Jim Jefferies failed to magic up Dunfermline's first home win of the season but moved them a closer to second-bottom Hibernian after a draw.
The new Pars manager would have been unhappy with a punchless first half during which Steven Thomson headed St Mirren ahead on 38 minutes.
He had them fired up after the break and Joe Cardle bundled in the equaliser a minute after the restart.
Both sides had their chances thereafter but failed to capitalise.
With Hibernian losing at home to Dundee United, the point moves the Pars to within three of the Edinburgh side and leaves the Buddies without a win in 11 games.
Jefferies had adopted an attacking line-up despite starting with midfielder Martin Hardie as his sole striker, with anchor man Mark Kerr replacing Ryan Thomson in midfield, allowing David Graham to add support up front along with Liam Buchanan and Joe Cardle on the wings.
The Buddies also had a more attack-minded formation, with Hugh Murray and Steven Thomson dropping out of midfield for Dougie Imrie and Paul McGowan, who were cup-tied and suspended respectively for the Scottish Cup quarter-final replay defeat by Hearts.
It took 15 minutes for either side to seriously threaten a goal, with Nigel Hasselbaink failing with an ambitious hitch-kick that could have been destined for an open goal and Lee Mair lashed well over the crossbar with the follow-up.
There was little but industry coming from Dunfermline and it was the Buddies who had the invention to move ahead, although partly thanks to slack marking from the hosts.
Gary Teale's corner found Thompson at the near post and the striker's head-flick crept in at the far stick despite Gary Mason's attempt to clear off the line.
Dunfermline sprang to life after the break, Jefferies' voice probably ringing in their ears, and equalised almost immediately.
St Mirren were undone in midweek when a premature referee's whistle denied Hasselbaink a goal against Hearts and this time they were the victims of Alan Muir's decision to play advantage.
As the Pars fans claimed for a penalty for Mair's challenge on Buchanan, Cardle bundled the ball home.
Mason's cross had created the danger and the midfielder, within seconds, came close to scoring the second himself, with his powerful drive being cleared off the line by Graham Carey.
Goalkeeper Craig Samson turned a Cardle effort wide, but the Buddies weathered the storm and Hasselbaink headed just over after they applied some pressure of their own.
McGowan dragged a shot wide as St Mirren came close to stealing the three points before surviving a couple of late corners as desperate Dunfermline pressed for a late winner.