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Everton 1 West Brom 1 - Report and pictures

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Alan Pardew said before the game that he'd take a point at Goodison Park.

But after going into the lead early on and looking comfortable for most of the game, the Baggies will return to the West Midlands wondering what might have been.

Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring just seven minutes into the match, with a tidy finish that rounded off a brilliant Baggies move.

It was the perfect opening to a game which started on an emotional note thanks to a minute's applause for the late Cyrille Regis.

But Oumar Niasse levelled things up in the 70th minute with his first touch of the game, ten minutes after Everton midfielder James McCarthy suffered a horrible leg break.

The Baggies were the better team in the first half, and deservedly led at half-time. The hosts grew into the game after the break, but rarely troubled Ben Foster.

If either team deserved to find a winner, it was Albion, but when the brilliant Salomon Rondon smacked the crossbar deep in injury time, it became clear the three points were going to evade them.

As expected, Pardew named an unchanged side to the one that beat Brighton 2-0 last weekend.

He replaced Claudio Yacob with Sam Field on the bench, but there was still no place in the squad for £15million winger Oliver Burke.

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Sam Allardyce made several chances, and handed an Everton debut to Theo Walcott following his £20m move from Arsenal in the week.

In fact, the Toffees boss boasted £47m of new attacking talent, as Cenk Tosun was preferred up front to Wayne Rooney.

Pardew does not have the same financial backing from Albion's owners, there have been no Baggies debuts so far this January.

But his existing attackers have improved in recent weeks, and it took them just eight minutes to give the Baggies the lead.

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Some superb hold-up play from Rondon in the centre circle drew two Everton players towards him before he squeezed a ball through to Krychowiak.

The Polish midfielder should have scored moments before when Rondon had laid him off on the edge of the box, but he shook off that mistake to play a gorgeous ball over the top to Rodriguez with the outside of his boot.

The former Southampton man beat the offside trap, chested the ball down, and calmly tucked it past Jordan Pickford before wheeling away to the travelling fans.

It has been an emotional week for those supporters, but a stressful one for Rodriguez too, following allegations of racism from Brighton full-back Gaetan Bong.

So his third goal in five games will have been especially pleasing.

Just like last week, Albion started brightly. First to every ball, the two strikers were wreaking havoc up front.

Everton slowly grew into the game, but even though the Toffees had plenty of the ball, they didn't know what to do it.

Gylfi Sigurdsson looked most dangerous, particularly on the rare occasion when he managed to drift away from Gareth Barry, but on the whole, they were guilty of passing it sideways with little penetration.

They rarely threatened Foster's goal and their fans were more preoccupied with an irritating hiss coming from the speakers, and were randomly cheering when it went off, and booing when it returned.

Five minutes before the break there was a huge sarcastic cheer from the home crowd when right-back Jonjoe Kenny cut inside and had Everton's first shot on target in the league of 2018 with his weaker foot.

Albion, meanwhile, threatened on the counter thanks to Krychowiak's timely interceptions on the edge of his box and purposeful drives up the pitch. The Polish midfielder continues to improve.

Just before the break Rondon outmuscled Ashley Williams to chest the ball down to Matt Phillips, but his shot was deflected over.

The Venezuelan then went close from Chris Brunt's corner, but he couldn't keep his header down.

When the half-time whistle came, it was greeted with boos from the frustrated home fans.

Albion had been 1-0 up at half-time in each of their last two league games. At West Ham, they eventually succumbed to fatigue and lost, but against Brighton they drove home the advantage early in the second half.

Allardyce knew he had to spark something, so he sent Yannick Bolasie, the man who had sends former boss Pardew motivational quotes on WhatsApp, for the invisible Nikola Vlasic.

There was a nervy moment for Albion when Brunt's sliced clearance put Foster under pressure, but Stuart Attwell blowed for a foul on the Albion keeper after he mistimed his punch.

And Albion's keeper had to be alert again a few minutes later when Walcott finally got in behind Gibbs, but fortunately for the visitors, his cross was too near Foster.

But there was a lengthy stoppage in play on the hour mark while medics dealt with a serious leg injury to McCarthy.

Barry initially capitalised on an Everton mistake and slipped Rondon through on goal, but McCarthy got a toe in to steal the ball just as the Venezuelan took his shot.

Rondon hit the back of McCarthy's leg and appeared to break it. Distraught, he immediately urged medics to come on and had to be consoled on the pitch by Pardew and several team-mates while the Everton midfielder was stretchered off.

Wayne Rooney replaced him, before Allardyce sent Oumar Niasse on for Tosun. And the pair made an immediate impact.

Niasse scored with his first touch of the game, roofing his shot after Walcott knocked it back across goal, but it was Rooney's ball to the far post that created the chance in the first place.

That livened things up somewhat, and all of a sudden the tackles were flying in and the tempo increased.

Krychowiak let fly from 25 yards out but Pickford was equal to it, and his parry came to quickly at Phillips, who couldn't keep the rebound down.

Walcott then stung Foster's palms with a volley from range as the two teams traded blows in search for a winner.

Pardew made a triple sub ten minutes before the end, bringing James McClean and Jake Livermore on before being forced to take Evans off for Gareth McAuley.

McClean nearly made a similar impact to Niasse, stealing the ball off Kenny to allow Rondon to test Pickford from range.

Deep in injury time, the striker came even closer, smacking the bar with a curled effort from 25 yards, but the goal his performance deserved never came.

It means the Baggies have just one defeat in their last six games in all competitions, but after picking up their 11th draw of the season, they remain in the drop zone, three points adrift.

Key moments

07 GOAL ALBION - Superb work from Rondon in the centre circle draws in two Everton players before Krychowiak finds Rodriguez with the outside of his boot. The striker beats the offside trap, chests it down and finds the net.

60 Horrible moment when Rondon kicks the back of McCarthy's leg and appears to break it. Distraught Albion striker has to be consoled on the pitch while Everton man is stretchered off.

70 GOAL EVERTON - Rooney swings a cross to the far post where Walcott knocks it back across goal to allow Niasse to score with his first touch of the ball.

95 Rondon smacks the crossbar with a curled effort from 25 yards.

Man of the match

Salomon Rondon - Superb throughout, outmuscling and outwitting Everton's backline. Deserved a goal.

Position in the table

19th - with 20 points from 24 games.

Teams

Everton (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Kenny, Holgate, Williams (c), Martina; McCarthy (Rooney 60), Schneiderlin; Walcott, Sigurdsson, Vlasic (Bolasie 45); Tosun (Niasse 69). Unused subs: Robles, Keane, Jagielka, Gueye.

Albion (4-4-2): Foster; Dawson, Evans (c) (McAuley 79), Hegazi, Gibbs; Phillips, Barry, Krychowiak, Brunt (Livermore 79); Rodriguez (McClean 79), Rondon. Unused subs: Myhill, Nyom, Field, Robson-Kanu.

Referee: Stuart Atwell (Nuneaton)

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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