By Charlene Cole
Monday 28 Apr 2008 16:29:28
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In an eventful encounter that saw Villa make a comeback twice after conceding goals by their opponents, Villa deserved their point after playing a big hand in the game and trail the Toffees’ by three points with just two games remaining until the end of the season.

Gabriel Agbonlahor and John Carew came to the rescue cancelling out Phil Neville’s and Joseph Yobo’s efforts.

Aston Villa drew with Everton on Sunday afternoon at Goodison Park in battle only for fifth spot in the league but to keep alive Villa Uefa Cup chance for next season.

As the teams marched out onto the pitch to the Z Cars theme tune which is played before every Everton home game the visitors were emerging on the back of a trio of back to back wins looking to displace Everton for that fifth spot.

Everton started brightly creating many a chance in the opening six minutes. Zat Knight was active on 2 getting ahead of Andy Johnson and clearing a low cross from the Everton right. A minute later Yakubu picked up Manuel Fernandes's deflected cross from the right shotting wide of the near post from a tight angle.

On 4 a cross from Joleon Lescott from the left was headed clear by Knight. Shortly after Leon Osmond drove forward finding space only to see his shot deflected wide by Knight resulting in a corner.

On 6 Yakubu took possession of a loose ball in midfield connecting with Steven Pienaar, his then attempt to make a link with Johnson was intercepted by Stiliyan Petrov.

Villa skipper Gareth Barry’s advanced from midfield shooting wide of the goal from 25 yards whilst Scott Carson coolly sidestepped an oncoming Johnson at the other end shotly after.

Couple of minutes later John Carew found space on the edge of the Everton box but failed to find the back of the net with his shot.

Minutes after on 10 Nigel Reo-Coker teamed up with Petrov outside of the home sides box but the Bulgarian slipped, as he was about to shoot to the delight of the home fans. Phil Neville upped the pace on 12 finding Osman on the edge of the visitors box though luckily Reo-Coker quickly appeared to dispossess him

A sixty seconds after a cross from Barry 13' from the left is helped into Agbonlahor's path by Carew but Joseph Yobo gets his body between player and ball and clears the danger.

Carson was there on 19 to clear Yakabu’s angled drive with Fernandes looking to add to the score line but slicing wide afterwards. Carew chipped the ball to towards Young on 25 but Howard intervened, racing from his line to ward off the danger.

Villa nearly took the lead on 30 after Young hit the cross bar following a right footed free kick from the edge of the box.

Another Young free kick that was met by Mellberg was headed wide from the left by the Swede on 33. Reo-Coker was denied four minutes later as Jagielka slid in to deny him from shooting from the edge of the box ending the major goal attempts of the first half.

Second half action saw Reo-Coker hunt down Osman to halt the latter’s shot on 51. Whilst moments after Young and Carson broke free only to see Carsley clear any chance of a threat.

The hosts opened scoring on 55 when the defence failed to clear Yakubu’s cross from the left which Neville fired at goal with an angled drive from the edges of the box.

A minute after Villa cried out for a penalty after Mellberg’s header appeared to be handled in the box, pleas that went unheard as they game continued and saw Yakubu low right footed shot go wide of the target.

On 61 another corner from Young was met by Carew who headed towards goal but saw his effort tipped over the bar by Howard, who was again on call as Agbonlahor headed at goal after linking Villa captain Barry’s corner.

Laursen nearly added a tally for his team on 69 heading across the front of the goal but failing to find the net.

It was only a matter of time before Villa levelled on 80 when Agbonlahor met Barry’s right wing corner shot, volleying the ball into the top of the net.

It was short lived though as David Moyes’s men regained the lead on 84 when Yobo fired goal bound a six yarder from a Carsley cross.

Any thoughts Everton had of a home win were brief as Carew brought Villa back from the depths of defeat sixty seconds later, when the Norwegian headed home from Barry’ centre.

Prior to the final whistle Carson did well to deny Yobo on 90, palming the defenders header away from goal. 

In a post match press conference with BBC Sports Everton boss David Moyes said:   "I am disappointed we conceded so quickly after scoring our second goal. I think that it was probably a fair result. There were two teams going for it and Villa are a very good side. He finished by adding: "Being three points ahead of Villa with two games to go is a great position for us to be in."

Whilst Villa chief Martin O'Neill said: "We have the ability to fight back. We knew this would be a difficult game and so it proved to be. I felt the first goal was going to be vital and yet we managed to get something out of the game. He ended by saying: "We are capable of scoring goals and we never gave up. We have a lot to play for over the last two games."

Everton: Howard, Neville, Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott, Osman, Carsley, Fernandes (Arteta 66), Pienaar, Johnson (Anichebe 83), Yakubu.  
Subs Not Used: Wessels, Hibbert, Baines.

Booked: Yakubu, Carsley, Anichebe.

Goals: Neville 56, Yobo 84.

Aston Villa: Carson, Mellberg, Laursen, Knight (Berger 75), Bouma (Harewood 78), Petrov, Barry, Reo-Coker, Young, Carew, Agbonlahor. 
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Salifou, Routledge.

Booked: Petrov, Young, Harewood.

Goals: Agbonlahor 80, Carew 86.

Att: 37,936

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire). 

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