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Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Premier League
 Sunday 22 April 2012; 12:30pm
Man United
4 4
 EVERTON
Rooney (41', 69'), Welbeck (57'), Nani (60'),

Half Time: 1-1
Jelavic (33', 83'), Fellaini (67'), Pienaar (85')
Attendance: 75,522
Fixture 34
Referee: Mike Jones

Match Summary

Everton kicked off and pushed United form the start. Some really neat football down the left saw some great passing among Fellaini and Pienaar, Osman chasing the final bobble ball and heading just wide. Fellaini was back to cut out United's first attack but hoofed clearances were not helping the cause.

Osman then played to a superb run from Jelavic, pulling well wide of his marker but his shot from a golden position was weak and saved too easily by De Gea. Pienaar then picked out a run by Osman who shot was low but wide of the far post rather than going for the nearpost shot.

After totally dominating the first 10 mins, Everton allowed the The Reds to poke a few shots in on Howard, Heitinga losing the ball a little too easily.

Everton were seeing glimpses of light through the middle, with Fellaini and Pienaar exploiting space, Osman and Jelavic running into good positions. Everton put more pressure on the home side with some dangerous crosses, fierce shot from Osman blocked away.

United were pressing on the half-hour the ball getting to see a little more of Haward's gloves but Gibson got up filed and drilled one wide. But some more great work in the middle by Pienaar allowedd Gibson to feed Hibbert for a very deep cross to the far post, where Jelavic headed it perfectly back over De Gea and in off the far post! Another excellent strike.

Howard was very lucky to stop a tripple deflection driven at him through the crowd by Scholes as United looked to respond.

And 5 mins before the break, Nani beat Hibbert with a superb cross that Neville could not jump high enough for and Rooney in behind him had a simple task to complete with an easy header to level things. Advantage lost again by the Blues.

Fellaini again played in Osman for a great little run forward but the final powder-puff shot was poor as Pienaar's run made excellent space for him. Jelavic tried something acrobatic on a difficult cross from Pienaar. Distin was then given a ridiculous yellow card when Valencia lost his balance and fell over Really, the Blues should have made more of their stunning first-half dominance... but what sort of Blue side would appear after the break this week, having surrendered another lead?

Everton came out with good enough intent, Gibson, Fellaini and Pienaar all playing good forward balls, searching out Jelavic, while aat the back, some tenacious defending was required, Neville coming in strongly on Ferdinand, we decided to extract some afters and should have been booked for his reaction.

But increasing United pressure finally paid off, thanks in part to a criminal failure by the Everton defence to clear the ball properly on two occasions, allowing a brilliant piece of skill from Welbeck after Heitinga turned the wrong way, allowing the young striker to curl a brilliant shot past Howard. Moyes will complain that Pienaar was out of the play, down after overstretching, but he had not been fouled.

From a one-nil lead to two-one down... sounds familiar? And United then waltzed far too easily through a static Everton defence, Nani with plenty of time to clip the ball past Howard and make it 3 - 1. More United pressure could have seen more goals as Moyes reacted to the reverse by swapping Osman for McFadden, the Blues in danger of imploding after such a wonderful 40 mins in the first half, where they failed to take the chances created and now looked to have paid the price.

But a neat move involving McFadden and another good cross form Hibbert allowed Fellaini to smack him a difficult hip-high volley to make the score 3 - 2. More good work saw excellent forward play and Pienaar set up for a good strike that was saved by De Gea.

But it didn't take before another far too easy move sliced open the Everton defence, Rooney stroking home from close range and Everton rocked back at 4 - 2 with 20 mins left to play.

Despite the scoreline, Everton did at least try to keep up the forward momentum, although quite what McFadden was doing with one forward pass was anyone's guess. Pienaar was still up for it but just failed to find Fellaini after a great turn in the Utd area.

More good work set up Jelavic but his shot into the side netting was lacking conviction as Everton kept attacking despite the depressing scoreline, McFadden and Fellaini combining nicely but not getting the end result. While at the other end, incredibly Man Utd failed to make it five with another with Nani and Evra combining to hit the post instead.

That seemed to spur the Blues to a slightly higher level as they pressed United back yet again, and Fellaini manged to head the ball into Jelavic's path, the Croatian powering in Everton's third goal as Cahill replaced Distin.

Really confident possession straight down the middle and the inside left channel then built Everton's best goal of the game, a great ball in to Fellaini who turned brilliantly and fed the perfect ball to Pienaar, who smacked it home in fine style!!! 4 - 4!!!

Five mins left, plus five mins of added time, and United desperate to swat aside the annoying Blues who had outplayed them substantially, SAF bringing on Hernandez for the big push, and it was finally Everton who were on the back foot, defending with increasing nervousness.

One clear-cut chance came to Ferdinandbut his shot was saved brilliantly by Howard, tipping over in the 94th minute, and that was it: 4 - 4, and a pretty astounding result. Some excellent attacking football form Everton,always playing positively... why oh why did they not play like this last weekend???

Michael Kenrick

Match Report

It came eight days late but Everton found resilience, belief and goals to rescue a match that twice looked beyond them and stun Manchester United with a late salvo in a thrilling draw at Old Trafford that opened the door for Manchester City in the chase for the Premier League title.

Having recovered from Nikica Jelavic's opener, Sir Alex Ferguson's side looked to have seen off the Blues' challenge as they led 3-1 and then 4-2 in the second half, but a rare display of indefatigability by David Moyes's men on this ground saw them claw back the deficit in superb fashion.

Following the semi-final defeat by Liverpool at Wembley eight days ago, all Evertonians wanted was to see their team go to the home of the Champions and have a go and they weren't disappointed. Indeed, having seen their side make a strong start and take a 33rd-minute lead, few of the traveling faithful would have been too disappointed with the players had Everton lost as United responded to going behind in typically strong manner.

Instead, though, the Blue contingent was treated to a stirring late flourish by their heroes, one that yielded two goals in three minutes and secured a well-deserved point in dramatic style.

Despite being hampered by the absence of Leighton Baines through injury, the Blues showed their intent from the first whistle, controlling the game for the first 10 minutes and creating a couple of openimgs to unsettle the home defence.

Leon Osman dropped a header the wrong side of the post in the second minute, Jelavic had his first sight of goal after five when he was released into space by Osman but his shot from 18 yards was comfortabley saved by David de Gea, and Osman dragged an effort across goal when Jelavic was better placed.

Predictably, United didn't stay subdued for long and they gradually began to assert themselves with Nani offering some warnings of the trouble he would later cause by twice cutting inside and trying shots from the left side of the area, one that flew wide and one that Tim Howard gathered before Paul Scholes screwed a typical long-range effort a yard wide.

The sides were fairly evenly matched for much of the first half, though, with both defences having to get bodies in the way to block goalbound efforts; Phil Jagielka's lunge saving Marouane Fellainis blushes after the Belgian had been robbed of the ball in midfield and Jonny Evans charging down Osman's shot after Darron Gibson has narrowly missed with a fine left-footer from 25 yards.

With 12 minutes left of the first half, though, Everton shocked the home fans by taking the lead. A nice passing move down the right flank ended with the ball at Tony Hibbert's feet and when Jelavic leapt to meet the full back's deep cross, his header looped back across goal, over De Gea and crept inside the far post. 1-0 and another goal for the free-scoring Croatian who took his tally for Everton to six.

United almost equalised immediately, though, after John Heitinga had been forced into conceding a corner. Howard's punch fell to Scholes on the edge of the area and two or three deflections on his low shot threatened to wrongfoot the 'keeper but he was able to smother it after sufficient pace had been taken off the ball.

The hosts got the breakthrough their increasing dominance promised, though, with four minutes to go before half time. Nani was again allowed too much space on the left and, after cutting inside Hibbert and moving into the space vacated by Steven Pienaar, the winger whipped a cross into the six-yard box where Wayne Rooney connected to head past Howard ahead of Phil Neville.

United finished the half the stronger side but Osman wasted an excellent opening with a powder-puff shot when he again had options to his left, while Sylvain Distin picked up a harsh booking in stoppage time for a foul on Antonio Valencia.

By the time the 20th minute of the second half rolled around, a very deep sense of deja vu hung over proceedings. United had turned the game on its head in the 57th minute when, after the Everton defence failed to get the ball clear, Danny Welbeck wrong-footed Heitinga before sweeping a superb shot into the top corner beyond Howard's despairing dive.

Four minutes later, the Blues were sliced open again by a quick triangle passing interchange between Michael Carrick, Welbeck and Nani that played the Portuguese in one-on-one with Howard and his deft flick over the stranded' keeper made it 3-1.

And when Moyes responded by throwing on James McFadden for the increasingly ineffective Osman he never looked the same after a clash of heads earlier in the game you sensed the game was up and Moyes knew it.

But Everton were back in the contest within four minutes of the Scot's introduction and Hibbert was again the provider. The defender looked up and delivered a pin-point cross to Fellaini in the box and he steered a well-taken volley past De Gea to make it 3-2.

A nice passing move barely a minute later gave Pienaar the chance to level things but his right-foot shot was saved and, having dared to kick the hornet's nest once more, the Blues were stung again a minute after that. Again, the defence was carved wide open as Welbeck sold a dummy to Heitinga and rolled the Dutchman to collect a pass from Rooney and, with Jagielka drawn across to cover, the striker squared it to Rooney to side-foot home to make it 4-2.

That looked to be that. Jelavic sliced disappointingly into the side-netting and McFadden had a shot charged down but there few hints from Everton of what was to come in the final 10 minutes. Indeed, it was United who nearly put the game to bed with nine minutes left when Patrice Evra rattled the woodwork with a back-post header.

With nothing to lose, though, Everton kept probing forward and Neville dropped a teasing ball into the opposition area that Rio Ferdinand and Evans between them could only clear back across their own box and Jelavic pounced with a low shot on the half-volley into the corner. 4-3 with seven minutes to go and the seemingly impossible was on.

Moyes switched Distin for Tim Cahill and the Australian was involved in the build up that led to the dramatic equaliser two minutes later. Pienaar back-heeled to the substitute wide on the left and, after collecting Cahill's pass, Neville feigned a cross and fed Fellaini inside the box instead. The Belgian turned back to wrongfoot Evans and squared it to Pienaar who converted first time from close range. 4-4 and United were dumbfounded.

Jelavic sliced one last chance high and wide from distance, Evans nodded over following a corner and Howard acrobatically tipped Ferdinand's rocket over the bar deep into stoppage time to preserve the hard-won point.

This was exactly what every Evertonian has been begging for from their manager and team in this fixture for years. With United pressing on towards a 20th Premier League crown, no one really expected the Blues to win this game but the never-say-die attitude shown by Moyes's boys on a ground that has held so much misery for them over the duration of his tenure was a pleasure to see.

Special credit goes to Fellaini who was tremendous in the "Cahill" role behind Jelavic and though Pienaar blew a little hot and cold, he never stopped working and deserved to score the final equaliser that sets the cat among the pigeons at the summit of the Premier League.

Gibson too had one of his best displays in the centre alongside a feisty Neville as both returned to their former stomping ground. And, of course, Jelavic was again the man on the spot up front, grabbing two predator's goals to further his reputation as one of Moyes's best ever signings.

The result keeps the Blues' momentum going as they seek to cement seventh place which they retained thanks to Liverpool's home defeat to West Bromwich Albion. Both results and Everton's performance in a game that could well have over-awed them will probably cause a few more rueful glances back to last Saturday but a little pride was restored today, no question about it.

Lyndon Lloyd

Match Preview

With last Saturday's painful FA Cup semi-final defeat still fresh in the memory, Everton travel to Old Trafford, home of the Champions — both regining and elect — and the ground that has been their least profitable venue since the inception of the Premier League.

As Evertonians know all too well, the Blues have won just once on United's turf in 20 years, that a 3-0 win in the 1992-93 season when Mo Johnson and Robert Warchyka were still playing their trade in the Royal Blue jersey.

Everton's record in between has been a litany of defeats and the occasional hard-earned draw, the last of which was six years ago and David Moyes's side have only scored once at Old Trafford since. Together with the manager's record away at Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool in the League, he doesn't have a win to show for himself in 10 years in charge.

The manager's critics have pointed to his typically cagey and unadventurous approach to this fixture in the past but there were hints in his pre-match comments that Moyes believes the disappointment against Liverpool and United's obvious superiority will afford his players a little more freedom this time around.

He insists he will send his team out to have a go but they will have to do it without one of their most important players after Leighton Baines was ruled out for the next couple of weeks at least with a hamstring injury. He, Jack Rodwell (hamstring) and Royston Drenthe (who has surely played his last game for Everton after being fined four weeks' wages for his latest transgression) will all be unavailable.

That means that Phil Neville will likely play at left back, his favoured position and one he occupied regularly in his time at Old Trafford, behind the returning Steven Pienaar who, with the cup no longer an issue, is free to play out of the rest of the season, fitness permitting.

Sylvain Distin is also an option to deputise for Baines but it would not a big surprise to see the French defender drop back to the substitute's bench after his catastrophic error at Wembley last week. Moyes insisted in his pre-match press conference that the vetern defender was coping fine but he may still rotate the 34 year-old defender out in favour of Phil Jagielka.

If Neville switches flanks, Tony Hibbert would come back into the starting XI at right back and it's likely that Leon Osman, Marouane Fellaini and ex-Red Devil Darron Gibson will keep their places in midfield. Tim Cahill and Nikica Jelavic are the expected candidates to lead the line up front despite misfiring as a pair against Liverpool.

Moyes ruled out starting a player as inexperienced as Ross Barkley against such daunting opposition but the teenager could well find himself on the bench and given some playing time as a substitute to get a taste of big-venue experience.

The manager is correct, though, in his assessment of the pressure being lifted from his team somewhat by their elimination from the cup and their record on this ground over the past couple of decades. Yes, there is still plenty left to play for in the remaining five games but there is no expectation that the Blues will win this one so they can certainly under-promise and over-deliver.

The burial of their Old Trafford hoodoo would certainly set the cat among the pigeons in the title race which narrowed again when United lost at Wigan 10 days ago. Manchester City are desperate for the Blues to do them a favour and spring a surprise but it's going to take a hugely more cohesive and attacking display than the debacle at Wembley for them to do it.

They have nothing to lose, though, except yet another league fixture at Old Trafford so they should just go out and give it a damned good go. As Blackburn have already found out this season, you never know what might happen!

Lyndon Lloyd

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

Match Preview
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MAN UNITED (4-4-2)
  De Gea
  Rafael Da Silva
  Ferdinand
  Evans
  Evra
  Valencia (Hernandez 89)
  Scholes (Jones 86)
  Carrick
  Nani
  Rooney
  Welbeck
  Subs not used
  Amos
  Giggs
  Smalling
  Park
  Young

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Howard
  Hibbert
  Jagielka
  Distin (83' Cahill)
  Neville
  Osman (63 McFadden)
  Heitinga
  Gibson
  Pienaar
  Fellaini
  Jelavic
  Subs not used
  Mucha
  Barkley
  Gueye
  Stracqualursi
  Anichebe
  Unavailable
  Rodwell (injured)
  Drenthe (disciplinary)
  Bidwell (loan)
  Forshaw (loan)
  Garbutt (loan)
  McAleny (loan)
  Nsiala (loan)
  Wallace (loan)
  Yobo (loan)

Premier League Scores
Saturday
Arsenal 0 - 0 Chelsea
Aston Villa 0 - 0 Sunderland
Blackburn 2 - 0 Norwich
Bolton 1 - 1 Swansea
Fulham 2 - 1 Wigan
Newcastle 3 - 0 Stoke
QPR 1 - 0 Tottenham
Sunday
Man Utd 4 - 4 Everton
Liverpool 0 - 1 West Brom
Wolves 0 - 2 Man City
Tuesday
Aston Villa 1 - 2 Bolton


Team Pts
1 Manchester United 83
2 Manchester City 80
3 Arsenal 65
4 Newcastle United 62
5 Tottenham Hotspur 59
6 Chelsea 58
7 Everton 48
8 Liverpool 46
9 Fulham 46
10 West Bromwich Albion 45
11 Sunderland 44
12 Swansea City 43
13 Norwich City 43
14 Stoke City 42
15 Aston Villa 36
16 Queens Park Rangers 34
17 Wigan Athletic 34
18 Bolton Wanderers 33
19 Blackburn Rovers 31
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers(R) 23


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