'Terrific' Osman fills void for Everton
Everton 2 Blackburn Rovers 0
Sunday 17 April 2011
Two months ago, with the hands of relegation clawing away at his throat, David Moyes was longing for an excruciating season to be over. Now, he does not want it to end and the delicious prospect of finishing above bitter rivals Liverpool remains very much alive after a routine fifth victory in seven matches.
Leon Osman's fourth goal of the season and a Leighton Baines penalty continued Everton's remarkable resurgence to leave Steve Kean, the Blackburn manager, nursing another dose of travel sickness.
It has been a revival that has been as impressive as it was timely and, just like last season, Moyes will reflectruefully on what might have been, especially if the outstanding Osman had not missed so many games with a succession of injuries.
"Overall it was a worthy three points," he said. We had to be patient as we're missing a lot of key players but Osman was terrific today. We've needed him because we've lacked that sort of player since Steven Pienaar's gone. We've also lost Mikel Arteta so we've been missing that creativity. Osman did all that and more today."
Jermaine Beckford set the tone for an excruciating, dour first half when he blazed wastefully over in the opening 60 seconds. The remainder of the half will not remain in the memory of the 35,857 who were in attendance but, thankfully, Everton were vastly improved in the second period.
Magaye Gueye drove narrowly over the crossbar before Baines arrowed a 25-yard effort inches wide. Their pressure was rewarded when Osman cleverly sidestepped Ruben Rochina,after a short corner from Gueye, to find the corner with the aid of a substantial deflection off Chris Samba.
Everton killed off the game 15 minutes from time, thanks to Phil Jones' crude lunge on the substitute Seamus Coleman in the box, with Baines making no mistake from the spot.
And Blackburn's problems were summed up by the travelling fans chanting, "There's only one Jack Walker," as time ebbed away, aiming a clear dig at much maligned owners Venky's, who are in danger of being remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Kean said: "It's always a concern when you don't win. We had a little bit of momentum, even though it was only three draws in a row.
"We hope that now we've got two games at Ewood Park back to back we can pick ourselves up again. We need to improve on the elements that we weren't happy with."
Referee: Kevin Friend
Man of the match: Osman
Match rating: 7/10
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