Carew ends nine match goal drought and edges out Emile

John Carew finally hit the back of the net as Villa salvaged a point at Goodison Park.

The big Norwegian striker had recently seen his status as a terrace hero tested after putting in series of below par performances.

But, he managed to grab a goal to silence his critics and at the same time eased the pressure on his strike partner Gabby Agbonlahor, who has been burdened with the scoring responsibility since the start of the season.

Everton had threatened to claim all three points, depsite missing a host of first team regulars, as Diniyar Bilyaletdinov struck an opener on the stroke of half-time.

But after Agbonlahor had seen his shot parried by Goodison goalkeeper Tim Howard, Carew turned the ball home much to the satisfaction of his adoring Villa public.

The front man, who is in fact bigger than me and you, was clearly delighted with his first league goal of the season and he will hope for many more from now until the end of the campaign.

Villa were in desperate need of a goal from somewhere other than six goal Agbonlahor and Martin O'Neill placed the burden on the broad shoulders of Emile Heskey.

Flavour

The England target man was given a welcome start but, in truth, his performance was not the one which was desired and a goal once again eluded him.

He had been competing with Carew for the tag of worst performer since the start of the season but his enemy in the race for that award finally stepped out of the darkness when James Milner was forced off with an injury.

Russian midfielder Bilyaletdinov home rolled home Everton's opener before half time when Tim Cahill's cross wasn't properly cleared and Villa needed a boost at the break.

Milner couldn't make it back out for the second period and Carew came on. His impact was immediate as he was handed a simple finish which he easily dispatched past Howard.

David Moyes introduced former Fulham hit man Louis Saha as the Toffees went in search of a winner and the Frenchman missed a chance to seal the win near the end.

Jut after Saha's effort there was to be late drama with Bilyaletdinov dismissed for a disgraceful two-footed tackle on Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov and Carlos Cuellar also saw red for a second bookable offence.

The two dismissals may have added a little flavour to an otherwise timid affair but Villa, and Carew in particular, will not be complaining after netting a point at one of the toughest away venues in the country.