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Baines secures late point


Darren Bent

Darren Bent

Darren Bent

Leighton Baines struck a late penalty as injury-hit Everton denied troubled Aston Villa a much-needed win in a 2-2 draw in the Barclays Premier League.

England striker Darren Bent appeared to have put relegation-threatened Villa - and their under-pressure manager Gerard Houllier - on course for three vital points at Goodison Park when he responded to Leon Osman's opener with a second-half double.

But Everton, who were aggrieved when Jermaine Beckford was not awarded a goal after a shot bounced down off the bar, battled on and won a spot-kick when Jean Makoun tripped Phil Jagielka.

Everton were almost gifted an opener when Kyle Walker's poor header towards Brad Friedel was seized upon by Beckford. His shot was not the cleanest of strikes, but it still needed a fine save from Friedel to deny him.

The Merseysiders grabbed the lead seven minutes before the interval as Osman took up an attack from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and broke into the area. He shot directly at Friedel but the keeper could not prevent the ball trickling over the line.

Villa put their poor first half behind them to get back on level terms within two minutes of the restart.

Stewart Downing was allowed room on the right to cut inside the area and thread the ball through to Bent near the penalty spot, and he made no mistake.

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Beckford claimed he had scored when he rattled the bar with a fierce shot which bounced down and away. The striker was convinced the ball had crossed the line but the assistant referee did not agree.

Friedel immediately punted the ball upfield and Ashley Young released Bent. The Toffees appealed for offside but Bent played on and tapped the ball past the advancing Tim Howard.

Yet Everton were determined not to end the game empty-handed and earned a penalty seven minutes from time when Makoun was adjudged to have brought Jagielka down and Baines converted.

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