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v Crystal Palace

Sunday 21 September K.O. 16:00

April

April

Entering April, the focus was now firmly on securing fifth place.

The likes of Portsmouth and Aston Villa were hot on Everton's heels, so a home match against already-relegated Derby would appear to be just what the Toffees needed.

Indeed, David Moyes' side would emerge with three points, but it wasn't as easy as many suggested. Manuel Fernandes' pinpoint pass allowed Leon Osman the opportunity to settle the game. He didn't miss.

Leon Osman celebrates scoring against DerbyLeon Osman celebrates scoring against Derby

Still not playing anywhere near their best, Everton travelled to St Andrew's to take on Birmingham. Alex McLeish's side were fighting for their lives - and it showed. Joleon Lescott's ninth of the season was equalised by a magical free kick from Mauro Zarate and the points shared.

It was scarcely good enough for Everton, with Villa's charge gathering momentum just below them. And Chelsea were next up at Goodison.

The game was bizarrely rearranged for a Thursday evening and Avram Grant's side were still well and truly in the title race.

Phil Neville scores fo EvertonPhil Neville gets the first against Villa

Not for the first time, Everton struggled to breach the Chelsea backline, and Michael Essien capitalised on a lucky ricochet in a 1-0 win for the visitors.

Once again, Everton found themselves in a European head-to-head, this time with in-form Villa. In a fascinating game, all the goals came in the second half. Phil Neville put Everton ahead with a rare goal but Gabriel Agbonlahor equalised. Joseph Yobo's only goal of the season saw Everton lead 2-1 but John Carew levelled it almost straight away.

The result meant that Everton lead Villa by three points with two games to go - but faced an away game at Arsenal in their run-in.

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