Everton remain unbeaten in Group H of the Europa League after a hard-fought draw with Lille.
The goalless stalemate - watched by the biggest travelling contingent of Blues for a European fixture since the 1985 Cup Winners’ Cup Final - ensures Roberto Martinez’s men remain top of the table at the midway point of the group stage.
Wolfsburg’s 4-2 victory over Krasnodar in Russia means Everton are one point ahead of their German rivals and two points clear of Lille.
Rene Girard’s side will be the next visitors to Goodison in this competition and they proved in this contest that they offer a notable attacking threat.
But Phil Jagielka, alongside the returning Sylvain Distin, proved more than capable of dealing with Divock Origi and Ronny Rodelin.
As a result, Tim Howard had a relatively quiet evening.
As for the Blues, they played some attractive football at times but found chances limited.
A couple of opportunities from free-kicks around the box and a couple of efforts from Aiden McGeady that tested Vincent Enyeama were the highlights on an evening which will live longer in the memory because of the scale of the travelling support than the action on the field.
There was a moment in the closing seconds when Samuel Eto’o sent a curling effort goalwards from the edge of the box but it floated agonisingly wide of the upright.
Nevertheless, the point could prove vital in Everton’s mission to qualify for the knockout stages.
And the side deserve credit for the way in which they dealt with notable early pressure from their hosts.
Sebastian Corchia latched onto the ball in the second minute but his shot was deflected behind by Jagielka. Moments later, Marko Basa put the ball wide as he connected with a cross.
Ross Barkley was provided with a battle scar to remember his first taste of European football by, sustaining a head wound early in the game that required a heavy bandage.
That didn’t hamper him though, the young midfielder proving a constant thorn in the side of Lille and also clearing from inside his own six-yard box early in the second period to deny the hosts.
Eto’o also enjoyed an impressive evening. Lovely play from the Cameroonian saw him evade his marker on the right side of the Lille penalty area on 13 minutes, but his low cross just eluded an Everton man.
A delightful one-two between Eto’o and Steven Pienaar later in the half presented the striker with a chance to charge on goal, but just as he beat his man the ball got caught under his feet. It was a sign, though, that Everton’s interplay in the final third was capable of causing problems for the home side.
Affirmation of that was provided by the whistling from the home fans when the Blues enjoyed extended periods of impression possession.
Nevertheless, a chance of real note proved elusive. Indeed, the first effort on target came in the 33rd minute, McGeady latching on to a loose clearance to attempt a first-time drive that fizzed along the ground but was straight at Enyeama in the Lille goal.
A free-kick from 25 yards with four minutes of the opening half remaining sailed over the bar from the right-foot of Barkley.
Rodelin failed to test Howard with an adventurous overhead kick and Idrissa Gueye sent a drive from the edge of the box narrowly wide.
In the second period Barkley had to be called on to clear from inside the Blues’ six-yard box following a corner and Franck Beria received a booking for squaring up to Pienaar as the contest became a little more heated.
Shortly after, the South African wide man, who had acquitted himself well, was withdrawn in favour of an additional centre-forward - Romelu Lukaku joining Eto’o in the forward line.
And he almost had an instant impact, playing his part in a flowing attacking move that ended in McGeady being denied by the underside of Enyeama when it seemed the deadlock was set to be broken.
Lukaku’s presence did provide greater focus to the attacking play. But, frustratingly, a chance of real note never materialised. And so the Blues return to Merseyside still unbeaten and top of the group. A nice position to be in ahead of the visit of Lille to Goodison in a few weeks.