Sheffield United’s intention to stop the rot - and give some much needed relief to under pressure manager David Weir - was undermined by a 10th minute goal tonight. But his side fought back to get a draw and moved up to fourth from bottom of League One.
The Blades’ previous eight games had produced seven losses and a draw and they’d managed to find the net just once in their last six games.
However they knew a win at Bramall Lane over Crawley Town would propel them from bottom place in League One to join Oldham in 16th place.
The Blades, who had Simon Lappin making his debut, soon went behind though.
Jamie Proctor managed to evade his marker and nod home from close range following good work from Andy Drury.
United’s Tony McMahon had an attempt saved, but 6ft 2ins Proctor continued to be a pest for both United and the ref, who booked him on 24 minutes.
Neill Collins had a chance with a header of his own but his effort cleared the goal.
On 37 minutes, Weir was forced into a substitution, Conor Coady replacing the injured Florent Cuvelier.
Just before half time, Lancashire-born Proctor swept in a shot from the right side of the box, but failed to add to the visitors’ total.
There had been sarcastic cheers greeting a Febian Brandy effort on Crawley’s goal before the sounding booing accompanied the Blades players on the walk to the dressing room.
Efforts from Nicky Adams and Billy Clarke gave a signal that Crawley would continue to threaten the Lane defence as the second half got underway.
But on 52 minutes, there was a chink of light as McMahon hit the post with a shot from outside the box.
Ten minutes later, Marlon King got United level scoring neatly to the bottom right corner, following a move featuring Brandy.
Substitute Lyle Taylor could have improved on the 1-1 scoreline, but his effort flashed wide.
And Brandy had a promising header which could have changed events.
Right at the death Jamie Murphy’s shot from outside the box was saved - and Weir had to settle for a point.
TEAMS: Sheffield United:
Long, Hall, Maguire, Doyle, Baxter, Collins, Cuvelier, King, Brandy, Lappin, McMahon. Not used: Howard, Westlake, Hill, Taylor, McGinn, Coady, Murphy.
P Jones, Sadler, McFadzean, Clarke, Drury, Simpson, Walsh, Proctor, Bulman, Adams, M Jones. Not used: Hurst, Connolly, Torres, Alexander, Rooney, Sinclair, Maddison.
Ref: Paul Tierney .
Att: 15,401 .
* Chesterfield have signed United striker Chris Porter on a 28-day emergency loan.