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Football | Barclays Premier League

Marouane Fellaini with Ryan Shawcross © Action Images

Fellaini apologises for Shawcross headbutt



Marouane Fellaini on Saturday apologised for headbutting Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross in the 1-1 Premier League draw at the Britannia Stadium.

The Belgian midfielder clashed with Shawcross on the hour mark as the players jostled for position at a corner, but the incident went unnoticed by referee Mark Halsey and his assistants.

"I apologise completely to Ryan Shawcross, my teammates and to our fans at the game," said the Belgian midfielder.

"There was a lot of pushing and pulling going on inside the Stoke penalty area and I didn't feel I was getting any protection from the officials.

"Nevertheless I know I shouldn't have done what I did.

"I have also apologised to the manager and the staff. I have no excuses, I was disappointed with the way I was being treated and I lost my temper, which was unprofessional of me."

Everton manager David Moyes said Fellaini deserves to be punished for the assault.

"He deserves to get the punishment. I've seen it, it's a terrible thing to do and I expect him to be punished. It's down to the FA. I've told him it's not acceptable and whatever he gets, he and us deserve it," conceded Moyes.

A first-half own-goal from Shawcross had gifted Everton the lead, but Kenwyne Jones struck seven minutes after the break as Stoke stretched their undefeated run to seven matches, while Everton drew for the eighth time in their last 11 outings.

The stalemate left Everton fourth on 27 points, two adrift of third-placed Chelsea, as Stoke remained ninth on 24 points and behind Arsenal on goal difference.

Steven Nzonzi wasted an inviting chance to give Stoke the lead as he headed straight at goalkeeper Tim Howard after Jonathan Walters had steered the ball into his teammate's path, while only a fine goalline clearance from Shawcross prevented Steven Naismith from putting the visitors ahead.

However, Shawcross soon after inadvertently headed Steven Pienaar's teasing delivery from the left beyond a helpless Asmir Begovic to hand Everton a 36th-minute lead.

The hosts emerged from the dressing room after the break looking revitalised.

Howard denied Charlie Adam, but the US international was caught out as Jones equalised on 52 minutes, climbing expertly to meet Shawcross' long diagonal ball and plant a header low into the corner for his first league goal of the season.

Everton should have been reduced to 10-men following Fellaini's senseless act, which could have proved even more controversial as Nikica Jelavic subsequently forced a smart low save from Begovic.

Substitute Cameron Jerome almost made an instant impact for the home side after replacing Adam, drilling just wide of the post after his initial attempt was blocked by Sylvain Distin.

Howard then made a sprawling stop to deny Jerome again before Distin intervened with a vital headed clearance off the line to prevent Peter Crouch from putting Stoke ahead.

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