After a goalless first half the hosts finally broke the deadlock with Darren Bent scuffed the ball past Tim Howards only for Anichebe to slot home with 20 minutes remaining to ensure the Toffees travelled back to Merseyside with a share of the spoils. Robbie Keane came on late in the second half but couldn’t find a debut goal that would have given Villa their first win at home since beating Norwich at the start of November. Alex McLeish’s men have struggled at Villa Park park all season long but should have had the game wrapped up before the visitors grabbed their equaliser. The point will come as a welcome relief to David Moyes who had seen his side lose their last two and he will be pleased by the resolve shown by his players.
Villa enjoyed the lions share of possession in the first half without sufficiently threatening Howard in the visitors goal although the American had to be at his best to keep out Stiliyan Petrov’s curling free kick after seven minutes. Alan Hutton then teed up Marc Albrighton who saw his shot blocked before Louis Saha brought the best out of Shay Given at the other end. The Republic of Ireland keeper showed no signs of rustiness after spending a month on the sidelines reacting brilliantly to keep Saha’s header out after he’d connected with Leighton Baines’ free kick from the left. Gabriel Agbonlahor then tested Howard from 25-yards as the first half ended goalless although it wouldn’t remain that way for long after the break.
It took the home side only 10 minutes to break the deadlock with Bent just managing to beat Howard after Stephen Ireland had returned Albrighton’s cross after Everton failed to properly clear the ball. Taking the lead seemed to invigorate Villa who pressed on in their search of a game killing second with Hutton seeing his strike deflected wide before Agbonlahor headed over. Ireland then shot straight at Howard who initiated a devastating counterattack launching the ball downfield towards Landon Donovan who played in Anichebe to finish cooly past Given after beating the offside trap. Keane came on for the last 10 minutes as McLeish roared his players on to find a winner but it never came as Villa missed the chance to move into the top half.