Manchester United maintained third spot in the Premier League table but look set to lose further ground on Chelsea and Manchester City after recording a 1-1 draw with Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on New Year's Day.
Louis van Gaal's side started 2015 in the worst possible way after former Red Devils scholar Ryan Shawcross gave the hosts an early lead inside two minutes, but Radamel Falcao restored parity after converting from a corner just before the half hour mark.
After the break the Potters were denied a penalty when referee Michael Oliver missed a clear handball by Chris Smalling, and later when Peter Crouch's headed effort came back off David De Gea's post, the visitors might well regard themselves lucky to escape with a point.
It means that Manchester United have now drawn three of their last four Premier League games, but extend their unbeaten run to ten matches which has made their hopes of qualification for the Champions League next season much more realistic heading into the New Year.
Luke Shaw impressed on his first start for the club since November 22, before being replaced by Adnan Januzaj just after the hour mark as Van Gaal eases the England international back into action.
Golascorer Falcao also made way for Ander Herrera which came as a bit of a surprise, given the Colombian looked much more threatening than strike partner Robin van Persie for much of the game.
In the latter stages the Red Devils were dealt another injury blow when Ashley Young suffered what looked like a pulled hamstring, forcing him off to give Rafael a 15-minute run-out.
De Gea didn't have a great deal to do, but the defence in front of him meant that he needed to be on his toes, with Jonny Evans enduring another particularly difficult display on the left side of a back three with Phil Jones and Smalling.
David De Gea - 7
Ashley Young - 7
Phil Jones - 6
Chris Smalling - 5
Jonny Evans - 4
Luke Shaw - 6
Michael Carrick - 6
Juan Mata - 6
Wayne Rooney - 6
Robin van Persie - 5
Radamel Falcao - 7
Ander Herrera - 6
Adnan Januzaj - 5
Rafael - N/A