EVERTON: (4-5-1) Howard, Neville (capt), Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Fellaini, Rodwell, Pienaar (Bilyaletdinov, 87) Coleman, Cahill, Saha (Beckford, 57).
Subs not used: Mucha,Yakubu, Heitinga, Anichebe, Osman.
Bookings: Neville (28), Jagielka (90 plus)
Goals: Beckford (86)
CHELSEA: (4-4-2) Cech, Boswinga (Ferreira, 63), Terry (capt), Ivanovic, Cole, Kalou, Mikel (Sturridge, 88), Malouda, Essien, Drogba, Anelka (Ramires, 78).
Subs not used: Turnbull, Bruma, Kakuta, McEachran.
Goals: Drogba (pen, 41)
Attendance: 41, 642.
Referee: Lee Probert
A ROUSING performance full of guts and endeavour earned Everton a deserved point against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The Toffees responded to their recent woes with a much-improved showing against the champions, culminating in a dramatic finale which saw them the more likely side to grab all three points.
Jermaine Beckford proved the adage that God loves a trier, the second half substitute scoring the headed equaliser after typically terrific work from Leighton Baines and Tim Cahill.
David Moyes made five changes from the team which was embarrassed at Goodison by West Brom last weekend. Seamus Coleman was restored to the right wing, captain Phil Neville returned at full back and Marouane Fellaini, Louis Saha and Jack Rodwell were handed starts.
It was a frenetic opening with both sides showing plenty of intent to shrug off their faltering form.
The first chance fell after just 20 seconds to the Blues, as Louis Saha’s stinging effort was parried by Petr Cech after Steven Pienaar seized on a loose ball
Despite facing a Chelsea side back to near full strength, with Michael Essien and John Terry returning, the Toffees looked comfortable in defence for much of the first half.
Sylvain Distin was typically strong against Drogba, getting in vital early blocks and remaining considered in his distribution. He was perhaps fortunate to avoid conceding a penalty when the ball bounced in the area and struck his arm, but otherwise coped solidly alongside Phil Jagielka..
The Blues appeared to have heeded their manager’s call for a display of the fire in their bellies, snapping into tackles and harassing Chelsea relentlessly. Back leading by fierce example, skipper Neville earned a booking in the first half for a foul on Drogba after an earlier tussle with Florent Malouda which saw the Frenchman avoid a card despite kneeing the prone defender in the face.
Chelsea bared their teeth in patches. John Terry saw a shot blocked and then hit the cross bar from a Florent Malouda corner. And Jose Bosingwa occasionally threatened with his pace.
But Everton continued to plug away, Coleman went close with a drive across goal from good a position.
And with their high tempo far more pleasing for Moyes, Everton looked likely to see out the half goal-less, until Neville’s sloppy back pass was seized on by Nicolas Anelka who shimmied and put the ball around Tim Howard before clattering into the keeper.
The home crowd called for a penalty and red card, but Howard rightly escaped dismissal. Unfortunately, Drogba made no mistake from the spot.
The second period saw the Blues come out at full throttle again and start to dominate possession. With Carlo Ancelotti’s side lacklustre, Everton created several chances. Jack Rodwell saw his bullet header come back off the inside of the post from an excellent Leighton Baines cross, then Coleman connected with a strong header but directed it right at Cech.
Phil Jagielka was inches away from equalizing from a corner, before Tim Cahill riled John Terry and the Chelsea bench by colliding with Cech as he challenged for a ball in the area.
Moyes introduced Jermaine Beckford after another anonymous Saha display, and Everton continued to press – occasionally looking vulnerable on the counter attack such was their desire to equalise.
Kalou could have sunk the visitors on one such attack but dithered and drew a superb block from Jagielka.
But it was Beckford in the dying stages who got the goal he, and the Blues deserved. Leighton Baines surged down the left and crossed, Cahill nodded back across goal and the former Leeds man did the rest.
The seven minutes of injury time were nearly all Everton, with the champions lucky to hang on in the end.
Moyes had asked for fire from his humiliated side, and he got an inferno. This was the Everton of last season’s second half, and the revival may yet have come in time to save this campaign.