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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 August 2007, 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK
Everton 1-1 Blackburn
Robbie Savage celebrated Blackburn's goal with Roque Santa Cruz
Robbie Savage celebrates the Rovers goal with Roque Santa Cruz
James McFadden's late equaliser deprived Blackburn of a deserved win against Everton at Goodison Park.

Roque Santa Cruz's scrambled early goal looked to have settled a scrappy clash, turning home after Morten Gamst Pedersen had hit the woodwork.

Everton debutant Leighton Baines also cleared Christopher Samba's header off the line before the interval.

But Everton came back in resilient fashion and James McFadden steered in Mikel Arteta's cross after 77 minutes.

The game was preceded by a minute's silence for murdered 11-year-old Everton fan Rhys Jones, with his parents Melanie and Stephen and brother Owen standing alongside manager David Moyes near the dug-out.

Everton, who gave a debut to England under-21 defender Baines, started brightly with Andrew Johnson and Alan Stubbs both having shots blocked by Brad Friedel.

But they were rocked when Blackburn took the lead in sloppy fashion against the run of play after 14 minutes.

Tony Hibbert played Pedersen onside from Robbie Savage's speculative lob, and when his shot rebounded off the bar Santa Cruz turned the rebound past the scrambling Tim Howard.

It was the signal for a spell of real domination for a robust Blackburn side, who should have increased their advantage.

606: DEBATE
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Baines cleared Samba's header off the line with Howard beaten and the keeper then produced an acrobatic save to turn away David Dunn's 25-yard drive.

Everton had lost all rhythm, and they also lost Lee Carsley with a groin injury five minutes before the interval. He was replaced by summer signing Phil Jagielka.

Veteran Alan Stubbs failed to appear after the interval with a similar injury, Joleon Lescott taking his place in central defence.

Substitute Jagielka missed Everton's best chance after 57 minutes, when the tireless Johnson crossed after chasing a loose ball, but he headed wide from only six yards.

Blackburn looked to be surviving comfortably, until their first moment of slack defending handed Everton an equaliser with 13 minutes left.

Santa Cruz's poor clearance only found Arteta, and he crossed for McFadden to arrive unmarked to steer past Friedel.

Everton, with new boys Baines and Jagielka influential, were suddenly looking a threat after struggling to make an impact, but a point was the least Blackburn merited.

And they almost snatched all three when keeper Howard deflected David Bentley's injury time free-kick on to the bar.


  • Everton manager David Moyes:
    "We did alright until they scored, but after that it was backs to the wall - we needed a little more craft.

    "Hopefully in the next week or so we can strengthen the squad - but you never be confident until it's done."

    Moyes also paid tribute to the minute's applause for murdered child Rhys Jones: "The reaction of the supporters shows what everyone feels. It's a travesty."

  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    "We certainly felt the way we played in the first half, when we were excellent, that that performance merited a win.

    "We had a number of chances and scored one. If we'd got a second it would have been hard for Everton to come back.

    "We knew David Moyes would get a reaction and they asked questions in the second half."


    Everton: Howard, Hibbert (Anichebe 64), Yobo, Stubbs (Lescott 46), Baines, Arteta, Carsley (Jagielka 41), Neville, Osman, McFadden, Johnson.
    Subs Not Used: Wessels, Pienaar.

    Goals: McFadden 78.

    Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton, Ooijer, Samba, Warnock, Bentley, Savage, Dunn (Mokoena 86), Pedersen, McCarthy (Derbyshire 74), Santa Cruz (Roberts 90).
    Subs Not Used: Brown, Kerimoglu.

    Booked: Ooijer, Pedersen.

    Goals: Santa Cruz 15.

    Att: 33,850

    Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).



  • SEE ALSO
    Rhys murder police appeal to fans
    25 Aug 07 |  Merseyside
    Saturday's football photos
    25 Aug 07 |  Football
    Premier League as it happened
    25 Aug 07 |  Premier League


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