Vidic (centre) celebrates his equaliser after Macheda (left) had also scored
By Mandeep Sanghera
Manchester United came back from two goals down to salvage a point against a youthful Aston Villa.
James Collins and Gabriel Agbonlahor each struck the United woodwork before Villa went ahead when Ashley Young scored from the penalty spot.
Marc Albrighton slotted in from close range as he added to Villa's lead.
But Federico Macheda gave United hope with a powerful shot and Nemanja Vidic stooped to head in a Nani cross to equalise for the visitors late on.
United's comeback provided a thrilling finale to the match but manager Sir Alex Ferguson must have been left wondering why his team waited until they were 2-0 down before sparking into life.
Ferguson took off misfiring strikers Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov and sent on Gabriel Obertan and Macheda with his side looking beaten but they raised themselves for a late rally to earn a point that had appeared out of reach following the stirring efforts of Villa.
Houllier expected late Man Utd equaliser
It was the sixth draw in seven Premier League outings for United on their travels this season and, although they kept up their unbeaten record for the campaign, they have now dropped 12 points away from home.
United had the motivation of knowing a win at Villa would close the gap to one point on league leaders Chelsea, who will be playing on Sunday, but the visitors lacked urgency.
They were almost caught napping early on when Barry Bannan slid a ball inside right-back Wes Brown to find Stewart Downing and it needed centre-back Rio Ferdinand to come across and clear out the danger.
United briefly threatened when Hernandez's pass released Berbatov but his early season confidence in front of goal was missing as the Bulgarian sidefooted disappointingly wide.
The visitors' lacklustre play was epitomised when a well-worked free-kick saw Nani play in Evra on the left only for his low whipped ball to fly across the Villa goalmouth without a team-mate showing a desire to get to it.
United needed a creative player in the same mould as the suspended Paul Scholes, whose ability to spray the ball around and get forward from midfield was badly missed.
Hernandez and Berbatov were well-marshalled by a resolute and experienced Villa defence, but the rest of the home side was predominantly made up of up-and-coming talent and the more their opponents struggled the more they grew into their task.
Albrighton was a threat on the right flank, while the central midfield pairing of Bannan and Jonathan Hogg, the latter making his league debut, showed plenty of youthful zest.
Young had a half-volley saved by Edwin van der Sar and Downing saw a shot deflected narrowly wide off Ferdinand as the home side sensed United's fragility.
Not even a half-time teamtalk from Ferguson inspired United to positive action and they looked increasingly vulnerable after the break.
Albrighton sent a far post shot wide as Villa pressed and he then headed an inviting Downing cross across goal and wide.
Phelan relieved with Man Utd point
A fleet-footed Villa full of energy and verve were piling on the pressure and United were rescued by the woodwork when Downing sent in another threatening ball from the left and Collins rose highest to plant a header against the crossbar.
United were rocking and when the ball broke loose after a Vidic tackle on Young, Agbonlahor crashed a shot off the United post.
Villa were finally rewarded when a counter-attack ended with Brown felling Young, who picked himself up to score emphatically from the spot.
And it got even better for the home side after Macheda gave the ball away and a swift and clinical Villa break ended with Albrighton slotting in Downing's perfect cross to the far post.
But United are renowned for their ability to keep fighting until the final whistle and Macheda drilled in an 18-yard shot to give them a renewed belief.
When Vidic met a Nani cross at the far post and nodded in an angle header, the visitors suddenly felt victory was within reach.
Villa held on for a point but a home league win over United, last achieved in 1995, continues to elude them.
90:00+5:05 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing from the left by-line.
90:00+4:14 The referee blows for offside. Brad Friedel takes the indirect free kick.
90:00+3:35 Gabriel Obertan takes a shot. James Collins gets a block in. Corner taken by Luis Nani from the left by-line to the near post,
save made by Brad Friedel.
90:00+1:31 Gabriel Obertan takes a shot. Save made by Brad Friedel. Corner taken by Luis Nani from the left by-line to the near post.
Michael Carrick takes a shot. James Collins gets a block in. Luis Nani has an effort at goal from outside the area missing
to the wide right of the target.
90:00+0:31 Gabriel Obertan has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the goal.
89:40 Substitution Chris Herd joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jonathan Hogg.
87:27 Substitution Eric Lichaj joins the action as a substitute, replacing Marc Albrighton.
87:27 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Richard Dunne by Chris Smalling. Free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
86:55 Unfair challenge on Gabriel Obertan by Jonathan Hogg results in a free kick. Darren Fletcher takes the direct free kick.
86:08 Free kick awarded for a foul by Marc Albrighton on Patrice Evra. Free kick crossed right-footed by Luis Nani from left wing,
Brad Friedel makes a save.
85:20 Substitution Ji-Sung Park goes off and Chris Smalling comes on.
84:29 The assist for the goal came from Luis Nani.
84:29 GOAL - Nemanja Vidic:Aston Villa 2 - 2 Man Utd Nemanja Vidic grabs a headed goal from close range. Aston Villa 2-2 Man Utd.
83:51 Luis Nani takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Stewart Downing.
82:21 Effort on goal by Stewart Downing from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.
80:14 Assist on the goal came from Darren Fletcher.
80:14 GOAL - Federico Macheda:Aston Villa 2 - 1 Man Utd Federico Macheda finds the net with a goal from outside the penalty box to the top right corner of the goal. Aston Villa 2-1
79:46 Luis Nani takes the outswinging corner, clearance by Stewart Downing.
79:22 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Luis Nani played to the near post, Nathan Delfouneso makes a clearance.
78:36 Michael Carrick takes a shot. Richard Dunne gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken by Luis Nani from the left by-line, Rio
Ferdinand takes a shot. Marc Albrighton gets a block in.
77:24 Substitution Nathan Delfouneso comes on in place of Gabriel Agbonlahor.
75:15 Stewart Downing provided the assist for the goal.
75:15 GOAL - Marc Albrighton:Aston Villa 2 - 0 Man Utd Marc Albrighton fires in a goal from close range to the top right corner of the goal. Aston Villa 2-0 Man Utd.
72:59 Substitution (Man Utd) makes a substitution, with Gabriel Obertan coming on for Javier Hernandez.
Correction - 72:59 Substitution Federico Macheda comes on in place of Javier Hernandez.
72:52 Booking Caution for Ashley Young.
Correction - 72:46 Substitution Dimitar Berbatov leaves the field to be replaced by Gabriel Obertan.
72:46 Substitution Federico Macheda joins the action as a substitute, replacing Dimitar Berbatov.
72:44 Booking Nemanja Vidic is cautioned by the ref for dissent.
71:46 GOAL - Ashley Young:Aston Villa 1 - 0 Man Utd Power penalty scored by Ashley Young. Aston Villa 1-0 Man Utd.
70:43 Booking Wes Brown booked.
Correction - 70:27 Wes Brown gives away a Penalty for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young.
70:27 Foul by Wes Brown on Ashley Young, Penalty awarded.
67:38 Gabriel Agbonlahor produces a right-footed shot from inside the area and hits the post. Stewart Downing takes a shot. Wes
Brown gets a block in. Corner from left by-line taken by Stewart Downing.
67:11 Marc Albrighton takes a shot. Save by Edwin Van der Sar.
66:08 The ball is crossed by Stewart Downing, James Collins takes a shot.
65:45 Stewart Downing takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Luis Nani manages to make a clearance.
65:25 The ball is crossed by Barry Bannan.
64:20 Gabriel Agbonlahor challenges Rio Ferdinand unfairly and gives away a free kick. Edwin Van der Sar takes the free kick.
62:57 Wes Brown challenges Ashley Young unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Ashley Young.
62:32 Booking Luke Young is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
60:54 Brad Friedel takes the direct free kick.
60:54 Booking Javier Hernandez receives a yellow card.
60:49 Marc Albrighton fouled by Javier Hernandez, the ref awards a free kick.
59:35 Patrice Evra fouled by Marc Albrighton, the ref awards a free kick. Luis Nani fires a strike on goal direct from the free
59:21 Luis Nani takes a shot. Richard Dunne gets a block in.
58:29 Ji-Sung Park produces a cross, Stephen Warnock makes a clearance. Luis Nani takes the outswinging corner, Dimitar Berbatov
takes a shot from 18 yards. Richard Dunne gets a block in.
57:35 The referee blows for offside against Patrice Evra. Brad Friedel takes the indirect free kick.
56:07 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Wes Brown by Gabriel Agbonlahor. Direct free kick taken by Wes Brown.
54:55 The ball is swung over by Luis Nani, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
53:13 Stewart Downing sends in a cross, Marc Albrighton has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide left of the
52:59 Ji-Sung Park crosses the ball, save by Brad Friedel.
51:50 Free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
51:50 Booking Luis Nani is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
51:08 Luis Nani concedes a free kick for a foul on Stephen Warnock.
49:41 Effort on goal by Marc Albrighton from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.
49:24 Marc Albrighton crosses the ball.
46:17 The ball is crossed by Marc Albrighton, Rio Ferdinand manages to make a clearance.
45:37 Ashley Young produces a cross.
45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
45:00+2:55 The referee calls an end to the first half.
45:00+2:05 The ball is sent over by Stewart Downing, Wes Brown gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken by Stewart Downing, Headed effort
from inside the area by Richard Dunne misses to the right of the goal.
45:00+2:00 Marc Albrighton sends in a cross.
43:48 Centre by Barry Bannan, Wes Brown makes a clearance.
Correction - 42:41 Stewart Downing takes a shot. Wes Brown gets a block in. Ashley Young takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to
the near post. Richard Dunne takes a shot. Save made by Edwin Van der Sar. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Luke
Young by Dimitar Berbatov. Direct free kick taken by Ashley Young.
42:41 Stewart Downing takes a shot. Blocked by Wes Brown. Corner taken by Ashley Young from the right by-line played to the near
post, Richard Dunne takes a shot. Save made by Edwin Van der Sar. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Luke Young
by Dimitar Berbatov. Ashley Young restarts play with the free kick.
41:54 The ball is delivered by Stewart Downing, blocked by Rio Ferdinand. Short corner worked by Stewart Downing. The ball is swung
over by Marc Albrighton, clearance by Ji-Sung Park.
40:36 The ball is crossed by Patrice Evra, clearance made by Jonathan Hogg.
Correction - 39:01 Michael Carrick produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.
39:01 Darren Fletcher has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
36:06 The official flags Javier Hernandez offside. Free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
30:55 Ji-Sung Park fouled by Luke Young, the ref awards a free kick. Luis Nani takes the free kick. The ball is crossed by Patrice
30:09 Ashley Young has a volleyed shot. Save by Edwin Van der Sar.
29:35 Free kick awarded for a foul by Javier Hernandez on James Collins. James Collins takes the free kick.
28:42 Stephen Warnock challenges Dimitar Berbatov unfairly and gives away a free kick. Luis Nani delivers the ball from the free
kick right-footed from right wing, clearance made by Stewart Downing.
27:47 Unfair challenge on Richard Dunne by Dimitar Berbatov results in a free kick. Richard Dunne takes the direct free kick.
26:50 Ashley Young sends in a cross, Edwin Van der Sar makes a save.
25:17 Jonathan Hogg gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Luis Nani. Edwin Van der Sar takes the direct free kick.
24:53 Ashley Young takes a short corner.
24:30 Marc Albrighton sends in a cross, clearance by Rio Ferdinand.
23:10 Javier Hernandez gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Barry Bannan. Ashley Young takes the free kick.
22:50 The ball is crossed by Stewart Downing, clearance made by Patrice Evra. Marc Albrighton produces a cross, clearance made by
22:11 Marc Albrighton delivers the ball, Rio Ferdinand makes a clearance. Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young, Nemanja Vidic
makes a clearance.
21:13 Javier Hernandez is caught offside. Free kick taken by Richard Dunne.
20:06 Barry Bannan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ji-Sung Park. The ball is swung over by Luis Nani, Shot by
Wes Brown from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.
19:03 Darren Fletcher fouled by Jonathan Hogg, the ref awards a free kick. Darren Fletcher takes the direct free kick.
17:52 Ji-Sung Park delivers the ball, save by Brad Friedel.
17:20 Rio Ferdinand restarts play with the free kick.
17:20 Booking Barry Bannan goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
17:13 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Javier Hernandez by Barry Bannan.
16:55 Centre by Marc Albrighton.
16:48 Stewart Downing produces a cross, clearance made by Nemanja Vidic.
16:02 Shot by Dimitar Berbatov from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.
15:25 Marc Albrighton crosses the ball. The ball is swung over by Stewart Downing, Patrice Evra manages to make a clearance.
14:05 Stewart Downing produces a cross, blocked by Rio Ferdinand. Corner from left by-line taken by Stewart Downing.
13:51 The ball is delivered by Marc Albrighton, clearance made by Rio Ferdinand.
12:27 Shot by Luis Nani from outside the box goes high over the crossbar.
12:12 Wes Brown crosses the ball, clearance made by James Collins.
6:42 The official flags Javier Hernandez offside. Brad Friedel takes the free kick.
5:36 Patrice Evra is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
5:08 Luis Nani crosses the ball, clearance made by Marc Albrighton.
3:45 The ball is swung over by Javier Hernandez.
0:00 The game gets underway.
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