Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson admitted that he decided to take off Wayne Rooney at Goodison Park before the 23-year-old was sent off.
The former Everton striker, who was trying to score his 100th career goal on his old stomping ground, was eventually denied that chance by his Old Trafford manager when he was hauled off in the second half of the 1-1 draw.
Ferguson said: "The crowd were reacting, I did feel he might get sent off so I had to take him off."
He added: "I just didn't think the referee was giving our players proper protection, I saw some bad tackles and it is the referee's job to protect players.
"I don't know why he (Rooney) was booked and I had fears about the referee, the crowd were reacting and I thought he might be sent off. I had to take him off."
United could have been three or four ahead at the break, but had only a Darren Fletcher strike to their name.
Everton got their rewards when Marouane Fellaini rose to head home a Phil Neville cross after 63 minutes.
Everton boss David Moyes was delighted with a point, only their second at home this season, and said: "We are really pleased with how the players finished, especially against Manchester United and the way they are playing.
"A point against them at this moment is as good as a win as far as we are concerned."