Everton 2 Blackburn Rovers 3: Ince has instant impact as Rovers mock the critics

As a player Paul Ince always was an interesting mix of the craft and the graft, the wit and the grit, the scheming and the scything, so it should be no surprise to find him in the dug-out working from a familiar recipe. Purely on Saturday's evidence it is possible to deduce he wants his Blackburn side to do the light stuff with their feet and the hard stuff with their heart.

Of course, which new Premier League manager would not wish for such a blessed combination? The difference with Ince just might be that he has been around long enough to effect it quickly. After all, he has already used the old "them and us" trick to his advantage. Guv'norship at its best.

Ince took Rovers to Goodison brimming with a point to prove after the torrid summer of "players' unrest" whispers. The word was that with their two best performers, Brad Friedel and David Bentley already down the road, others would soon follow, and the fortunes of the club would then take a similar journey south. When Ince was forced to nail up the "Sale Over" signs last week, the knowing nods multiplied.

But then came a Saturday afternoon on Merseyside, and with a little bit of domination and a little bit of luck the rumours were soon revealed as unfounded. After their last-gasp winner, his men made a point of running over to Ince and so his first day was made. It was wallowing time.

"People have been writing things that just aren't true, trying to unsettle the whole club. But all that crap we've had to suffer, we've just dispelled in 90 minutes of football. That's what makes it all the more sweet for me."

Well, he was half right. The visitors played 45 minutes of football – a lot of it the sharp, one-touch variety not too famous under Mark Hughes's reign – before Paul Robinson had one of those lapses that has affected his England standing and Everton were given a sniff in a game in which they had barely raised a nostril. Until Mikel Arteta fizzed in a free-kick from the angle inside Robinson's unguarded near post, last year's fifth-place finishers in the Premier League resembled exactly what they were – a side full of kids, defenders out of position and senior men out of form.

They might have even gone on to win it from there as the excellent Arteta and Aiyegbeni Yakubu combined to take the lead, but Roque Santa Cruz instantly struck back in front of a watching Sir Alex Ferguson – inevitably, the story goes that he is lining up the Paraguayan should the Dimitar Berbatov deal evaporate – and, at the death, the Netherlands full-back Andre Ooijer turned in a rebound that might well, as Moyes claimed, have been offside.

Still, as Moyes agreed, the scoreline was probably fair, and he knows he has to make signings before the month's end. Although he would never welcome defeat, in hindsight perhaps this reverse was not the worse thing ever to have happened to either him or his club. His bench of teenagers/trainees was almost an embarrassment, but at the very least they afforded a stark reminder of the signings he needs. Many fans will doubtless wonder why certain players were allowed to leave, but the boos at the end were a bit strong.

"I was disappointed with the fans' reaction towards Moyesy because people forget what a great man he has been for Everton," said Ince, clearly a fully paid-up member of the managers' union. "He doesn't deserve that on the first game of the season."

Goals: Dunn (22) 0-1; Arteta (45) 1-1; Yakubu (64) 2-1 ; Roque Santa Cruz (65) 2-2; Ooijer (90) 2-3.

Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Nuno Valente (Baxter, 78); Arteta, Rodwell, Jagielka, Baines; Osman; Yakubu. Substitutes not used: Turner (gk), Jutkiewicz, Gosling, Agard, Kissock, Wallace.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Robinson; Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock; Reid, Dunn (Kerimoglu, 90), Mokoena, Pedersen (Treacy, 76); Santa Cruz, Roberts (McCarthy, 83). Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), Villanueva, Simpson, Derbyshire.

Referee: A Marriner (W Midlands).

Booked: Everton Yobo, Yakubu; Blackburn Warnock, Ooijer.

Man of the match: Dunn.

Attendance: 38,675.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power