The promising Goodison pack, coached by Colin Harvey and Andy Holden, put a firm grip on the FA Youth Cup with an impressive first-leg display full of the kind of commitment and shooting power their seniors badly require.
Danny Cadamarteri may be shorn of his trademark dreadlocks, but he was still recognisable as a danger and the powerful leader of their forward line. His skinhead look was matched by an aggressive attitude that also saw him confronting opponents and officials alike.
After one lecture Cadamarteri, who has a senior Merseyside Derby goal to his credit, scored the most significant goal of the night. His header from a Jamie Milligan free-kick gave Everton a half-time lead at a stage when Blackburn threatened to take control.
In a bright and attractive game, watched by 9,280, came to life quickly when Phil Jevons squeezed in a near-post header after good work by Everton's left-back Adam Eaton. It seemed Blackburn's heavy invetsment in youth development could be rewarded when the centre-half Martin Taylor showed nimble feet before crashing a left-foot shot into the far corner.
However, Everton had that extra edge in strength in midfield and Leon Osman conjured a magical 65th-minute strike, hooking a shot over the stranded goalkeeper Gareth Stewart from fully 25 yards.
The return is at Goodison on Thursday when there should be some light relief from the club's present troubles.
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Stewart, Richardson, Taylor, Brown, Murphy, McAvoy, Dunn, Scates, Ryan (Baldacchini, 71), Topley (Woodfield, 75), Hamilton. Substitute not used: Dunning.
Everton (4-4-2): Delany, Regan, Farley, Dunne, Eaton, Poppleton, Osman, O'Brien (Hibbert, 83), Milligan, Jevons (Jeffers, 72), Cadamarteri. Substitute not used: Knowles.
Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe).Reuse content