View: Remembering Aston Villa v Everton Premier League classic in 2009
As Unai Emery’s Aston Villa side gears up for a trip to Goodison Park in the Premier League this weekend, many fans will hope that the encounter lives up to the drama of past classics between the two sides.
Such drama was supplied to the 40,188 fans who packed Villa Park to the rafters in April 2009 when Martin O’Neill’s side battled back from two goals down to nick a point against the Toffees.
The Northern Irish manager fielded a team stacked with quality, with James Milner, Ashley Young and Gareth Barry all starting in midfield, and Gabby Agbonlahor and John Carew forming a fearsome strike duo in attack.
However, the match got off to the worst possible start for the hosts, as Marouane Fellaini turned in Leighton Baines’ cross to make it 1-0 after 20 minutes, and Tim Cahill doubled their lead from a corner just four minutes later.
Having been rocked by the quick-fire brace of goals, and with David Moyes’ side piling forward to kill the game off, Villa had to be at their best to draw themselves back into the match.
This arrived via the boot of Carew, who was fed the ball in the six-yard box by Barry to slam home his ninth goal of the season.
Despite both Milner and Young enjoying growing influence down the flanks in the early stages of the second half, Villa were stung on the counterattack, as Steven Pienaar curled home a magnificent 20 yard strike on the 53-minute mark.
With Villa staring down the barrel of a gun at 3-1 down, it fell to Milner to supply a moment of magic to re-energise the claret and blue faithful. The now-Liverpool midfielder placed the ball down after a foul on Barry and subsequently sent a picture-perfect free-kick into the corner of Tim Howard’s net.
Having had two penalty appeals waved away earlier in the game, Villa were finally awarded a spot kick by Howard Webb at the third time of asking as Joleon Lescott’s boot was adjudged to be high and reckless.
Barry was handed the ball from 12 yards and smashed home his fifth penalty from five attempts that season to draw Villa level at 3-3.
Although Villa looked the more likely to grab the winner the manic game deserved, Carew couldn’t convert a golden opportunity in the dying embers of the game, and the teams shared the spoils in crackerjack of a game.
In other Aston Villa news, the club want to reunite with a former player for a fee in excess of £40million in the summer.