The Toffees and the Magpies played out an entertaining draw at Goodison Park in a game jam-packed full of controversy, with late goals for both teams
The impressive Leighton Baines gave his side a deserved lead in a dominant first half for Everton, but substitute Demba Ba pegged them back immediately after the break.
Substitute Victor Anichebe thought he had won the game late on, only for Ba to equalise for a second time moments later.
Before the night's proceedings got under way, two young mascots led out the teams, one wearing an Everton shirt, the other Liverpool, bearing the numbers nine and six on their back in memory of the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough. A touching minute's applause was then impeccably observed by both sets of supporters and players alike.
With just one minute on the clock the ball was already in the Newcastle net, only to be correctly ruled out after Nikica Jelavic was called offside as he tapped in Marouane Fellaini's rebounded effort. Jelavic's knee collided with the post as he slid in, an injury that would later force him off the pitch to be replaced by Victor Anichebe.
It was Everton who were on top in the early stages, with the away side struggling to find their way out of their own half and it seemed only a matter of time until the hosts took the lead.
And with 15 minutes on the clock, the goal came. After a period of patient build-up from the home side, Baines played a ball into Pienaar's feet who produced a neat flick into the oncoming left-back. He took a touch forward before driving the ball into the bottom corner past Steve Harper who was deputising for the injured Tim Krul.
The early pressure continued in the same direction, with most of it coming from Everton's left hand side, and the pairing of James Perch and Sylvain Marveux struggled to deal with the impressive partnership of Baines and Pienaar.
The Toffees came close to extending their lead when Kevin Mirallas rifled in a curling shot from 25 yards that narrowly flew past Harper's left hand post.
Nevertheless, despite their sluggish approach to the game, Newcastle had two good chances to draw level. Papiss Cisse lashed a volley just wide with his side's first genuine chance of the game, and Vurnon Anita saw his close range shot cleared off the line by Baines.
Pienaar then had a gilt-edged chance to put daylight between the two sides as the half-time whistle approached, cutting inside and curling an effort over the bar.
Ba was brought off the bench for the start of the second half to replace the ineffective Marveaux, and within four minutes the former West Ham forward had forged his side level. Yohan Cabaye picked out the Senegalese striker with an inch perfect pass, and Ba was only too grateful to shoot across the hapless Howard to equalise.
The second half proved to be in total contrast to the first, with Newcastle looking the more likely to score while Everton struggled to build on their promising start.
Fellaini thought he had restored his side's lead only for his close range effort to be ruled offside, despite looking level with defender Steven Taylor when played in by Pienaar.
There was late drama as Anichebe's close range header seemed to cross the line, only for Everton's appeals to be ignored by the officials.
More controversy followed as Newcastle immediately countered and it seemed as if Ben Arfa had found himself through on goal after a mazy run, only for the referee to call the play back for a free-kick to the Magpies, ignoring any potential advantage.
Minutes later, the French midfielder was sent through on goal once more, but his low shot was well saved by Howard.
However, Anichebe wouldn't be denied for a second time as he controlled well in the Newcastle area and turned to crash home into the bottom corner. It seemed that his 88th minute goal had given his side the win.
Remarkably, Newcastle equalised again and it was that man Ba once more. A hopeful long-ball forward was flicked on by substitute Shola Ameobi, and his strike partner ran onto the loose ball to bundle home, to the delight of the travelling Newcastle contingent.