Everton’s failure to end Stoke’s unbeaten home run is unlikely to be the limit of David Moyes’s frustrations after Kenwyne Jones scored his first Premier League goal in 16 months to gain the home side the point they ultimately deserved.
The Everton manager, his small squad already running into the perennial problem of injuries, faces the imminent loss of the talismanic Marouane Fellaini after the Belgian appeared to head-butt Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross -- and Moyes did not need to be prompted to condemn his own player’s behaviour.
Referee Mark Halsey missed the incident, at a 58th-minute Everton corner, but television replays seemed to give the midfielder nowhere to hide after Shawcross was left on the floor, holding his head. It was not the only time that the Stoke central defender was on the wrong end of some rough treatment, with Nikica Jelavic guilty of jumping into him arm first and Fellaini leading with his elbow in another incident, yet Halsey was unmoved by Stoke’s protests. The only player to receive a yellow card throughout the match was the Stoke goalkeeper, Asmir Begovic, for dissent.
Moyes made no excuse for Fellaini, admitting his conduct was “unacceptable” and accusing Fellaini of letting his teammates down if he is suspended. He is likely to receive a ban of at least three matches after the Football Association reviews the television footage.
“We’ll take the punishment if it is given,” Moyes said. “I’ve told him (Fellaini) that it is not acceptable and I will not accept it as a manager.
“I could have come in here and said: ‘I’m sorry I didn’t see it’ and hidden behind that but I’ve been as honest as I can. I will say that he is a really good player who is important to the team and if there is to be an absence as a result of this he will have let the team down.
“I have said a few things lately about decisions going against us but this should have been a red card.”
Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, felt it was the latest in a line of instances of referees failing to punish serious foul play. “What concerns me is that in our matches we have had the David Luiz challenge on Jonathan Walters against Chelsea, the Ciaran Clark challenge on Glenn Whelan at Aston Villa and now this one,” he said. “If the referee has seen them – and I don’t know if Mark was in a position to see this one – then why has he not acted?”
It was an eventful afternoon for Shawcross, who had twice denied Everton the lead in a first half dominated by the visitors only to hand it to them when he headed a 36th-minute Steven Pienaar cross into his own net. A Shawcross block denied Jelavic and he was in the right place again to clear off the line when Steven Naismith’s flick beat Begovic. Neither opportunity was as clear, however, as the one that fell to Leon Osman just after the own goal, when Leighton Baines found his teammate unmarked 10 yards out only for the midfielder to drag his shot wide.
“I thought it was as poor as we have been all the season but Ossie’s had a chance to put us two-nil up and it maybe would have been our day,” Moyes said.
As it was Stoke, who have not been beaten at the Britannia Stadium in 15 Premier League matches since February, were the better side in the second half. Jones outjumped Phil Jagielka to head them level seven minutes after the restart, with goalkeeper Tim Howard at fault, then he hit a post four minutes later.
Substitutes Cameron Jerome and Peter Crouch had good chances late in the game, Sylvain Distin heading off the line to deny the latter, and Everton, markedly on top early on, wound up relieved both to have a point and a full set of players.
Stoke (4-4-1-1): Begovic; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Cameron; Walters, Whelan, Nzonzi, Etherington (Kightly, 85); Adam (Jerome, 73); Jones (Crouch, 77).
Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Naismith (Barkley, 70), Osman, Gibson, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic.
Referee: Mark Halsey (Welwyn Garden City).
Man of the match: Whelan (Stoke)
Match rating: 6/10