Kiko Macheda's clinical hat-trick earned United a point as the Reds twice came from behind at St James' Park.
A draw was the very least United deserved from a see-saw encounter which ebbed and flowed until the final minute of stoppage time, when Lee Martin could have taken all three points for the Reds.
The result ends a run of three straight victories for United, but the pluck and guts on show in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team - plus an hour of action for club captain Gary Neville - provided a gleaming silver lining on Tyneside.
The first half was a relatively tight affair in which both sides converted penalties. Macheda slotted in for United after Claudio Cacapa had been penalised - perhaps a touch harshly - for handling the Italian's cross.
If that decision was soft, the award of Newcastle's own spot-kick was bewildering. Xisco's attempt to head a cross was slightly impeded by a combination of Neville and Ritchie De Laet, and the Spaniard's half-hearted appeals incredibly met with reward.
Xisco duly stroked the kick past substitute goalkeeper Conor Devlin, who had made a stunning reaction save from Cacapa's shot inside the six-yard box just moments earlier. The Irishman had earlier replaced Ron-Robert Zieler, who had injured his right arm.
The Reds could have retaken the lead almost immediately. Cameron Stewart fired Matty James' pass against a post, via a fine save from Fraser Forster, and then stabbed a subsequent cross over the bar.
Within three minutes of the restart, however, United were behind as Jonny Godsmark pulled a cross into the six-yard box for Mark Doninger to slide home.
The game lulled briefly as both teams drew breath, and Macheda superbly hauled United level again with 15