Villa came within nine minutes of winning only their second game against United in the Premiership as goals from Ashley Young from the penalty spot, then a close range effort from Marc Albrighton seemed to have sealed the game with 14 minutes remaining.
For the host’s inexperienced side it seemed only justice after James Collins and Gabriel Agbonlahor had hit the visitor’s woodwork.
But United have a habit of scoring late and the fightback began in the 81st minute.
Federico Macheda gave United hope with a powerful shot from a Darren Fletcher flick.
Twice in added time United could have nicked all three points but that would have been harsh on Villa who played their part in a breathtaking encounter.
Referee: Mike Dean
Venue: Villa Park
Aston Villa scorers: Young (pen) 72, Albrighton 76
Man Utd scorers: Macheda 81, Vidic 85
02 L Young (yellow card)
07 Young (yellow card)
12 Albrighton (Lichaj 88)
25 Bannan (yellow card)
28 Hogg (Herd 90)
11 Agbonlahor (Delfouneso 78)
01 Van der Sar
06 Brown (yellow card)
15 Vidic (yellow card)
13 Park Ji-Sung (Smalling 86)
17 Nani (yellow card)
09 Berbatov (Obertan 73)
14 Hernandez (yellow card) (Macheda 73)
20 Fabio Da Silva,