Jagielka lets Villa off the hook after Cahill double

Aston Villa 2 Everton 2

On a night of goals from glancing headers at Villa Park, with Tim Cahill outscoring Gabriel Agbonlahor by two to one, Aston Villa rescued a point in stoppage time when a ball that skimmed off the head of Everton's Phil Jagielka was fumbled over the line by the previously outstanding Tim Howard.

A twist of Cahill's forehead gave Everton an early lead, only for Villa to level with 18 minutes remaining through a replica effort by Agbonlahor, the striker's 15th of the season coming from a cross by the endlessly creative James Milner. Two minutes later, Cahill struck his own ninth of the campaign in similar fashion following Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's corner, but at the start of time added on Jagielka and Howard conspired to turn Ashley Young's cross into a second equaliser.

Both managers felt they had been on the wrong end of crucial refereeing decisions. Martin O'Neill, who did not conceal his disdain for costly aberrations by Phil Dowd and Howard Webb in Villa's disappointments at Wembley in the Carling Cup final and FA Cup semi-final respectively, continued the theme. Not only had Cahill given Richard Dunne "a little bit of push" before the Australian scored Everton's opener, but O'Neill argued that the free-kick from which it stemmed, for a foul by Stephen Warnock on Leon Osman, should not have been given.

For Everton, David Moyes said he had studied Jagielka's unwitting contribution to the Villa cause frame by frame on a television monitor and claimed John Carew was "just offside" when Young delivered the cross.

Villa needed more than a draw if they were to keep alive their hopes of a tilt at next season's Champions League, although with their next three fixtures being at Portsmouth and Hull City and a home derby with Birmingham City, hope springs eternal. Realistically, they are now competing for a Europa League spot, as are Everton from further back, so forcing Moyes's side to settle for a third consecutive draw was useful in one respect.

O'Neill justifiably hailed an "enthralling spectacle, as a lot of our games with Everton seem to be", though he was less than enthralled by the outcome. "Maybe a point doesn't suit either side in terms of our aspirations – Everton's for European football and ours for something higher," he said. "I thought before the match that we'd have to win all our remaining games [to finish in the top four]. I certainly think that's the case with our last five now, but it's not impossible."

The Villa manager spoke of his team's "top-class resilience", given that they had played an FA Cup semi-final against the Premier League leaders on a difficult surface at Wembley last Saturday evening. "I watched Chelsea play Bolton on TV on Tuesday and they looked a bit sluggish," he said. "So I thought we were terrific."

Asked to comment on Milner's display, so soon after the England midfielder was the victim of a wild challenge by John Terry at Wembley, O'Neill added: "It was extraordinary. He is developing into a really great player."

Moyes admitted it was "galling" to have drawn three games in succession, despite an overall sequence of just two defeats in 20 matches. Everton's focus, however, remains firmly on the theatre of European football. "Some managers might not mind missing out on it because it gives you a better chance in the league, but this club needs it," he said, adding with a grin: "If any of the teams above us don't want it, I'll take their place."

Everton went ahead midway through the first half after the referee Martin Atkinson penalised Warnock. Leighton Baines crossed to the right wing to curl an inswinging ball with his left foot, and while the ball was in flight, Cahill stole away from Dunne, illegally according to O'Neill, to collect one of his trademark headed goals. Agbonlahor emulated him to pull Villa level just when they were beginning to labour, but Cahill swiftly restored Everton's advantage from Bilyaletdinov's corner.

Under pressure from Carew, Jagielka gave Villa hope of an unlikely victory in the four remaining minutes of time added on. Yet it was the more fluid Everton, through an angled drive by Phil Neville that flashed tantalisingly wide, who came closer to claiming all three points.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock (Delfouneso, 77); A Young, Milner, Petrov, Downing; Agbonlahor, Carew. Substitutes not used: Guzan (gk), L Young, Sidwell, Delph, Heskey, Beye.

Everton (4-1-4-1): Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Heitinga (Rodwell, 50); Pienaar, Osman, Cahill, Bilyaletdinov (Yobo, 89); Yakubu (Saha, 63). Substitutes not used: Turner (gk), Hibbert, Senderos, Wallace.

Referee: M Atkinson (West Yorkshire).

Booked: Aston Villa Milner, Petrov; Everton Cahill, Howard.

Man of the match: Milner.

Attendance: 38,729

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
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

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on