Gabriel Agbonlahor scored a late equaliser as Aston Villa twice came from behind to rescue a 2-2 draw against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Alex McLeish’s team trailed to a Leon Osman goal in the first half but Stiliyan Petrov equalised and, after Leighton Baines’ penalty restored Everton’s lead, Agbonlahor popped up to head Villa level with seven minutes left.
The England forward’s goal extended Villa’s unbeaten start to the season, although they have won only one of their four matches, while Everton have four points from three matches.
The result left Everton frustrated after their first match following the controversial sale of Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta to Arsenal on transfer deadline day.
The game was preceded by a peaceful protest outside the stadium by several hundred supporters frustrated at a lack of investment under chairman Bill Kenwright.
Villa midfielder Jermaine Jenas, who arrived with Alan Hutton from Tottenham on deadline day, was ruled out by a thigh injury, while Everton left their loanees Royston Drenthe and Denis Stracqualursi on the bench.
With Ayegbeni Yakubu and Jermaine Beckford having also left Everton and Louis Saha and Victor Anichebe injured, Everton started without a recognised striker.
Yet it barely showed as Osman and Tim Cahill filled the forward roles superbly.
Villa striker Darren Bent headed off his own line as Phil Jagielka got forward to connect with a Baines corner.
Baines stayed on the right and whipped in a low cross for Osman to turn and shoot but Shay Given instinctively stuck out a hand.
Jagielka headed another chance wide before Villa made a change after just 18 minutes when Emile Heskey left the field injured.
David Moyes’ side were rewarded for their bright start after 19 minutes when Petrov and Richard Dunne failed to clear a Seamus Coleman pass and Cahill squared for Osman to side-foot home.
Yet Villa were enjoying a good spell and levelled in the 63rd minute when Petrov found space outside the area and scored with a stunning shot.
Villa were energised but Everton struck again nine minutes later.
Australia midfielder Cahill brought a fine reaction save from Given as he met a Baines corner with a firm header but Jagielka was then bundled over by Fabian Delph.
Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot and Baines stepped forward to tuck away the penalty.
Villa were not finished yet and Agbonlahor struck in the 83rd minute when he headed a Marc Albrighton cross past Howard from close-range.
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