Everton had an opportunity to go up into fourth place on Monday night, but failed to capitalize. Their attack stagnated, partially due to a couple of key injuries, as they drew West Bromwich Albion 1-1 at The Hawthorns.
West Brom opened the game with two up top, and most of their promising moves came from combinations between Nicolas Anelka and Matej Vydra. Anelka dropped deep to pick up the ball and looked sharp early, but despite some promising runs into the Everton box, Vydra couldn't hold up his end of the bargain.
It looked like Everton were going to struggle to create much without Ross Barkley in the center early on, but his replacement fired the Toffees in front just before the break. Sylvain Distin started the move with a chip up to the head of Romelu Lukaku -- now without dreadlocks separating his cranium from the ball -- who flicked the ball backwards. Kevin Mirallas timed his run perfectly, held off his defender and placed a finish past Ben Foster from just inside the box.
Everton started the second half in control, but West Brom came more into the game as the half wore on, and their improved play was eventually rewarded with an equalizer in the 75th minute. Diego Lugano was the unlikely scorer, turning in a header after he stayed forward following a set piece. Substitute and former Everton man Victor Anichebe set it up, finding a small bit of space on the right side of the box to loft a ball towards the head of his teammate.
Struggling for ideas without Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu, Everton never found their winner, though the game had a dramatic conclusion. The Toffees drew a free kick in the fourth minute of stoppage time, which was turned in by Distin off a shot by Gareth Barry, but the Everton defender was correctly flagged for offside.
West Brom: Foster, Ridgewell, Lugano, Olsson, Reid, Brunt, Yacob, Morrison, Gera (Mulumbu 60'), Vydra (Anichebe 45'), Anelka (Berahino 77')
Goals: Lugano (75')
Everton: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman (Stones 79'), McCarthy, Barry, Osman (Naismith 89'), Mirallas, Oviedo (McGeady 79'), Lukaku
Goals: Mirallas (41')