Everton 2-2 West Ham United
West Ham United battled back superbly to end a six-game losing run with a dynamic second-half display at Everton on Easter Sunday that fully merited a point.
The Hammers twice came from behind to equalise through Manuel da Costa and Ilan, just when the game seemed beyond them after goals from Everton pair Dinyar Bilyaletdinov and Yakubu. The only low note of the contest, aside from a missed Mido penalty, was that man of the match - man of the season - Scott Parker will be absent for the next two matches after a tenth yellow card of the campaign.
The fantastic finish was a far cry to the start of the day when Valon Behrami picked up a muscle injury in the warm-up, meaning Gianfranco Zola had to draft in Junior Stanislas as a late change. The manager had already left Alessandro Diamanti behind in London with a groin problem.
Everton, in contrast, began like a team who had not lost in nine matches at Goodison Park, with the last seven of those being victories. They dominated all of the opening stages and the visitors' feelings of being hard done by were summed up by the harsh 16th-minute caution for Parker's foul on Cahill.
The second yellow card of the contest 20 minutes later was even more controversial. Sylvain Distin tripped up Carlton Cole as he went clear from Parker's perfect pass. Referee Howard Webb pointed to the spot but, despite the certain goalscoring chance, the card for Distan was inexplicably not of the red variety.
That was not the worst of it though. For the second awayday in a row, the Hammers were to miss from the spot. After Diamanti had spurned a golden chance at Arsenal a fortnight ago, Mido was the culprit this time. The Egypt striker's tame kick was pushed around the post by Tim Howard.
The Hammers were livelier than at any previous time in the period just after the interval. Mido was moved closer to strike partner Cole and the pair looked to link up on a couple of occasions although there was still no direct threat on Howard's goal. Parker, as ever was the driving force, and his surge on 56 minutes led to Cahill being cautioned for a lunge.
Two minutes later, Stanislas did well to get into the area and he fed the ball for Mido on the edge of the six-yard box. The striker's touch was not the best but it was enough to lead to a corner. From that, the ball was worked to Noble who showed tenacious play before crashing an effort against the crossbar with Howard beaten.
Everton eventually cleared for a corner but Noble was able to make his next contribution count. His delivery was perfect into the area and in a tangle of legs, Da Costa did brilliantly to fire the ball beyond Howard. With an hour gone, the Hammers were flying. On 65 minutes, Stanislas raced away and slipped Cole in but the finish was wayward.
Noble's committed display saw him earn a 70th-minute yellow card and seconds later the Hammers were handed a major slice of luck when Da Costa looked to have fouled Louis Saha. The referee this time resisted the urge to point to the spot.
While Yakubu was already on for Bilyaletdinov, Zola made his first change on 78 minutes when Mido was replaced by Ilan. By now the match was a scrappier contest, with both sides showing industry but failing to trouble the keepers. Jack Rodwell was Everton's second change for Leon Osman but it was their first sub who shone on 85 minutes.
Leighton Baines was given time and space on the left wing to cross, and his perfect delivery for Yakubu saw him direct his header beyond the despairing Robert Green. That seemed that for the Hammers, and a seventh straight defeat. However, barely two minutes later, a simply sublime right-wing cross from Julien Faubert was met by Ilan with a wonderful diving header.
After a few nervous moments in the closing stages, referee Webb blew time on the contest and, more significantly, the end of a dreadful run of results. A precious point - coupled with results involving all the teams around them in the table going the Hammers' way - is how it will be viewed by the travelling fans heading home.