EVERTON: (4-2-3-1) Howard, Hibbert, Distin, Jagielka (Capt), Baines, Rodwell, Fellaini, Osman, Bilyaletdinov (Drenthe, 71) Coleman (Barkley, 80) Cahill (Vellios, 84).
Subs not used: Mucha, Neville, Stracqualursi, Gueye.
Goals: Osman (18) Baines (Pen, 68)
ASTON VILLA: (4-4-2) Given, Hutton, Warnock, Dunne, Collins, Delph (Ireland, 80), Petrov, N’Zogbia (Albrighton, 71), Agbonlahor, Heskey (Bannan, 16), Bent.
Subs not used: Delfouneso, Clark, Herd, Guzan.
Goals: Petrov (63), Agbonlahor (82)
Ref: Michael Oliver
EVERTON were held to a frustrating draw with Aston Villa despite twice taking the lead at Goodison Park.
The Blues had looked to be convincing value for the points in a solid overall display, enlivened by flashes of skill from Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, and a first taste of action for new loan signing Royston Drenthe.
But they eventually slipped to a repeat of the stale-mate with Villa here last season, after succumbing to a late Gabriel Agbonlahor header.
David Moyes asked Tim Cahill to return to his occasional solo attacking role, and the Aussie led the line magnificently with plenty of his typical vigour and bite.
And the Toffees seemed to have weathered a brief period of uncertainty when Villa first equalised courtesy of a Stiliyan Petrov wonder-goal, but restored their lead via a coolly-converted Leighton Baines penalty.
Baines was back at his best after shaking off a hamstring injury, and linked up cleverly with Diniyar Bilyaletdinov early on forcing Villa to concede a corner.
From that, Phil Jagielka’s goalbound header was cleared off the line by Darren Bent, and then Leon Osman twisted and fired a low shot at Shay Given which the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper blocked from 12 yards.
Osman did not have to wait long to strike though.
Tim Cahill did well to seize onto his ball into the area, and the Aussie returned the favour with a neat square pass allowing the little midfielder to pick his spot and calmly side foot home.
Villa started poorly and generally failed to utilise Darren Bent’s pace, with the striker well marshalled by Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin.
Osman went close again with the half nearing conclusion when he was fed by Marouane Fellaini and tested the impressive Given.
And the big Belgian almost notched himself when he turned Barry Bannan, and launched a fierce shot from 20 yards that scorched narrowly over.
Then, urged on by the crowd, Jack Rodwell tried his luck from range, and his deflected shot wrong-footed Given but arrowed narrowly wide.
Everton were good value for their lead, and had kept the visitors on the back foot with a string of attacks which probably warranted a greater goal return.
Defensively they were resilient for most of the encounter too.
Sylvain Distin shone, making a series of crucial blocks and at one point in the second half warding off the danger of Gabriel Agbonlahor with a crucial slide tackle after matching the much younger Villa attacker for pace.
However, the Blues lack of a striking edge still frustrated. Jagielka missed a clear headed chance to increase their lead, and Everton soon paid for their profligacy.
A Villa attack appeared to be going nowhere as Stephen Warnock passed to Stiliyan Petrov at least 30 yards from goal, and the Bulgarian skipper curled a wonderful shot past Tim Howard.
Fortunately the Toffees quickly restored their lead. They had been denied two penalty claims, but there was no doubt over the spot-kick Michael Oliver awarded when Fabian Delp inexplicably climbed all over Phil Jagielka as the defender pushed forward for a Leighton Baines corner.
Everton’s England left back made no mistake from the spot either, drilling his effort cleanly into the bottom corner.
It seemed set for a comfortable end, but Everton allowed Villa back in thanks to some lethargic defending.
Lulled into believing their opponents were a spent force, nobody in a blue shirt closed down sub Marc Albrighton who crossed for Agbonlahor to nip in front of Distin and score with a close range header.
Substitute striker Apostolos Vellios almost grabbed the points with a lovely cameo, but in the end Moyes’ men were undone by that lack of concentration when it mattered.
Jubilant at their share of the spoils, the visiting Villa fans chanted ‘We are Unbeatable’ afterwards, but they plainly were beatable and Everton really should have obliged.
The game had been preceded by a protest organised by Everton supporters group the Blue Union, as hundreds of fans critical of the club's board marched from Spellow Lane to Goodison Road.