Newcastle United 1 Sunderland 1
Joe Kinnear's side trailed to a Djibril Cisse goal just after the half-hour mark until Shola Ameobi does want he frequently does and bulged the net against the Black Cats.
Sunderland had high hopes of completing the double over Newcastle for the first time since the 1966-67 season, but battling and injury-ravaged Newcastle had different ideas.
Sunderland have not won at Newcastle since 2000-2001 season and of the 36 league games played in the last 32 years, Newcastle have won 15, with 16 others drawn and Sunderland winning only five.
And Ameobi's spot-kick saver means Newcastle's last home derby defeat of any sort was back in March 2001, when Middlesbrough won 2-1.
It took 16 minutes to get a shot on target from either side, with Ameobi's shot on the turn easily dealt with by Marton Fulop.
Four minutes later and Kieran Richardson saw an inswinging free-kick beat everyone and crash off the upright and Kevin Nolan hooked a Kenwyne Jones follow-up off the line.
Newcastle then rattled the woodwork when Luis Enrique's deep cross was headed on to the top of the bar by Andy Carroll.
Sunderland just about shaded the first half and illustrated that point on 33 minutes.
Fabricio Coloccini was slow in getting out and played on Cisse who broke clear, only to see his shot brilliantly blocked by Steve Harper, but the striker reacted first as it ballooned in the air to stick away the rebound.
A point would lift Newcastle in to 13th position and that is exactly what they achieved after dominating the second half.
The transformation was immediate with United taking the game to Sunderland, who were put under severe pressure.
George McCartney cleared an early effort off the line and that was the sign of things to come.
Damien Duff was booked for diving when he broke through after 54 minutes, but the failed penalty appeal was merely a respite for Ricky Sbragia's side.
The over-lapping Steven Taylor charged through on the right and both he and Steed Malbranque went down together with United shouting for a penalty.
Referee Howard Webb thought long and hard before pointing to the spot and Ameobi held his nerve to send Fulop the wrong way.
Harper made a good save from substitute Michael Chopra and the former Newcastle striker then chose the wrong option, when breaking clear and instead of shooting tried to pick out Jones with a wayward pass.
It was Newcastle who did the bulk of the pressing, mainly through Jonas Gutierrez. He posed problems all afternoon as Phil Bardsley, McCartney and Richardson were all yellow-carded for fouls on the Argentinian, who is suspended for Saturday's trip to West Brom.
Duff had a couple of good, late chances while Sunderland survived penalty appeals when Bardsley appeared to handle in the area.