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Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Premier League
 Saturday 16 April 2011; 3:00pm
Everton 
2 0
 Blackburn
Osman (54')
Baines (pen:72')
Half Time: 0-0
 
Attendance: 35,857
Fixture 33
Referee: Kevin Friend

Match Summary

lightly better news for Everton on the injury front, with Jack Rodwell named on the bench, returning early from yet another injury, along with Seamus Coleman, also passing a late fitness test David Moyes did not let that prevent the team picking itself from the 11 seniors available, unchanged from last week.

Everton started well and Beckford really should have scored from a glorious early chance but his first-time shot was lacking as the Blues then spent the first five minutes camped outside Blackburn's penalty area. Osman was again dominant as the Blues' best playmaker with a great cross that was sadly away from everyone and too close to the Blackburn goal. Jagielka got the ball in a lot of space but could not pull the trigger.

Blackburn finally attacked and won a corner in the 12th minutes but Heitinga defended it effectively, but he started limping, clutching his hamstring and yet was able to thwart another attack. He could not continue and Rodwell got to return much earlier than David Moyes would have liked (otherwise, he would surly have started the game).

From more Blackburn pressure, it seemed to be a good move that saw Bily lay on a great through ball for Beckford but his first touch was all wrong and his bright running into space was completely wasted. It became a more even if frustratingly bitty midfield game although Magaye Gueye was getting involved with some nice touches down the left, one move giving Bily half a chance but instead of a rocket, he passed it back to Robinson.

Nixon got the first yellow card for persistent fouling of Osman, but Baines followed him for a mistimed tackle on Jones. Neville was aggressive in challenging Dunn and nearly followed Baines. Everton did win a corner but nothing came of it until Phil Neville got a chance to score another but he didn't get it right this time.

Blackburn had weathered the early storm and settled into closing Everton down with the lazy floated crosses from both Everton flanks being easily repelled by the giants in the Blackburn defence, any quality on the final ball noticeably absent, allowing the visitors to mount increasingly threatening attacks, while Everton retreated more into their shell, with Osman denied spaced and getting crowded out all too easily.

Osman switched to the right and got a chance to run at the Blackburn defence but his final shot was very poor and what had started so promisingly for the Blues fizzled into a poor half that yielded nothing, although they had mustered six shots to none from Blackburn.

With more of the same after the break, Blackburn's first shot finally came from Dunn and was thankfully off target. At the other end, Gueye played in Osman but his shot was horribly high. But Gueye was gaining in confidence and he ended up shooting himself, just over. Then from a Gueye corner, Baines fired in just wide as the Blues suddenly attacked with more intent and purpose. Bily was next but his shot came off Jones for a corner./

Gueye took it short this time and Osman drilled the ball through a crowd whence it deflected off Samba and in at the far post to finally give Everton the lead they desperately needed. Gueye then got a great ball from Osman and should have returned the favour but drove his shot into the side netting.

Everton nemesis Jason Roberts came on for Santa Cruz after the hour mark. For the home side, Baines was linking well with Gueye but Moyes decided the young Frenchman would come off, to a very good Goodison cheer for his sterling efforts, Coleman coming on and immediately running the length of the Blackburn half to shoot on sight.

Things got a little feisty with 20 mins left and Rochina's name went onto Kevin Friend's yellow card. Blackburn came scarily close to breaking through when Distin made a horrible mistake but they could not follow through and Everton attacked again through Baines, Jones diving in on Coleman for a clear penalty. Leighton Baines had to wait while Beckford got involved needlessly on the edge of the area, but he finally powered it home from the spot to finally given Everton a firm lead.

Everton looked to play a little football but Blackburn were not inclined to back down as a silly mix up in the Everton defence between Jagielka and Baines set it up for Pedersen from 8 yards and incredibly he fluffed it.

Bily laid in a beautiful through-ball that seemed perfect for Beckford to collect at his feet but Emerton denied him on the edge of the area with 10 mins left as Rochina was replaced by Benjani, the final change for Blackburn.

Everton tried to play it forward in a prominsing move but Bily was disappointingly blocked by Salgado when he should have passed to Coleman.

Beckford was really not having a good game, showing all his faults and failings as a Premier League player, with none of his goalscoring qualities on show today, and he was finally pulled off, but that would give Apostolos Vellios again only 5 mins of first-team football.

Baines set up Osman in space for a glorious chance to make it three from the edge of the area but his first-time shot was technically atrocious. A good cross from Hibbert was met at the far post by Vellios but not headed cleanly and Robinson palmed the bouncing ball past the post. Rodwell had to foul to halt a Blackburn breakaway and got a yellow card for his troubles.

Poor defending allowed Emerton to get a shot in near the end that Howard needed to save. In the end, it was job well done by the injury-decimated Blues in a potentially tricky fixture against relegation strugglers who had set Everton's season off to such a poor start all those months ago.

Michael Kenrick

 

Match Preview

In their late charge for Europe, Everton will almost certainly come up short — the chances of sixth place qualifying for the Europa League this season are remote and the points difference between the Blues in seventh and Tottenham in fifth is surely insurmountable — but David Moyes and the players can at least content that they salvaged some dignity (not to mention some priceless league placing revenue) from a season that started so abysmally.

Having now won four of their last six matches, the Blues have brought themselves onto the heels of Liverpool and they'll be looking to keep the pressure on the flithy red horde when Blackburn Rovers come to town this weekend.

Rovers have not won in nine games in all competitions, a record that has seen them slip to within three points of the relegation zone and though they should be scrapping for their lives, Everton, with potentially tricky trips to Wigan and West Brom plus dates against United, City and Chelsea to come, will probably regard this as one the last should-win game of the campaign.

Again, they'll have to do it with limited personnel options. Mikel Arteta's hopes of a return from a hamstring tear were dashed this week, though he hopes to be fit for the trip to Old Trafford next week, but Jack Rodwell and Seamus Coleman will undergo late fitness tests which, if they pass, would bolster Moyes's options in midfield where a twin defensive-midfield partnership between Phil Neville and John Heitinga was on duty last time out.

Coleman's fitness will also dictate whether Magaye Gueye gets the chance to make his full home debut. Tim Cahill and Louis Saha remain on the treatment table and any early comeback by Marouane Fellaini isn't likely to materialise until the end of the season.

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Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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Match Reports
2010-11 Reports Index
< Wolves (A) Man United (A) >
EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Howard
  Hibbert
  Jagielka
  Distin
  Baines :26'
  Neville
  Heitinga (15' Rodwell :91')
  Bilyaletdinov
  Osman
  Gueye (65' Coleman)
  Beckford (85' Vellios)
  Subs not used
  Mucha
  Mustafi
  Forshaw
  Anichebe
  Unavailable
  Barkley (injured)
  Arteta (injured)
  Cahill (injured)
  Fellaini (injured)
  Saha (injured)
  Agard (loan)
  Duffy (loan)
  Silva (loan)
  Turner (loan)
  Vaughan (loan)
  Wallace (loan)
  Yakubu (loan)
  Yobo (loan)
BLACKBURN (4-4-2)
  Robinson
  Salgado
  P Jones :73'
  Samba
  Emerton
  Givet (67' Pedersen)
  Dunn :25'
  J Jones
  Olsson
  Rochina :71' (81' Mwaruwari)
  Santa Cruz (61' Roberts)
  Subs not used
  Bunn
  Hanley
  Kalinic
  Diouf

Premier League Scores
Saturday
Birmingham 2-0 Sunderand
Blackpool 1-3 Wigan
Everton 2-0 Blackburn
West Brom 1-3 Chelses
West Ham 1-2 Aston Villa
Sunday
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
Tuesday
Newcastle 0-0 Man United
Wednesday
Chelsea 3-1 Birmingham
Tottenham 3-3 Arsenal


Team Pts
1 Manchester United 69
2 Arsenal 63
3 Chelsea 61
4 Manchester City 56
5 Tottenham Hotspur 53
6 Liverpool 49
7 Everton 47
8 Bolton Wanderers 43
9 Aston Villa 40
10 Newcastle United 39
11 West Bromwich Albion 39
12 Fulham 38
13 Stoke City 38
14 Birmingham City 38
15 Sunderland 38
16 Blackburn Rovers 35
17 Wigan Athletic 34
18 Blackpool 33
19 West Ham United 32
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 32

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