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Aston Villa draw at Everton
April 27, 2008 23:29 IST
Aston Villa twice came from behind to earn a pulsating 2-2 draw at Everton on Sunday and prolong the battle for fifth place in the Premier League and a UEFA Cup place.
Defender Phil Neville's deflected shot after 55 minutes put Everton on course but three goals in five late minutes kept the nerves jangling and is likely to keep the issue alive until the final day of the season.
The result leaves Everton on 62 points, three clear of Villa, with two games remaining. Everton visit Arsenal [Images] next before hosting Newcastle United while Villa are at home to Wigan Athletic and end at West Ham United.
FA Cup finalists Portsmouth remain seventh on 57 after they lost 1-0 at home to Blackburn Rovers earlier on Sunday courtesy of a Roque Santa Cruz goal and now look out of the running.
A month ago Everton were pushing Liverpool for fourth place but a poor run not only ended their Champions League hopes but allowed the chasing pack to gain ground in the fight for fifth.
Villa led the way after winning their last three games and scoring 15 goals in the process to not only close in on Everton in the standings but overhaul their goal difference. It a tight first half Villa's Ashley Young went closest when he cracked a free kick against the bar but the breakthrough came when Neville's speculative shot went in via a huge deflection off Martin Laursen.
The game then came alive with three goals in five minutes, the first when Gabriel Agbonlahor levelled after 80 minutes.
A Joseph Yobo volley in the 84th restored Everton's lead only for John Carew to head a second equaliser a minute later.