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Toffees let limp Villa off the hook

Everton were again left to rue missed opportunities after a mostly positive performance failed to yield a victory. Twice Everton went in front: first through Leon Osman and then thanks to a Leighton Baines penalty, but twice they were pegged back by an Aston Villa side that was well below par.

Stilian Petrov struck the visitors' first equaliser before Gabriel Agbonlahor secured a share of the spoils with an 85th-minute header.

Before kick-off, seemingly unmoved by Everton chairman Bill Kenwright's insistence that he is doing his best to sell the club to someone wealthy enough to spend as freely as the other clubs in the Premier League, some 300 fans marched to the stadium chanting "let go if you love the club".

The sales of Yakubu Ayegbeni and Jermaine Beckford, along with the injury to Louis Saha and lack of fitness of Denis Stracqualursi, meant Everton were again forced to start without a recognised striker but any fear that would again lead to a failure to score vanished when Osman and Tim Cahill, the two makeshift forwards, combined splendidly to break the deadlock in the 19th minute. Following a deft swivel and pass from the Australian, Osman sent a low shot past Shay Given from eight yards.

Phil Jagielka almost extended Everton's lead on the hour mark but headed just over from close range. Then suddenly, in the 62nd minute, Goodison Park was plunged back into gloom. Petrov collected the ball some 30 yards out and curled an astounding shot past Tim Howard.

Home spirits were quickly lifted. Two minutes later, after a Cahill header was brilliantly saved by Given, Fabian Delph climbed on Jagielka and Baines coolly converted the penalty. Agbonlahor, however, had the last laugh. In the 83rd minute, Albrighton curled a delicious cross in from the left and the striker outjumped Distin to head home from close range.

Sunday Indo Sport