Clint Dempsey scored an injury time equaliser to help his Tottenham side to a point in challenging conditions at White Hart Lane.
With a late pitch inspection passed, it was Robin Van Persie who latched onto the end of a Tom Cleverley cross to put United ahead and notch his 18th league goal of the season in the process.
However, constant Spurs pressure told when Aaron Lennon found Clint Dempsey to finally beat an impressive David De Gea in injury time.
It was a game of few chances, but dropped points for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men mean Manchester City move to within five points of United.
Both sides seemed cautious early on, with chances few and far between. Phil Jones found some space on the right before finding Van Persie, but his header was tame, and easily collected by Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham’s best chance of the first half fell to Aaron Lennon. Receiving a cross field ball, he drove inside before forcing David De Gea into a smart save down low to his left. Jermaine Defoe had an effort on the rebound, but was in an offside position.
United were ahead mid way through the half. A swift counter attacking move fell to Cleverley to put a delightful cross into the back post for Van Persie to head past Lloris.
Tottenham responded well to going behind, but failed to create any clear cut chances. Gareth Bale forced a good save from De Gea after his initial shot was deflected, but United seemed comfortable.
Spurs upped the tempo in the second half, and was it not for De Gea, could have snatched all the points.
Moussa Dembele shown good footwork to evade three challenges but Dempsey missed the chance as De Gea denied him with a smart save.
Tottenham continued to apply pressure on the United backline. Jermaine Defoe’s initial effort deflected to Dempsey, but again the striker couldn’t apply the finishing touches, hitting it into the side netting.
There were further chances for Defoe and Bale, but United looked well organised and disciplined in defence following the return of Nemanja Vidic alongside Rio Ferdinand.
The Tottenham onslaught finally paid off deep into injury time. Substitute Benoit Assou-Ekotto found Lennon at the back post and the winger laid it off for Dempsey to slot in the equaliser.
It was a deserved point for Andre Villas-Boas’ side who drastically improved after the break.
The point moves Tottenham to within four points of London rivals Chelsea, with the title race certainly back on following United’s failure to achieve victory.