LONDON (AFP) Manchester United staged a dramatic fightback with two goals in the last nine minutes to salvage a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa on Saturday. While United battled back, their bitter rivals Manchester City were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by Birmingham and Liverpool crashed to a 2-0 defeat at Stoke. Sir Alex Fergusons team looked set to suffer their first league defeat since April when Ashley Youngs second-half penalty was followed by a Marc Albrighton strike for Villa. But United substitute Federico Macheda reduced the deficit with a superb strike nine minutes from full-time and Serbia defender Nemanja Vidic dived in to head the equaliser from Nanis cross four minutes later. Although United were understandably delighted to escape Villa Park unscathed, Fergusons second-placed side, who are now three points behind Chelsea, will still be left to count the cost of a sloppy display if the leaders open up a six-point gap by beating Sunderland on Sunday. In the second half I just think it was carelessness on our part. Our passing was poor. Normally we can control the match. We didnt control it, Ferguson said. We are a club, though, that never says there is no way back. We brought people on and they changed the game in fairness to them. At Eastlands, City fans turned on Roberto Mancini after the Italians side were held to a dour 0-0 draw by Birmingham. City boss Mancini, whose team have failed to score in their last three home games, provoked a furious response when he decided to replace Argentine forward Carlos Tevez with midfielder Gareth Barry as the hosts tried in vain to break down a stubborn Birmingham defence. Tevez earlier had a goal disallowed for handball and fourth-placed City were unable to close the gap on Chelsea. If you play with four strikers it doesnt mean you score four goals, said Mancini. Football isnt like that. I must think like a manager, not a supporter. Liverpool slumped to their first defeat in seven matches as goals from Ricardo Fuller and Kenwyne Jones earned a 2-0 win for Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. Roy Hodgsons side conceded in the 56th minute when a long throw led to a chaotic sequence of blocked shots and attempted clearances that eventually ended when Fuller drove home from close range. Jones put the result beyond doubt with a clinical finish in stoppage time before Reds midfielder Lucas Leiva was sent off for chopping down Matthew Etherington. It was just a failure to deal with the problems Stoke cause you. We dont have that weapon in our armoury, we have to use our own weapons and I dont think we did that well enough until the last 25 minutes, Hodgson said. Gareth Bale was in fine form as Tottenham beat Blackburn 4-2 at White Hart Lane. Wales winger Bale was linked with some of Europes biggest clubs after his recent performances against Inter Milan in the Champions League and he underlined his growing reputation with another dominant display. He opened the scoring in the 16th minute when he headed home Rafael van der Vaarts corner. Harry Redknapps side squandered a golden chance to increase their lead as Roman Pavlyuchenko smashed a penalty wide after Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson fouled Peter Crouch. But Russian striker Pavlyuchenko made amends for that howler in the 42nd minute as he headed Bales cross past Robinson. Crouch netted Tottenhams third with a 69th minute tap-in before Bale struck again six minutes later. Ryan Nelsen netted for Blackburn in the 80th minute and Gael Givet added a second in the 90th minute. Tottenham assistant coach Joe Jordan said: At the moment Bale is a provider and he is also scoring goals. He is so positive going forward but he also does a shift when we have not got the ball. Bolton moved into fifth place in the table with a 3-2 win at struggling Wolves. Victor Moses fired Wigan out of the relegation zone as his 70th-minute strike secured a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at the DW Stadium. West Ham remain bottom of the table after Blackpools first-teamers returned for a 0-0 draw at Upton Park. Newcastle dropped to seventh after a 0-0 draw at home to Fulham.