Manchester United suffered another setback in the title race after fighting back to lead Everton 3-1 before being forced to settle for a 4-4 draw.
United went into the game five points clear of title rivals Manchester City and needing to win in order to ensure the Manchester derby later this month doesn’t become a winner-takes-all showdown.
However the reigning champions were given a warning that all of their focus was needed on the task in hand as Toffees took the lead through the prolific Nikica Jelavic, with the Croatian international angling his header superbly past David De Gea after 33 minutes.
United were soon back on level terms thanks to some good work from Nani down the wing, with the Portuguese international sending a perfect cross for Wayne Rooney to nod home with half time beckoning.
After the break United were in the ascendency and took the lead for the first time thanks to a sublime effort from Danny Welbeck, with the 21-year-old curling his shot home after fooling Johnny Hetinga from 20 yards out.
The home side then took control of the match and looked destined for three points with Nani rounding off a decent move by delicately chipping Everton keeper Tim Howard.
Everton were not done however and got a foothold on the match with 67 minutes gone as Marouane Fellaini put his side back in with a chance of getting some points, with the Belgian international nailing home an excellent volley.
United restored their two-goal advantage just two minutes later however as Rooney bagged his second of the match, tucking home after some neat exchanged passes between him and Welbeck.
Everton saved their best for last though as they demonstrated plenty of spirit to fight back just a week after crashing out of the FA Cup at the hands of rivals Liverpool, scoring two goals in the final ten minutes after Patrice Evra had hit the woodwork.
First Jelavic hammered home from 12 yards out with a fine volley on 83 minutes, before Steven Pienaar stunned the Old Trafford crowd by prodding home past De Gea with five minutes remaining.
Ferdinand almost won the game for his side in what proved to be one of the final acts of the game, but Howard proved a fine save to round off a dramatic match and help the title race take yet another twist.