Everton outmuscled Manchester United to claim an unexpected point thanks to a spirited second-half comeback.
Manchester United had dominated the first 45 minutes of the Barclays Premier League clash with a controlled and confident display, to the point that Everton were chasing shadows.
United held a deserved lead through Darren Fletcher at the break, but in the second period Everton stormed back with a physical performance, with Marouane Fellaini heading the equaliser.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was able to make five changes to the United side that outclassed Celtic in the Champions League in midweek.
Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra were back from injury, while Ryan Giggs returned as captain. Wes Brown and Ji-Sung Park were also recalled.
Everton had former United striker Louis Saha up front with Ayegbeni Yakubu, while Joseph Yobo and Phil Neville returned from injury.
The hosts were either brave or foolhardy to play two wide-men in Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta, leaving Leon Osman and Fellaini sometimes cruelly exposed in central midfield, where Giggs pulled all the strings.
United found space with ease. Dimitar Berbatov may seem to show an economy of effort, but his clever link-up play kept United moving forward with menace.
Everton did have a couple of decent half-chances early on, firstly when Fellaini took a pass from Joleon Lescott and saw a shot on the turn blocked by Nemanja Vidic.
From the corner by Mikel Arteta, Belgian midfielder Fellaini headed just over. Then Wes Brown needed to make a hasty block when Saha struck a low drive from the edge of the box.
But United's movement, quality passing - and the amount of men they got forward so quickly - had Everton constantly stretched.
Fletcher had a header from Giggs' corner deflected wide, and Neville blocked a drive from Cristiano Ronaldo. Wayne Rooney then blasted wide after a free-kick had been blocked.
A goal from the champions has been on the cards for a while when Fletcher broke the deadlock after 22 minutes.
Giggs' astute angled ball into the box by-passed a static Fellaini to allow Fletcher a run into space where he evaded Lescott, before calmly placing his shot wide of Tim Howard.
United sensed blood and Osman cleared off the line from Vidic, and Howard saved well from Ronaldo and Giggs as the visitors stormed forward.
Vidic was booked for a poor challenge which sent Saha flying after 29 minutes. From the free-kick, Everton saw shots from Yakubu and Steven Pienaar charged down.
Giggs' run and chip then created a headed chance for Rooney that dropped just wide.
Everton started the second period with more pace and urgency, which at least stopped United strolling in possession.
Phil Jagielka was booked for a foul on Berbatov after 51 minutes. When Arteta caught Brown, his pass to Fellaini produced a shot which was deflected away from goal.
Neville enraged his former United colleagues with a nasty lunge at an already grounded Ronaldo, boot connected with knee and the Everton captain was booked when the uproar had died down.
Everton then got their lifeline, having barely troubled Van der Sar previously. After 63 minutes Neville crossed from the right and Fellaini rose above Vidic to head the equaliser.
A minute later Yakubu harassed Ferdinand, stole the ball and ran into the box to see Van der Sar touch his shot onto the right post. United almost immediately sent on Anderson for Park.
Rooney was then booked for a late tackle on Arteta, the game now the physical battle Everton needed to inspire their revival.
Rooney's chances of scoring the 100th goal of his career back at his former club were ended after 71 minutes when he was replaced by Nani.
Carlos Tevez arrived six minutes later for Fletcher as United sought to re-establish their earlier seemingly effortless control.
Ronaldo was moved to play through the middle, and twice it took timely interventions from Yobo to snuff out danger. Brown was booked for bringing down Yakubu, before Ronaldo shot wide from a good position.
James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe were sent on for Yakubu and Saha in the final minutes, Everton now striving for an improbable victory.
Fellaini was booked in injury-time for dragging back Berbatov as United chased a late winner.Reuse content