Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines both played from the start for the Toffees despite Manchester United's public interest but neither side could provide a sparkEverton were held to their second successive draw of the new Premier League season as they shared a 0-0 with West Brom on Saturday.
Both sides had chances of note in a game largely defined by an entertaining tustle between the teams' respective midfields but Marouane Fellaini could have given his side the points late on at Goodison Park only for his close-range effort to bounce back off the post. A Seamus Coleman cross-cum-shot also hit the bar in injury-time as Everton were left frustrated.
|By Tom Marshall-Bailey
The Roberto Martinez era begins with two successive draws. The frustration felt in the crowd today was evident as their side's slow and patient build-up failed to yield the goal that they desperately craved to get their season rolling.
They dominated a West Brom side who, on this evidence, will be hard to beat throughout the campaign - even though they could do with some added attacking spark.
Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob, in particular, were the reason why the likes of Kevin Mirallas, Ross Barkley and Leon Osman failed to fire for the Toffees and, when Marouane Fellaini's prodded strike came back off the face of the post, one suspected that it just was not meant to be as Martinez headed down the tunnel with a sense of what might - and perhaps ought - to have been for his side.
Having been pleased with his side's efforts in an opening-day draw with Norwich, Roberto Martinez named an unchanged team. Steve Clarke, meanwhile, made just one alteration despite his side's disappointing 1-0 defeat to Southampton, as Nicolas Anelka - who has been allowed leave on compassionate grounds - was replaced by Markus Rosenberg.
Fans were treated to an entertaining start at Goodison Park, as both teams exchanged counterattacks in a frenetic opening five minutes. Everton had the best of these chances, with Steven Pienaar's goalbound stooping header from a Ross Barkley cross bringing a fine save from Ben Foster, and the South African forced the 30-year-old into action again soon after with a low left-footed drive.
Those two efforts preceded a spell of domination for the hosts, as they displayed the expansive style that new boss Martinez is attempting to instil during a period of possession. West Brom arguably created the best two chances of that stint, however, as Youssouf Mulumbu curled the ball narrowly wide before James Morrison's half-volley dipped just over the crossbar.
Everton's frustrations over their inability to grab a breakthrough boiled over just before half-time, though, when Leon Osman jumped into a needless challenge with Rosenberg for which he was fortunate to avoid a booking. But that moment of controversy did not push either side on to greater heights, as the half petered out without either finding the opening goal.
The battle of wills in midfield continued into the early stages of second half, though West Brom came close to finally breaking the deadlock when Graham Dorrans' inswinging free kick was hacked away at the back post by Nikica Jelavic. Everton then took their turn to go close as Foster dived low to his right to keep out Barkley's long-distance effort before getting up well to stop Fellaini smashing the rebound home.
|14/1||Everton are 14/1 with BetVictor to win the Capital One Cup
It was a striker who had started the match who went closest next, however, with Shane Long's low left-footed effort being well kept out by a diving Howard in the Everton goal. The hosts were offered some hope in the 78th minute, when the seemingly unbeatable Foster made way for substitute shot-stopper Luke Daniels after picking up an injury.
And the 25-year-old was in fact lucky not to concede in the immediate aftermath of his arrival. Fellaini did well to control a Phil Jagielka diagonal pass into the box on his chest but his poked finish came back off the inside of the far post and was desperately cleared by a sliding Jonas Olsson.
Daniels was called on again with just three minutes of normal time remaining as he got down to stop a deflected Seamus Coleman strike and had to watch the Irishman's cross onto the bar but both teams were forced to settle for a point after failing to grab a crucial goal in the final moments.