Everton were held to a 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park after failing to breach the Baggies’ rear-guard defensive display.
Albion were looking for their first points of the season after a disappointing home loss to Southampton last week and Steve Clarke set up his tactics with the intention of silencing the home fans.
Roberto Martinez’s side made some decent opportunities but were frustrated time and time again by a man of the match performance from Ben Foster.
The English goalkeeper was forced into a save inside the first seven minutes. Kevin Mirallas tricked his way past Liam Ridgewell on the right wing and swung in a good cross for Steven Pienaar to attack with a diving header, but the former Manchester United and Watford shot-stopper made a good diving save to clutch the ball into his grasp.
A minute later, Pienaar was denied again as the South African winger came inside onto his right foot and drilled a low shot at goal from 20 yards, but Foster’s good positioning allowed him to make a comfortable save. Up the other end, Albion’s only attacking effort from the first half came through Youssouf Mulumbu’s wayward strike in the 24th minute that blew well wide into the stand.
Seamus Coleman was proving to be a thorn in Albion’s side from right back and went close to setting up the first goal in the 32nd minute. The Republic of Ireland international did well to cut the ball back for Mirallas but the winger saw his powerful low shot well saved at the near post by Foster. Seven minutes later, Foster made another great save with Coleman himself denied at the near post as Albion went in at half-time level.
In the second half, Everton to continue to work chances for Mirallas but the Belgian winger was kept out by Foster again. Leighton Baines picked him out with a superb pass, but Mirallas’s shot from ten yards was superbly saved by the goalkeeper, who had positioned himself nicely again.
The away side nearly nicked the points in the 74th minute, but a good save from Tim Howard kept it goalless. James Morrison’s pass was meant for Marcus Rosenberg but some slack Everton defending allowed the ball to run through for Shane Long, but the Irish striker’s left-footed shot couldn’t beat Howard from ten yards out.
Everton saved their best chance of the game until last but despite beating Foster, they were stopped by the frame of the goal. Phil Jagielka’s lofted pass was controlled expertly with his chest by Marouane Fellaini, but the Belgian’s poked shot from six yards came back off the post and was scrambled away to safety. It was a great chance and could be the difference between mid-table and European qualification for the Toffees.
The point means Everton double their tally for the season while Albion will be pleased by coming away from a tricky away game with a share of the spoils.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)