Everton 1-1 Blackburn
Blackburn came within 12 minutes of snatching a 1-0 win at Goodison Park on an emotional day when Everton footballers paid tribute to 11-year-old Rhys Jones who was brutally murdered in Croxteth. The boy's parents and brother were present as David Moyes and Mark Hughes stood on the touchline and led a minute of applause for the slain lad.
The game itself was played in high intensity with neither team willing to give an inch. Blackburn Rovers were in the ascendancy for much of the first half as they attacked on all fronts. Their dominance was rewarded by a goal from Roque Santa Cruz. This was the latter's third goal of the season. Everton are awaiting more forces to join their side. Ayegbeni Yakubu is on hold as he is looking for a work permit, while Manual Fernandes' amazing last-minute move has left everyone stunned. However none of this was evident as Everton proceeded to play clinically. Alan Stubbs tested Brad Friedel from 25 yards out, but the Rivers' keeper was on the button as he saved well. On 15 minutes Morten Gamst Pedersen hooked a Savage corner to the bar and Cruz was on hand to drive the rebound home.
It was almost 2-0 for Blackburn when Christopher Samba headed a Santa Cruz corner just past the post. David Dunn tested the Everton keeper Tim Howard, but Blackburn were unable to add to their lead. It was in the second half that Everton came to life and a series of attacks resulted in the equalizer. Arteta sent in a precise cross that James McFadden put away behind Friedel to salvage a point. Rovers boss Mark Hughes was happy with the way Santa Cruz has adjusted to life at Blackburn. "He's been exceptional since he has been with us," he added. Blackburn next face Manchester City at Ewood Park, while Everton take on Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.
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