With Wednesday's semi-final against Chelsea looming large, this fiesty encounter slowly petered out until Matthew Etherington's turn of pace and cross resulted in Steffen Iversen's header clipping the top of the crossbar in injury time.
Few could have argued that we deserved the points but, then again, few would take the point away from Everton either.
Always dangerous with the two-pronged attack of Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell, Everton were happy to err on the side of caution and more than happy to go back to Merseyside with a share of the spoils.
Pre-match talk was all about the return of Gazza but even the mercurial midfielder was quiet on this occasion.
Teddy Sheringham returned the startig line-up after suspension with Sergei Rebrov dropping to the bench.
But perhaps with Wednesday's huge semi-final in mind, Glenn Hoddle made two more changes to the team that beat Coventry City. In came Oyvind Leonhardsen for Gus Poyet while Anthony Gardner stepped in for Ledley King, who also started on the bench. Goalkeeper Gavin Kelly made his first appearance in the Premiership as cover for Neil Sullivan.
It took just four minutes to break the deadlock. Leonhardsen picked the ball up in the right channel and his excellent cross was met with a textbook downward header from Ferdinand, his 14th goal of the season.
But we were rocked by a stunning equaliser only three minutes later. Gascoigne swung in a free-kick, Taricco's headed clear, Gascoigne tried again and this time Taricco's clearance was met by a ferocious David Weir volley that flashed past Sullivan.
We could and perhaps should have regained the lead inside 60 seconds. Tim Sherwood played in a low cross that Ferdinand flicked towards Leonhardsen, it bounced back the the striker who sliced wide from 10 yards.
Ferdinand soon went down clutching his head and a fairly quiet spell of play was punctured only by a couple of Sheringham efforts on goal, one a flick header narrowly off target from Anderton's free-kick.
Sullivan produced the save of the half after 35 minutes. Naysmith flighted in the invitation for Ferguson to head towards goal but Sullivan was there to tip over. Stubbs then headed inches wide from the following corner.
Davies threatened again down the right flank, this time his low cross deflected wide and from the corner, Sherwood's goalbound header was flicked over by Sheringham as he attempted to divert it away from Simonsen.
Ferdinand, clearly affected by that early head knock, was replaced by Iversen at half time and the Norwegian hitman had an early impact, picking out Davies with a delightful crossfield pass but Naysmith was back in time to block.
Simonsen did well to tip Gardner's header over after Davies bravely nodded a corner back into the danger zone and on a rare forray into our half, Alexandersson's cross was taken off Campbell's head by Richards in front of goal.
Davies burst into the box after 69 minutes was halted abruptly by Naysmith but appeals for a penalty were quickly waved away and Simonsen produced a flying save to thwart Richards from Anderton's corner three minutes later.
Etherington's introduction injected pace in the attack but chances remained at a premium until the final minute when the nippy winger made a yard, hit the byline, crossed and Iversen could only head onto the top of the crossbar.
You've heard the phrase 'after the Lord Mayor's Show' - let's hope this is before it.