Everton denied at West Brom

Diego Lugano's header denied Everton a place in the top four and gave Pepe Mel a point in his first game as West Brom coach after a 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns.

Last Updated: 21/01/14 at 09:01 Post Comment

Diego Lugano: Equalises for West Brom with a diving header

Diego Lugano: Equalises for West Brom with a diving header

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

The Uruguay international's 75th-minute header secured a 1-1 draw against a misfiring Everton side who briefly had one foot in the Champions League places when Kevin Mirallas fired them into a first-half lead.

Mel found himself having to earn his money almost immediately as, against a backdrop of off-field issues, he coaxed an improved second-half performance out of his side which could have easily also produced a winner.

Mel will have been grateful to be able to focus on the football as Nicolas Anelka had dominated the news agenda in the days and hours before kick-off.

Club sponsor Zoopla announced it would not be renewing its shirt sponsorship deal after the furore surrounding the Frenchman's 'quenelle' gesture at West Ham last month.

Anelka began this game energised and motivated, but despite being significantly involved he could not have the impact he would have wanted and was eventually substituted just after West Brom's equaliser.

With Everton led by Roberto Martinez it meant there were two Spanish managers on the touchline. The expectation, even on a chilly night in the West Midlands, was for an exhibition of flowing football.

What materialised in the first half was anything but as Mel's men, no doubt eager to impress their new manager, were pulled up for a number of niggling fouls while the visitors displayed little of their usual flow and rhythm.

With the spotlight on Anelka, the Frenchman at least provided glimpses of his talent but it was mainly when operating from a slightly withdrawn position.

There were several occasions when he received the ball with his back to goal yet managed to turn his marker and thread a pass through to fellow forward Matej Vydra or Zoltan Gera running from deep, but only once did he get a sight of goal and his effort was off target.

Half-chances were prevalent. Romelu Lukaku, who spent last season on loan with West Brom, hooked an early effort wide while Matej Vydra's cross - via another Anelka through-ball - was tipped away by Tim Howard with James Morrison lurking at the back post.

Bryan Oviedo, back in the Everton side for the injured Steven Pienaar, was given the task of operating in an unfamiliar wide right role but he used the position to his advantage by flashing volleys just wide of either post in quick succession.

An off-balance James McCarthy and Mirallas both failed to test Ben Foster with shots, while right-back Seamus Coleman - with five goals in his last 10 games - saw a tame shot blocked by the combination of Liam Ridgewell and Chris Brunt.

The breakthrough goal, in the 41st minute, came out of the blue and would definitely be classed as part of Martinez's plan B.

Centre-back Sylvain Distin launched the ball in the direction of Lukaku and he nodded it down into the path of Mirallas who easily beat Foster.

With the creative Ross Barkley missing for another couple of weeks with a broken toe, Martinez will hope Mirallas, playing centrally, can maintain this form to help sustain their top-four challenge.

The quality did not improve greatly in the second half but the hosts, sensing Everton were not entirely comfortable, ramped up the pressure and substitute Victor Anichebe - another playing against a club he left in the summer - had a near-post chance blocked by Phil Jagielka from Anelka's cross.

When Lugano attacked the same area from Morrison's cross he had more success, powering a header past Tim Howard.

Everton tried to respond, sending on new signing Aiden McGeady for his debut late on, and although Gareth Barry's shot was diverted into the net with the last kick of the game by Distin the defender was clearly offside.

The draw sees Everton remain in sixth place, while Albion climb to 13th.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Monday, 24 November 2014
20:00
A Villa 1-1 So'ton Report
Sunday, 23 November 2014
16:00
Hull City 1-2 Tottenham Report
13:30
C Palace 3-1 Liverpool Report
Saturday, 22 November 2014
17:30
Arsenal 1-2 Man Utd Report
15:00
Chelsea 2-0 W Brom Report
Everton 2-1 West Ham Report
Leicester 0-0 S'land Report
Man City 2-1 Swansea Report
Newcastle 1-0 QPR Report
Stoke 1-2 Burnley Report

Footer 365

La Liga: David Moyes says he wants to 'excite' Real Sociedad fans ahead of Elche clash

David Moyes wants to "excite" Real Sociedad fans in his first home game in charge of the Basque club against Elche.

Europa League: Benjamin Stambouli fires Tottenham to win over Partizan Belgrade

Benjamin Stambouli's strike earned Tottenham a 1-0 win over Partizan Belgrade and a place in the last 32 of the Europa League.

Europa League: Trabzonspor and Fiorentina among teams to reach last 32

Trabzonspor and Fiorentina were among the teams to progress to the last 32 of the Europa League on Thursday night.

Mail Box

Arsenal Fans Are Full Of Hope Again...

Arsenal fans have been sucked back into believing Wenger can bring the glory years back after beating Borussia Dortmund. Plus, more on Liverpool's worrying decline...

Makes Sense To Make Gerrard Liverpool Manager

That's the thoughts of one Mailboxer, who wants Jamie Carragher as defensive coach. Plus views on Arsenal, Malmo v Juventus, Alexis Sanchez & tremendous improvement...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property