In an entertaining encounter full of openings it was the the hosts who took an early lead courtesy of a 12th goal of the season for Marlon King, who has proved an astute purchase for the Sky Blues.
But the equally impressive Ramon Nunez celebrated his loan extension from Leeds with a priceless 38th-minute equaliser which took a deflection off Martin Cranie.
Both sides passed up some glorious opportunities to take all three points but, in the end, the scoreline just about proved a fair reflection on a finely balanced clash.
The result, combined with Crystal Palace's goalless draw at Doncaster this afternoon, means it remains as you were in the scrap to avoid the drop, with Scunthorpe still three points adrift of safety with now just three matches remaining.
With the Sky Blues not having won this season when conceding first and the Iron losing all 17 games in which they have been behind at the interval, the opening goal at a sun-drenched Ricoh Arena was always going to be important.
And crucially it went for Coventry after a mere five minutes.
King found David Bell on the right side of the penalty area and he returned the ball to the former Watford and Wigan man who found himself in space at the near post to blast past Joe Murphy.
Just four minutes later and it should have been two-nil as Bell again provided the delivery from the right but Lukas Jutkiewicz, once more with no United defender near him, somehow touched the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.
The visitors' first real opening fell to Bobby Grant - in for the suspended Joe Garner - who found himself with just Keiren Westwood to beat following Mark Duffy's well-placed cross, but his tame first-time effort from six yards was well saved by the City keeper.
King was proving a real livewire for the hosts and sent a shot narrowly over the crossbar before Scunthorpe, who were coming more and more into the game, equalised with 38 minutes on the clock.
The ball broke fortunately for the threatening Nunez and he surged forward before unleashing a shot which deflected off Cranie and wrong-footed Westwood.
The goal put Scunthorpe in the ascendancy and Chris Dagnall's shot across goal flew inches wide before Michael Collins passed up a glorious opportunity, placing wide after Nunez had robbed Carl Baker.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half saw both sides pass up half chances before the unmarked King blazed a clear opening well over the bar from 10 yards.
Coventry saw another opportunity go begging in the 65th minute as substitute Freddy Eastwood failed to properly connect with the ball after Murphy had parried Bell's effort into the middle of the goalmouth.
Scunthorpe, albeit not for the want of trying, were yet to fashion a real clear-cut second-half opening as the clash entered the final 10 minutes.
Yet there was still time for King to send another shot over the bar when well placed.
Coventry 1-1 Scunthorpe: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game as it happened.