Derby County 1 Crystal Palace 1
Russell Anderson gave the home side an early lead but Stern John, who had a loan spell with Derby four years ago, came off the bench to equalise in the 85th minute.
Derby needed only a point to secure their Championship status and they made an excellent start when Anderson looped a header inside the right-hand post for his first goal since Sunderland released him in January.
Anderson made an important interception in his own box when he put the ball behind for a corner as Darren Ambrose was in a great position to equalise, but Palace rarely troubled Derby in the first half.
Manager Paul Hart made a change at half-time, bringing on John for midfielder Nick Carle and he went close with a quick turn and shot in the 63rd minute.
At least Palace were giving their fans hope and Johannes Ertl raised the volume level of the away fans when he cut inside and sent a 20-yard drive skimming just wide.
Palace should have been celebrating a goal in the 79th minute when Stephen Bywater could only parry an Ambrose blast, but John fired the rebound against the Derby keeper.
John was unfortunate three minutes later when he thumped a shot from 12 yards against the underside of the bar, but it was third time lucky for the striker in the 85th minute, when he sent a low shot past Bywater after a cross had broken into his path.
The point keeps Palace above Sheffield Wednesday who play tomorrow and it could prove to be a vital one if they preserve their Championship status.