Eardley 10, Vaughn 48
Cahill 13, Coleman 50
A game that neither Everton nor Blackpool played as if a point was acceptable ended with both sides taking just that. The 90 minutes saw some thrilling football played by the home team and the visitors alike, and each were left thinking of what might have been as first Steven Pienaar and then Louis Saha passed up excellent chances to deliver all three points to Goodison Park and later Marlon Harewood had a goal harshly disallowed for a push on Phil Jagielka.
Everton were unchanged from the side that started against Stoke City seven days prior, lining up in their customary 4-4-1-1 formation with Yakubu again leading the line. David Moyes’ game plan soon needed altering however, when Neal Eardley put the Seasiders ahead after 10 minutes. Blackpool are an especially dangerous side to concede an early goal against, with their powerful running and intelligent distribution making them almost the perfect counter-attacking side in microcosm. It was imperative Everton were not chasing the hosts for an extended period as the longer Blackpool are allowed to lead, the more frantic the attacks of the opposition and the more gaps for Charlie Adam and company to exploit. Tim Cahill duly saved Everton from this fate in the first half, levelling the scores three minutes later with his 50th Premier League goal.
The beginning of the second half was a similar story. Blackpool again took the lead early on – this time through David Vaughan – but Seamus Coleman pegged the ‘Pool back minutes later. After twice recovering from going behind, Coleman, the former Blackpool loanee, showed another important lesson for his Everton teammates to learn – the virtues of shooting from distance. Numerous times Coleman’s more experienced colleagues had sight of goal but hesitated, choosing to turn back inside and into trouble or lay the ball off to a teammate in a less dangerous position. Coleman, meanwhile, was allowed a half-chance to test goalkeeper Matthew Gilks and got his reward when the shot squirmed across the line. The Blues were immeadiatly back in the game just two minutes after falling behind and it was down to Coleman testing his luck, something his more experienced peers should note.
Everton’s quick replies after Blackpool took the lead were indicative of Ian Holloway’s outfit’s defensive vulnerabilities, and perhaps explained why Everton threw caution to the wind as the game wore on – John Heitinga was withdrawn in the 77th minute in favour of Jermaine Beckford, a distinctly un-Moyes substitution so late in the game. Both sides poured forward in numbers as Blackpool often do under Holloway, but it was an altogether more unusual approach from a Moyes side, who – in common with many Premier League clubs – would usually be content with a point. Despite ending the game with Cahill, Saha and Beckford on the field Everton could find no further goals and in truth, even with Harewood’s disallowed effort in mind, neither team deserved to lose such an enthralling spectacle.
18 Neville – 6 Jagielka – 15 Distin – 3 Baines
23 Coleman – 5 Heitinga – 10 Arteta – 20 Pienaar
61 – 8 Saha on for 22 Yakubu
75 – 7 Bilyaletdinov on for 20 Pienaar
77 – 16 Beckford on for 5 Heitinga