Roy Hodgson left early and with a smile for Everton supporters who hold no grudges against his Liverpool reign. A fine display from Ben Foster must have aided the mood of an England manager with misgivings over Joe Hart but – and there is always a but in Hodgson's job – a late sting was waiting. "In Ben's words," said Steve Clarke, "he felt his ankle pop."
West Bromwich Albion face an anxious wait to discover the extent of Foster's injury and, given Clarke's luck so far this season, a 90th-minute home defeat on the opening day being followed by Nicolas Anelka taking indefinite compassionate leave, the head coach must fear the worst. Foster was integral to an Albion display that frustrated Everton at every turn and enhanced his claims for an England recall. His replacement, Luke Daniels, was twice reprieved by the woodwork as Roberto Martínez's team improved in the closing stages but the fortune and the point were well earned.
"He was just walking around his six-yard box when he felt it pop," Clarke explained. "The pain is strong and Ben is not one to go down if nothing is wrong. The fact he came off the pitch shows it is something we have to be worried about. I can't say any more until we have the scan results but you can say it is an injury that worries me just now."
Foster saved impressively from Steven Pienaar's diving header and Kevin Mirallas's rising drive in the first half but was well protected by a compact, disciplined defence. A second successive draw as Everton manager left Martínez "very encouraged", he claimed, but the imposition of a new possession game is patently a work in progress. "We were pedestrian in the first half but read the game much better in the second and did enough to get three points," he said.
Goodison Park afforded Martínez a warm reception before his home league debut, an act unlikely to be repeated when David Moyes returns with Manchester United in April. A "derisory and insulting" joint £28m bid for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, followed by hypocritical comments from Moyes over Martínez's refusal to bow down to United, has sadly damaged at a stroke a relationship built over 11 years. Moyes's claim that Everton should stand aside and let the players join United for the sake of their careers carried echoes of Mark Hughes during Manchester City's fractious pursuit of Joleon Lescott. "Disgusting" was how Moyes labelled City's behaviour then.
Baines and Fellaini were both involved and illustrated why Everton would be loth to lose the England full-back but may consider an increased offer for the midfielder. Baines showed his consistent quality down the left while Fellaini was often on the periphery of an Everton display that demonstrated why Martínez has been calling for "understanding and patience" all summer. Yet Fellaini came closest to winning the game when killing Phil Jagielka's long pass on his chest and poking the ball beyond Daniels only to strike the inside of a post. Seamus Coleman also struck the bar with a looping cross.
Everton dominated possession but too often in their own half for Goodison's liking. The groans when Jagielka exchanged another pass with Sylvain Distin could be heard with only 10 minutes gone. Ross Barkley was central to most of Everton's brightest attacking moments, with their urgency in the final third more palatable to the home fans, but with Nikica Jelavic and Mirallas both toiling the penetration was lacking. Mirallas was furious when he and the Croatian were ultimately withdrawn but could have no complaint.
Albion rarely threatened, though Tim Howard was alert to Shane Long's first-time shot, but had several chances to punish Everton on the counterattack late on. An available Anelka may well have prospered.