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Premier League

  • 27 August 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire
  • Referee: L. Mason
  • • Attendance: 22826

Blackburn 0-1 Everton: Mikel Arteta nets last-gasp penalty after struggling hosts amazingly miss two penalties

Blackburn 0-1 Everton: Mikel Arteta nets last-gasp penalty after struggling hosts amazingly miss two penalties

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Toffees hit late, late, spot-kick to seal all three points and their first win of the season, in an action-packed game at Ewood Park which sees Rovers remain pointless

Everton grabbed their first Premier League win of the season courtesy of a stoppage time penalty converted by Mikel Arteta in a dramatic game at Ewood Park, in which Blackburn Rovers had earlier missed two spot-kicks of their own after Tim Howard had saved from Junior Hoilett and Mauro Formica had seen his kick denied by the post.

The day began with Steve Kean welcoming back defender Chris Samba for the visit of the Merseysiders and, in a generous gesture, he also handed the armband to Brett Emerton, the Australian making his final appearance for the club before heading back to Australia to join Sydney FC.

The visitors, meanwhile, were boosted by the returns of Arteta, Marouane Fellaini, Victor Anichebe with Tim Cahill dropping to the bench and Ross Barkley keeping his place after impressing in the defeat to QPR last weekend.

The first half was a fiercely contested, tight affair although the hosts thought they had earned themselves a penalty just inside the 10 minute mark. Gael Givet went to ground under pressure from Anichebe, and looked appealingly at referee Lee Mason but the official, quite correctly, waved his appeals away.

Minutes later and again Rovers were on the attack, David Dunn thrusting into the box and firing a fine shot across goal only to be denied by the post with Howard beaten.

The hosts continued to apply the pressure and it took a fine tackle from Sylvain Distin to deny Jason Roberts a clear run on goal as the home side continued to press.

Indeed the tackles were beginning to fly in and Hoilett was a little fortunate to see just yellow after a very late challenge on Leighton Baines that left the full back in agony, but fortunately, able to continue.

Yet injuries were to disrupt the first half as shortly after the half hour mark, Blackburn were forced to replace both Morten Gamst Pedersen and Dunn who were both struggling; Formica and Radosav Petrovic thrown into the fray as their replacements.

Defender Christopher Samba also appearing to be hobbling as the interval approached, but managed to continue although Blackburn may just have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle as an, at times, feisty half ended goalless.

Fighting talk | Tempers flare at Ewood Park in physical clash

It took just 42 second half seconds for the game to explode into life after the break with Blackburn awarded a penalty after Formica went down after a challenge from Barkley.

It looked a generous decision, with little apparent contact, and indeed it was one Blackburn failed to profit from. Hoilett stepped up to take the kick but was to be denied by Howard, diving to his right to preserve his clean sheet.

Minutes later and Blackburn almost had a second spot kick after Heitinga brought down Hoilett on the edge of the box, but again Rovers couldn’t profit, Fellaini heading clear as the Everton defence stood strong.

Yet Rovers continued to attack with Olsson and Formica going close with decent efforts as Everton struggled to find any rhythm and failed to keep possession.

However, as the half wore on the visitors almost made Rovers pay for their profligacy in front of goal, with both chances coming from full back Baines. First the defender skipped past Salgado and fired across goal, forcing Robinson to save before he picked out Fellaini with a superb cross, but the Belgian could only blaze his shot over the bar from 18 yards.

Back came Rovers, with David Goodwillie now on for Roberts, and the substitute almost made an immediate impact. Hoilett and Formica combined well inside the box to pick out the Scotsman, who smashed his shot against the bar as again the hosts were denied.

With time ticking away, Goodwillie went close, but it was another substitute Formica who looked certain to claim all three points. With five minutes to go he went down under pressure from Jagielka as Rovers were awarded their second penalty of the afternoon.

Up stepped the Argentine, but again Rovers couldn't find the back of the net, Formica smashing his kick onto the post and away to safety as Kean looked on in disbelief.

Yet the Rovers' manager disbelief was about to turn into despair as with the game heading into stoppage time, Everton were awarded a penalty of their own after Samba was adjudged to have fouled Fellaini.

With seconds remaining on the clock, Arteta was handed the responsibility of claiming all three points, and the Spaniard was coolness personified, sending Robinson the wrong way to snatch the win and leave Rovers still searching for their first points of the season.

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