Everton defender Phil Jagielka made two goal-line clearances in quick succession to stymie the hosts and at haul-time, it seemed only a matter of time before the Blues would find the opener.
Conte had to defend his decision not to play a recognised No.9, once again opting against using Michy Batshuayi, fuelling rumours of a lack of trust in the Belgian, to deploy three No.10s - Willian, Pedro and Eden Hazard - as his strikeforce.
Smith to take Franken's Senate seat, run in 2018
Smith plans to continue to work with Franken's staff during the transition. "He's our governor and I'm very proud of him". Franken said last Thursday that he will resign "in the coming weeks", but has not yet set a departure date.
Chelsea had to settle for a point despite dominating the game at Goodison Park.
On the other end, Thibaut Courtois was a virtual spectator as Sam Allardyce's men did not have a single shot on goal over the course of 90 minutes, perhaps lacking penetration without in-form striker Wayne Rooney, who sat out the tie with an illness.
Antonio Conte is keen on bringing in a versatile forward player for Chelsea in the January transfer window, according to reports in the British media. "In terms of effort, commitment, organisation, we have played a hugely talented front five and have had a bit of luck but rolled up our sleeves to get a result. It is normal to drop points with a poor performance but not today".
"It keeps the undefeated run going, and you have to respect a point against the big boys".