Date:Monday April 19 2010
17th April 2010
Everton left it late to avoid their third successive 2-2 draw and kept their European dreams alive.
Everton were without the injured Heitinga who picked up a knock in the Villa game, he was replaced by Hibbert, which meant Neville was shuffled into the midfield.
Everton were boosted by the inclusion of Mikel Arteta who was returning from a groin injury, he replaced the injured Osman. Saha was preferred over the Yak up front.
Blackburn were without big defender Samba and the back and the unpopular figure of Diouf.
Everton started by far the brighter and not two minutes had passed before they were awarded a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Arteta by Nelsen. The Spaniard dusted himself down and calmly slotted the ball past Robinson sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.
Blackburn responded well to the goal and had some half chances the majority of which were saved comfortably by Tim Howard.
Twenty minutes in came what is arguably the turning point in the game after a clumsy challenge from Pedersen on Arteta deep inside the Everton half Arteta sprung to his feet and got in the face of Pedersen and appeared to raise his hand and poke him in the eye.
This was very uncharacteristic for the usually mellow player. Both he and Pedersen were booked but you can`t help but feel that Mikel should have been sent off I know I would be screaming blue murder if it was the other way around.
Hopefully because the referee has booked Mikel the FA will not be inclined to take any further action.
Everton bombed forward looking to extend their lead and kill Rovers off with some great balls being pinged in from Baines and Billy.
As the first half came to a close Rovers were in the ascendancy with Everton struggling to clear their lines at times and some dodgy goalkeeping not helping the Everton cause. Leighton Baines cleared a Rovers effort off the line as the pressure looked to be showing.
I for one was glad when the half time whistle sounded as Blackburn went into the break looking the side most likely to score next.
Everton were much improved in the opening exchanges of the second half with Billy and Baines still running riot out wide and providing some excellent balls into the box.
Surprisingly it was Hibbert who produced the cross that nearly doubled Everton`s lead, his right footed cross deep into the heart of the Rovers area was met by the head of Tim Cahill who disappointingly headed over after appearing to lose the flight of the ball in the glare of the sunshine.
Never the less it was a golden opportunity which at the moment Everton are passing up all too frequently.
Pienaar was relatively anonymous throughout the game but still provided some free kicks as their physical approach backfired. Mikel Arteta was kept at bay by Robinson was the majority of his free kicks being comfortably saved.
Shortly after the hour mark the booked Pedersen was subbed for Roberts.
Everton then had a good period of play which cumulated in a headed effort by Saha from inside the area just clearing the cross bar. Seconds later Leighton Baines was nearly rewarded for his hard work but unfortunately his finely struck shot crashed off the post which Robinson beaten all ends up.
Billy was replaced the Big Vic on 66mins as the Russian was beginning to tire.
Not 30 seconds later and Rovers were level; Steven Nzonzi found some space in the midfield and smashed a long range shot into the top right hand corner of the goal, there was a suspicion of a deflection off an Everton player but deflection or not Tim Howard didn`t stand a chance.
Both teams started coming forward desperately searching for a winning goal Tim Howard still wasn`t convincing in goal and Everton were starting to look a little short of ideas.
In a rare attacking move Moyes decided to throw on the Yak in place of Hibbert and go 4-4-2.
Within 20 seconds this move paid off with Victor Anichebe whipping a ball into the box and the Yak heading the ball into the back of the net from just a few yards out.
Worryingly Everton showed yet again their inability to maintain a lead when just two minutes later another wonder strike from Blackburn drew the scores level.
Jason Roberts found too much space on the edge of the area and lashed his shot low past the off colour Tim Howard.
The game looked set to be Everton`s third consecutive 2-2 draw and the curtain to fall on any European aspirations.
Just when it looked like Everton were doomed to a draw the hero of the hour Tim Cahill popped up to smuggle home his first goal of the season scored with his feet after a superb example of control and skill by the Yak who was electric up front since his introduction.
Everton looked to keep hold of the lead till the end this time with the introduction of Yobo in the place of Saha.
Everton clung onto this narrow lead until the end of extra time, maintaining their excellent form in the league. It`s a stretch to remember our last defeat.
This win certainly hasn`t done us any harm but with the games running out and Villa not looking like slipping up again after negotiating Pompy on Sunday the prospect of Europa League football next year isn`t looking good.
However Everton are now just two points off local rivals Liverpool who play against strugglers West Ham tonight. If they slip up there without Torres Everton have a very real chance to snatch back some pride and finish above the Kopites for the first time since the famous 4th placed season.
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Date:Monday April 19 2010
Norwich away for Martinez's first game in charge (Wednesday June 19 2013)
Martinez eyes Alcaraz as first Everton signing? (Thursday June 13 2013)
Martinez keen to tie up Baines (Thursday June 13 2013)
Martinez the man at Everton (Wednesday June 5 2013)
VIDEO: Everton Agree Compensation For Martinez (Tuesday June 4 2013)
D-Day looms for Everton (Sunday June 2 2013)
Martinez to hold talks with Everton (Tuesday May 28 2013)
Two horse race for the Everton job? (Sunday May 26 2013)
Everton heading to America (Sunday May 26 2013)
Redknapp receives backing for Everton role (Friday May 24 2013)
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