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Oumar Niasse rescues a point for Everton against West Brom but James McCarthy’s leg break overshadows all

Everton 1 West Bromwich Albion 1: Niasse scored just 57-seconds after being thrown on as a substitute before McCarthy suffered a suspected broken leg

  • Simon Hughes Goodison Park
  • @simon_hughes__

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The Independent Sport


Oumar Niasse celebrates his equalising goal for Everton Getty

For what seemed like an eternity at Goodison Park, a malfunction in the Park End’s public-address system resulted in a relentless white noise transmitting from the speakers. On and on it went, causing anxiety for those closest being forced to co-exist with the fuzzy sound. Finally, it stopped and when it did, the roar was enormous, as well as the relief.

Not quite as enormous, however, as the roar that followed Jonjoe Kenny’s shot towards the end of the first half. It was Everton’s first on target this year, across 251 minutes of football. That the moment seemed destined to be marked as a high point until the arrival of Oumar Niasse as a substitute reflects just how miserable this performance was from Everton.

Eleven Premier League clubs have relegation anxieties and these are two of them. Everton were ninth in the table at the start of the day and West Bromwich Albion were nineteenth. An away victory here – and it would have been West Brom's first since August 19 at Burnley – would have meant only five points separating the teams heading into February.

Premier League gameweek 24 in pictures

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Premier League gameweek 24 in pictures

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      Eden Hazard celebrates his second goal for Chelsea

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      Wayne Rooney of Everton warms up prior to the match against West Brom

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      Players, fans and officials remember ex-footballer Cyrille Regis

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      Everton and West Brom pay their respects

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      Paul Lambert, Manager of Stoke City shows appreciation to the fans

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      Jose Mourinho keeps warm

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      Jay Rodriguez of West Bromwich Albion celebrates

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      David Wagner looks on…

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      … and so does Eddie Howe

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      Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal celebrates

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      Paul Pogba of Manchester United controls the ball

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      Sam Allardyce, Manager of Everton shakes hands with Alan Pardew

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      Jose Mourinho looks on

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      Ryan Fraser of AFC Bournemouth is fouled by Pedro Obiang

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      Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates

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      Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City makes a save

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      Theo Walcott of Everton is challenged by Kieran Gibbs of West Bromwich Albion

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      Jamie Vardy of Leicester City celebrates after scoring his sides first goal

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      Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City is challenged by Steve Mounie

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      Paul Pogba of Manchester United is challenged by Jack Cork

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      David Moyes looks on

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      Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere of Arsenal clash with Luka Milivojevic and James Tomkins of Crystal Palace

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      Anthony Martial of Manchester United celebrates

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      Anthony Martial of Manchester United celebrates

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      Alan Pardew comes onto the pitch to console Salomon Rondon

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      Sean Dyche looks on…

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      … and loses his temper with Burnley's defending

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      Ryan Fraser of AFC Bournemouth scores his sides first goal…

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      … and Javier Hernandez equalises moments later

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      Alex Iwobi of Arsenal controls the ball

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      Oumar Niasse of Everton celebrates scoring his side's goal

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      Paul Lambert gives it some on the touchline…

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      Stoke hadn't won since December

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      Jamie Vardy of Leicester City scores from the penalty spot

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      Xherdan Shaqiri of Stoke City volleys

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    Instead, the gap stays at eight because of Niasse’s intervention. The decision to introduce him by Sam Allardyce at the expense of Cenk Tosun was an unpopular one and greeted by jeers. Yet within a minute, Allardyce had been vindicated, with Niasse meeting a cross from debutant Theo Walcott to sweep in a volley.

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    West Brom might see a draw away from the Hawthorns as a step in the right direction but this was an opportunity missed for them. Everton were as uninspiring as they were at any stage earlier on this season under Ronald Koeman, with Tosun struggling to hold the ball up on his home debut and Walcott uninvolved aside from his assist. For Walcott, indeed, only a first half booking for lunging in on Grzegorz Krychowiak would remind you of his presence.Everton’s start was particularly appalling. Ashley Williams sent a pass directly to an opponent in Jay Rodriguez. Morgan Schneiderlin’s powdery challenge on Salomón Rondón resulted in a chance for Krychowiak, which he missed. Inside seven minutes, West Brom were ahead: a simple ball over the top from Krychowiak releasing Rodriguez and his shot bobbled past Jordan Pickford.

    Rodriguez and Rondón sounds like a tapas bar in Soho where you need a code to get in. Maybe not a centre forward partnership for West Bromwich Albion. But they were proving a handful for Everton’s defence and their understanding was a reminder of what Everton currently lack: partnerships.

    At the start of the season, you could not have imagined that by January, Cuco Martina and Nikola Vlašić would be starting games together down Everton’s left side. It might be harsh, but Martina would probably struggle in the Championship. That he finished the first half having had more touches than any other Everton player perhaps tells you everything you need to know level of attainment achieved by his teammates.

    jay-rodriguez-goal.jpgJay Rodriguez gave West Brom the lead (Getty)

    The Martina/Vlašić axis did not last, with Yannick Bolasie introduced at the break for the Croatian winger. The pattern did not change, though, and when goalscoring opportunities came, they were for West Brom.

    On one such occasion, just as Rondón was about to score, James McCarthy rescued the situation but injured himself in the process, seemingly seriously, with the sight of Rondón in distress at what he’d seen and stretchers being requested immediately indicating how grave a condition McCarthy was in.

    This was Allardyce’s thousandth game as a professional football manager. Though he might eventually remember the landmark occasion because of his decisions and Niasse’s efficiency, he would also need some luck. Right at the end Rondón crashed a 30-yard shot onto the crossbar. Ultimately, Allardyce and Everton got away with it.

    • More about:
    • Premier League
    • Everton
    • West Brom
    • Sam Allardyce
    • Salomon Rondon
    • Theo Walcott
    • Grzegorz Krychowiak
    • Jay Rodriguez
    • James McCarthy
    • Cenk Tosun
    • Cuco Martina
    • Nikola Vlašić
    • Jonjoe Kenny
    • Oumar Niasse
    • Yannick Bolasie
    • Morgan Schneiderlin
    • Ashley Williams
    • Ronald Koeman
    • Jordan Pickford

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