1-0 Lescott 31
- Match reports
- Sat 12 Jan 2008, 12:00AM
- Posted by Leon Collins
Sven-Goran Eriksson makes just the one change from last time out with Elano restored to the starting line up. The Brazilian star comes in for Stephen Ireland who had apparently been under the weather this week.
A quiet start both on the pitch and in the stands as the game billed as the battle for the best of the rest commenced in the freshly crowned Capital of Culture.
Sadly the news hadn’t reached Goodison Park as the tight press box, wooden seats and wooden floor in the away section laid testimony to.
The first real talking point was the booking of Tim Cahill, famously sent off against the Blues for a second yellow for lifting his shirt over his head, this time a crude challenge on Hamann earnt referee Halsey’s yellow.
Twenty minutes in only two lame attempts by the home side troubled the stat men but a minute later City had faint shouts for a penalty.
The ball bounced up and appeared to strike left back Valente on part of the arm but the appeals fell on deaf ears.
On 24 minutes Everton should have taken the lead. Good hold up play by Anichebe inside the City box saw him set up Cahill who was denied by a fine stop from Joe Hart.
The England Under 21 stopper managed to claw the shot away and the Australian midfielder put the ball over the bar when the goal gapped in front of him.
But after 31 minutes the home side did take the lead with a slightly offside looking goal from Joleon Lescott.
City had failed to clear the original corner and Neville found Arteta down the right who drilled the ball low into the box for the former Wolves man to tap between Hart’s legs.
The Blues didn't let their heads go down, but despite this a shot over the bar from Vedran Corluka on 38 minutes from outside the box summed up City's efforts.
Didi Hamann pleased the Everton fans by picking up a booking when he looked to have cleanly taken the ball after 41 as the half played itself out.
HALF TIME: Everton 1-0 City
No changes for either side at the break in what so far had been a fairly drab encounter. City need to come out with more purpose this half.
City did up their game in the second half and within the first 10 minutes of the second 45 the home fans were moaning and groaning as Sven’s men pressed for an equaliser.
With the Blues well on top and looking like the home side the game’s next goal would prove vital – either Everton breaking for a second or City’s pressure paying off.
The first substitution of the game was a double one by City on 56 minutes. Gelson Fernandes coming on for the booked Didi Hamann and Rolando Bianchi replacing Castillo.
City continued to dominate, with the game mainly being played in the Everton half, the hosts having to play on the break.
Just after the hour mark Carsley was booked for an awful foul on Corluka that could have easily broken the Croats ankle.
Despite the greater possession, City couldn’t make a sufficient chance worthy of the name in pursuit of the point they deserved.
With time running out the Blues still hadn't managed to create anything to trouble Howard until Petrov's late come-cum-shot and City left Goodison pointless in their push for a European place.
So after starting the day in fourth place, results elsewhere could see the Blues down to seventh on the final whistle.
FULL TIME: Everton 1-0 City
mcfc.co.uk’s Man of the Match: Richard Dunne. Yet another fine performance by the skipper who couldn’t quite drag his team back into this one.