Manchester City 1 Manchester United 1 | Today League | 26 October 1986
The victory he needed to sustain the Reds' recovery from an awful start - five defeats in the opening seven games - was denied by a determined City side in a gritty 1-1 draw at Maine Road. In the Blues' ranks were three new signings including right-back John Gidman, who had just crossed town from Old Trafford.
United striker Frank Stapleton gave 'Big Ron' hope of a third straight victory when he converted a cross from Peter Barnes, the former Blues winger, just after half-time. The lead was short-lived however with City centre-back Mick McCarthy demonstrating his aerial prowess to power home an equalising header.
Atkinson never lost a derby during his time as United manager but that statistic will have been of little comfort when he was dismissed 11 days later and replaced by Sir Alex Ferguson.
United: Turner; Sivebaek, McGrath, Hogg, Albiston; Whiteside, Robson, Moses, Barnes; Stapleton, Davenport. Sub not used: Gibson.