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Diego Lugano scored with a powerful diving header as West Bromwich Albion earned a home draw with Everton in head coach Pepe Mel's first match in charge on Monday.
The Uruguayan scored the first goal of his Barclays Premier League career midway through the second half to hand the Baggies a point in a contest largely dominated by the visitors.
Roberto Martinez's men knew that a win would take them into the top four and the visitors looked to be on the way to victory when Kevin Mirallas opened the scoring just before the interval.
However, Everton were thwarted by a brilliant header from Lugano, which ensured that Mel - who took over earlier this month following the departure of Steve Clarke - started his time at The Hawthorns on a positive note.
Nicolas Anelka, Matej Vydra, Lugano, Zoltan Gera and Claudio Yacob also came into Mel's first starting XI, while Sylvain Distin returned from a hamstring strain for Everton, whose bench featured new signing Aiden McGeady.
West Brom made a bright start to proceedings but it was Everton who created the better chances in the opening stages, midfielder Bryan Oviedo threatening twice early on. The Costa Rican volleyed wide from the edge of the box with his first effort, then skewed another wide when well placed inside the area.
Just before the half-hour mark, Tim Howard was forced into a strong save to deny Gera following an excellent pass from Anelka.But West Brom could not take advantage of some good spells of possession in the first half and were made to pay four minutes before the break when Mirallas struck. The Belgian displayed great awareness to beat Lugano to a Romelu Lukaku knock-down and slot the ball coolly past Ben Foster.
West Brom made a change at half-time, former Everton striker Victor Anichebe replacing Vydra. Martinez's men continued to frustrate a home side but there was to be a twist in the tale on 75 minutes when Lugano turned James Morrison's pinpoint near-post cross into the top corner with a fine header.
Everton thought they had snatched it when Distin turned in Gareth Barry's low drive, but the defender was in an offside position.
The draw leaves West Brom four points clear of the drop zone, while Everton are sixth, a point behind city rivals Liverpool in fourth.
West Bromwich Albion head coach Pepe Mel: "For me the performance was very good. In the first half we were too open but in the second half we were compact. Everton are a team that is very, very strong. Tonight was a difficult match for me and my team.
"It is only the first week, I need to work. The players are hungry, for me that it is important. I think the team is very well, I need one more striker but with Anelka, Anichebe, Vydra, I am happy."
Everton manager Roberto Martinez: "Any point is a good point. (But) we are disappointed with the second-half performance. The hardest thing in first half was to get the goal and we managed that. To to concede the goal in the manner that we did was unfortunate."
|29 Jan 2014||v Aston Villa (A)|
|02 Feb 2014||v Liverpool (H)|
|08 Feb 2014||v Crystal Palace (A)|
|11 Feb 2014||v Chelsea (H)|
|22 Feb 2014||v Fulham (H)|
|08 Mar 2014||v Man Utd (H)|