The ball thudded into Dominic Calvert-Lewin's chest, crucially his chest, and rolled in front of the striker.
He jabbed out his left foot, steering a finish across David De Gea and inside the goalkeeper's left post.
It was the final kick of a bonkers game and Everton had a point they deserved for their character and quality and sheer bloody-mindedness.
Everton trailed 3-2 entering the closing seconds of stoppage-time when they won a free-kick on halfway.
Robin Olsen joined the bodies congregating in the box but it was Luke Shaw, under pressure from Michael Keane, who got the touch to help on Lucas Digne's set-piece.
Calvert-Lewin controlled, Manchester United defender's hooping beyond hope he'd used a hand, and steered in his finish to spark a whooping celebration involving all 11 players.
This was a terrific point for Everton, the sort which creates enduring belief.
It was sufficient to move to sixth in the Premier League standings, too.
Carlo Ancelotti's side were short of clear opportunities in an opening half when Manchester United opened up clear daylight courtesy of Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes.
There was never any indication of Everton chucking in the towel after that double setback and minutes after Fernandes' goal Calvert-Lewin raced through to shoot fractionally wide.
They pulled level with goals from Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez before Scott McTominay's header swung things back in United's favour with 20 minutes to play.
Everton had a mountain to climb after Fernandes’ goal four minutes before half-time.
But in the space of three minutes soon after the restart they travelled from the foothills to the summit.
Tom Davies swapped passes with Digne to set the wheels in motion on Everton’s first goal.
Davies progressed to slid a ball inside Harry Maguire for Dominic Calvert-Lewin on Everton’s left.
The forward was in a tight spot on the byline but jammed out a cross which David De Gea only managed to shove to the feet of Doucoure.
Doucoure didn’t celebrate that one but did allow himself to enjoy the moment after his part in the second.
The midfielder collected a pass from James and moved the ball to Digne on the left.
Victor Lindelof’s header from the cross flew left, where Doucoure had moved in anticipation of the clearance.
He returned the ball into the centre for James, who controlled and struck a precision finish into the right corner.
Ancelotti’s exasperated roar when Mason Holgate was penalised for a 70th-minute challenge on Luke Shaw suggested the Everton manager wasn’t sure about the decision.
And it would prove a big one, McTominay glancing in from Shaw’s dead ball.
Cavani’s goal was his third against Everton this season but the Uruguayan owed a debt of gratitude to Rashford for this effort.
Rashford swapped passes with Bruno Fernandes, engineering the room to cross.
There wasn’t an awful lot to aim at for the England player, Cavani pulling away at the far post, essentially, the extent of it.
Rashford’s cross was perfect, though, in both weight and direction, clearing Everton’s centre-halves and presenting Cavani with the straightforward task of heading home.
Everton’s one chance between the home team’s first-half goals resulted from Digne chasing down centre-back Lindelof in United territory.
Carlo Ancelotti was animated on the touchline, stood tight to the edge of his technical area and barking at his players to press high.
Digne was listening and hassled Lindelof, who was hurried and struck a weak clearance that hit the Everton left-back and spun to Richarlison.
De Gea, meanwhile, was evidently surprised by this turn of events and scurrying back towards his unguarded goal, as Richarlison sent the finish narrowly past the far post.
Davies was back in Everton’s midfield, one of three changes as Ancelotti stuck to his word and continued to rotate.
And Davies was in feisty mood, sharp into the tackle – he put in a couple of fine, firm challenges on Fernandes, and covering a lot of ground.
It was from a Davies pass over the top Everton would have gleaned a measure of encouragement.
The move didn’t amount to anything material but the way Calvert-Lewin ran into clear space behind United’s back-four – Aaron Wan-Bissaka playing him onside – pointed to a potential route to success.
So it would prove, when Calvert-Lewin sprinted onto another Davies pass in the lead up to Everton’s first goal.
Indeed, in the closing moments of the opening half Calvert-Lewin was away again, sprinting onto Mason Holgate’s punt forwards.
The offside flag went up a second after Calvert-Lewin squeezed his finish an inch past the post.
Had the ball gone in, however, the VAR would have had a decision to make.
Fernandes’ United goal arrived soon after Paul Pogba departed for the evening.
The home midfielder pulled up after playing an innocuous looking pass to Lindelof and quickly surrendered to whatever was bothering him.
Fred came on and promptly sent a shot wide of the target.
When the Brazilian next had the ball he directed it towards Fernandes, who let it run for Wan-Bissaka.
The right-back returned to pass infield to Fernandes, stationed on the edge of Everton’s 18-yard box, on an angle from goal.
He had time to pick his spot and sent the ball across Robin Olen and into the top left corner.
Everton had begun by frustrating United, repeatedly smothering the home team when they advanced into dangerous territory.
A surge through the middle from Lindelof was balked by Keane and Cavani would have needed to be a foot taller to reach Mason Greenwood’s cross from the right.
Calvert-Lewin was found in a useful position again, Andre Gomes the provider this time, seeing the striker on Shaw’s wrong side and floating an accurate pass.
The chest control was good but Shaw recovered to time his tackle 18 yards from United’s goal.
Rashford’s tail was up after his part in United’s opening goal and Davies slid into to prevent the forward’s surge into the box turning into anything of note.
Cavani inexplicably missed his kick from a Wan-Bissaka cross and – before his goal – Fernandes had shot blocked by Holgate.
Shaw bombed forwards two minutes after the restart, continuing his run after passing to Cavani and receiving the return pass for a shot Olsen saved diving to his left.
Any notion of United taking control was dispelled 120 second later, Calvert-Lewin moving onto Davies’ ball and creating uncertainty with his delivery.
Doucoure was on hand to turn in the rebound and in the thick of it again very soon after.
The Frenchman’s movement was intelligent, marauding right in anticipation of Lindelof’s clearing header.
Collecting possession, Doucoure glanced up to see James and was precise with his pass.
The same could be said for the Colombian’s finish, arrowed inside De Gea’s left post.
Olsen made himself big to save one-on-one from Rashford after Cavani slipped in the Englishman.
McTominay restored United’s lead with 20 minutes remaining, however, getting his head to Shaw’s free-kick and sneaking the ball inside Olsen’s left post.
Gylfi Sigurdsson was already on for James by this point and soon after the goal Ancelotti withdrew Davies and introduced Alex Iwobi.
Keane took the ball off Rashford’s big toe in the box after another direct run and Fernandes floated over from 20 yards.
Rashford was wide after delaying his shot in the box and a free-kick form Fernandes went the same way as his chip moments earlier.
Joshua King came on for Doucoure as Ancelotti had his final roll of the dice with nine minutes to play.
Digne hit the outside of the De Gea’s right post with a low drive from an angle after being fed by Gomes as Everton mounted a late surge.
Maguire was furious Calvert-Lewin wasn't punished for strong-arming the defender off the ball with two minutes to play.
Calvert-Lewin continued forward to find Richarlison, who worked space for a shot that flashed past De Gea's left upright.
It felt as if that might be that. But Everton came once more, decisively, to equalise for a second time and claim a point it appeared had slipped away.
Carlo Ancelotti said Everton would come up with something different in a bid to overcome Manchester United after getting nothing from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team in two games this season.
Among the tweaks was a switch to a wider role for Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Frenchman Doucoure sat deep when United had possession, providing an extra buffer against United’s left-sided duo of Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford.
Doucoure didn’t limit himself to that starting position.
Ancelotti values the player’s football intelligence and, here, Doucoure recognised when another body was needed to prevent Everton being outnumbered centrally.
He was comfortable shifting infield to provide an extra passing option, too, and brave enough to join attacks, knowing those long legs would speedily transport him back into defence if required.
Doucoure’s raiding before half time came to nothing but served notice of his intent nonetheless.
It would have been easy to let the disappointment of falling two goals behind get to him, perhaps stop making those runs forward and switch to damage-limitation mode.
Giving up the ghost isn’t in Doucoure’s make-up, though, and when David De Gea tentatively shovelled out Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s low delivery it was the Everton midfielder furthest forward to apply a decisive touch.
If that goal had plenty to do with Doucoure’s anticipation then the same was true of Everton’s second.
Doucoure drifted right to gather Victor Lindelof’s awkward clearance and serve up the cross for James Rodriguez’s clinical finish.
He was sacrificed for Joshua King with nine minutes remaining after carrying out an unfamiliar assignment very well indeed.
Who Cares Where
Seven wins and two draws from 11 away matches is a startlingly good return and Everton boast one of the Premier League's finest away records.
This result, however, is notable for much more than where the match took place.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side were facing opponents who have twice got the better of them this season.
United were collecting their Premier League points at a rate of two per game ahead of tonight’s fixture.
They’ve lost only once in their past 16 league matches, winning 11 of those games.
The poor form at Old Trafford which dogged United’s early season endeavours is a distant memory, a recent loss to Sheffield United notwithstanding.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team reacted to that disappointment by sticking nine past Southampton and have won five and drawn one of their past seven at home.
Everton, then, had to overcome one of the Premier League’s form horses and, as Ancelotti pointed out, refine their gameplan for tackling United following that pair of defeats before the turn of the year.
It added up to one of the tallest orders Everton have encountered this season and only grew in difficulty when staring at a two-goal deficit.
The job wasn't finished there either, Everton going right until the final second to grab a point which will be worth as much psychologically as materially.