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Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Saturday, 16 August 2008 17:05 UK

Everton 2-3 Blackburn

By Phil McNulty

David Dunn celebrates putting Blackburn ahead at Everton
David Dunn celebrates putting Blackburn ahead at Everton

Andre Ooijer's injury-time strike ensured Paul Ince's Blackburn reign started with a victory at Everton.

David Dunn's spectacular strike put Blackburn ahead after 22 minutes, but Mikel Arteta's free-kick beat Paul Robinson on the stroke of half-time.

Yakubu headed in Arteta's cross after 64 minutes before Roque Santa Cruz slid in from close range two minutes later.

Blackburn snatched the win when Ooijer turned home from on the line after Ryan Nelsen's header came back off the post.


It was a dismal start for Everton manager David Moyes and chairman Bill Kenwright, who have come under fire for their failure to land a single new player this summer.

In sharp contrast, Ince's new charges delivered a spirited performance that answered claims of dressing room unrest at Ewood Park.

In front of the watching Sir Alex Ferguson, Ince's side exerted almost total domination in the first 45 minutes, to the increasing agitation of the home crowd.

Everton keeper Tim Howard saved well from Morten Gamst Pedersen and Santa Cruz - a continuing transfer target for Manchester City and - twice headed off target from good positions following dangerous crosses by Steven Reid.

Ince was delighted with victory in his first match in charge

Blackburn deserved to be ahead, and they were finally in front after 22 minutes thanks to a brilliant finish from Dunn.

He cut inside Phil Jagielka before curling a superb strike beyond the reach of Howard for the first Premier League goal of Ince's reign.

Everton's attacking efforts had been virtually non-existent, but they were back in business with almost the last kick of the opening half.

Arteta swerved in a stunning free-kick from a tight angle, but questions must be asked of the positioning of England keeper Robinson on his Blackburn debut.

Blackburn continued to look the more composed side, and it took a vital interception from Joseph Yobo to deny Jason Roberts after he weaved his way into the area.

But Blackburn had not regained the supremacy they enjoyed in the first half, and they fell behind after 64 minutes as Everton carved out an excellent second goal.

Yakubu set Arteta free on the left flank, then raced to the far post to get on the end of a perfect cross and head beyond Robinson.

Everton's lead lasted only two minutes when a moment of defensive slackness gifted Blackburn an equaliser.

'Moyes thought the winning goal was offside

Stephen Warnock's long ball dropped behind Joleon Lescott, and Santa Cruz slid a simple finish past Howard as Everton appealed in vain for offside.

Everton brought on 16-year-old Jose Baxter as a late susbstitute, and he almost claimed the points with a minute to go, sending a stretching header off target from Jagielka's cross.

But with only seconds remaining Blackburn took the points as Ooijer pounced after Nelsen headed Warnock's free-kick against the woodwork.

Everton manager David Moyes:
"Our defending at times was rubbish. We had experienced players, internationals, who were not at the races.

"We gave away a daft free-kick for their winner, and even then Ryan Nelsen was offside when the ball came into the box.

"It was hard for the linesman to see that, but Nelsen had moved from an offside position to head against the bar.

"On the balance, Blackburn probably deserved the win, but we had enough chances and once we were ahead we should have had defenders out there who could have hung on to the victory."

Blackburn manager Paul Ince:
"We have won at Everton and not many teams do that apart from the top four. It was a great achievement.

"The whole performance was fantastic, to come from behind twice and win was outstanding. I would have settled for a point at one stage."

"We want to keep our best players, be it Roque Santa Cruz, Stephen Warnock or Benni McCarthy and any one of a dozen players.

"Let's dispel all this. No-one is leaving the club, we have had a really good start in this game."

Everton: Howard, Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Nuno Valente (Baxter 78), Arteta, Rodwell, Jagielka, Baines, Osman, Yakubu.
Subs Not Used: Turner, Jutkiewicz, Gosling, Agard, Kissock, Wallace.

Booked: Yobo, Yakubu.

Goals: Arteta 45, Yakubu 64.

Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Reid, Dunn (Kerimoglu 90), Mokoena, Pedersen (Treacy 76), Roque Santa Cruz, Roberts (McCarthy 83).
Subs Not Used: Brown, Villanueva, Simpson, Derbyshire.

Booked: Warnock, Ooijer.

Goals: Dunn 22, Roque Santa Cruz 66, Ooijer 90.

Att: 38,675

Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Blackburn's Roque Santa Cruz 8.63 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
How to watch Match of the Day
08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day
Premier League as it happened
16 Aug 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
16 Aug 08 |  Football

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