Barnsley battled back to earn themselves a creditable point at in-form Birmingham, but it still wasn’t enough to haul them off the Championship basement.
Danny Wilson is still looking for the first win of his second spell in charge of the Reds after two draws and two defeats, but the former Blades and Owls boss will take plenty of positives from this performance.
New loan capture Brek Shea also produced an impressive effort, before fading towards the end.
There were three changes to the Reds’ line-up for the trip to St Andrew’s.
Following Sunday’s Oakwell defeat against Derby, Wilson drafted Jean-Yves M’voto and David Perkins back in, while USA international winger Shea was handed his first start, just hours after agreeing a 28-day loan move from Stoke City.
Dropping out of the starting 11 were Scott Wiseman, Paddy McCourt and Kelvin Etuhu, who didn’t even make the bench.
A tough task was in prospect against Lee Clark’s home side, who were unbeaten in nine Championship fixtures, and it looked all the more daunting when the hosts surged in front after just 10 minutes.
The Reds’ defence was unable to cut out Callum Reilly’s low cross from the left, leaving giant striker Nikola Zigic the relatively simple task of sliding in to bury the ball into the net from six yards.
It almost got worse for the visitors minutes later, but thankfully the woodwork came to the rescue as Dan Burn’s thumping header struck the underside of the crossbar before the ball was hacked away to safety.
The Reds looked under the cosh at that point, but they rallied impressively with both Shea and Chris O’Grady forcing decent saves from goalkeeper Darren Randolph. Jacob Mellis also missed a gilt-edged opportunity from close range.
At the other end Luke Steele had to be alert to beat away a well-struck shot from Chris Burke.
Neither manager made a change at the interval, but it was the Reds who opened the second period brightly.
Ten minutes in O’Grady fired wide, then centre-back Peter Ramage headed Tom Kennedy’s free-kick towards goal, only to see Paul Caddis hack the ball frantically off the line.
The visitors were in command as the hour mark approached, and they were eventually rewarded with an excellent equaliser.
O’Grady was hauled down just outside the Birmingham box, and up stepped Mellis to curl a super free-kick past Randolph and into the left corner to register his second league goal of the season.
Barnsley were back in business, but it took a while before they registered their next chance, with O’Grady forcing another smart parry from Randolph.
However, few further chances at either end meant the game ended all square.