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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 October, 2004, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Everton 1-1 Aston Villa

Lee Hendrie's latest spectacular strike gave Aston Villa a hard-earned point.

Hendrie struck in spectacular style to beat Nigel Martyn from long range and put Villa ahead after 25 minutes.

But Everton's in-form striker Marcus Bent scored for the third successive game with a fine finish seven minutes later from David Weir's neat pass.

Everton came closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half when Leon Osman struck a post and Bent was narrowly off target with a lob.

The result kept Everton in third place in the Premiership, while Villa boss David O'Leary will be happy with a point after the midweek Carling Cup defeat at Burnley.

Everton replaced suspended Lee Carsley with Steve Watson as they attempted to maintain their fine start to the season.

And they opened brightly with Thomas Gravesen testing his Denmark team-mate Thomas Sorensen from the edge of the area.

Hendrie was booked for a foul on Tim Cahill after 19 minutes, then Mark Delaney came to Villa's rescue when he cleared Alan Stubbs' header off the line four minutes later.

Villa took advantage of the escape to go ahead after 25 minutes, courtesy of a trademark long-range strike from Hendrie.

He picked up Juan Pablo Angel's header before sending a powerful right-foot shot high past goalkeeper Martyn from 25 yards for his fourth goal in five league games.

It stung Everton into a response and they were level five minutes later thanks to Bent, another player in a rich vein of form.

Veteran defender Weir was the creator, moving forward before slipping a pass to Bent, who lifted a composed finish over Sorensen.

Everton finished the half strongly, with Delaney blocking Bent's shot then Sorensen saving again from the striker.

The Merseysiders were in the ascendancy again after the break, with youngster Osman firing over from close range and Bent lobbing a delicate finish on to the top of the net.

Villa responded, only for Carlton Cole to block Nolberto Solano's goalbound drive.

Everton came closest to breaking the deadlock after 68 minutes when Bent set up Osman, but his shot bounced to safety off an upright.

Everton: Martyn, Hibbert, Stubbs, Weir, Pistone, Watson (Ferguson 66), Gravesen, Cahill, Osman (McFadden 84), Kilbane, Bent.
Subs Not Used: Wright, Campbell, Fox.

Booked: Cahill.

Goals: Bent 33.

Aston Villa: Sorensen, De la Cruz, Mellberg, Delaney (Ridgewell 58), Samuel, Hendrie, McCann, Hitzlsperger (Davis 60), Solano (Whittingham 77), Cole, Angel.
Subs Not Used: Postma, Luke Moore.

Booked: Hendrie.

Goals: Hendrie 26.

Att: 37,816

Ref: S Dunn (Gloucestershire).

Interview: Villa boss David O'Leary

Interview: Everton boss David Moyes

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