Sudden impact from Jerome earns Potters share of spoils
The bitter memories of last month's painful defeat at Wembley are fast being erased by the glorious prospect of Everton finishing above their rivals across Stanley Park.
It has been seven years since David Moyes last secured that notable achievement on Merseyside, but this draw enabled Everton to move three points clear of Liverpool, following Fulham's surprise victory at Anfield.
Recovering from stumbling starts to make the Everton manager think of what might have been has become a recurring theme and his side's lead over their neighbours could have been even more significant had it not been for a typically spirited Stoke fightback, which culminated in Cameron Jerome's equaliser. But with two games left to play, the portents are promising for Moyes.
Stoke have aspirations of their own as they bid to claim a first top-10 finish in the top flight since 1975, so this game was not the dead rubber many had feared.
Everton's approach work was impressive, if sometimes too elaborate, and Nikica Jelavic came close to adding his 10th goal in eight games when he flicked Magaye Gueye's cross inches over the bar, but they did take the lead on the stroke of half-time in messy, fortuitous circumstances.
Peter Crouch attempted to head Tony Hibbert's cross clear, but the ball struck Marc Wilson and then richocheted off the Stoke forward to cross the line.
This was Stoke's 57th game of a season that started at the fag end of July, but refusal to admit defeat on home turf is part of their DNA and three changes made by Stoke swung the game. One of them, Jerome, has become too accustomed to life on the bench for his own liking, but here he conjured a goal out of nothing.
The substitute had only been on the field two minutes and was allowed to advance at least 40 yards as he escaped the attentions of Phil Jagielka and John Heitinga, to bundle the ball past Tim Howard. Both teams had chances to win, but a point will help them in their respective goals. (© Daily Telegraph, London)