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Blackburn 0-0 Everton

By Aimee Lewis

Steven Pienaar battles with Andre Ooijer
Steven Pienaar battles with Andre Ooijer

Blackburn did little to relieve the threat of relegation which hangs over the club after a draw with Everton.

The only shot of note in a dull first half fell to Steven Pienaar, whose 12-yard volley was saved by Jason Brown.

Rovers had the better of the second half, with Roque Santa Cruz wasting a fine chance and Stephen Warnock hitting the crossbar with a free-kick.

Jason Roberts should have done better when he outpaced two Everton defenders and only had the goalkeeper to beat.

And the striker was left to rue his miss after a result which did little to help either Blackburn or Everton in their respective aims.

Blackburn remain in the relegation zone and victories for fellow strugglers Stoke and Hull will have increased the pressure on Sam Allardyce's side, who must now travel to London for their next two league games against Fulham and Arsenal.

Everton, meanwhile, missed out on a chance to close the gap on Aston Villa, who remain ahead in the race for a Champions League spot despite defeat at Manchester City.

Allardyce worried by lack of wins

David Moyes's men, however, will have been pleased to eke a point from a match where the better chances fell to the home side.

It was a subdued Ewood Park, which was unsurprising as neither set of fans had anything to cheer, especially after a particularly forgettable first half.

In fact, the supporters had the right to question whether they were at the correct ground after a long period of aerial ping-pong which would have been better suited to Twickenham.

It took a delightful run down the left from Santa Cruz in the 17th minute to sprinkle a little magic on the proceedings, with the striker's cross making its way to Keith Andrews, whose shot was bravely blocked by 17-year-old Jack Rodwell.

Another 22 minutes elapsed before Brown's goal came under threat and, considering he previously had little to do, the Welshman dealt superbly with Pienaar's volley.

Phil Jagielka, playing at right-back following the return of Joleon Lescott to the centre of defence, somehow found Pienaar standing near the penalty spot and the midfielder's first-time effort was tipped away from danger.


The second half could not fail to be an improvement and so it proved.

Santa Cruz sliced a shot wide when he should have done better and, on the hour, missed with a header following a fine El-Hadji Diouf cross deep on the left.

The introduction of the veteran Tugay at the start of the second half seemed to add more poise to the Rovers midfield and they began to pass the ball on the floor with fluency.

Rovers posed questions to an Everton defence who had previously kept three consecutive clean sheets, with Warnock hitting the crossbar and Roberts wasting the best chance of the match.

Hard-earned draw satisfies Moyes

Had the striker lifted the ball above Tim Howard rather than striking straight at the goalkeeper's legs then Rovers may well have been celebrating a second successive Premier League victory.

Instead, the home side ended the match with their hearts in their mouths as they stood and watched Lescott, hovering unmarked in the box, hooking a shot just inches wide in the 89th minute.

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce:
"We should have been well out of it by now but we are not so we just have to hold our nerve.

"We are back in the bottom three but on the positive side we have picked up another valuable point.

"We've only lost two matches in 10 games. The game we have in hand on most of the other teams could be critical."

Everton manager David Moyes:
"Teams are pushing us from behind and our ambition is still to get fourth if we can but of course we will need to play better.

"We are disappointed because we wanted to take three points.

"But teams have no divine right to go to places such as Blackburn and think they can walk all over them."

Blackburn: Brown, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Givet (Mokoena 64), Andrews, Grella (Kerimoglu 46), Warnock, Roque Santa Cruz, Roberts, Diouf (Treacy 88).
Subs Not Used: Bunn, Dunn, McCarthy, Simpson.

Booked: Givet.

Everton: Howard, Jagielka, Yobo, Lescott, Baines, Osman, Neville, Rodwell (Saha 71), Pienaar, Cahill, Jo (Fellaini 78).
Subs Not Used: Nash, Van der Meyde, Castillo, Jacobsen, Gosling.

Att: 21,445

Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Everton's Tim Cahill 6.67 (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.

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see also
Premier League as it happened
04 Mar 09 |  Premier League
Wednesday's football photos
04 Mar 09 |  Football

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