Newcastle, seeking to bounce back from their shock FA Cup exit to lowly Stevenage last week, looked to be heading to a 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light after a Kevin Nolan goal put them ahead. But with the game deep into injury time, World Cup star Asamoah Gyan scrambled in a fortunate equaliser to make it 1-1 and deny Newcastle the much-needed win.
Nolan, who scored a hat-trick in Newcastle's 5-1 thrashing of Sunderland in October, was the Black Cats tormentor once again, firing the Magpies ahead on 52 minutes. The midfielder pounced after a cross by Joey Barton was headed down by Shola Ameobi to cause panic in the Sunderland defence, allowing Nolan to back heel it in from close range.
Yet just as Newcastle's travelling fans prepared to celebrate victory, Gyan popped up in injury time with his eighth goal of the season after a rare mistake by Newcastle keeper Steve Harper.
In his fifth successive match, Egyptian star winger Ahmed Elmohamady joined the starting eleven. He put on a good performance, creating dangerous passes for his teammates to capitalise on.
In Sunday's other early game, Aston Villa fought back from 1-0 down to secure a vital point in their derby clash with Birmingham at St Andrews. Birmingham, who handed a debut to new signing David Bentley, took the lead on 49 minutes when Roger Johnson volleyed in from 12 yards past Brad Friedel.
The Blues looked to be in control of the game and heading for victory until Villa equalised against the run of play, when a cross by Marc Albrighton was touched on by Gabriel Agbonlahor before being swept home by James Collins.
Villa might have snatched an unlikely victory in the final 10 minutes when Nathan Delfounso hammered a 25-yard shot against the crossbar.
In Sunday's other games, Liverpool take on Merseyside rivals Everton in Kenny Dalglish's first home match in charge at Anfield since taking over from Roy Hodgson last week. The late game sees top of the table Manchester United travel to Tottenham for an eagerly awaited first versus fifth clash at White Hart Lane