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Saturday, 20 October, 2001, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
Schmeichel strike in vain
Peter Schmeichel came up for a corner and scored in the last minute
Schmeichel came up for a late corner and scored
Everton 3-2 Aston Villa
E-mail your reaction to Football Talk

Goals from Steve Watson, Tomasz Radzinski and Thomas Gravesen sent Aston Villa to their first defeat of the season and helped Everton back into the Premiership's top eight.

But it was an uncomfortable last few seconds for the home side as a remarkable goal by goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel brought Villa right back into the game in the 90th minute.

Mustapha Hadji had given his side hope with a goal after 71 minutes with Everton seemingly cruising to another handsome home victory.

  Goodison goals
31 mins: Steve Watson heads Everton in front
59 mins: Tomasz Radzinski taps in Everton's second
62 mins: Thomas Gravesen fires home
71 mins: Mustapha Hadji gives Villa a lifeline
90 mins: Peter Schmeichel volleys home from a corner

Everton left Duncan Ferguson on the bench, alongside Paul Gascoigne, and brought Gravesen back into midfield.

Villa had defender Mark Delaney back after a neck injury and, with Schmeichel having kept four clean sheets, a win could have seen them go top of the table.

They started brightly enough, putting Everton's back line under pressure from both flanks and had the better of the first quarter.

But Everton had the first real chance after six minutes when Schmeichel saved a Gravesen drive, and Gravesen, Gary Naysmith and Mark Pembridge gradually got on top in midfield.

Naysmith should have opened the scoring from a Radzinski cross, but delayed fractionally and stubbed his shot straight at Schmeichel from 15 yards.

It mattered little soon afterwards as Watson scored for the second successive home game on 31 minutes.

The full back dived forward on the far post to head home against his former club after good work from Niclas Alexandersson and Gary Naysmith.

Thomas Radzinski and team-mates celebrate Everton's second
Radzinski celebrates scoring Everton's second

Villa might have hit back four minutes later when, following a free-kick for an Abel Xavier trip on Juan Pablo Angel, the Colombian striker lifted the set-piece just over the far angle.

Hadji was next to try his luck, attempting to curl a shot round Gerrard, but not getting enough bend on the ball.

Everton lost Pembridge on 42 minutes with an injured left ankle, Scott Gemmill taking his place.

Kevin Campbell should have made it 2-0 before half-time when he skied over from three yards after Radzinski had raced down the line onto a Gemmill pass to drill over the perfect cross.

Two goals in three minutes around the hour put Everton in control.

The second arrived on 59 minutes and it was a combination of errors by Delaney, who lost possession, and then Alpay, who also missed the chance to clear.

Naysmith had won the ball, squared it into the six-yard box and there was Radzinski to tap it home.

The third came two minutes later. Delaney almost took Gemmill's head off as he tried to clear a dropping ball and referee Styles gave a indirect free-kick in the box for dangerous play.

I've seen goalkeepers score before on TV but never in a game that I've been managing - I hope I don't see it again
Walter Smith

Everton wanted a penalty, but when Gemmill's flick from the free-kick was smashed home by Gravesen, justice was done.

Villa had conceded as many league goals in the first 62 minutes than in the whole of the rest of the season so far.

They soon made a double substitution, bringing on J Lloyd Samuel and Dion Dublin for Alpay and Angel.

Dublin was booked on 67 minutes for a clash with David Weir as nothing was going right for Villa.

A minute later, though, the visitors got one back when Alan Wright's long cross from the left was headed back and across Paul Gerrard and into the far corner by Mustapha Hadji.

Gascoigne came on for Everton and Ginola for the visitors, but it was Schmeichel who almost transformed the game with time up on the clock.

The former Manchester United goalkeeper came forward for a corner and, when the ball bounced free to him in the box he managed to hook it home at the far post.

"I've seen goalkeepers score before on TV," Walter Smith, the Everton manager, said afterwards, "but never in a game that I've been managing. And I hope that I don't see it again.

Steve Watson opened the scoring against his old club
Steve Watson scored the first against his old club

"Villa are a very difficult side to play against, but there were spells during the game when we played as well as we have done at any time this season.

"In that spell at the beginning of the second half, we were excellent, and deserved to be three ahead.

"They had a real go at the end, but I felt we deserved what we got."

Villa manager John Gregory was disappointed not to have made the most of surprising results at the top of the table.

"We wanted to make up some ground on the teams above us," he said, "and finding out that Man Utd had lost and Arsenal had drawn made the whole thing even more galling.

"But I don't want to take anything away from Everton, they worked really hard for their win."

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Everton fans
here | Aston Villa fans here

Everton: Gerrard, Xavier, Weir, Pistone, Naysmith, Watson, Gravesen, Pembridge, Alexandersson, Radzinski, Campbell. Subs: Ferguson, Simonsen, Gemmill, Gascoigne, Unsworth.

Aston Villa: Schmeichel, Delaney, Alpay, Staunton, Wright, Hadji, Taylor, Boateng, Hendrie, Vassell, Angel. Subs: Dublin, Enckelman, Ginola, Barry, Samuel.

Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville).

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BBC Sport's Stuart Hall
"There were moments of pandemonium"
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