Watford 1 - 1 Everton
A rare goal by James McCarthy was cancelled out by poor defending at the other end as the Blues had to settle for a point at Vicarage Road
Everton improved on last weekend's weak display at Manchester United but let another lead slip by conceding a soft goal from a corner in first-half stoppage time and couldn't find the breakthrough in the second half.
James McCarthy's goal in time added on at the end of the first half looked to have handed Roberto Martinez's side the perfect tonic going into the half-time interval but Jose Holebas headed in an equaliser at the other end a minute later to cancel the Irishman's strike out.
Romelu Lukaku came close to winning it as Everton belatedly pushed for a second goal in the closing stages but the Belgian's shot came off the crossbar after Heurelho Gomes had palmed the ball into his path.
Under pressure following recent results and the target of a couple of prominent banners in the away end before kick off, Martinez had made just one change for the game, bringing Gareth Barry back into the side in place of Tom Cleverley and, desperately needing a good performance and result, Everton began well enough.
Ross Barkley's surging run and cross almost picked out Gerard Deulofeu in the centre but it was cut out at the vital moment before Deulofeu tested Gomes with a curling effort that the Brazilian pushed away for a corner.
At the other end, Joel Robles was called upon to make a flying save to turn a 25-yard shot by Jurado behind while Ben Watson's low drive from a similar distance was a lot more routine for the Spaniard.
An even contest was heading into the break goalless when McCarthy capitalised on hesitation at the back by Miguel Britos by robbing the defender of the ball and firing into the far corner to make it 1-0.
From the restart, however, John Stones's decision to play Robles into trouble rather than put the ball into the stands for the a throw-in gave the home side a needless corner and Holebas rose above Coleman at the back post to head in off the defender's arm.
Rather than sulk at the setback, Everton remained comparatively on the front foot in the second half and continued to carve out the better opportunities but were a shadow of the attacking unit they were earlier in the season and, all too often, they found the final ball wanting.
Nevertheless, coming in off the left flank, Aaron Lennon came close with three similar low efforts from around 18 yards, one deflected behind, one almost palmed into Lukaku's path by Gomes but the 'keeper scrambled it away and the third also turned behind by Gomes.
The best chance for the visitors to grab all three points came with four minutes of the regulation 90 to go, though, when substitute Kevin Mirallas fired a free kick through the defensive wall, Gomes could only push the ball to Lukaku but the striker's snapshot hit the woodwork and bounced clear to the far side.
Lukaku might also have done better three minutes later when the defender in front of him missed a header trying to deal with a cross from the right and the ball just bounced off the Belgian who hadn't expected the ball to reach him.
Watford, meanwhile, almost won it themselves at the death when Watson smashed a shot that took a nick off a defender's arm and was heading for the top corner until Robles finger-tipped it wide.
In the end, a draw helped arrest both sides' respective run of defeats but doesn't prevent Everton from dropping to 14th in the Premier League, albeit with games in hand on some of the teams above them, thanks to just one win in their last six league games.
Quotes sourced from ToffeeWeb match page