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United late show salvages draw

Manchester City held, Liverpool beaten

Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor loses balance after a tackle on Michael Carrick.

Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor loses balance after a tackle on Michael Carrick.

Manchester United staged a dramatic fightback with two goals in the last nine minutes to salvage a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa yesterday.

While United battled back, their bitter rivals Manchester City were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by Birmingham and Liverpool crashed to a 2-0 defeat at Stoke.

Alex Ferguson’s team looked set to suffer their first league defeat since April when Ashley Young’s second-half penalty was followed by a Marc Albrighton strike for Villa.

But United substitute Federico Macheda reduced the deficit with a superb strike nine minutes from full-time and Serbia defender Nemanja Vidic dived in to head the equaliser from Nani’s cross four minutes later.

Although United were understandably delighted to escape Villa Park unscathed, Ferguson’s second-placed side, who are now three points behind Chelsea, will still be left to count the cost of a sloppy display if the leaders open up a six-point gap by beating Sunderland this afternoon.

“In the second half I just think it was carelessness on our part. Our passing was poor. Normally we can control the match. We didn’t control it,” Ferguson said.

“We are a club, though, that never says there is no way back. We brought people on and they changed the game in fairness to them.”

At Eastlands, City fans turned on Roberto Mancini after the Italian’s side were held to a dour 0-0 draw by Birmingham.

City boss Mancini, whose team have failed to score in their last three home games, provoked a furious response when he decided to replace forward Carlos Tevez with midfielder Gareth Barry as the hosts tried in vain to break down a stubborn Birmingham defence.

Tevez earlier had a goal disallowed for handball and fourth-placed City were unable to close the gap on Chelsea.

“If you play with four strikers it doesn’t mean you score four goals,” said Mancini.

“Football isn’t like that. I must think like a manager, not a supporter.”

Liverpool slumped to their first defeat in seven matches as goals from Ricardo Fuller and Kenwyne Jones earned a 2-0 win for Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

Roy Hodgson’s side conceded in the 56th minute when a long throw led to a chaotic sequence of blocked shots and attempted clearances that eventually ended when Fuller drove home from close range.

Jones put the result beyond doubt with a clinical finish in stoppage time before Reds midfielder Lucas Leiva was sent off for chopping down Matthew Etherington.

Gareth Bale was in fine form as Tottenham beat Blackburn 4-2 at White Hart Lane.

Wales winger Bale was linked with some of Europe’s biggest clubs after his recent performances against Inter in the Champions League and he underlined his growing reputation with another dominant display in north London.

He opened the scoring in the 16th minute when he headed home Rafael van der Vaart’s corner.

Harry Redknapp’s side squandered a golden chance to increase their lead as Roman Pavlyuchenko smashed a penalty wide after Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson fouled Peter Crouch.

But Russian striker Pavlyu­chenko made amends for that howler in the 42nd minute as he headed Bale’s cross past Robinson.

Crouch netted Tottenham’s third with a 69th minute tap-in before Bale struck again six minutes later.

Ryan Nelsen netted for Blackburn in the 80th minute and Gael Givet added a second in the 90th minute.

Tottenham assistant coach Joe Jordan said: “At the moment Bale is a provider and he is also scoring goals. He is so positive going forward but he also does a shift when we have not got the ball.”

Bolton moved into fifth place in the table with a 3-2 win at struggling Wolves.

Victor Moses fired Wigan out of the relegation zone as his 70th-minute strike secured a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at the DW Stadium.

West Ham remain bottom of the table after Blackpool’s first-teamers returned for a 0-0 draw at Upton Park.

Newcastle dropped to seventh after a 0-0 draw at home to Fulham.

Results

Premier League

Aston Villa 2
Young 72 pen; Albrighton 76;
Man. Utd 2
Macheda 81; Vidic 85;

HT: 0-0. Att: 40,073

Man. City 0
Birmingham 0

Att: 44,321

Newcastle 0
Fulham 0

Att: 44,686

Stoke 2;
Fuller 56; Jones 90;
Liverpool 0

HT: 0-0. Att: 27,286
Red card: Lucas (L) 90+1;

Tottenham 4
Bale 16, 75; Pavlyuchenko 42; Crouch 69;
Blackburn 2
Nelsen 80; Givet 90;

HT: 2-0. Att: 35,700
Missed penalty: Pavlyuchenko (T) 32;

West Ham 0
Blackpool 0

Att: 31,194

Wigan 1
Moses 70;
West Brom 0

HT: 0-0. Att: 16,085

Wolves 2
Foley 69; Fletcher 77;
Bolton 3
Stearman 1 og; Elmander 57; Holden 67;

HT: 0-1. Att: 27,508

Playing today
Chelsea vs Sunderland - 17.10
Everton vs Arsenal - 15.00

Top Scorers
7 goals: Carroll (Newcastle), Nolan (Newcastle), Malouda (Chelsea), Tevez (Man. City).
6 goals: Bent (Sunderland), Berbatov (Man. United); Drogba (Chelsea).
5 goals: Chamakh (Arsenal), Cahill (Everton), Elmander (Bolton); Kalou (Chelsea), Torres (Liverpool), Van der Vaart (Tottenham).

Next Matches
Saturday: 13.45 Arsenal vs Tottenham. 16.00 Birmingham vs Chelsea; Blackpool vs Wolves; Bolton vs Newcastle; Man. United vs Wigan; West Brom vs Stoke City. 18.30 Liverpool vs West Ham.
Sunday: 14.30 Blackburn vs Aston Villa. 17.00 Fulham vs Man. City.
Monday: Nov. 22: 21.00 Sunderland vs Everton.

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