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 minutes remaining. Latching onto James' through-ball, the ice-cool striker rounded Forster and slotted between two Newcastle defenders for his second.
Danny Guthrie fired home what looked to be a late winner for the hosts, lashing in from 25 yards after