Practise penalties? Only for a laugh, says Howard

Blackburn 0 Everton 1
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The Independent Football

Everton's man-of-the-match Tim Howard thinks teenage protégé Ross Barkley is still an integral part of the side despite the midfielder's blunder, which gave away a penalty.

Similar to Wayne Rooney, Everton manager David Moyes is already shielding his young talent and promptly substituted Barkley after the 46th-minute error, in which the 17-year-old lost possession before fouling Mauro Formica.

"This is a good team, the team that finished seventh last season and Ross Barkley is a key addition," said Howard. "It was a crazy game."

Howard saved the penalty that followed Barkley's foul, keeping out Junior Hoilett's attempt. The goalkeeper then made a series of stops and, incredibly, Formica hit a post from Blackburn's second penalty, with seven minutes to play, after the Argentine was fouled by Phil Jagielka.

Ironically, Everton won the game with a debatable, injury-time penalty from Mikel Arteta – who has been linked with a move to Arsenal – after Chris Samba pushed Marouane Fellaini. Howard did not help ease Blackburn's bitterness by saying: "We don't practise penalties too much. We did before the Sheffield United game because that was in the cup. Otherwise, we are only messing about"

The Everton goalkeeper was also less than complimentary about Blackburn's penalty-taking options after David Dunn, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Jason Roberts were all substituted by the 72nd minute.

Howard said: "We worked it out that you would have Dunn, Roberts and Pedersen in some order then maybe Junior Hoilett then Formica. When you come down to those, then it's even more of a crap shoot."

Discussing Barkley, Moyes added: "At half-time, I thought maybe he might need to come off 15 minutes in but I felt with the quick mistakes, it needed to happen a wee bit sooner."

It was a bad end to Brett Emerton's eight-year stint at Blackburn before joining Sydney. Emerton said: "The boys are absolutely gutted. The important thing is they keep their heads up."

Scorer: Everton Arteta (pen) 90. Substitutes: Blackburn Formica 7 (Dunn, 34), Petrovic 6 (Pedersen, 34), Goodwillie 6 (Roberts, 72) . Everton Cahill 7 (Barkley, 53), Bilyaletdinov 5 (Osman, 62), Beckford (Heitinga, 85). Booked: Blackburn Salgado, Hoilett, Petrovic, Nzonzi, Samba. Everton Anichebe, Arteta. Man of the match Howard. Match rating 7/10. Possession: Blackburn 51% Everton 49%. Attempts on target: Blackburn 6 Everton 4. Referee L Mason (Lancashire). Attendance 22,826.