Wayne Rooney struck from the penalty spot in the final minute to rescue a point for Everton on their first ever trip to Brighton’s Amex Stadium.
After Seagulls captain Bruno was punished for impeding Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the box, Rooney coolly dispatched the ball past Mat Ryan from 12 yards to cancel out Anthony Knockaert’s 82nd-minute opener.
Everton nearly pinched victory at the death but the impressive Ryan produced a fine double-stop to deny substitute Kevin Mirallas and earn his side a share of the spoils.
Ronald Koeman’s men went into the game on the south coast boosted by the return of captain Phil Jagielka, who had missed the previous four fixtures with a hamstring injury.
Rooney also came back into the team and he was supported by Calvert-Lewin, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Nikola Vlasic, the latter two both players who had reported back to USM Finch Farm earlier in the week after netting in the international break for Iceland and Croatia Under-21s respectively.
In his pre-match interview, conducted just after the Everton bus pulled up at the Amex, Koeman demanded “aggression” in his team’s performance.
And the Toffees began positively, passing and moving crisply and enjoying the bulk of the possession in the opening stages.
It took the best part of 10 minutes to conjure an opportunity though, with a swift counter-attack involving Calvert-Lewin and Rooney ending with Seagulls centre-back Lewis Dunk making a brave - and necessary - block from Sigurdsson’s goal-bound shot.
Another well-worked intricate piece of play from the Toffees then culminated in Idrissa Gana Gueye forcing a stretched low save from Ryan with a shot from distance.
Calvert-Lewin headed over from a free-kick and Gana’s second effort of the afternoon was placed narrowly past the post, as Everton continued to press and probe without making any clear incisions through the Seagulls’ defence.
The hosts’ best opportunity of the first period was on the half-hour mark when Dunk reacted quickest to Knockaert’s blocked shot, only to see his own effort charged down inside the six-yard box. The home fans, who had remained vocal right from the first whistle, claimed the ball had struck Michael Keane on the arm, but their penalty appeals were waved away by referee Michael Oliver.
Dale Stephens thrashed a long-range attempt way over Jordan Pickford’s crossbar in the lead-up to the interval, which arrived without a breakthrough for either team.
The same 22 players reappeared after the break, although it was a change in tactics for the Toffees with Rooney moving out to the left and Calvert-Lewin leading the line.
The England Under-21s forward headed straight at Ryan 10 minutes into the second half, moments after the unlikely source of Mason Holgate brought a smart save from Ryan with a powerful angled drive.
Everton threatened prominently down the right flank and the lively Vlasic lost his footing at an unfortunate moment after twisting to create a yard of space inside the Brighton area.
Three quarters into the contest Oumar Niasse - the hero from the bench three weeks prior against Bournemouth - was thrust into the action by Koeman, an attack-minded change in place of his Senegalese cohort Gana.
Brighton boss Chris Hughton also switched things up front and, indeed, Colombia winger Jose Izquierdo caused a few issues for Everton, quickly peppering the Blues goal with three shots after entering the action.
Both sides sensed a winner in the latter stages and Everton had to be thankful for a vital intervention from Michael Keane to divert away Knockaert’s low curler.
Frustratingly for the Toffees, the Frenchman had more luck with his next opportunity. Again Keane got in the way to stop Izquierdo from scoring, but the rebound fell kindly to Knockaert, who netted past Pickford.
It looked like that would hand Brighton a famous victory but, in the final minute, Bruno used his elbow in trying to halt Calvert-Lewin inside the box and referee Oliver pointed to the spot.
Rooney bided his time before sending Ryan the wrong way with composure his manager later described as "world class".
Ryan's heroics continued, though, and after good work from Holgate, he repelled a Kevin Mirallas effort in the final seconds before again thwarting the Belgian on the rebound.
Next up for the Blues is the Europa League visit of Lyon on Thursday.