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Everton, Blackburn maintain Euro push

A scoreless stalemate between Blackburn and Everton at Ewood Park saw both teams retain an interest in European football next season but the visitors from Merseyside will feel their second half performance deserved all three points.

With seven minutes remaining and the Rovers defence breached again, Andrew Johnson stroked the ball into an unguarded net as Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel was stranded outside the18 yard line.

But Everton's joy was controversially cut short by a linesman's flag who adjudged Johnson offside earlier in the move.

With Everton player's celebrating the 'goal' Blackburn broke forward and with their only clear cut chance of the second half, leading scorer Roque Santa Cruz scooped the ball over from close range.

Earlier Manuel Fernandes had hit the post with a free kick and Johnson, who was a constant threat to Blackburn, had a penalty appeal turned down.

Certainly The Toffees looked more equipped for Europe than Blackburn and whilst they remain unbeaten in the League in 2008 Everton boss David Moyes remained sanguine about the result.

"It's onside.

"A minimum of two players played him on, three maybe four including the goalkeeper. But it happens, we didn't get it. We just hope it doesn't come back to haunt us later on

"When James Vaughn scoops the ball back Andrew Johnson is behind play.

Johnson was initially offside when the move began but Moyes was convinced the decision did not relate to that as the referee Alan Willey confirmed it was because there where not two players between Johnson and the goal.

"It was just a poor decision. I said after the derby game I wouldn't criticise referees and we are just looking to get on with it. We are looking to play well and not rely on decisions.

"It was a tight game with both teams trying to get something out of it. We played well today and created some decent chances and limited Blackburn, so overall I'm pleased with the performance but disappointed we didn't take all three points."

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Tribal Football Staff

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