The Force ended their Super Rugby season with a 24-27 victory over the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday.
When the teams met earlier in the season 25-26 Super Rugby victory in Perth so the series between the teams end at one victory each.
The result ensures that the Rebels finish their first year in Super Rugby in last place but with three victories from 16 matches.
The Force led the Rebels for most of the match but Danny Cipriani kept the Rebels in the game with his penalty kicks.
The Force scored two second half tries to lead 12-24 but the Rebels hit back with two tries of their own and could have taken the lead but Stirling Mortlock missed the chance to convert his own try.
With the scores level at 24 all the match looked to be headed for a draw until the Force were awarded a penalty which Willie Ripia kicked to snatch the lead.
The Force gave themselves a chance of finishing the season in third place behind the Reds and Waratahs in the Australian Conference with their fifth win of the campaign.
The Perth-based outfit, playing without injured skipper Nathan Sharpe and suspended Wallaby star James O'Connor, led 24-12 with 11 minutes left and looked set for a convincing victory.
But the Rebels finished strongly with tries for replacement hooker Adam Freier and skipper Stirling Mortlock in a five-minute spell to level the scores at 24-24.
Ripia, who came on as a replacement midway through the second half, kicked the Force to victory with a 45-metre penalty that just made it over the crossbar.
New Zealand winger David Smith, who is leaving Perth for French club Toulon, scored his fifth try of the season in the 61st minute and was followed three minutes later by fly-half James Stannard.
But the Rebels hit back with two tries as the Force looked set once again to continue their exasperating habit of losing tight finishes before Ripia's 78th-minute penalty.
The Rebels' English international Danny Cipriani had an influential 70 minutes before he was replaced injured after kicking four penalties from five attempts.
"It was a tough one out there and both teams were trying to finish the season on a high and it was pretty close there at the end but I think our guys showed great composure to win," Force skipper David Pocock said.
The Force will finish third in the Australian Conference if the Brumbies lose to the Waratahs in their final game in Sydney on Saturday.
"It was very disappointing to lose like that but we paid the price for consistently being slow to the breakdown and we got penalised there a lot," Rebels' skipper Mortlock said.
"That's the sort of spirit we have showed consistently this season and unfortunately we couldn't get a win tonight but I thank all our fans."
Final Score Rebels 24 Force 27
Tries - A Freier, S Mortlock
Pen - D Cipriani 4
Con - S Mortlock
Tries - D Smith, J Stannard
Pen - J Stannard 4, W Ripia
Con - W Ripia
Referee: Garratt Williamson
Assistant referees: Nathan Pearce, Simon Moore
Television match official: Steve Lesczcynski
Rebels :1 Nic Henderson, 2 Ged Robinson, 3 Greg Somerville, 4 Alister Campbell , 5 Adam Byrnes , 6 Jarrod Saffy , 7 Michael Lipman , 8 Gareth Delve (vc) , 9 Nick Phipps , 10 Danny Cipriani , 11 Cooper Vuna , 12 Stirling Mortlock (c) , 13 Afusipa Taumoepeau , 14 Richard Kingi , 15 Mark Gerrard
Replacements : 16 Adam Freier , 17 Laurie Weeks , 18 Kevin O'Neill , 19 Tim Davidson , 20 Lachlan Mitchell , 21 Peter Betham , 22 Julian Huxley
Western Force:1. Kieran Longbottom,2. Nathan Charles,3. Matt Dunning,4. Ben McCalman,5. Sam Wykes,6. Matt Hodgson,7. David Pocock (Captain),8. Richard Brown,9. Brett Sheehan,10. James Stannard,11. David Smith,12. Rory Sidey,13. Mitch Inman,14. Alfie Mafi,15. Patrick Dellit
Reserves:16. Ben Whittaker,17. Tetera Faulkner,18. Tom Hockings,19. Jono Jenkins,20. Mark Swanepoel,21. Willie Ripia,22. Cameron Shepherd