Leighton Baines scored a controversial late penalty as Everton snatched a share of the points in a tumultuous 2-2 draw with crisis club Aston Villa on Saturday.
Villa, who have reportedly been in turmoil off the pitch in recent weeks with allegations of a dressing room mutiny, looked to have snaffled a victory after two goals from striker Darren Bent.
But just as Villa boss Gerard Houllier was preparing to breathe a sigh of relief at his side securing three precious points, Jean Makoun was adjudged to have tripped Phil Jagielka to give the Toffees a penalty.
Replays appeared to suggest minimal contact but England international Baines stepped up to ram home the equaliser.
Despite the dubious spot-kick, the point was no less than Everton deserved after a game which saw them have a legitimate Jermaine Beckford goal not given.
Beckford's second half effort -- which seems certain to reopen the debate about goal-line technology - threatened to be the match's defining moment until Baines levelled from the spot.
Beckford's shot crashed off the underside of the bar and bounced over the line. Replays showed the goal should have stood, but referee Mike Jones waved away Everton's appeals and the score remained at 1-1.
In the next passage of play, with Everton still ruing their misfortune, Villa swept upfield to score through Bent after good work by Ashley Young.
Everton had taken the lead on 38 minutes, Leon Osman latching onto a Diniyar Bilyaletdinov pass before before Brad Friedel.
Everton, missing a host of first team regulars including Louis Saha, Mikel Arteta, Marouane Fellaini, Tim Cahill and Jack Rodwell, were well worth their lead and should have been further ahead after dominating the first half.
However Bent got Villa back on level terms within two minutes of the second half as the visitors gained a foothold the match.
Bent doubled his tally after Beckford's disallowed goal but Baines late penalty denied Villa a win. The result leaves Everton in seventh while Villa remain dangerously close to the relegation zone, just two points clear.