Toffees’ winless run continues with draw against Hornets.
Watford 1 (1) – (1) 1 Everton
Holebas 45+2′ McCarthy 45+1′
Vicarage Road (Attendance:20,663)
Everton’s poor run of form continued on Saturday afternoon as the Blues were held to a 1-1 draw by Watford.
James McCarthy’s first goal of the season appeared to hand the away side the lead at the break, but Jose Holebas’ header from a corner immediately pegged the Toffees’ back.
And, despite pushing for a winner late in the second half, Roberto Martinez’s men could not find a way to arrest their alarming form ahead of the FA Cup semi-final later this month.
The clash’s first fine passage of play came courtesy of the Blues on eight minutes as some sumptuous one touch football almost saw Ross Barkley’s first time cross meet the onrushing Gerard Deulofeu.
Unfortunately for the Spaniard, though, Holebas was on hand to cut out Barkley’s low centre.
Jose Jurado forced Joel Robles into a sprawling save on 17 minutes after jinking past McCarthy, but his left foot strike was turned behind by Everton’s goalkeeper.
Moments later and it was Deulofeu’s turn to draw a fine stop from the Hornet’s keeper – Heurelho Gomes springing to his left to palm the winger’s fierce effort behind for a corner after the tricky wide man had cut infield.
Barkley then drew a routine save from Gomes eight minutes before the interval as the game fell into a lull.
But, in added-on time at the end of the half, a defensive howler from Manuel Britos gifted McCarthy the chance to break the deadlock.
The centre-half received a pass from the right wing and, after he dawdled under pressure from McCarthy, the Irishman nipped in to steal the ball, before sending a scuffed finish past Gomes from 18 yards.
One minute later, however, and the Toffees found themselves hauled back.
John Stones and Robles combined to hand Watford an unnecessary corner and, from the set piece, Hobelas rose highest at the back post to guide a header into the net via a deflection off Seamus Coleman.
It was another 60 second example of Everton’s season in a microcosm, and one that will have infuriated under-fire manager Martinez.
In spite of the setback, the Toffees begun the second 45 with a greater urgency.
Deulofeu teed up Aaron Lennon after dancing across the penalty area, but the England winger’s right foot shot was deflected behind.
The 28-year-old saw another goal bound effort produce a one handed save from Gomes after a storming run from deep, with the Brazilian also alert to the onrushing Lukaku as he parried the Belgian’s rebound.
Holebas fired two free kicks from similar spots in quick succession for the home side – one blocked by the wall, the other landing the wrong side of the crossbar – as Quique Sanchez Flores’ men attempted to turn the tide.
Lennon sent another low drive goalwards after Lukaku’s deft back-heel but, once more, Gomes was on hand to deny the speedy winger.
Martinez introduced Tom Cleverley and Kevin Mirallas as he went in search of victory.
And the latter of the two almost won the game for the Toffees, but his curling free kick was saved by the impervious Gomes.
Just to prove that it was to be another close-yet-so-far day, Lukaku fired the rebound onto the crossbar.
Another away trip, this time to Crystal Palace, is up next for Everton.