Demba Ba came up with a last-minute equaliser for Newcastle to secure a 2-2 draw and deny Everton three points at Goodison Park.
Substitute Victor Anichebe must have thought he had won the game for the Toffees when he drilled home with just minutes remaining.
The home fans would have felt that was justice done after Anichebe had earlier headed over the line only for the officials to wrongly rule that Mike Williamson had cleared off the line.
But it was another substitute who had the final word as Ba got on the end of Shola Ameobi's flick-on and forced the ball past the advancing Tim Howard to score his second goal of a dramatic night.
It had been all Everton before the break as Alan Pardew's decision to drop Ba appeared to have scuppered the Magpies' hopes.
Gary Neville had earmarked Baines as the key figure in the game on Sky Sports before kick-off due to Steven Pienaar's tendency to cut inside, allowing the left-back the freedom to attack.
But knowing about the danger and dealing with it proved very different things.
Sylvain Marveaux had been selected as a more defensively astute option on the right but he couldn't cope with Baines and a clever one-two with Pienaar brought the breakthrough.
Baines fed the ball to Pienaar and then ran beyond him. The South African's deft flick took Marveaux and Jonas Gutierrez out of the game and Williamson was unable to get across in time as the England man drilled the ball past Steve Harper to the delight of the home crowd.
Newcastle had barely got started at that point as they seemed disjointed in the absence of key players such as Tim Krul, captain Fabricio Coloccini and - perhaps most crucially - Cheick Tiote.
But there was a response of sorts from the visitors as Cisse volleyed just wide after a poor clearance from Phil Neville.
And the Magpies nearly equalised when Hatem Ben Arfa crossed from the left for Vurnon Anita to beat Tim Howard only for Baines to show his defensive qualities to clear off the line.
Pardew did change things around in terms of tactics and personnel at the break, introducing Ba for Marveaux and the switch brought instant rewards.
Yohan Cabaye robbed Leon Osman and thread a lovely through-ball to Ba whose early left-footed effort wrong-footed Howard to stun the home crowd - and not for the last time on the night.
While the post-match discussion was all about technology and officials' decisions, understandably the pre-match focus was on recognising the fight of Hillsborough campaigners in their battle for justice after the publication of last week's independent report.
The club's approach was pitched perfectly as, in addition to two mascots wearing an Everton number nine shirt and a Liverpool top with the number 6 and ball boys bearing the number 96, the names of all victims of the disaster scrolled across Goodison's television screen accompanied by the Hollies' 'He Ain't Heavy...He's My Brother'.
David Moyes, in his programme notes, had summed up the feeling on Merseyside by writing: "I and everyone at Everton stands alongside the Hillsborough families.
VIDEO: Demba Ba and Steve Harper pleased with a point
"The outcome (of the findings of the independent panel) was nothing short of disgraceful.
"We have all been brought up to believe and trust in authority...the authorities who were responsible for the safety of supporters that day let themselves down."
But while Everton stand side-by-side by their neighbours in relation to Hillsborough they are pulling away from them in the table.
A draw extended the gap over 17th-placed Liverpool, whom they finished above last season, to five points.
They have been imperious at home in the last six months and that was reflected in a one-sided first half.
Magpies boss Alan Pardew, serving the first of a two-match touchline ban for shoving assistant Peter Kirkup on the opening day against Tottenham, must have run up a hefty bill trying to correct matters on the phone to coach Steve Stone, his go-between with John Carver in the dugout.
Nikica Jelavic had an early goal disallowed for offside but it set the tempo and when the breakthrough came in the 15th minute it was no more than the hosts deserved.
A 17-pass move merely reflected the Toffees' dominance as Baines raced onto a clever backheel from Steven Pienaar to fire past Harper.
Kevin Mirallas, the £6million summer signing impressing on his first league start, had a couple of good chances while Phil Jagielka shaved the post with a volley from Jelavic's lay-off.
However, Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse should have at least tested Howard with a volley after Phil Neville's poor headed clearance of a free-kick while Osman was indebted to Baines' goalline clearance to prevent the equaliser.
The loss of Croatia international Jelavic with a knee injury just before the interval was a blow to Everton but not as much as Ba's equaliser just after the break.
Within four minutes of being introduced the half-time substitute hit a low shot past Howard after Cabaye robbed Osman and rolled a perfectly-weighted diagonal pass into his path.
It was the first goal scored by an opposition player at Goodison Park since Thomas Vermaelen's winner for Arsenal on March 21, a run of 11 hours and 11 minutes.
Harper's sportsmanship did Anichebe a favour when he made little of the forward's late sliding challenge, intimating to referee Michael Jones he did not have an issue with the tackle.
Marouane Fellaini had a goal ruled out for offside, a decision which was marginal at best, but only goalline technology - which does not come in until next season - could have assisted Jones with his next decision as Anichebe's header tipped onto the crossbar by Harper appeared to bounce down over the line before Williamson cleared.
Anichebe left no room for doubt three minutes from time when he turned in the penalty area to fire home but Everton's celebrations were short-lived when Ba latched on to Ameobi's knockdown to roll a shot under Howard.
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