© PA Photos
It could have been 2-0 on eight minutes. Howard slipped taking a kick and Adel Taarabt found Armand Traore but Bobby Zamora could not connect to his cross.
On 16 minutes Cesar was forced into a decent save from a Nikica Jelavic free-kick.
Ryan Nelsen headed a good chance over the bar for the home side after a dangerous ball was whipped in by Esteban Granero.
Everton were level in the 32nd minute with a huge slice of luck. Silvain Distin's header came back off the post and went in off Cesar.
Two minutes later it was almost 2-1 Everton, Phil Jagielka this time rattling the woodwork from a Leighton Baines corner.
Taarabt and Granera combined well just before half-time but Jagielka was alert to glance the danger clear.