Bilyaletdinov makes name for himself

Everton 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
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The Independent Football

Hands up those who still believe the Premier League is too predictable. First there was Manchester United's shock defeat against Burnley before Wigan Athletic's stunning 3-1 victory over Chelsea.

Yesterday, Wolverhampton Wanderers secured an unlikely point at Everton. Mick McCarthy's side may not have sent shockwaves through the top tier like fellow newcomers Burnley, but few outside the Black Country would have predicted this outcome at the start of the day.

Yet it could have been so much better for the team hovering at the wrong end of the table after losing their previous two League games.

Wolves, cheered on in the directors' box by celebrity fan Robert Plant, looked set for their third win of the season after Kevin Doyle's composed 76th-minute finish had left Everton, six wins in their previous eight outings, staring a rare home defeat in the face. The Republic of Ireland international scored his third goal in seven top-flight outings when he stroked the ball beyond the stranded Tim Howard after Everton's defence had failed to deal with Wayne Hennessey's long goal-kick.

Yet instead of providing his team with a "Stairway To Heaven", Wolves, and Led Zeppelin front man Plant, were left to reflect on what might have been as Diniyar Bilyaletdinov struck two minutes from the end of normal time to rescue a point for David Moyes's side.

Wolves finished with 10 men as Austrian substitute Stefan Maierhofer was sent off for two bookable offences, but McCarthy opted to reflect on the positives rather than dwell on the negatives. "That was an excellent performance against a team that finished in the top six last season," he said. "But we are kids learning in a harsh playground and I think we are handling it very well."

Everton are now unbeaten in seven games but Moyes knows his side will have to produce a much improved performance if they are to extend Benfica in the Europa League on Thursday. They were sloppy at the back for Doyle's goal while Tim Cahill, Louis Saha and Yakubu wasted good chances before Bilyaletdinov's first goal for the club since joining from Lokomotiv Moscow in August.

Having watched his side waste goalscoring opportunities against Stoke in the previous game, Moyes is running out of patience. "I'm going to have to look at what I can do," said the Everton manager. "We had a period earlier in the season when we were scoring a lot of goals. Now we are not scoring as many."

Wolves keeper Hennessey produced a man-of-the-match performance as he frustrated Everton time and again, but it was Howard who produced the first serious save of the match to keep out Doyle's low curling shot in the first half.

But the 26-year-old was not to be denied. Fourteen minutes from time the former Reading man pounced on an error in the ball-watching home defence only for Bilyaletdinov to have the final say.

Attendance: 39,319

Referee: Stuart Dowd

Man of the match: Hennessey

Match rating: 7/10

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