Coleman cuts the mustard to deny Blackpool

Blackpool 2 Everton 2: Irishman returns in style to rescue a point for Everton as Holloway's men twice surrender lead
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The Independent Football

Seamus Coleman played a major role in Blackpool's promotion to this level when on loan at Bloomfield Road, but yesterday the Everton full-back-cum-winger returned to deny the home side victory with a man-of-the match showing capped by his first Premier League goal.

Recently rewarded with a four-year contract, the £100,000 signing from Sligo Rovers refused to celebrate his milestone in front of the home crowd who had previously taken him to their hearts.

His 50th-minute equaliser marked the second time that Everton quickly pegged back the hosts, but the Blackpool manager admitted that even he could not quarrel at the lasting impression Coleman made on the game. "He's a lovely gentleman," Ian Holloway said. "He didn't celebrate, and that was his first Premier League goal, which says something about him.

"I'm just delighted to have played a part in his life. He is a real talent for the future and we can all see why Moysey [David Moyes] wouldn't let him go. There would have been no point in us even trying."

Blackpool, on the back of their nervy win over a nine-man West Bromwich Albion, continued where they left off as Neal Eardley's 25-yard free-kick gave them a ninth-minute lead. After Mikel Arteta had tripped Charlie Adam, the Welsh full-back Eardley stepped up to curl home past aflat-footed Tim Howard.

But their joy was shortlived as Everton responded within four minutes through Tim Cahill. The Australian, regarded as one of the best headers in the game, timed his run to perfection to meet Aiyegbeni Yakubu's cross, the pace of the header beating Matt Gilks.

Everton were now in control, but their final ball let them down on more than one occasion. They rarely testedGilks, with Coleman driving into his hands in the 37th minute. But the young Irishman had his former team-mate grasping thin air moments later when another lung-busting run saw him fire inches wide of the post.

You sensed Everton would maintain their grip on proceedings, but that notion went out of the window shortly after the restart. A scramble in their box finally saw David Vaughan fire through a crowd to restore Blackpool's lead in the47th minute.

But just as they had conceded within four minutes in the first half, Holloway's men did the same again. This time it was Coleman who launched another raid, and his low shot went underneath Gilks's body for the equaliser.

He continued to torment the hosts at every opportunity, creating a chance for Yakubu, and Everton should have taken the lead for the first time later on, but the substitute Louis Saha somehow dragged a shot wide in the 72nd minute.

The visitors continued to press, but that elusive winner just would not come and Blackpool ended the stronger, with Marlon Harewood adjudged offside as he bundled the ball home late on.

"I thought we had won it and I was dancing – I didn't hear the whistle," Holloway said. "Considering what we are being paid it's remarkable.

"We will keep going and keep improving. We are looking like we are a Premier League team. I've told the players that. It's another good point for us."

Despite Everton's comeback, which extended their unbeaten run to six games, their manager was not as content as his opposite number. "We didn't start well and allowed them to put pressure on us," Moyes said. "Overall we had enough chances to win it, though.

"Credit to Blackpool, who dug in and made it hard for us. But we had numerous opportunities in the first half and clearer ones in the second. We should have got three points.

"Seamus has done terrific. His overall performance was very good and he's been at that level for a few games now. He's learning about his game all the time."

Attendance: 16,094

Referee: Andre Marriner

Man of the match: Coleman

Match rating: 6/10