Be it the second half of extra time or of normal time, Leicester are specialists in the long game - stayers who pride themselves on the spirit and stamina to last the course. They did it again last night at Goodison, seizing the initiative that Everton surrendered to come away with a richly deserved draw that could have been a victory.
City did not leave it as late as they had at Wembley on Sunday, but they had already gone close through Steve Guppy, Muzzy Izzet and Matthew Elliott before they grabbed their equaliser in the 69th minute. It was two players who were signed too late to play in the Coca-Cola Cup final who did the damage, Guppy sending in the cross and the ex-Evertonian Ian Marshall meeting it with a volley that went low through a crowded penalty area.
Everton, playing at Goodison for the first time under the caretaker management of Dave Watson, badly needed all three points from this game and for most of the first half they looked likely to get them.
While never producing anything desperately special, they showed enough skill and spirit to make fears that they are slipping deeper into the relegation mire look groundless. With Nicky Barmby more involved than for most of his Everton career and the 18-year-old Michael Branch linking well with him, they looked capable of carving out openings.
Their goal, in 16 minutes, owed most to the aerial power of Duncan Ferguson, whose knockdown from David Unsworth's long free-kick fell for Branch who tucked it neatly into the corner for his first Goodison goal.
Craig Short later had a header pushed on to the post by Kasey Keller, but Everton lost much of their drive and direction when Joe Parkinson, the fetch and carry man who makes their midfield tick, failed to reappear for the second half because of a recurrence of his knee injury.
Leicester, who had hit the bar through Garry Parker soon after Branch's goal, showed all their well-known resilience after the break. They should have won the game when Elliott - a threat every time he went forward as well as a commanding presence in defence - had his header cleared off the line by Terry Phelan.
Everton did rouse themselves a little after that, but as Watson admitted: "The second half was a terrible performance. In the end we did well to get one point, because they made more chances than us."
Everton (3-4-1-2): Southall; Short, Watson, Unsworth; Stuart, Parkinson (Thomsen, h-t), Speed, Phelan; Barmby (Hottiger, 76); Ferguson, Branch. Substitutes not used: Ball, Dunne, Gerrard (gk).
Leicester City (3-5-2): Keller; Prior, Elliott, Walsh; Kaamark, Izzet, Parker, Lennon, Guppy; Marshall, Heskey. Substitutes not used: Taylor, Robins, Watts, Whitlow, Poole (gk).
Referee: S Dunn (Bristol).Reuse content