Blackpool controversially denied a late winner

Blackpool 2 Everton 2

Blackpool's Marlon Harewood was denied a late winner as the Barclays Premier League newcomers fought out a thrilling draw with Everton today.

The Seasiders substitute put the ball in the net in the closing minutes at Bloomfield Road but was frustrated by a controversial offside flag.

Blackpool twice led an end-to-end encounter after goals from Wales pair Neal Eardley and David Vaughan but Everton hit back through Tim Cahill and former Blackpool loanee Seamus Coleman.

Everton created the better chances throughout but Blackpool may feel they could have prevented either of their goals and will bemoan the late offside decision.

The tone for an entertaining contest, the first meeting between the sides in the league since 1971, was set in the opening minutes.

Everton, confidence restored after five games unbeaten, made the initial running.

Ayegbeni Yakubu threatened to play in Mikel Arteta but the Spaniard failed to control and Cahill found space only to shoot well over.

Blackpool showed their attacking intentions for the first time when Vaughan whipped in a dangerous cross which Sylvain Distin headed clear.

The Seasiders went in front with 10 minutes gone after Charlie Adam was crudely brought down by Arteta 25 yards out.

Eardley stepped up and bent a superb free-kick around the Everton wall and past Tim Howard.

It was the perfect way to celebrate his 22nd birthday today but Everton produced the perfect response and equalised just three minutes later.

Distin led the charge, playing a one-two with Steven Pienaar and playing in Yakubu.

The Nigerian, buoyed after last week's winner against Stoke, turned and picked out Cahill on the six-yard box with a delicate cross. Matt Gilks got a hand to the Australian's powerful header but could not keep out his 50th Premier League goal.

Everton began to assert some control and Yakubu teed up Arteta, but Gilks this time gathered after the Spaniard shot from the edge of the area.

Pienaar then set Yakubu free but Eardley got back to make the tackle.

The danger was not yet over for the home side but Distin headed over from the resulting Leighton Baines corner.

Blackpool remained on the back foot and Ian Evatt slid in to block when another chance opened up in the box for Cahill.

Baines went down in the box under an Adam tackle on another attack but referee Andre Marriner deemed the challenge legal.

Everton skipper Phil Neville then worried the Tangerines with a run to the byline and his deflected cross fell nicely for Coleman but Gilks saved his well-struck volley.

Coleman, who impressed in a short spell at Bloomfield Road last season, then looked certain to score after weaving his way through the home defence but his shot curved just wide of the far post.

Blackpool made Everton pay for that profligacy by reclaiming the lead after a goalmouth scramble three minutes into the second half.

Everton appealed for handball against DJ Campbell as the striker shielded the ball from Distin.

Nothing was given and the ball was worked out for Vaughan to shoot from the edge of the area.

The midfielder slammed his first effort into the body of a defender but reacted quickly - while some of his team-mates claimed handball - to fire home at the second attempt.

But again, Blackpool could not hold their lead for long.

Coleman pounced on a poor header by Stephen Crainey barely two minutes later and raced into the area to unleash a fierce shot which squeezed under the body of Gilks.

Both sides continued to attack with Adam shooting wide after a menacing run by Campbell and Pienaar having a shot blocked by Eardley.

John Heitinga then picked out Gilks with a volley from the edge of the box and the goalkeeper did even better to deny Pienaar at point-blank range after a neat interchange with Cahill.

Substitute Louis Saha had a great chance midway through the second half after racing onto a fine ball from Pienaar.

The France striker took a touch on the edge of the area and admirably chose not to go down as Evatt grabbed his arm but he screwed his shot wide.

Everton threw on another striker in Jermaine Beckford and the former Leeds man twice had close-range efforts blocked within moments of leaving the bench.

Blackpool then finished the stronger with Adam forcing a fine save from Howard with a powerful drive.

Harewood then thought he had snatched victory in the last minute but the flag was raised.

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