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Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Premier League
 Saturday 21 January 2012; 3:00pm
Everton 
1 1
 Blackburn
 Cahill (24')
Half Time: 1-0
 Goodwillie (72')
Attendance: 32,464
Fixture 22
Referee: Mark Halsey

Match Summary

Everton, with seven players injured, and another seven out on loan, started mostly on the back foot but Goodison finally roared when Tim Cahill poked the ball in the Gwladys Street net to end his year-long drought, even though Fellaini appeared to use his arm in the set-up.

A poor second half from a moribund Blues sides saw them gift a silly goal to Goodwillie, followed by the predictable huff and puff, and cameo substitutions that saw another two points squandered. But it's all about securing results....

A reasonable cross from Donovan after 3 mins was not well handled by Anichebe, who managed somehow to screw a glorious chance wide. Some stern Blackburn pressure was then resisted, with Dunn cutting through and Scott Dann so close to scoring from close range but somehow it hit Baines on the head and bounced clear.

Blackburn continued to press while some dreadful passing by the Blues going forward and hopeless control of the ball by Saha ended most attacks . Donovan's touch was also poor.

A couple of corners and some scrappy play finally let Cahill scoop the ball in from 5 yards but Fellaini, who set him up, appeared to control the ball with his arm. Still, the goal stood, and more than a year without scoring was finally over for the Aussie.

Cahill then turned provider, setting up Donovan for a fabulous chance with a fine reverse ball but his shot was very poor when well-placed. At the other end, where Duffy was putting in another good shift, Everton escaped miraculously when Dunn hit the post.

A good throw from Howard had Donovan scampering forward but a poor tackle on him by Petrovich saw him booked. From the well-placed free-kick, Baines drove it a yard wide of the near post.

Everton somehow put themselves under the cosh for long spells in the second half, conceding possession to a determined Blackburn side. Saha, useless again, was finally hooked before the hour, with Drenthe his replacement.

Drenthe ran on with the ball and crossed brilliantly through the goalmouth but there was no-one there to tap it home. He was about the only spark of life in a worryingly moribund performance. Gibson was booked for a mistimed block on Hoilett. And from that free-kick, some nonsense defending saw Howard miss the aerial ball, to be saved by Cahill on the line, only for him to screw drive his clearance off Goodwillie and into the Everton net!!! Not as if it hadn't been coming all half...

Vellios came on for a token 10 minutes in place of Anichebe while Duffy headed a better Baines free-kick onto the crossbar. Drenthe then went in the book for a silly tackle. A gift free-kick when Donovan slipped was driven poorly into the wall by Darron Gibson, who was replaced by Stracqualursi for the last 3 minutes.

Formica came so close to punishing the hapless Blues scooping his shot just wide of the post. Finally, 90 minutes and a superb Fellaini header saved by Robinson, then a crazy goalmouth scramble followed a clearance off the line from another great Fellaini header and Robinson somehow elbowed away a Baines shot at close range.

Drenthe booted the ball high into the Bullens in a moment of frustration and appeared set for a second yellow but Halsey let him off, and the game ended as another hugely frustrating if all-too predictable draw and another two points dropped.

With four of the five teams above Everton in the table losing, it was a golden opportunity for some upward advancement; but instead, it was good wins for the three teams below Fulham, Sunderland and Aston Villa who all now leapfrog Everton and push them down to 14th, 8 points above the drop zone.

Michael Kenrick

 

Match Report

The frustration goes on for the Goodison faithful as Everton dropped another two points at home as spirited Blackburn grabbed a point that few would argue they deserved after taking the game to their jittery hosts in their quest to escape the bottom three. The threat of the drop may not be as immediate to Everton but a consistent failure to secure victories on their own patch will keep the spectre of relegation hovering in the background.

Starting a three-game home stand buouyed by a creditable draw at Aston Villa, the easing of injury-induced concerns of defensive frailty by accomplished displays from young Shane Duffy, and the energy of Landon Donovan, the Blues had the platform from which they could finally start to gather some momentum. Instead, however, they delivered another erratic, tentative and unimaginiative display that was often eclipsed by a more confident and enterprising Blackburn team.

Featuring just one change from the team that started at Villa Park — Victor Anichebe replaced Royston Drenthe on the left — Moyes opted once again for what has been a wholly unproductive Louis Saha-Tim Cahill strike pairing, but he was finally rewarded for his persistence when the Australian scored his first goal for 13 months, albeit in somewhat fortuitous and controversial circumstances.

Although Anichebe had an early opportunity from Donovan's cross that he bounced the wrong side of the post, Everton had started on the back foot somewhat, with Junior Hoilett causing all manner of problems for the home defence in the early going. His trickery carved open a chance for David Dunn in the seventh minute but Tim Howard saved smartly with an out-stretched foot.

A minute later, another well-worked Blackburn move ended with John Heitinga blocking Dunn's shot and, from the resulting corner, Leighton Baines had to head clear from under his own crossbar as Scott Dann's header threatened to loop into the top corner. Duffy flicked a corner over the bar from six yards at the other end but, in general, Rovers were playing the better, more incisive football.

The game changed mid-way through the first half, though, when Neville's shot deflected behind for a corner that eventually came to Donovan via Baines on the Everton left and the American dinked a cross into the six-yard box with the outside of his boot. As the ball sat up after Fellaini's first knockdown came off Paul Robinson's legs, the Belgian used a combination of his chest and arm to control the rebound which fell to Cahill to convert from close range. A bit of the rub of the green and it was 1-0 to the Blues.

Cahill was visibly buouyed by the goal and within 10 minutes, his clever reverse pass had put Donovan in on goal but he fired awkwardly wide when he really should have tested the goalkeeper. And though Everton finished the half with their tails up and Fellaini saw another chest-down and shot blocked, it could easily have been 1-1 at the break — Dunn had seen a shot come back off the post with Howard beaten in the 37th-minute.

If David Moyes had wanted his side to go out and kill the game early after the interval, it didn't show because his charges started the second half in sloppy fashion. Their failure to keep the ball or mount any sort of attack by passing out of defence meant they were falling back on long balls from the back and Goodison was noticeable restless.

Blackburn weren't able to create much themselves beyond Petrovic's raking drive on the hour mark, however, and substitute Drenthe, when he finally got the ball 10 minutes after replacing Saha, threatened to provide the much-needed drive at the other end to help Everton pad their lead. Unfortunately, when he skipped to the byline and flashed a tempting ball across the face of goal, there was no one there to turn it home.

Drenthe's influence on the game was sporadic — too many times he ran into trouble, with his insistence on coming inside from wide positions making him all to predictable — but it took a blunder at the back by Everton for Blackburn to get back into the game. Howard flapped at thin air as Stephen Nzonzi rose for a deep free kick and though Cahill was on hand to stop the ball on the goalline, it took an awkward bounce in front of him and he could only smash his clearance into the on-rushing Goodwillie. The ball ricocheted off the striker's raised hands and into the net. 1-1 and Goodison reverted to angst and anxiety.

Moyes wasn't shy about reshuffling his pack to put more strike-power on the field in the final 10 minutes. First Apostolos Vellios came on for Anichebe and then Denis Stracqualursi came on for the subdued Darron Gibson but despite winning a numbe of free kicks in decent areas in the final third, the Blues just couldn't create anything worthwhile in front of goal until a final, late assault in injury time.

First, Fellaini connected with Drenthe's whipped cross from the left but Robinson pushed his header away with two hands. Then, agonisingly, from the resulting corner, Fellaini's downward header was hacked off the line and Stracqualursi too was denied from point-blank range by Robinson's one-handed save.

A few aimless punts forward later, referee Mark Halsey called time and the players left to disgruntlement from the crowd as another two points slipped away.

Lyndon Lloyd

Match Preview

With any momentum gained from the New Year's Day victory at West Bromwich Albion having dissipated following back-to-back defeats to Bolton and Spurs and last week's draw at Aston Villa, Everton are back on home turf for the first of three consecutive home games.

An FA Cup tie with Fulham followed by the visit of Manchester City loom in the next fortnight but first unpredictable Blackburn Rovers come to Goodison Park in optimistic mood after moving out of the bottom three last weekend.

In the last month, Steve Kean's side have held Liverpool to a draw at Anfield and beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford so they could prove to be a tricky proposition for an Everton side that is still trying to find a measure of consistency and confidence.

In addition to the chronic lack of goals in his team, David Moyes will still have a litany of injuries with which to contend this weekend, and chance that those with more minor niggles, like Seamus Coleman and Tony Hibbert, would be available after missing the last few games were dashed by the manager in his pre-match press conference.

Even without any improvement of the injury situation, Moyes will still have few problems naming a strong starting XI. With Darron Gibson's encouraging debut, Moyes at least has a core central midfield around which he can deploy Landon Donovan and, perhaps, Royston Drenthe.

And Shane Duffy's accomplished displays over the last two games mean that the loss to injury of Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin have not been as keenly felt as first feared. It means that the French defender could take another week to heal his hamstring while Duffy continues alongside John Heitinga.

As ever, it's up front where the problems lie, with the normally so dependable Tim Cahill struggling badly for form no matter where he is played at the moment and Louis Saha able to boast just one league goal all season.

Victor Anichebe's scoring return to action — he has two already so far in 2012 — means that he could well get a starting role this weekend, but it remains to be seen if Apostolos Vellios' hat-trick for the Reserves has moved him up the pecking order at all.

Blackburn, who have lost all but one of the last five meetings with the Blues, will have to do without their top scorer Yakubu who begins a three-match suspension after being sent off against Fulham last weekend. They did manage to score all three of their goals against Fulham last weekend without him, though, so it's going to be important that Everton keep things tight at the back.

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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Match Reports
2011-12 Reports Index
< Aston Villa (A) Fulham (H) >
EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Howard
  Neville
  Duffy
  Heitinga
  Baines
  Gibson :71' (87' Stracqualursi)
  Fellaini
  Cahill
  Anichebe (80' Vellios)
  Donovan
  Saha (54' Drenthe :83')
  Subs not used
  Mucha
  Hibbert (injured)
  Bilyaletdinov
  Gueye
  Unavailable
  Barkley (injured)
  Coleman (injured)
  Distin (injured)
  Hibbert (injured)
  Jagielka (injured)
  Osman (injured)
  Rodwell (injured)
  Abdullayev (loan)
  Bidwell (loan)
  Garbutt (loan)
  Nsiala (loan)
  Silva (loan)
  Wallace (loan)
  Yobo (loan)
BLACKBURN (4-4-2)
  Robinson
  Olsson
  Givet
  Dann
  Dunn (60' Formica)
  Pedersen
  Petrovic :42'
  Nzonzi
  Lowe
  Hoilett :76'
  Goodwille (75' Modeste)
  Subs not used
  Bunn
  Hanley
  Henley
  Vukcevic
  Rochina

Premier League Scores
Saturday
Bolton 3-1 Liverpool
Everton 1-1 Blackburn
Fulham 5-2 Newcastle
Norwich 0-0 Chelsea
QPR 3-1 Wigan
Stoke 1-2 West Brom
Sunderland 2-0 Swansea
Wolves 2-3 Aston Villa
Sunday
Man City - Tottenham
Arsenal - Man United




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