Stead strike sinks Everton
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: 06/03/05 6:00pm
Jon Stead's first goal of the season earned Blackburn a hard-fought 1-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday.
The young striker, who scored the winner in the corresponding fixture last season, did the trick again netting the crucial goal on 71 minutes to dent Everton's UEFA Champions League bid and lift Rovers further clear of trouble at the wrong end of the table.
Everton fashioned the first noteworthy chance of the game after six minutes with Tim Cahill seeing his header from Lee Carsley's corner comfortably saved by Brad Friedel.
Blackburn created danger inside the Everton penalty area a minute later when Steven Reid flicked on Morten Gamst Pedersen's long throw, but Alessandro Pistone was on hand to clear the ball from under his own crossbar.
The visitors came close to scoring seconds later when Nils-Eric Johansson flicked on another cross into the box towards Paul Dickov, but Nigel Martyn was quickly off his line to smother the striker's attempt.
Dickov was forced off on 14 minutes when he picked up a knee injury under a challenge from Joseph Yobo and he was replaced by Jon Stead.
Pistone wasted a good opening on 20 minutes when he picked up a clearance inside the box and beat Reid with ease only to blaze his shot wildly over the top.
Everton suffered an injury blow of their own when Mikel Arteta was forced off with an ankle problem he sustained following a challenge from Aaron Mokoena and Duncan Ferguson was drafted into the fray as his replacement.
Carsley went close to breaking the deadlock just past the half hour mark with a fine free kick from the edge of the area which flew just inches wide of the target with Friedel well beaten.
David Weir picked up a booking on 37 minutes for a late lunge on Reid and from the resulting free kick Pedersen forced Martyn into a routine save.
Seconds later Everton created their best chance of the half when Ferguson flicked Martyn's long kick into Marcus's Bent's path to send him clear on goal, but Friedel stood up well to block the striker's shot.
Blackburn had the first chance after the restart when David Thompson latched onto Stead's flick on from Friedel's long clearance, but the former Liverpool man could not direct his volley on target.
Everton were showing more purpose in the second half and Leon Osman created a chance for Ferguson, but under pressure from Ryan Nelsen the giant Scot could only head his effort over the crossbar.
Ferguson had another half chance just before the hour mark when he got on the end of Pistone's cross, but he could not direct his header on target.
Reid tried his luck for Blackburn a minute later with a powerful shot which flew well wide and on 63 minutes Pedersen floated a free kick over the crossbar.
Rovers broke the deadlock on 71 minutes when Reid slipped in Stead and the England Under-21 international arrowed his angled shot across Martyn and into the net to end his goalscoring drought.
The impressive Reid created another opening for Blackburn on 77 minutes when he sent Thompson scampering clear down the right, but his first touch sent him wide and he could only blaze his shot wide.
Stead was looking more confident following his goal and he called Martyn into the action again nine minutes from time with a bouncing shot which the Everton keeper did well to collect.
Osman had a sight of goal five minutes from time when the ball dropped nicely to him on the edge of the box, but under pressure from Pedersen he screwed his shot wide.
Friedel made a good save low down to his left-hand post in the final minute to keep out a swerving effort from Osman as Rovers held on to claim the spoils.
Click on fixture for player ratings
Everton v Blackburn
|Everton||Team Statistics||Blackburn Rovers|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||4|
|8||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||29||31|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||29||28|