Everton ride luck after Rovers blow two bites at cherry
Blackburn Rovers 0 Everton 1
Sunday 28 August 2011
This was an incredibly lucky day for Everton as their opponents managed to miss two second-half penalties before David Moyes's side, cruelly, scored a controversial spot-kick themselves in injury time. But this match might be remembered as an unfortunate one by Everton in the long run.
The visitors' 17-year-old prodigy, Ross Barkley, gave away the first Blackburn penalty and the damage to the midfielder's confidence will be difficult to repair. Moyes withdrew the player little more than five minutes after the error.
Both Blackburn penalties were won by the lively substitute Mauro Formica – with Junior Hoilett and the Argentinian himself the ones guilty of missing from the spot. Mikel Arteta showed how it shouldbe done, confidently stroking in the winner.
Moyes would have been relieved with that, but must be concerned about Barkley, who has been drawing comparisons with Wayne Rooney. He sloppily surrendered possession at the start of the second half to Formica before, desperate to atone, he committed the foul.
Thankfully for Barkley, the excellent Tim Howard saved the first one from Hoilett in the 46th minute then Formica hit a post with his attempt seven minutes from time. Moyes was understandably protective of his players though, saying: "The two Blackburn got were dives and ours was a penalty kick. The boy [Formica] goes down too easy."
The Blackburn manager, Steve Kean, said: "There was contact on both. We are aggrieved with the one against us, which was hard to take. We controlled the game from start to finish."
They certainly had a right to be aggrieved with the result, which means they have lost their opening three games of the season. How Blackburn must have wished David Dunn, substituted after an injury, had been on the pitch to take the kicks.
Dunn had carved out the opening chance in the ninth minute when he struck the inside of the far post. Everton retaliated swiftly but Chris Samba, making his first appearance this season after a groin injury, blocked Leon Osman's effort. Yet it was the huge central defender's foul on Marouane Fellaini in the final seconds that led to Arteta's penalty.
There had been a debate regarding whether Leighton Baines or the Basque would take the kick. Everton have the luxury of two competent penalty-takers. Blackburn had none.
Blackburn (4-2-3-1): Kenny; Dyer (Orr, 6), Hall, Gabbidon, Hill; Derry, Faurlin; Campbell, Taarabt (Buzsaky, 71), Smith (Helguson, 71); Bothroyd, 71); Bothroyd.
Everton (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Cahill, Knight, Robinson; Eagles (M Davies, 81), Muamba, Reo-Coker (Pratley, 82), Petrov; K Davies, Klasnic (Blake, 85).
Referee Lee Mason
Man of the match Howard (Everton)
Match rating 7/10
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