LEIGHTON BAINES has urged his shot-shy Everton team-mates to be more decisive and stop trying to pass the ball into the net.
The defender shares his managers frustration that too many in royal blue are ignoring opportunities to test goalkeepers this season, and a habit of overdoing things is hampering their ambitions.
David Moyes has demanded a more direct approach from his charges, but saw them again squander chances during their 2-2 draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last night.
Baines said: There was probably a lot of times we got within 20 yards of goal outside of the box, with no real pressure and still turned down the opportunity to take a shot.
Sometimes you just need to take the chance and hit one. Sometimes it will fly in, others it will miss, and I think that is something we need to look at. We are in range a lot of times and not hitting it.
Some of us are always looking for another pass. For example Steven Pienaar is a footballer through and through, and he is always trying to score a goal that youd call an Arsenal goal lots of passes, then its knocked in from six yards. Were not doing that at the moment unfortunately though, and players like Steven and Mikel can really hit a ball.
Like with Mikel, his shot took a deflection and went in. Youve got to try your luck.
Baines accepted that the draw was frustrating as the Blues remain in the bottom half of the table, only two points clear of the bottom three.
DISAPPOINTED David Moyes rued two points dropped as Jermaine Beckford spurned another chance to make himself a last-gasp hero for Everton.
With the visitors having fought back to level with Mikel Arteta’s 84th-minute equaliser, Beckford – who scored a late equaliser against Bolton Wanderers a fortnight ago – was sent clear in the dying seconds of injury time only to blast horribly over.
Tim Cahill had headed Everton into a sixth-minute lead before goals in either half from Danny Welbeck transformed the game.
And while pleased with a point at the in-form Black Cats, Moyes was left frustrated by familiar failings from his team.
“It was a great chance in the last seconds,” said the Goodison manager. “Through on goal, you wouldn’t want any more. Jermaine normally finishes those and it should have been three points.
“We had the ball a lot in and around their box and got crosses in from good positions, but didn’t make it pay and it cost us.
“I’m disappointed we couldn’t finish off some of our good play.
“I’m pleased, though, because this is a hard place to come, particularly after their last win (against Chelsea).
“At the start of the season I thought we were capable of big things and I still do. We are a good team that is lacking goals, even though Tim Cahill is popping up with a few, but we are in a position to challenge at the top end.”
There was some controversy over Welbeck’s second goal, with Kieran Richardson appearing to be in an offside position before crossing for the on-loan striker to head past Tim Howard.
And Moyes said: “Yes, it looked offside, but it was difficult for the linesman to see. Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it doesn’t.”
While having now lost only one of their nine games, Everton haven’t won in four and assistant manager Steve Round admits there have been too many draws for the Goodison outfit.
“We are disappointed not to get all three points,” said Round. “We had enough opportunities to win the game. We are playing well enough to win but can’t get the wins.
“We have only lost one of the last eight games but we have had too many draws.”
Of Beckford’s miss, Round added: “It was very unusual for Jermaine to miss that. We have seen him score that many times in training, I was just waiting for the net to bulge. But that sums up our season really.”
Everton target Yannick Djalo insists he is happy at Sporting Lisbon – but would be open to a January move.
The creative winger has been tracked by David Moyes for some time and sources in Portugal revealed Everton have been in touch with Djalo’s club about the possibility of a January move.
But the 24-year-old, who has just returned from injury, says he will only leave Sporting if it is for the good of the club.
He said: “There is still time until January and then we’ll see what is best for me and the club.
Three weeks ago, Sunderland supporters would have been forgiven for thinking Danny Welbeck was only in the side as part of his loan agreement with Manchester United.
The conspiracy theorists were silenced on Monday night after the 19-year-old striker scored his second and third goals in two matches to keep Sunderland in the hunt for Europe.
Welbeck's double looked to have sealed his side's first Barclays Premier League win over Everton in nine years but they were denied by a deflection off Phil Bardsley's right boot from a Mikel Arteta shot seven minutes from time.
It was still a significant night for Welbeck, who is 20 on Friday. He has struggled to win over Sunderland fans since his season-long move from United started in August, having failed to score until the incredible 3-0 win at Chelsea.
But he looked certain to keep his place even before Asamoah Gyan was ruled out through injury, which brought Darren Bent back into the side for the first time in four games.
Welbeck's two cool finishes last night backed manager Steve Bruce's judgment. The first was a neat close-range nudge to guide Bolo Zenden's low cross past Tim Howard, the second a guided header from Kieran Richardson's centre which floated perfectly over the Everton keeper.
Welbeck still managed to miss a close-range chance in added time after Steed Malbranque had left him with just Howard to beat. Welbeck screwed his left-foot shot wide, claiming it had been nudged away from him by Phil Jagielka.
'I am disappointed not to get the three points considering we were in front,' he said. 'I came close to getting the hat-trick but there was a deflection at the end. It would have been sweeter to get the three points but we still take this as a positive.'
Bruce's frustration was nothing compared to the rage shown by opposite number David Moyes after Jermaine Beckford squandered the chance of a winner with the last kick of the game.
The free signing from Leeds was through on goal, racing on to Phil Neville's punt, but he belted his left-foot shot high into the Everton fans behind Craig Gordon's goal. Moyes could barely hide his disgust, booting a water bottle at fourth official Phil Dowd, who didn't say a word.
'It was a great chance to win three points,' said Moyes, who is still unbeaten against Sunderland since taking over Everton. 'Normally he takes those and overall those missed chances have cost us.'
Everton took a sixth-minute lead through Tim Cahill's seventh goal in 12 matches against them. It was another trademark header from the Australia midfielder, the fourth with his head out of the seven he has scored this season.
Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar swapped passes before Pienaar's clever pass found Leighton Baines unmarked on the Everton left. His teasing centre fell between centre backs Michael Turner and Anton Ferdinand, reunited after Titus Bramble's late withdrawal with a knee injury which needs an operation, and their old nemesis arrived to head home.
Sunderland's response was swift, and new England midfielder Jordan Henderson's right-foot free-kick was saved low down by Howard.
Sunderland finally got the breakthrough in the 23rd minute, thanks to the magic feet of Zenden, which bamboozled Pienaar and Baines in a run down the Sunderland right before playing a simple low left-foot pass into a crowded area.Welbeck was there to prod home from close range.
Both sides went for a winner after the break. Welbeck and Richardson combined for Richardson to unleash a low shot narrowly wide and Zenden hit another shot just over.
Cahill appeared to finished neatly just before the hour but Turner scampered back to clear before receiving a minute's treatment after colliding with a post. Welbeck looked to have won the game with his second goal of the night, a cushioned header from a Richardson cross, but Arteta's speculative shot denied Bruce.