McFadden on target for Everton
Toffees forward cancels out Santa Cruz opener
By Rob Parrish. Last Updated: 25/08/07 9:42pm
Santa Cruz: Opening goal
James McFadden's deft second-half volley earned Everton a point as they were forced to come from behind against Blackburn Rovers at Goodison Park.
Roque Santa Cruz continued his impressive start to life with the Ewood Park club with his third goal in four games after his summer move from Bayern Munich.
The Paraguay international was first to react after Morten Gamst Pedersen's overhead kick came back off Tim Howard's crossbar.
Everton improved after the interval and should have equalised in the 57th minute when Phil Jagielka somehow headed Andy Johnson's cross wide from the edge of the six-yard box with the goal at his mercy.
But McFadden made no mistake with 12 minutes remaining as he got in front of his marker to side-foot Mikel Arteta's teasing cross beyond Brad Friedel at his near post.
Andre Ooijer set the tone on six minutes, booked for a foul on Arteta and Rovers conceded a string of free-kicks as Everton pressed.
Brad Friedel saved well from a Johnson hook and them blocked a fierce Alan Stubbs free-kick, from 25 yards out.
Then on 15 minutes, Rovers broke out and took the lead. A foul by Lee Carsley on Robbie Savage produced a free-kick that Joseph Yobo headed out.
Savage lifted the ball back into the box, Gamst Pedersen hooked a shot on to the bar and Santa Cruz fired the rebound home.
Christopher Samba almost made it two when he reached a Santa Cruz corner on the far post and sent in a header that Leighton Baines cleared off the line. Then Howard turned over a 20-yard effort from David Dunn.
Blackburn's strength and pace, plus their dominance in the air saw them continue to put Everton under extreme pressure.
Howard pulled down a Pedersen header following David Bentley's cross before Everton took off Carsley and sent on Jagielka in central midfield, the hosts having been largely out-fought.
Moyes introduced Joleon Lescott for the second half, taking off Stubbs in a clear attempt to match Blackburn for pace, particularly against the impressive Santa Cruz.
Everton started to improve. Jagielka headed just wide from a Johnson chip and the hosts were not being as out-muscled as the first period.
But still much of their attacking was high balls aimed at Johnson, who was dwarfed by the giant Samba. That was at least addressed when Everton eventually sent on an extra forward in Victor Anichebe, withdrawing full-back Tony Hibbert.
But although Everton had more of the ball, they still were not creating anything significant. Arteta, Everton's main creative influence, was getting little change out of Stephen Warnock on the right flank.
On 74 minutes, Blackburn sent on Matt Derbyshire for McCarthy up front, but the hounding and pressing of the opponent in possession was still Rovers' best weapon.
But Everton are nothing if not persistent. And on 78 minutes they dragged themselves level.
Arteta found space at last on the right and drilled in a low cross that McFadden reached first a split second ahead of Warnock and Samba challenges and struck just inside Friedel's near post.
Blackburn were finally on the back foot and Hughes sent on Aaron Mokoena in midfield to replace Dunn.
Pedersen was booked for time-wasting in the final minutes, while Jason Roberts replaced Santa Cruz.
It still took a fine Howard save from a deflected Bentley free-kick to keep Blackburn from grabbing the points in injury time.
|Everton||Team Statistics||Blackburn Rovers|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|6||Shots on Target||7|
|5||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||29||31|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||29||28|