Steve Kean is quite accustomed to hostility from his home crowd but the Blackburn Rovers manager is slowly becoming acquainted with the more satisfying sound of boos ringing around opposition grounds, after another fruitful away day here.
The point gained followed Blackburn's draw at Anfield and victory at Old Trafford, auguring well for their survival prospects – even if Bolton's win over Liverpool dropped them back into the bottom three. It was reward for a purposeful display that belied the behind-the-scenes difficulties at Ewood Park, leaving Kean to praise "big characters" like Paul Robinson, Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Dunn, as well as the lively winger Junior Hoilett, "a thorn in the flesh of Everton every time he got the ball".
It was all the more commendable given Rovers, beaten just once in five league games, were missing their suspended top scorer, Ayegbeni Yakubu, and unsettled captain, Christopher Samba. "I just felt today it was better that he got his head together," Kean said of the 27-year-old defender who, in response to his transfer request last week, was told by the club's owner, Anuradha Desai, that he would not be moving.
"We're not selling him, it's as simple as that," said Kean, though it remains to be seen how the player, subject of two failed bids by QPR, will respond. "I don't know how he's going to react. Hopefully, in the way that he's reacted before – there's been interest before in previous windows, he's not left the club and he's been excellent."
With Dunn and Hoilett to the fore, Blackburn's attacking threat showed why they are the only Premier League team this term with a goal from every away game. And given that Everton have managed only 11 goals from as many home outings, the final outcome held no surprise.
Goodison has been subdued all season and David Moyes' rallying cry to the home fans in his programme notes fell on deaf ears. Not even Tim Cahill's first strike in 13 months – a close-range finish after referee Mark Halsey had missed Marouane Fellaini's handball – could lift the apathy and the Australian duly undid his good work by slamming a goal-line clearance at David Goodwillie which rebounded into the net behind him for Blackburn's freakish, but merited, equaliser.
Everton: HOWARD 5/10; NEVILLE 5; DUFFY 7; HEITINGA 7; BAINES 6; GIBSON 5; FELLAINI 7; DONOVAN 6; CAHILL 6; SAHA 4; ANICHEBE 5
Blackburn: ROBINSON 7; OLSSON 6; GIVET 6; DANN 6; LOWE 6; HOILETT 8; NZONZI 6; DUNN 8; PETROVIC 5; PEDERSEN 7; GOODWILLIE 6
Scorers: Everton Cahill 24. Blackburn Goodwillie 72.
Substitutes: Everton Drenthe 6 (Saha, 54), Vellios (Anichebe, 80), Stracqualursi (Gibson, 87). Blackburn Formica 6 (Dunn, 60), Modeste (Goodwillie, 75).
Booked: Everton Gibson, Drenthe. Blackburn Petrovic, Hoilett. Man of the match Hoilett. Match rating 6/10. Possession: Everton 55% Blackburn 45%.
Attempts on target: Everton 8 Blackburn 8.
Referee M Halsey (Lancashire).
Attendance 32,464.Reuse content