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 Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool Premiership  Saturday 11 March 2006; 3:00pm
 Beattie (pen:13', 35')
 McFadden (58')
Half Time: 2-0
  John (pen:85')
 Attendance: 36,515 Fixture 29 Referee: Uriah Rennie

Match Summary

James Beattie: A nice response to David Moyes asking for more goals from midfield!

Richard Wright replaced Westerveld, the only change from last week.  Joseph Yobo Andy van der Meyde are on the bench.

To start the game, Cahill sent Arteta off on a great run, he beat Volz neatly but rushed the delivery in to four blue shirts in the Fulham area.  But the next real action was a dangerous free-kick from Fulham that the wall blocked effectively.

Beattie got the right side of Knight on the end of a long ball, Knight clipped his heels almost accidentally: Penalty!  James Beattie was the one who powered the ball home in great style, feinting to send ex-kopite Warner the wrong way and tucking it with great power and aplomb inside the left post. A superbly taken penalty!

A strange mle resulted when Helguson made a back for Stubbs in the Fulham area and got an elbow in the ear for his trouble but Rennie was never going to give a second penalty.  Fulham did not look comfortable in defence, the players seemingly at odds with each other.

A great piece of football involved McFadden and Neville who's pass enable Valente to play a superb ball in to Beattie but he couldn't quite convert.  Arteta then played in Cahill who chested down and volleyed just wide as Everton started to build with more confidence.

Arteta was involved in everything good Everton were producing.  Off a deep free-kick by Stubbs from the centre-circle, the ball was rolled back nicely by Cahill and chipped over Warner instinctively in a superb curling cross-shot that floated perfectly into the far left corner from James Beattie for his second goal of the game.  Very impressive!  But where was Sven Goran-Eriksson?

A couple of corners before half-time lead to more threats on goal but Everton went in at the break with a very deserved two-goal lead, thanks to James Beattie, who now has more goals than McBride!!!

Fulham tried to come back into it at the start of the second half but Everton were soon back in their stride, with Osman firing just wide after another great move involving Mikel Arteta.

More superb stuff from Arteta finally brought the game back to life, combining well with Valente, and after a couple of great moves, Beattie laid back another long ball from defence for James McFadden, whose exemplary control on his chest and exquisite volley arched over Warner for a superb finish his first league goal at Goodison!  Everton in full ascendancy! 

Neville was booked for deliberate handball when he stupidly ran in on Warner and raised his arms to charge down the goalkeeper's clearance.  Some great work saw more attacking football from Osman and a brilliant free-kick from McFadden that flew just a few inches wide of the post.  It was all Everton as they looked to secure their biggest win of the season.

Beattie tried for his hat-trick with a dramatic volley but it didn't quite come off.  Osman, Neville, Valente, Hibbert and Beattie were all playing well as Everton entered the last quarter comfortably.  It was only the final ball in to the area that separated Everton from a really impressive goal-tally.

McFadden was replaced by Kilbane, and Valente was replaced by Davies, while Van der Meyde, who really needs a game, sat on the bench... not full fit perhaps?  What better opportunity to ease a player back in to the pace of the Premiership?  Moyes's substitutions never cease to puzzle. 

But Fulham were not done yet, Collins John skipping past Weir and Boa Morte jabbing the ball poorly just wide.  A let-off.  Moyes finally brought on Andy van der Meyde for Tim Cahill for the last 8 mins but, as it turned out, the effect of the substitutions was to unnerve the Everton team.

Hibbert slid in to block Collins John but fouled him, giving away a penalty that Collins John converted straight down the middle to beat Richard Wright.  John should have scored again moments later, and McBride should have been in as well, but Weir somehow denied him, as Everton were perhaps guilty of switching off a little as the final whistle loomed.

Van der Meyde did well to run in on goal but took a fraction too long and could not finish; Beattie could not convert either from Arteta's clever lay-off.  Meanwhile, Stubbs got himself booked for dissent, John headed poorly and then slipped on his arse trying to speed the game up. 

In a hectic last few minutes, Volz crossed superbly for the next Fulham attack, John headed back and McBride was denied by a point-blank Wright save that could have given Fulham a 3-3 draw.  At the other end, Osman had another pop that went wide.  Good performance from Everton, but they need to stay on task for the full 90 mins.

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

The injuries that have quietly plagued Everton's season are starting to ease, although the fitness of Joseph Yobo and Matteo Ferrari may still be a problem for the visit of Chris Coleman's Cottagers on Saturday the first of two consecutive home games that should get Everton back on the winning track.  And Richard Wright may be in contention although it surely seems highly unlikely that he would replace Westerveld, even if the emergency keeper has let in four goals so far.

It is also a little too soon for Andy van der Meyde, James Vaughan, and Alessandro Pistone, who all returned to training last week.  And with Duncan Ferguson still suspended, an unchanged side would not be much of a surprise for David Moyes, who has been pleased with the improved football played by his boys, even though the last two games have only produced one point.

Fulham come to Goodison Park having never won a league game there against Everton, and having not won away from home all season.  And it has been another indifferent season for the Cottagers, despite some sterling work from ex-Blue Brian McBride, who has managed to notch up double figures in the goals scored column one more than Beattie.

Other ex-Blues at Fulham have not been so prolific: Tomasz Radzinsky has only managed 2 goals, and has nothing like the scoring record he produced while at Everton.  Mark Pembridge has not played at all for them this season, but could make his first appearance, with midfielder Papa Bouba Diop and first-choice goalie Antti Niemi both out of this one.

And talking of our own goalscorers, James Beattie did well to convert last week, and perhaps should have had a second to win the game.  He needs to continue to produce for Everton, which means spending more time in the area, and creating some movement for the likes of Arteta, Valente, and even Hibbert to put balls into him.  The supply lines are there... it just seems the positional play is still lacking in the final third; they need something, someone to play the ball in to.

Lean Osman also took his goal well last week and the encouraging words from David Moyes that followed could push him to new heights... as long as those Fulham brutes don't push him off the ball too easily.  And Tim Cahill really, really really needs to start scoring again.

And then there's Simon Davies... and Jamie McFadden.  Wouldn't it be fantastic if they both had great games and pushed each other for MotM?

Michael Kenrick

Elegant Everton exhibit new-found finesse

Whisper it quietly, but David Moyes's Everton have found width. With a performance that was light years from those that characterised the early weeks of the season, the Blues brushed Fulham aside with panache, flair and a single-mindedness that only really faltered in the final phase of the game once the points were well and truly in the bag.

It was a side of Everton we have seen so rarely under Moyes's tenure. There was almost nothing of the kick-and-hope, set-piece reliance that has been a feature of the Blues' scramble for goals this season and despite the presence of just one reliable out-and-out striker, they scored three times and, truth be told, should have had more.

That striker was, of course, James Beattie who is riding a wave of confidence right now that has carried him back to the kind of form that earned him his first England caps and persuaded David Moyes to splash out £6m for him a little over a year ago. The former Southampton srtriker scored twice, the second a sublime lob over goalkeeper Tony Warner that effectively killed the game.

Richard Wright returned to the starting line-up at the expense of temporary stand-in, Sander Westerveld, after recovering from the farcical ankle injury he sustained at Chelsea last month. Joseph Yobo sat out after failing a fitness test and Mikel Arteta lined up on the left of midfield, making room for Leon Osman on the right and James McFadden up front in a 4-4-2 formation.

And the Blues' — Arteta in particular —signalled their intentions as early as the first minute when the Spaniard went on a terrific run ad burst past his marker to the byline but his cross was a poor one and flew high over everyone in the centre.

In marked contrast to the defeat at Newcastle a fortnight prior, Everton were moving the ball around crisply and efficiently in the opening few minutes. They then lost momentum for a period before Beattie latched onto Nuno Valente's through-ball, was bundled over by Zat Knight and was rewarded with a penalty, given by referee Uriah Rennie. The Blues no. 8 took a short run up before crashing a emphatic spot-kick high inside the left-hand post to put Everton a goal to the good.

The home side were in dominant mood and Fulham, who had lost in each of their last 12 visits to Goodison, had just one meaningful effort on goal in the opening half, and that was Knight's flicked header on a cross whipped in from the left that Wright had to parry before gathering at the second attempt.

Meanwhile, Valente won the ball with a tenacious tackle 30 yards out, got the ball back from Arteta and crossed from the byline but Beattie could only steer a header inches wide of the back post. Alan Stubbs also had a headed effort but he put it over the bar from 7 yards out after interference from Helgarsson.

Still the Blues came forward with some stylish moves epitomised by a 35th minute 1-2 between Arteta and McFadden that ended with the Spanish midfielder dancing into the box and firing off Knight's heel and into the out-stretched arms of Warner.

A minute later, it was 2-0. A lofted ball was nodded back to Beattie by Cahill and he effected a inch-perfect lob from the edge of the box that arced delightfully over the 'keeper and dropped into the back of the net. A truly mesmerising finish out of the same playbook that delivered the equaliser at West Ham last weekend.

2-0 up at half time and coasting, Everton were not done yet. Whereas Moyes's side have in the past been all too willing to sit on a lead, they were relentless on this occasion, sparing the visitors no mercy following their 4-0 drubbing by Arsenal at Craven Cottage seven days earlier.

Three minutes after the interval, Osman crossed for Arteta but his header lacked conviction and was safely gathered by Warner. A minute later, Osman tried his luck with a half volley that flew just wide before benefiting from a nice exchange between Arteta and Cahill and firing goalwards again, this time seeing his shot richochet off a defender and out of danger.

Then, out of the blue, came another moment of magic from one of the more unlikely sources. James McFadden has rarely been able to replicate the scintillating form from his time at Motherwell but with 55 minutes on the clock, he picked the ball up from 25 yards out and fired an absolutely beauty that swerved into the top corner and sent Goodison into delirium. McFadden himself was visibly shocked for a few seconds before his face spread into a elated grin in response to his first ever goal in front of his home fans.

Even at 3-0, Everton kept coming forward: Osman forced another save from Warner with a wicked shot from the edge of the box, McFadde bent a direct free kick a foot wide of the upright and even Tonyu Hibbert went close... although he probably didn't intend for his cross from the right to drift within inches of the back post!

Where Fulham had failed in disrupting Everton's rhythm, Moyes actually succeeded. The 77th-minute substitution of McFadden and Valente for Kevin Kilbane and Simon Davies stalled the Blues' momentum and the Cottagers finally started to get into the game on the back of their own change in the form of Collins John.

Luis Boa Morte went very close, flicking a shot wide before John was felled clumsily by Hibbert inside the box and the referee had no option but to award his second penalty of the day which John stepped up to blast confidently past Wright.

Suddenly Fulham had come to life and were marauding forward in search of a second goal to put their hosts under pressure in injury time. They nearly got it with 92 minutes in the watch but Wright made a good point-blank save to deny Brian McBride.

But it was Everton who had the final words, with late substitute Andy van der Meyde exhibiting a nice burst of acceleration to leave his marker for dead but he just couldn't find room for a shot. And Osman dragged the last effort of the game wide before Rennie brought to an end a wonderful display by the home side.

Back when this team sank to the bottom of the Premiership like a stone and then suffered three consecutive humuliations around the Christmas period, a performance like this was unimaginable. Indeed, such a coherent and attractive display wasn't even on the cards during last season's tremendous run to fourth place. On this evidence, if we had a prolific out-and-striker with pace, we'd be dynamite.

Picking a man of the match between Beattie and Arteta was difficult. The former scored two goals and was seemingly everywhere at times, even rescueing his side at the back on a couple of occasions. But while Beattie drifted out of the game at times, Arteta was electric for almost the entire match and proved once again what a special player he is. Dazzling ball skills, tenacious tackling and an improving reading of the English game are making him the Blues's most valuable player at the moment.

Lyndon Lloyd


Were Safe!

Having arrived at Goodison in plenty of time, I was quite looking forward to tucking into a few beers in The Spellow.  Unfortunately, The Spellow was inexplicably shut so we re-routed to The Oak which was nice, pleasant and surprisingly not too busy.  Im starting to get a bit edgy now about the pubs we go to before the game.  Weve now regularly attended The Sportsman, The Blue House and The Spellow only to see them all shut down.  I just hope The Spellow was just a one off.

We left the pub well in time for kick-off and noticed the team hadnt changed from the one that drew well at Upton Park last Saturday, with the exception of Wright in goal for Westerveld.

Everton started brightly and took the game to Fulham early on, albeit without many chances.  Fulham never really looked comfortable and never got going.  Strangely though, just when they looked like theyd steadied the ship a bit, they gave away a soft penalty.  Beattie had beaten Zat Knight for pace and gotten round the back of him.  Zat Knight tripped him possibly unintentionally and the referee didnt really have much option.  Up stepped Beattie who banged it home convincingly and Everton were on their way.  After that it was pretty much complete domination as Everton were simply relentless.

Fulham had a good chance to level it when I think Zat Knight connected on a long free kick, but fortunately only headed it straight at Wright.  Just as that happened, the fella next to me legged it downstairs and a few minutes later came back up with a pie and a drink.  The smell of the pie got the better of me and with the game a bit flat at the time, I felt it was a good time to go and get a pie myself, thus beating the half-time rush.  At that I got up and walked along the top row to the stall, got there and Goodison erupted.  I got my pie and legged it back to my seat only to see the ball nestle into the corner on the replay.  I cant believe I missed it.  Ive since seen it and it was something special.  What a kick in the nuts.  Great stuff from Beattie.  Everton were now rocking and clearly enjoying their football.

At half-time, some girl extraordinarily came onto the pitch and proposed to her boyfriend in the crowd.  As you can well expect, this led towards howls of abuse from the majority of the Lower Gwladys. He said "Yes," by the way. 

It was simply more of the same in the second half as Everton basically put Fulham to the sword with relentless bouts of pressure and tidy football.  Fulham simply capitulated.  This was highlighted when McFadden scored an absolute wonder goal.  At least I saw this one!  A ball up from Weir was nodded down by Beattie for McFadden who let fly from about 30 yards on the half-volley.  A Rooney-esque screamer.

Everton were now very comfortable and if they needed to could have scored more goals.  As it was, they didnt and relaxed substantially.  Its quite a nice feeling to sit on a three-goal lead.  Fulham only showed any signs of getting back into it when Moyes dismantled the midfield.  Kilbane, Davies and Van der Meyde (who got the biggest cheer) replaced McFadden, Cahill and Valente.  Of these, it was Andy van der Meyde who made the biggest impact when he jigged his way into the box and, just before letting fly, was tackled.

At the other end, and out of nothing, Boa Morte got caught in the box by a rash lunge from Tony Hibbert and the ref had no choice but to give Fulham a penalty.  Collins John sent Wright the wrong way and tucked it home.  Fulham had a consolation.  Its funny how goals change games because after that Fulham would have scored again if not for a miraculous save from Wright.  Everton just love to make you sweat.

The final action of the game fittingly came when Osman, desperate to get on the scoreboard, let fly from 20 yards, but his crisp effort grazed wide.

Its a shame that Europe is probably just a bit too far away now but I do have big hopes for that team next season.  Add a striker to the mix and well be mustard.

Oh yeah, and the ref (Uriah Rennie!) was good.

Player Ratings

  • Wright: As usual (one great catch in the second half aside) was reluctant to leave his line, but didnt really do anything wrong and distributed well. 7
  • Valente: As good an attacking left back as youll find at the moment. Gelling well. 8
  • Stubbs: Good and solid. 7
  • Weir: Poor first half but did well in the second. 7
  • Hibbert: Good, but gave away a soft penalty. 6
  • Arteta: Awesome. He took the piss. 10
  • Cahill: Controlled things well in the middle. 8
  • Neville: Had a very good game but blotted his copybook with an extremely stupid booking. 7
  • Osman: Nice and tidy. 7
  • McFadden: The goal aside, he hardly touched the ball, but what a goal. 7
  • Beattie: Looking genuinely class at the moment. Has given himself a chance of a late World Cup charge. A great peno and a lovely chip. Apparently! 9
  • Kilbane (for Valente): Didnt really have an opportunity to get into the game. 6
  • Davies (for Cahill): Didnt really have an opportunity to get into the game. 6
  • Van der Meyde (for McFadden): Got into the game and was put up front. Hes quality. Imagine him when hes fit. 7

Paul Traill

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EVERTON (4-4-2)
  Weir {c}
  Stubbs :86'
  Valente (77' Davies)
  Cahill (82' Van der Meyde)
  Neville :56'
  McFadden (77' Kilbane)
Subs not used
  Ferguson (suspended)
  Martyn (injured)
  Pistone (unfit)
  Ferrari (injured)
  Vaughan (unfit)
  Li Tie (unfit)
FULHAM (4-4-2)
  Bocanegra :80'
  Helguson (76' John)
  Boa Morte {c}
  Rosenoir :35'
  Elliott (41' Christanval)
  Subs not used
Premiership Scores
Saturday 11 Mar 2006
Birmingham 1-1 West Brom
Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham
Bolton 4-1 West Ham
Everton 3-0 Fulham
Portsmouth 1-1 Man City
Sunderland 0-1 Wigan
Blackburn 2-0 Aston Villa
Sunday 12 Mar 2006
Man Utd 2-0 Newcastle
Charlton 2-1 Middlesbro
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Chelsea 75
2 Man Utd 57
3 Liverpool 55
4 Tottenham 49
5 Arsenal 47
6 Blackburn 46
7 Bolton 45
8 Wigan 43
9 West Ham 42
10 Man City 41
11 Everton 40
12 Newcastle 39
13 Charlton 39
14 Aston Villa 34
15 Middlesbro 34
16 Fulham 32
17 West Brom 27
18 Birmingham 24
19 Portsmouth 19
20 Sunderland 10
After 15 Mar 2006


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