthinkable happened two minutes into time added on, just when a draw looked the likely outcome. A run on the right from Duncan saw the player advance into the box where he saw his shot deflect off a KSH defender for a cruel end to an open game as the ball nestled in the goal.
The Whitburn players celebrated as the KSH team looked shell-shocked after twice having the lead in what was a must-win game.
Kennoway Star Hearts: Swinton, Mair, Doig, Bremner, Brewster, Young, Craig, Johnstone, Rolland, Band, Bryce, Subs: D.Muir, R.Muir, Paterson, Watson, Collins.