Fellaini spares Toffees
Marouane Fellaini’s second half brace saw Everton avoid a shocking defeat to Aston Villa in a Barclays English Premier League match hosted by the Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon which ended 3-3.
Villa led 2-1 at the interval courtesy of a Chris Benteke second minute strike and Gabriel Agbonlahor added their second in the 24th minute, while Nigeria’s Victor Anichebe pulled a goal back for the Toffees.
The encounter got off to a thrilling introduction as Villa’s Charles N'Zogbia came in off the right-flank, holding off two challenges before sliding a ball through to Benteke. The forward’s clinical first touch enabled him to easily surge past Johnny Heitinga before placing the ball into the bottom far corner.
Everton tried to hit Villa with an immediate response but Anichebe’s attempt went wide.
The home side then took control of the half and edged possession stats, got shots away, but their finishing was not particularly impressive.
But it wasn’t long until the Toffees got the equaliser through Anichebe. A quick counterattacking move between involving Fellaini, Pienaar and Osman in the 21th minute found the striker with his back to goal inside the area. He held off Vlaar with ease and stroked a low shot under Guzan, showing great strength and finishing ability, 1-1.
However, Villa replied immediately. Agbonlahor latched onto Westwood's cross into the area with a fine header from eight yards out low into the far corner to make it 1-2.
Everton missed a sitter in the 35thminute, as a charge down the left by Baines with Fellaini, Anichebe, Mirallas and Pienaar all busting a gut to reach the expected delivery into the area, but Baines played it behind all four to groans from the home crowd.
In the second stanza Everton got off to a lively start and kept Villa’s back-four on their toes with Fellaini and Baines both creating early havoc, but Guzan was up to the task in the visitor’s posts.
The Toffees looked destined for their second defeat in their last 12 league matches when a brilliant Benteke header made it 1-3 to the visitors in the 61st minute.
The striker got the better of Jagielka to glance Lowton's inch-perfect cross from 12 yards past Howard and in off the post.
David Moyes made two changes, but the Everton fans greeted them with boos as he bizarrely took off Kevin Mirallas.
It took nine minutes for Everton to pull one back as Fellaini played a one-two with Anichebe to dart into the area and slot the ball low past Guzan with 20 minutes to spare.
Paul Lambert could not believe his eyes when the Fellaini equalized for the Toffees in injury time.
Poor marking by Vlaar in the set-piece saw the Belgian sneak in before him and salvage a point for his side with a near-post header, 3-3 at full-time.
Everton moved level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham, having played a game more. Villa remains 19th.