Brothers Joe and Harry Maguire were on target in United's opening game of the 2012-13 campaign.
At Ilkeston on Wednesday night, Harry Maguire gave United the lead with a second half header but his sibling Joe, on as a substitute for the home side, secured a draw in the closing stages.
United's 18-man squad to make the short trip down the M1, as well as including new loanee John Cofie for the first time, contained the names of trialists Jack Dean, formerly of Fulham, ex-Walsall full-back Darryl Westlake and former Oxford and Stevenage defender Luke Foster. Montgomery was named as captain, whilst prospects Whitehouse, Tonne and Chapell, who had the first pop at goal, were given chances to impress in starting roles.
Part of the home side's midfield was Danny Wilson's son, Laurie, and he was just one of many on show who found early conditions a little difficult due to pre-match thunder and a heavy downpour. The first action of considerable note arrived on 25 minutes when Maguire stepped out of his defensive position, shook off the attentions of around four Ilkeston players, before firing a yard wide. A deflected Philliskirk shot was also close, whilst Montgomery's long-distance attempt was straight at goalkeeper Timms.
As the first half progressed, United saw much more of the ball with former Academy captain Whitehouse constantly available to his senior team-mates, but neither side was able to break the deadlock before the interval.
United made five changes at the break, which included Cofie and Westlake, but the first chance of the second period fell to McAllister, but he mis-timed his header on 48 minutes.
The opening goal, however, did arrive on 57 minutes. Tonne delivered a corner from the right and MAGUIRE got the run on his marker to head home, despite the attentions of two defenders trying to kick the ball off the line. Porter shot wide soon after as the Blades looked to extend the lead, whilst a first-time effort from Whitehouse caused problems for goalkeeper Timms.
The chances continued to fall for United. Tonne fired over a rebound after Timms saved from Harriott and then, from a Tonne cross, Porter headed down and Whitehouse directed a difficult volley over the crossbar.
Westlake made an important interception as Peel threatened to sneak an equaliser inside the final ten minutes, whilst Howard saved comfortaby from Ilkeston's Maguire, brother of Harry.
However, the late flurry from the home side was rewarded with two minutes remaining when MAGUIRE held on to possession well before curling beyond Howard with the last notable shot.
Ilkeston: Timms, Wilcox (Bate 65), R. Wilson (Freeman 65), L. Wilson (Chambers 69), Partridge (J. Maguire 65), Cooke (Hill 64), Watts (Peel 69), Richards (Storey 69), Ford (Ricketts 45), Thomas (Robinson 69), McCall (Reid 45).
Blades: Howard, Dean (Westlake 45), Williams, Montgomery (Harriott 45), H. Maguire, Collins (Foster 62), Chapell (McAllister 45), Whitehouse (Ironside 82), Cresswell (Porter 45), Philliskirk (Cofie 45), Tonne.