Everton toiled to a somewhat fortuitous one all draw against a well-drilled and resolute West Brom who themselves will feel they should have taken all three points. The low point of the afternoon was a bad injury to James McCarthy.
With home debuts for both Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott to look forward to, Evertonians arrived at Goodison hopeful and expectant that the Blues would put a run of four straight losses well and truly behind them.
To complement the new signings, Sam Allardyce dropped Rooney to the bench and named a starting line up of: Pickford, Martina, Williams (c), Holgate, Kenny, McCarthy, Schneiderlin, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Vlasic and Tosun.
After securing his first win as Albion manager last week, Alan Pardew included former Everton favourite Gareth Barry in his starting eleven of: Foster, Dawson, Hegazi, Evans (c), Gibbs, Phillips, Krychowiak, Barry, Brunt, Rodriguez and Rondon.
Referee for this crucial encounter for both clubs was Stuart Attwell.
Prior to kick-off, a full house of Blues and Baggies paid their respects to memory of Cyrille Regis who tragically passed away this week with a minutes applause.
After an opening of mostly aerial ping-pong that patently suited the visitors tall defence, they gave Everton a warning on a quick break after Schneiderlin missed his tackle, the ball ending up at the feet of Krychowiak who blasted over when he should have at least tested Pickford.
Albion though took the lead barely a minute later as a through ball found Rodriguez in a suspiciously offside looking position, but no flag allowed him to gather his thoughts and comfortably beat Pickford low to his right on seven minutes.
Everton’s first serious foray forward saw a long ball from Williams find Vlasic on the left and his header inside found Sigurdsson whose shot was blocked with the referee ignoring half-hearted appeals for hand ball.
Walcott won a free kick on the right that saw Schneiderlin unable to get any meaningful contact to the Sigurdsson cross and when McCarthy turned the ball back in from the left, Sigurdsson at the back post was unable to get the ball under control for a shot.
The Blues were looking far from confident with too many appearing nervous to try and drive the side forward.
Ironic cheers rang out on 37 minutes as McCarthy found Kenny and Foster needed to react and gather his shot on target at the second attempt.
Introducing the Everton Mishmash!
Theo Walcott marked his debut with a yellow card on 45 minutes and boos cascaded down from the home support as the half drew to a close.
Half Time: 0-1
Yannick Bolasie was a second half replacement for Nikola Vlasic and the Blues looked to add some width and pace to the left flank.
McCarthy to Walcott saw a quick turn and first time cross that found Sigurdsson but the Albion defence stood firm. A long ball from Pickford was then flicked on by Tosun for Walcott but this time his cross was easily gathered by Foster.
Schneiderlin got caught in midfield and Rondon was clean through but for a tremendous challenge by McCarthy that unfortunately saw him go down with what looked like a broken leg. Rondon was visibly upset, but he certainly couldn’t be blamed. Wayne Rooney replaced McCarthy as he was stretchered off the field to a standing ovation.
Oumar Niasse replaced Cenk Tosun on 68 minutes and his first act was to net the equaliser. A cross from Rooney to the back post was cleverly headed down and inside by Walcott and Niasse buried the right foot volley for 1-1.
Krychowiak tested Pickford from distance with Phillips putting the rebound well wide. At the other end a terrific volley from Walcott brought a good save from Foster.
West Brom made a triple substitution on 79 minutes bring Livermore, McClean and McAuley on for Brunt, Rodriguez and Evans.
Bolasie saw a good effort saved while Pickford denied a curling shot from Rondon. Dawson was booked for handball on 87 minutes and with seven extra minutes signalled, disappointingly the best effort came again from Rondon who smacked a 30-yard effort off the crossbar.