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Everton grabs late draw at Stoke in EPL

January 1, 2014

STOKE, England (AP) — Leighton Baines converted an injury-time penalty to earn Everton a 1-1 draw at Stoke on Wednesday as his side dropped out of the top four of the Premier League.

Everton enjoyed plenty of possession and Kevin Mirallas hit the woodwork twice in the first half before winger Oussama Assaidi, on loan from Liverpool, gave Stoke a 49th minute lead against the run of play.

The visitors were rewarded for all their pressure at the very end, though, when Jermaine Pennant fouled Leon Osman and Baines made no mistake with the spot kick.

Everton slipped to fifth in the standings, a point behind Merseyside rival Liverpool — which moved up after beating Hull 2-0.

The first real attempt on goal came in the 11th minute from Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam, whose shot appeared to take a deflection on its way to keeper Tim Howard.

Assaidi then brought a parry out of Howard, but the whistle had gone again, with Adam being judged to have pushed John Stones as he headed on Jon Walters’ cross to the Morocco international.

Peter Crouch looped a header wide from another Walters delivery, before James McCarthy’s low shot called Thomas Sorensen into action at the other end.

Mirallas’ first effort against the goalframe came in the 30th minute when he cut inside and let fly with a strike that came back off the crossbar.

Assaidi threatened again, chesting down a Geoff Cameron cross and seeing his shot deflect behind off an Everton player.

Ross Barkley then put a first-time effort over from a cut-back by the lively Mirallas, who went close once more to breaking the deadlock in first-half stoppage time when his free kick struck the post.

Certainly Stoke had survived some scares before the break, but shortly after the restart, the home side snatched the lead as Assaidi notched his fourth goal since joining from Liverpool earlier in the season. Stones, on his first Premier League start, tried to head clear a Glenn Whelan cross, but the ball only went as far as Assaidi, who rifled it in from the edge of the area.

Everton looked to respond and after Steven Pienaar had skewed a shot off-target, Jack Butland — who had come on for Sorensen at the interval to make his Stoke debut — got down to save a Romelu Lukaku shot.

Adam turned and sent an effort at Howard and Erik Pieters then made a last-ditch tackle to deny Mirallas, before a Barkley strike deflected into the stand.

Everton continued to pressurize toward the end and after Steven Naismith and Mirallas had seen efforts blocked on the line, Pennant upended Osman, allowing Baines to grab a point for the visitors by converting from the spot.

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