Manchester United were thwarted by a battling 10-man Newcastle side who benefited from a controversial penalty.
Javier Hernandez gave the home side an early second-half lead after Wayne Rooney's volley ricocheted off Steven Taylor before hitting the Mexican.
Newcastle drew level through Demba Ba's spot-kick after Rio Ferdinand was adjudged to have fouled Hatem Ben Arfa.
Jonas Gutierrez was then sent off, Tim Krul made two great saves, Ashley Young hit the post, but the Magpies held on.
The pulsating draw leaves the champions four points behind rivals Manchester City, who travel to Liverpool on Sunday.
Newcastle penalty a 'travesty' - Ferguson
That Newcastle left Old Trafford with a point had much to do with Krul's superb goalkeeping performance and the visitors' ability to throw bodies in the way of the ball in a frantic final 12 minutes after Gutierrez's dismissal.
Krul somehow blocked Nemanja Vidic's fierce header and then pushed away Patrice Evra's shot, while Danny Simpson typified Newcastle's resilience when he cleared a Hernandez effort off the line.
At times in that thrilling conclusion Krul's goal seemed to be protected by a forcefield as Ashley Young rattled the post with a shot, while a last-gasp Hernandez goal was ruled out after the Mexican strayed offside when he poked home Ryan Giggs's cross.
If Newcastle rode their luck at times it was also a performance that adds to the growing body of evidence that the Magpies can continue to prosper this season after their fine start, with this draw keeping them in fourth.
In the opening half Alan Pardew's side looked to attack at every opportunity with Ben Arfa and Gabriel Obertan effective in creating chances with their vision and touch - both from the centre of the pitch as well as the flanks.
Ben Arfa produced the cutest of passes with the outside of his foot to scoop the ball over the hosts' defence to Ba, whose volley tested David de Gea.
A cross from Obertan, who was arguably the visitors' most effective player in that first half, created Newcastle's best chance with a cross from the right, but Ryan Taylor miscued with his volley.
DID YOU KNOW?
Javier Hernandez has scored six league goals this season - but this was his first at Old Trafford
However, that Newcastle went in at the break level was primarily to do with Krul's reactions.
Early on he saved twice from Hernandez before the Dutchman flung himself to his right to produce a fingertip save from the deftest of flicks from Giggs.
Just before the break Newcastle were handed a reprieve when Hernandez miscued with a shot when he probably should have scored.
Four minutes after the restart Hernandez finally broke the deadlock, though he must have known little about it.
Steven Taylor had fouled Hernandez to win a free-kick just outside the box and, although the Newcastle wall blocked Rooney's set-piece shot, the England striker was quickly onto the rebound.
His volley went deep into the Newcastle area before ricocheting off Steven Taylor and then off Hernandez into the net.
It was a desperately unlucky way to go behind, but the visitors were soon to profit from a contentious penalty that was awarded when Ben Arfa went down after a Ferdinand tackle.
Television replays appeared to show the United defender had won the ball cleanly but referee Mike Jones - after consultation with his assistant - awarded the penalty that Ba slotted in as De Gea went the wrong way.
The Manchester United goalkeeper produced a wonderful save to parry a Fabricio Coloccini effort, but once Gutierrez had been dismissed for a second yellow card, Newcastle had only the manpower to concentrate on defending their goal.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew:
"We had some Geordie heroes, who showed they can compete with one of the best teams in Europe.
"Rio Ferdinand played the ball and the penalty was fortunate for us but we have a resilience in this team.
"We closed them down, made it difficult for them and were absolutely superb. We've shown we are a good side.
"Next week - when we play Chelsea - is a platform to show we can beat a top Premier League side."
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