Everton gain point with dramatic late comeback

Everton 3 Manchester United 3

Everton scored twice in stoppage time to snatch a dramatic 3-3 draw at home to Manchester United, who left Wayne Rooney out of their squad after a week of allegations about his private life.

Rooney did not even travel to Goodison Park as manager Sir Alex Ferguson, on the occasion of his 700th Premier League match, claimed he wanted to protect the 24-year-old from abuse from the fans with whom he used to be a favourite.

The disruption appeared to affect his team-mates early on as they fell behind to a Steven Pienaar goal but Darren Fletcher, Nemanja Vidic and Dimitar Berbatov put United well ahead before the Toffees' stunning late comeback through Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta.

Ferguson has overseen plenty of player controversies during his lengthy tenure at Old Trafford, dealing with the likes of David Beckham's celebrity lifestyle and Roy Keane's unique brand of criticism.

However, leaving out a player to protect him from opposition fans is unprecedented and surely unlikely to be repeated.

Whether it affected the overall result is open to debate but when the England international next appears, likely to be in Tuesday's Champions League clash against Rangers he will get nothing less than a rousing Old Trafford reception.

Rooney's absence seemed to affect United more than they expected as, for the first 15 minutes, they found themselves under constant pressure.

Arteta's sixth-minute free-kick was tipped over by Edwin van der Sar, although referee Martin Atkinson did not spot the goalkeeper's touch.

The Spaniard had another shot deflected behind by Jonny Evans, Pienaar saw his shot from the Spaniard's corner blocked and Leon Osman blazed over all in the same passage of play.

Ferguson was less than happy and was soon prowling his technical area barking orders at the players.

John O'Shea's response was a blistering drive from the left angle of the penalty area which grazed the outside of Tim Howard's left-hand post.

Everton's pressure, albeit slightly less intense, continued while Nani was off the field having a cut lip tended with Cahill, Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines all failed to trouble the goalkeeper with half-chances.

There was always the danger their failure to capitalise on possession would leave the way open for United to nick a goal and they almost did in the 34th minute.

Tony Hibbert's foul on Ryan Giggs, despite winning the ball, saw Nani roll the free-kick to Paul Scholes and his powerful drive took a big deflection off Cahill but Howard, diving in the opposite direction, somehow diverted the ball over with his foot.

Four minutes later the American goalkeeper stuck up a hand to palm away Giggs' close-range shot after United counter-attacked.

But the visitors were caught cold themselves when Patrice Evra missed an ambitious overhead-kick clearance to put Arteta charging through on goal and although he shot straight at Van der Sar,

Leon Osman turned the rebound to Pienaar at the far post who rolled home.

Two minutes before half-time, however, Nani's cross was diverted home by Fletcher and Berbatov's volley almost put them ahead in added time.

It was apparent at the start of the second half Everton were in for a tougher test and it took just three minutes for that to become a reality.

Nani's corner from Berbatov's deflected shot was only half-cleared and when Scholes returned the ball to the Portugal international wide on the right he swung over a cross for an unmarked Vidic to head in from five yards.

It at least provoked a reaction from Everton and Pienaar's curling 20-yard shot was held by Van der Sar at the second attempt.

But United were where they like to be, in control and able to counter-attack, and one rapid foray forward saw Howard deny Nani low to his right.

He got nowhere near the next one in the 66th minute, which owed everything to the brilliance of Scholes and Berbatov.

The former England international's raking pass picked out the Bulgarian wide on the right and his first touch brilliantly took him clear of Sylvain Distin.

With acres of space to run into the languid striker took five or six paces before lashing an early shot into the bottom corner, taking Howard by surprise.

Baines curled a free-kick into the side-netting and as Osman hit a woefully-weak shot at Van der Sar as the hosts tried to find a way back but, as has been the case in their previous matches, they lacked a cutting edge.

However, in a dramatic finish Cahill headed home in injury-time before Arteta's deflected strike snatched an unlikely point.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn