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 Venue: The Riverside, Middlesbro' Premiership  Saturday 29 April 2006; 3:00pm
    Half Time: 0-0
  McFadden (88')  
 Attendance: 29,224 Fixture 37 Referee: Lee Mason

Match Summary

Kevin Kilbane: No starting berth in central midfield

The injury to Tim Cahill meant a reshuffle to accommodate Phil Neville in midfield, with Alan Stubbs coming back in to partner David Weir, Yobo at right back.  Middlesbrough, ecstatic at heir fantastic comeback on Thursday that saw them through to the Uefa Cup Final.  The best time to play them?  We shall see... they make nine changes, with lots of young reserves coming in.

Everton were slow out of the blocks,  Richard Wright worryingly missing a kick.  After 10 mins or so Joseph Yobo landed awkwardly, jarring his leg.  Boro cut through the Everton defence on 17 mins, and Morrison should have scored but for a vital intervention by Weir.

Beattie delivered a good ball in that Jones could only punch... but why was Beattie delivering the balls?  Osman had a pop following a nice run, but his shot from 20 yards was over the bar.  Van der Meyde still looked a bit slow or lacking in match sharpness as his final balls demonstrated. Meanwhile, the Boro youngsters were up for it, pushing Everton hard with a succession of good moves in attacks that brought a number of corners but they failed to test Richard Wright.  A Yakubu shot flew just wide.

From a free kick, Beattie's shot was good but Brad Jones fumbled it away for a corner but nothing came of it, except a break in which Yakubu turned Naysmith and left him for dead with three other players supporting him but he then slipped and fell.  At the other end, Davies got free and ran at goal with little support but Ehiogu stopped him.

Van der Meyde was substituted after the break (pain-killing injections no longer effective?), with Kilbane coming on.  Wright had to save well from Christie after another good turn by Yakubu, but Wright got his right leg injured in the process and on came Iain Turner. 

Middlesbrough continued to threaten more convincingly than Everton, with a shot from Yakubu deflected fractionally wide. At the other end, a well-taken free-kick by McFadden was pushed away although it may have been going wide. 

Davies, who was having a pretty good game, made a strong run, got into a great position, but fired into the side netting with Kilbane in a perfect far-post position.  Chance wasted, but it prefaced a good period of attacking play form Everton, with chances for Stubbs and McFadden swinging in some decent balls.

Yakubu so nearly scored fom close range in the last five minutes, but fired fractionally wide.  But, with two minutes left, Davies and Osman combined brilliantly to set Jamie McFadden off and he lobbed it superbly over the 'Boro goalkeeper, an excellently constructed and very well-taken goal to give Everton all the points!  So... perhaps it was a good time to play Boro after all!!!

And it does wonders for Everton's record in the final five games of the season:

    P 4   W 1  D 1  L 2   GF 1  GA 4   Pts 4

Everton win their final away game for the first time in 13 years; some pride restored.

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

A year after finishing fourth in the Premiership and earning the plaudits and respect of the nation, Everton go into the penultimate game of the season hoping that two wins and other results going their way will earn them another top-half finish.

Their opponents are wildly erratic Middlesbrough whose success in Europe on Thursday, where they booked their place in the UEFA Cup Final, could come at the expense of their own top-10 ambitions — this weekend's game comes less than 48 hours after their last outing.

David Moyes must choose from an ever-dwindling supply of first-team players. Tony Hibbert, Nigel Martyn, Alessandro Pistone and Tim Cahill are all ruled out through injury, Lee Carsley is suspended, and while Mikel Arteta has resumed training following an injury of his own, he will not be ready for this trip to The Riverside.

That shortage of options in central midfield means that Kevin Kilbane will likely start alongside Simon Davies, but there is better news at left back with Nuno Valente's return to the squad. The Portuguese hasn't featured since the first half of March. Elsewhere in the squad, there may be substitute opportunities for young players like Victor Anichebe to get some playing time.

Andy van der Meyde is expected to be available despite playing through last weekend's goalless draw with Birmingham with the help of painkilling injections. Matteo Ferrari, however, is listed as a "doubt." Hmmm....

'Boro have injury concerns of their own, with Gareth Southgate, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka all nursing complaints. More than that, there will be some tired limbs in red shirts at The Riverside so plenty for the Blues to exploit.

While Everton's players were certainly more motivated and more fluid against Birmingham than they have been for a while, the same lack of bite up front prevails. That is, of course, a problem to address in the summer but it could harm Moyes's hopes of ending the season on a high.

Lyndon Lloyd

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  Doriva (72' Graham)
  Parlour :?'
  Christie  (72' Cattermole)
  Subs not used
  A Davies
EVERTON (4-4-2)
  Wright (54' Turner)
  Yobo :74'
  Naysmith :44'
  Van der Meyde
           (46' Kilbane)
Subs not used
  Cahill (injured)
  Carsley (Suspended)
  Arteta (injured)
  Hibbert  (injured)
  Martyn (injured)
  Pistone (unfit)
  Vaughan (injured)
  Li Tie (injured)
  Wilson (on loan)
Premiership Scores
Saturday 29 Apr 2006
Chelsea 3-0 Man Utd
Birmingham 0-0 Newcastle
Liverpool 3-1 Aston Villa
Man City 1-2 Fulham
Middlesbro 0-1 Everton
Wigan 1-2 Portsmouth
Charlton 0-2 Blackburn
Sunday 30 Apr 2006
Tottenham 1-0 Bolton
Monday 1 May 2006
Man Utd 0-0 Middlesbro
Sunderland 0-3 Arsenal
West Brom 0-1 West Ham
Tuesday 2 May 2006
Blackburn 1-0 Chelsea
Wednesday 3 May 2006
Bolton 1-1 Middlesbro
Thursday 4 May 2006
Man City 1-3 Arsenal
Sunderland 2-1 Fulham
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Chelsea 91
2 Man Utd 80
3 Liverpool 79
4 Tottenham 65
5 Arsenal 64
6 Blackburn 60
7 Newcastle 55
8 Bolton 53
9 West Ham 52
10 Wigan 51
11 Everton 49
12 Charlton 47
13 Middlesbro 45
14 Fulham 45
15 Man City 43
16 Aston Villa 39
17 Portsmouth 38
18 Birmingham 34
19 West Brom 29
20 Sunderland 15
After 5 May 2006


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