Football: Everton more than matched visitors Arsenal for 89 minutes, but unfortunately it was the first minute that cost them all three points and the chance to close the gap on the top four.
Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott caught their hosts napping with Ramsey setting up Walcott to finish clinically over Tim Howard after just 52 seconds.
Everton finally got going after five minutes having seen Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny taken off with an groin injury.
The Gunner’s goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was kept busy all night after that and was forced into action no less than three times before Everton’s eventual equaliser.
Steven Pienaar’s persistence saw Bacary Sagna spoon the ball straight to Marouane Fellaini and after taking a touch to steady himself he placed his shot precisely into the bottom corner from an impressive 25 yards.
Everton were denied a penalty shortly after the hour, when referee Michael Oliver waved away claims that former Toffee Mikel Arteta leaned on Pienaar, an offence that was penalised three times outside of the box.
Everton boss David Moyes was fuming about the decision that may have cost his side a deserved victory.
“We should have had a penalty,” insisted Moyes. “A lot of games are won by the decisions that referees make or don’t make.” Asked if he would confront Oliver, Moyes replied: “I won’t go anywhere near him.”
But the Scot did concede that his side must play through from the kick-off to the final whistle and not rely on the referee, after seeing his side losing a late goal to Norwich on Saturday and now an early one last night.
“We didn’t play from the start,” admitted Moyes, “We did play until the end. (But) we need to do it ourselves.”
Arsene Wenger was pleased with the point his Arsenal side ground out and looks to push on up the league, with travels to both Liverpool and Manchester clubs out of the way.
“It’s a good point here,” said the Frenchman. “We’ve played 14 games, eight away. So if we play well at home we have a chance to comeback.”
Wenger foresees a lengthy layoff for the injured Koscienly, just as he seemed to have solved his side’s defensive frailties. “He has a groin strain, that is usually three weeks,” bemoaned Wenger.