The Everton manager, David Moyes, conceded that his side had taken the lead with a goal that should not have stood, but insisted that Blackburn's equaliser was no more legal. His demeanour more or less summed up a match that entertained in fits and starts but ended with Everton being booed off by their supporters.
"We were fortunate to get a point," Moyes said. "We were certainly fortunate to go one-nil up. Today we needed our better players to make things happen for us: we needed more in every department."
Everton started brightly enough with Landon Donovan and Victor Anichebe given licence to roam wide of Louis Saha, and Darron Gibson and Marouane Fellaini holding the fort further back. They might have taken the lead as early as the third minute, when Donovan's cross left Anichebe with a short to-do list; unfortunately volleying the ball in to the ground and over the bar was not on it.
By the time Everton did go in front, however, Blackburn could have scored several times over. In the opening quarter of an hour Junior Hoillett set up David Dunn, whose shot Tim Howard saved with his feet; Scott Dann's header was headed away from under the bar by Leighton Baines via the post; and Dunn had a tidy strike correctly disallowed for offside.
It was Blackburn's characteristically rum luck that in the 24th minute their goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, would parry Fellaini's header straight back to him, the referee would fail to spot Fellaini handling it, and Tim Cahill, who had not scored for more than a year, would tap the ball over the line.
"We're disappointed because we felt that Everton scored against the run of play," said the Rovers manager, Steve Kean. "It was hard for the referee because he's not in a great position [to see the handball]."
Although Donovan threatened once or twice before half-time – Radosav Petrovic picking up a booking to prevent the LA Galaxy loanee making the most of a quick throw from Howard – Dunn had another shot hit the post for Blackburn.
"I said to the lads at half-time that we didn't really need to change too much, because we were dictating play," Kean said.
When David Goodwillie set the scores level in the 72nd minute, it was a fair reflection of Blackburn's efforts. Morten Gamst Pedersen's free-kick somehow evaded Howard – Moyes said replays showed Steven Nzonzi hindered the goalkeeper, and was offside – and when Cahill went to clear it, he could only punt the ball straight to Goodwillie, who walked the ball over the line.
Moyes had already swapped Royston Drenthe for the ineffective Saha and added Apostolos Vellios to the mix for the final 10 minutes; at this point, the home crowd would not tolerate a backward pass and play swept up and down the pitch like the wind.
The Everton defender Shane Duffy headed on to the bar before the Blackburn substitute Mauro Formica tried to scoop the ball over Howard, missing the goal by inches. In added time Formica blocked Fellaini's shot on the line and Denis Stracqualursi saw his attempt to turn the rebound home saved by Robinson before Petrovic cleared.