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Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Premiership
 Saturday 30 Sept 2006; 3:00pm
Johnson (44')
Half Time: 1-0
Richards (94') 
Attendance: 38,250
Fixture 7
Referee: Andre Mariner

Matchday Summary

Just to keep everyone on their toes, David Moyes pulled a little bit of a surprise in his team selection, bringing in James Beattie for only his third league start of the season as he switched to 4-4-2 ad presumably an attacking intent in this must-win game.  Other changes were enforced: a suspension for Tony Hibbert, and a serious knee injury for Gary Naysmith, who will be out for six weeks, with Jorge Nuno Valente coming in to replace him. Manchester City featured the increasingly accomplished centre-back and captain, Richard Dunne, and life-long Evertonian Joey Barton.

But the Everton players had some trouble adjusting back to 4-4-2, with the Manchester City midfield taking firmer control with their extra man in the middle.  It was 15 minutes before Everton made a worthwhile attack with Beattie playing an excellent ball in from a throw-in and Osman looking very lively but it went behind for a corner.  Johnson then made a strong run but had little support and ran into the corner.  Carsley switched the play and Johnson was on the end of the cross but his header was straight at Weaver.

On the half-hour, Man City won a free-kick in a very dangerous position but Barton hit it off the Everton wall.  Beattie got an opportunity to run at the Man City defence but he never really had proper control of the ball and could not bring any supporting players into the move, scooping it pointlessly out for a goal-kick to a round of disappointed groans from the increasingly frustrated Everton crowd, who could not understand why Everton were not making more of an impression.  The main reason was Distin and Dunne, the back pair controlling everything Everton could muster. 

As Everton tried to build more pressure going into the break, Lescott flicked the ball ahead and Johnson got to it ahead of Weaver but could not direct it toward the Park End goal.  A terrific move started by Arteta let Johnson play the ball in early for Beattie who fluffed his shot.  But moments later, a driven cross from Phil Neville into the area and Andy Johnson volleyed it waits-high, perhaps with the benefit of a deflection, past Weaver and into the net.

Inside the second half, a strong run from Valente got the ball forward to Beattie and a couple of shots from Osman followed.  But Man City responded with a good shot from Hamann going wide.  Arteta and Beattie than combined well, with Beattie running in, but he couldn't get the ball in behind Ireland and it ballooned under the City bar but into Weaver's hands. 

A terrific chance, Arteta shot, Weaver palmed it down,  Johnson tried to lift it in, but Richard Dunne, sprawled along the goal line, miraculously kept it out with his body!  Howard got himself into trouble with a very poor punch (too much training with Richard Wright?) but Samaras thankfully fired wide from 12 yards.

Everton were putting in pressure from corners, with Lescott heading in for the first but seeing it deflected away for a second.  Cahill ghosted in and flicked down a lovely header that Weaver didn't even see but it flashed just wide of the far post.  A foul on the edge of the Everton area led to a booking for Cahill (incredibly, his first of the season), and could easily have been a penalty.  Thankfully, Hamann drove it off Yobo for a City corner. 

Both City and Everton had been banging on the door for 10 or 15 minutes, with the second half far better than the first in terms of entertainment.  It really needed a change for Everton to take them through the last 10 minutes, with James Beattie going off to a surprisingly good round of applause, and perhaps a larger one for another cameo from young striker Victor Anichebe.  But City continued to attack and Valente had to get back smartly to put off Corradi, after hoping he would be given offside.

Everton had done everything seemingly possible to win this match, with guilt-edged chances for Carsley, Osman, Arteta, Cahill, Lescott, Johnson and Beattie to wrap up the points, but it just wouldn't happen.  They were supposed to play out the last few minutes for the win, but the relentless pace and sheer competitiveness of the second half meant there was no respite.  An incredible onslaught from City saw them hit the post after a very frightening scramble, and a penalty decision could easily have been given against Everton. Weir came on for Johnson with just 30 seconds of the three added minutes left in a vain attempt by David Moyes to run the clock down.  All it did was give the ref the excuse to add nearly two more minutes of a additional time for yet another round of determined  Man City attacks, the last of which proved crucial.

Everton had ridden their luck, and came close a couple more times to building on their one-goal lead, but it never happened, and a difficult game ended up with an incredibly nervy finish.  A lofted ball from deep was thrown forward by City again, and Samaras somehow directed the ball down to Richards who scored in the final seconds to stun Goodison Park, volleying in very strongly for an incredible result almost four minutes into added time.  Talk about totally wasted opportunities!!!

The idiotic gambit of pushing on pointless substitutions in added time to waste precious seconds and run down the game totally and comprehensively backfired on David Moyes in the fiasco that ended this game for Everton.  There can be little doubt that, if Weir had not been pushed on, the game would have ended after three minutes of stoppage time, and Everton would have won.  Unbelievable!!!

Michael Kenrick

Match Report

For the second week in succession, Everton will be lamenting a controversial refereeing decision for two points dropped as they failed to capitalise on Chelsea's home draw with Aston Villa and pull within a point of the Champions.  But while the question of where the additional half-minute of stoppage time that allowed Manchester City to snatch a point with the last kick of the game came from is a legitimate one, the Blues really only have themselves to blame for again failing to kill the game off.

With Tony Hibbert suspended, Phil Neville dropped back to right back, which left David Moyes with a decision over which formation to employ.  He opted to play 4-4-2, giving James Beattie a chance to prove that his presence in the side can be as effective as Andy Johnson leading the line on his own, supported by the likes of Tim Cahill and Leon Osman from midfield.  Nuno Valente, as a straight swap for the injured Gary Naysmith, was the only other change to the team that started at Newcastle last week.

Despite the pre-match rhetoric about starting strong and taking the game to the opposition, Everton started very slowly, echoing one of their most frustrating traits of last season.  Indeed, both sides struggled to get a grip on the match in cagey fashion, and it wasn't until the 16th minute that the home side managed to create a half-chance, Beattie hooking the ball across goal and Osman cutting it back in for Johnson but he was beaten to it by a defender who headed clear.

Johnson had the first effort on target by either side when he caught the impressive Valente's cross well but he was probably a little too far out to score with his head and Nicky Weaver claimed it with relative ease. While the Blues were passing the ball about nicely in midfield and defence, they lacked their usual cutting edge in the final third of the field, where Beattie looked awkward and ineffective and Johnson had less room than usual to make runs and chase lost causes.

Not surprisingly, though, Johnson remained the home side's biggest threat and he almost flicked home the opening goal in the 38th minute when he anticipated the flight of a looping ball by Neville but Weaver was well placed and touched it behind.  The difference in sharpness, confidence and movement between Everton's front two was clearly outlined a minute before the end of the first half.  Johnson did brilliantly to out-pace and round his marker before cutting the ball back perfectly for Beattie but he scuffed his effort embarrassingly and City were able to hack it clear.

From the resulting throw, Neville picked Johnson out with a low cross and Johnson volleyed home from 12 yards to give Everton the perfect platform on which to go into the break.

Having finally made the breakthrough, the stage was set for the Blues to kill the game with more goals in the second half.  Osman went close first after he picked up a rebound of Cahill's shot off Beattie's back and stung Weaver's palms with a terrific shot from the left edge of the area.  When the ball came back out to Osman from the 'keeper's parry, he couldn't match the power of his first effort and Weaver smothered the shot.

Dietmar Hamann showed City's intent a minute later when he curled a right-footed shot just wide and Tim Howard failed to claim a corner that was hung up to the back post which Beattie had to head behind.  The resulting corner was cleared and Everton broke at speed with Arteta feeding Beattie and the No 9 trying to thread it through to Johnson.  A defender's block deflected the ball high towards the City goal where Weaver lost track of it in the sun and had to awkwardly palm it behind for an Everton corner which came to nothing.

Having restricted his hosts to a single goal thus far, Stuart Pearce shuffled his pack for the first time, throwing striker Bernardo Corradi on in place of Stephen Ireland but still Everton remained the more likely to add to the scoreline.  Arteta picked up a pass in the centre of the area before shifting to the side and firing across Weaver but while the goalkeeper made a one-handed save, the ball fell to Johnson who turned the ball goalwards with a left-footed shot from close range, only to be denied on the line by Richard Dunne who shepherded the ball behind with either his chest or his arm.  The Gwladys Street End erupted with claims for a penalty but both match officials were on the wrong side of the incident to make an accurate call.

Osman then headed Neville's high ball to the back post powerfully over before Lescott forced a fantastic one-handed save from Weaver as he connected with an Arteta corner from the right.  A minute later, Cahill should have doubled the lead but glanced a free header inches wide of the far post before Johnson dispatched a half-volley over the bar from the edge of the box.

In between, though, another worrying flap by Howard had the American drop the ball at the feet of Samaras who, thankfully, miscued with the goal at his mercy, perhaps put off as Joseph Yobo flung himself into a desperate block.  And Pearce had made his second, and perhaps most effective, substitution when he withdrew Ishmail Miller for USA international, DeMarcus Beasley with 22 minutes left.

And Beasley immediately began making in-roads into the Everton defence, forcing Cahill to bundle him over in full flight just inches outside the area and earn a booking in the process.  The subsequent direct free kick by Hamman beat the wall but not Yobo's instinctive block with an out-stretched boot, and the German might have had another chance a few minutes later had the referee agreed with Michael Richards that Osman had illegally brought him down, also on the edge of the area.

Moyes decided to make his first change as late as the 82nd minute, pulling Beattie off and throwing Victor Anichebe into the fray.  The Nigerian won a corner within seconds of being introduced but had little involvement beyond that, save for being flattened in the area by Distin late on, an incident either missed or glossed over by the referee.

Instead, City began to lay seige to the Blues' area.  Corradi was put clean through but lacked the pace to make the best of the chance and as Valente closed him down he fluffed his shot.  Then Beasley had shyed away from shooting from the angle, choosing instead to lay it back to Samaras who collected his own rebound and fired off the outside of the post as the home defence rocked in injury time.  As the ball came out to Trevor Sinclair, he blasted over the bar, much to the relief of the Goodison faithful who, no doubt felt that their team had survived.

Moyes obviously felt the same way.  Having already swapped Arteta for Simon Davies in the 89th minute, he chose the third minute of stoppage time to make a third change, taking off Johnson to rapturous applause and adding defender, David Weir.

The fourth official had signalled three minutes of injury time but the referee added time due to Moyes's change and as the home fans bayed for the final whistle and the clock ticked towards 94 minutes, City threw the ball forward with abandon.  A flick on by Samaras fell to the feet of Richards and he rocketed an unstoppable shot off the underside of the bar and into the Everton net.  The visitors had snatched what had looked for so much of the afternoon as an unlikely point with the last kick of the game.

Bringing on subs in the dying stages is a relatively common practice — albeit usually when you're a couple of goals to the good and employing the tactic to waste time and disrupt the opposition's flow always seems like a good idea until it backfires as it did so spectacularly today.  Quite why Moyes chose to prolong a match that he should have been desperate to see end given the panic being caused in his defence during a desperate last stand is anybody's guess.

The fact was that, with every substitution Pearce made, the better City got while, with the possible exception of Anichebe, Moyes's changes had the opposite effect.  By the time Davies and Weir had been introduced there was no one in forward areas to hold the ball up, with the predictable result being that it kept coming back at us.  Overall, Everton deserved all three points.  They carved out the better chances, played the better football and just plainly had more class about them.  They were again left, however, to rue missed chances and the failure to take three points from a winnable game.

The manager's decision to play Beattie and switch back to 4-4-2 will inevitably come under the microscope and, for the first half at least, it looked to be a poor move.  Both Beattie and the team did, however, appear to be settling into more of an understanding in the second half, though, with the striker getting to grips with Johnson's movement and his positioning as a consequence.

There was plenty to admire throughout the Everton ranks, actually.  Lee Carsley was tremendous in his familiar role of breaking up opposition attacks with tenacious tackling and supporting the attack with intelligent distribution across the midfield, and Arteta was his usual mix of mesmerising footwork and dangerous crosses while also finding time to pop up a couple of times within shooting range.

As already mentioned, Valente was excellent for the most part; Lescott composed and dependable; Neville didn't disappoint in what many feel is his best position for the team; and Johnson ran the City defence ragged and notched his sixth of the season with what should have been the winner.

As a team, though, they clearly lacked cohesion and purpose in the first half and were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal in the second once they had got things working a little more smoothly in the final third.  Add to that Nicky Weaver's performance in goal and the ref's decision to keep the clock running in the fourth minute of stoppage time, and there was more than enough evidence to suggest that we didn't get the rub of the green.

But you're left with the nagging feeling that had Moyes just left well enough alone and allowed the same eleven that was on the pitch in the 83rd minute following Anichebe's introduction we may well have taken all three points and been sitting in second place overnight and well positioned going into another inconvenient international break.

Lyndon Lloyd

Match Report Oh, you put a smile on my face

It was a joy to sit in the pub and watch Liverpool provide further entertainment in yet another pathetic attempt at playing football.  Yet another woeful display and this time they were made to look a fool at the hands of. wait for it. Bolton.  After we somehow collectively twice managed to fuck up the round, we were off to the match in time for kick off.

The team came out and, as they lined up for that handshake thingy, James Beattie was noticeable: 4-4-2 then. Nuno Valnete was also in for the crocked Naysmith and Neville diverted to right back for the unfairly (in my view) suspended Tony Hibbert.  Otherwise it was Beattie and AJ up front and a midfield four of Osman, Cahill, Carsley and Arteta.  Wright, Weir, Davies, Van der Meyde and Anichebe made up the substitutes.

We won the toss and hence attacked towards the Park End in the first half.  What developed was 35 minutes of unmitigated shite from both teams.  The only really thing of note was a good move from Everton which found Valente in a decent crossing position.  He whipped in a beautiful curling ball that Johnson met but directed straight at Nicky Weaver.  With that service you oughta find the target really.  Enough was enough and we went for a half-time pint.  Bizarrely the game livened up in those ten minutes between going down and half-time.  As we queued for what seemed like and eternity for these Changs, we watched the game from on the monitors.  In that time, Beattie had the ball in the net only for it to be disallowed, rightly, for a nudge and he also missed a sitter.

Id left the queuing to Gaz as I went for a piss.  As I did so, Goodison erupted.  I finished in time to catch the monitor and see that from an excellent Neville cross AJ steered a cracking volley into the far corner of the net.  Get in there!  As it turned out the ball took an insane deflection but nevertheless wed scored.  It certainly put a smile on my face, as it did for everybody else.  Everyone went from being grumpy and moody to being all smiley and cheerful.  The atmosphere down there at half-time was pretty good and included a fantastic rendition of We're gonna win the league.

We got back to are seats just in time for the second half and if the first half was unmitigated shite then the second half was much, much better.  City had to chase it and Everton had to seal it so both teams had a lot more pressure now.  It made for quite a contest that I felt Everton edged.  We certainly should have sealed it.  We had enough chances in the second half to get that vital second goal but just couldnt force it home.  The chances:

  • Osman got into the box and managed to get a shot away. Weaver saved well and when it finally broke back to Osman his rebound effort was poor.
  • Arteta got a good break and hit a decent shot low across the keeper. Again Weaver saved well. The ball broke back to Johnson who really oughta have scored but Richard Dunne made a fantastic goalline clearance throwing his body in the way of the ball.
  • From a corner, Lescott got in a great header that Weaver, though expected to save, palmed out nicely.
  • From the resulting corner Cahill got away from his marked and planted his excellent downward header just past the post.

You could put this disappointing draw down to Everton not making the most of good opportunities but Id put it down to Moyes's poor decision making.  I wanted Weir on a bit sooner as I could see pressure starting to build.  First, he hauled Beattie off on about 75 minutes for Anichebe thats when Id have put Weir on to see the game out.  Next, on about 86 minutes, he takes off Arteta for Davies.  I didnt understand that whatsoever as Arteta had been our best player.  The only excuse for me would have to be if Arteta was injured.  Finally, about a minute into injury time, he put Weir on in place of our main attacking threat AJ.  For me, the damage had already been done by this point.  City had seen the opportunity and were really going for it.  Hamann had already put one wide and Samaras had a deflected effort come back off the post by this point.

The goal came on 94 minutes when the ref had only signalled for 3 minutes of stoppage time (having said that, we made a substitution in this time and AJ took forever to leave the field of play).  A long ball forward was flicked on and out of nowhere Micah Richards pounced with a cracking half-volley that went in off the underside of the crossbar.  He celebrated in fine style with a pretty spectacular double somersault.

What a waste.  In the last three games, you cant help but feel a bit disappointed.  We should be top of the league really.  The point at Newcastle was fair enough I guess (despite the insanely offside goal) but at home to both Wigan Athletic and Manchester City weve blown great opportunities to take points.  You really oughta be winning them ones.

Needless to say, I left without a smile on my face.

Player Ratings:

  • Howard: So so. Commanding at times, flappable at others. Distribution quite good though. Had no chance with the goal and had pretty much nothing to do otherwise. 6
  • Valente: Defending not the best but decent distribution. 6
  • Yobo: I dont think hes playing particularly well. Looks much better with an older player alongside him telling him what to do. Someone like Stubbs or Weir! 6
  • Lescott: A bit better than Yobo but not brilliant. 6
  • Neville: Another good assist for the goal but generally, while his defending is pretty much always first rate, his distribution was poor. 6
  • Osman: Wasnt in the game all that much really. 6
  • Cahill: Wasnt in the game all that much really. 6
  • Carsley: Wasnt in the game all that much really but will have enjoyed his tussle with Hamann, which he probably edged. 6
  • Arteta: Easily are best player. Was instrumental in most things we did which were good. My man of the match. 8
  • Beattie: Ponderous: 6
  • Johnson: Usual shift. Another goal. Thats six now. We cant ask for much more really can we? 7
     
  • Anichebe (for Beattie): I felt he contributed quite well and gave them something to think about. 7
  • Davies (for Arteta): Not on long enough. Cant judge.
  • Weir (for Johnson): Not on long enough. Cant judge.

Paul Traill

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Match Preview

The start that Everton have made to the season — they are one of only two clubs in the top four divisions still boasting an unbeaten record — has certainly raised expectations.  You only have to look at the disappointment among some fans that the Blues didn't take maximum points from the home game against Wigan and last weekend's trip to Newcastle, both fixtures they lost last season, for confirmation of that.

Given the fact that Newcastle's goal should never have stood and that we twice held the lead against Wigan, Everton came pretty close to winning both games; had we done, we'd be top of the pile, but fourth place after six games is certainly a fine return.

action photo
Tony Hibbert: serves a one-match ban

All of which raises the stakes for the visit of Manchester City for if the Blues hope to be hanging around in the top four come the end off the campaign.  Stuart Pearce's men are the kinds of opposition we should be beating on our own turf.

After a poor start, City come to Goodison on the back of a handsome 2-0 win over West Ham United, but they have failed to pick up a anything away from home so far this season, and that includes a Carling Cup defeat at Chesterfield 10 days ago.

That certainly bodes well for an Everton side that remains high on confidence but will be forced into a couple of changes at full back.  Gary Naysmith faces at least six weeks on the sidelines with knee ligament damage, while Tony Hibbert gets an automatic one-match ban following his dismissal for two yellow cards at Newcastle.  Nuno Valente, who came on for Naysmith last week, is, of course a natural replacement — many would argue he should be first choice — while Phil Neville will surely drop back from midfield to the right-back berth he filled at the start of the season.

That would cause a selection conundrum for Moyes in midfield if, as expected, he opts to deploy top scorer, Andy Johnson, as the lone striker again instead of pairing him with James Beattie. With James McFadden injured and Kevin Kilbane gone, it comes down to a choice between Simon Davies and Andy van der Meyde, both of whom have spent the campaign so far sitting some way down the pecking order.

As already mentioned, this should be a home banker despite the talent that City possess in their ranks, not least Georgios Samaras whom Moyes nearly signed earlier this year and who has found his scoring boots in the last two matches.

If Everton can find their rhythm and the passing game that they have yet to employ with any consistency thus far, then all should be well.  And with Manchester United and Portsmouth not in action until the following day, we could with a win find ourselves in 2nd place overnight... and the only side left with an unbeaten record if leaders Chelsea beat Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge!

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Stats

The 159th meeting between Everton and Manchester City sees us as one of two teams in the English league system who are still undefeated (Aston Villa are the other ones).  With Everton currently three points off the leaders, Chelsea, a win on Saturday would provide a major boost and, should Chelsea lose, Everton win and Manchester United and Portsmouth fail to win, then Everton would stand on top of the Premier League – for a week at least.

Everton's full record against Manchester City is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

18

8

3

7

23

30

Division One

128

44

35

49

178

181

FA Cup

10

4

3

3

12

8

League Cup

2

1

0

1

2

2

TOTALS:

158

57

41

60

215

221

The last match between the sides was on 4 February, when David Weir secured a 1:0 home win.

The last time Everton were beaten at Goodison Park by Manchester City was in October 1992 when City won 3:1 with Everton’s goal coming from a City own-goal.  However, revenge was taken that season, when Everton won 5:2 at City on the last day of the season.

Our overall record for the 30th September would suggest that Everton should be able to remain unbeaten on Saturday, although our Premier League record on this day does cast some slight doubt:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

1

0

0

1

0

3

Division One

14

8

2

4

37

20

European Cup

1

1

0

0

3

0

Screen Sport Super Cup

1

0

0

1

1

4

TOTALS:

17

9

2

6

41

27

The only other match on this day in the Premier League was in 2000 when Ipswich Town came to Goodison and won 3:0.
Milestones that can be reached this game:

If Everton remain undefeated, they will increase the club record for the number of consecutive league games undefeated in the Premier League to 10, putting them ten more games behind the overall club record set in 1978.

Steve Flanagan

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

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EVERTON (4-4-2)
  Howard
  Neville {c}
  Yobo
  Lescott
  Valente
  Osman
  Cahill :71'
  Carsley
  Arteta (89' Davies)
  Beattie (81' Anichebe)
  Johnson (93' Weir)
  Subs not used
  Wright
  Van der Meyde
  Unavailable
  Hibbert (Suspended)
  Naysmith (injured)
  Stubbs (injured)
  McFadden (injured)
  Pistone (injured)
    
MAN CITY (4-4-2)
  Weaver
  Distin
  Richards
  Dunne (c)
  Jordan
  Sinclair :88'
  Barton :68'
  Hamann (75' Reyna)
  Ireland (58' Corradi)
  Samaras
  Miller (66' Beasley)
  Subs not used
  Hart
  Dickov


Bolton
Premiership Scores
Saturday 30 Sep 2006
Bolton 2-0 Liverpool
Charlton 1-2 Arsenal
Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa
Everton 1-0 Man City
Sheff Utd -v- Middlesbro
Sunday 1 Oct 2006
West Ham 0-1 Reading
Blackburn 2-1 Wigan
Man Utd 2-0 Newcastle
Tottenham 2-1 Portsmouth
Monday 2 Oct 2006
Watford 3-3 Fulham

Premiership Tablee
Pos Team Pts
1 Man Utd 16
2 Chelsea 16
3 Bolton 14
4 Portsmouth 13
5 Everton 13
6 Aston Villa 13
7 Reading 13
8 Arsenal 11
9 Blackburn 11
10 Liverpool 10
11 Fulham 9
12 Man City 8
13 Newcastle 7
14 Tottenham 7
15 Wigan 5
16 West Ham 5
17 Middlesbro 5
18 Sheff Utd 5
19 Watford 4
20 Charlton 3
After 2 Oct 2006