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West Ham United
27 April 2013
• Goodison Park, Liverpool
Referee: J. Moss
• Attendance: 34563
S. Pienaar 16'
As for Fulham, their relegation fears are likely behind them, but it's fair to say that they were thoroughly outclassed over the course of the 90 minutes. The loss of Dimitar Berbatov may have been a factor in their failure to mount a second half challenge, but it was his replacement Mladen Petric's first half chance which comprised their only real opening today.
So Everton remain in the hunt for fourth, and on that evidence they have a fighting chance. Steven Pienaar was exceptional throughout, and his goal caps a terrific display. Seamus Coleman also receives an honourable mention for complementing the South African's skill with his relentless industry.
FT: Everton 1-0 Fulham
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Stanislav Manolev
90' + 4'
Everton very close now to what, on the balance of play, must be considered a much-deserved win.
90' + 2'
It's a mesmerising run from none other than Philippe Senderos down the Fulham right. The centre-looks a little lost, though, and delegates to Damien Duff who chips in a ball which Phil Jagielka clears with ease.
Great chance for Ross Barkley who sprints clear of the Fulham defence and opens his body to shoot. His effort finds Mark Schwarzer resolute as ever, and the danger is cleared.
Nervous moments for Everton as we enter the final moments. Rodallega, who has returned to play, makes a nuisance of himself behind Sylvain Distin, and Tim Howard has to step forward to gather the loose ball.
Yellow Card Leon Osman
Another foul by Leon Osman sees him booked, further to his indiscretion earlier on. Mladen Petric takes a rare strike of the ball from the free-kick and plants it right into the centre of the wall.
One of the misses of the season has just occurred. A deep cross from the left meets Fellaini's right boot at the back post, but the Belgian kicks the ball into the ground and the bounce carries it just inches over Fulham's crossbar.
Hugo Rodallega limps hurriedly off the pitch after seemingly kicking the bottom of Steven Pienaar's left boot. Fulham have used all three of their substitutions, so Martin Jol will be hoping his Colombian forward will be re-entering the frey soon.
It's all getting a bit rough down there. Fulham look to impose themselves as we enter the final ten minutes. Kacaliknic and Duff tangle with Leon Osman, and all three end up on the deck. The free-kick goes Everton's way.
Another Everton corner comes Fellaini's way at the back stick. His tussle with Emanuelson sees the ball spring clear to Phil Jagielka who fires it straight at the head of Victor Anichebe. The Nigerian can't divert it goalwards, though, and the ball sails high over the bar.
Karagounis has run his race for the day, and is replaced by Hugo Rodallega.
Another foray into enemy territory sees Steven Pienaar fire a bouncing ball across the Fulham penalty area. Kevin Mirallas produces an outrageous piece of skill to flick the ball Schwarzer's way, but the Australian stands firm and dives to his left to keep it out.
A sensational 35 yard pass from Baines sets Mirallas on his way down the left. The Belgian winger takes on Manolev and looks to be past him before tumbling to the ground. On first viewing it looks like a slip, but replays indicate a little contact... Dubious.
It's swept in by Baines but is cleared thanks to an emphatic header from Philippe Senderos. If Fulham get anything from this game, they have their defenders to thank.
Yellow Card Urby Emanuelson
Urby Emanuelson picks up a yellow card for a challenge on Seamus Coleman. That was right outside the right side of the Fulham penalty area. Baines and Pienaar discuss the set piece...
A succession of throw-ins for Fulham deep into Everton territory sees both sets of players take a breather. As has been typical of this game, however, Stanislav Manolev subsequently relinquishes possession to Sylvain Distin.
Nikica Jelavic has had a slightly frustrating day in his fight with Fulham's last line of defence, which, considering the pressure it's been under, has performed admirably. He is replaced by the young Ross Barkley.
Steven Pienaar makes a rare mistake as he finds himself trapped in a corner by Urby Emanuelson. His attempted backheel finds only the feet of the linesman.
For the umpteenth time, Pienaar and Coleman link up on the Everton right. Fulham simply cannot shut that link down. Leon Osman joins in, but takes an awkward touch and hacks down Kaciliknic in an attempt to recover. Jon Moss gives him a word... One more like that and he'll be booked.
Leighton Baines delivers an exquisite cross which feeds right along the line of the six-yard box. It glances off Nikica Jelavic who appears to be far more interested in wrestling Stanislav Manolev, and the ball drifts wide of the right-hand post.
Pienaar to Coleman yet again and another corner to Everton.
Damien Duff replaces Kieran Richardson as Martin Jol looks to calm the storm with an experienced head.
Terrific again from Alex Kaciliknic who teases Leighton Baines before producing a pinpoint cutback to Urby Emanuelson. The Dutchman spoons his shot wide though.
Everton still building it slowly and it's that man Steven Pienaar who's at the heart of the action again. The South African slips in Seamus Coleman, and the Irishman dinks a cross just beyond the head of Anichebe in the centre.
Everton win a corner of their own, but it's far too short from Mirallas. Phil Jagielka dives in ahead of his marker to fire the ball back into the hands of his fellow defenders.
Fulham earn their second corner of the match and it's not one to remember for Giorgos Karagounis. The Greek completely overhits his cross and it zooms out of play just short of the opposite flag.
...which Fulham commence at the kick-off.
The teams are running out for the second-half...
Our man Sam Bisby is at Goodison Park, and here are his thoughts on what we've seen so far: "It’s fair to say that the opening 45 minutes at Goodison Park have belonged to Everton, with the hosts dominating play and have had plenty of ball in and around the Fulham box and could be more than just one goal up if their decision making had been more thought out. The Cottagers on the other hand have very little to show for their efforts in the first-half, and apart from a half chance at best close to the break, the London side don’t look like getting fully into this match unless Martin Jol has some stern encouragement in the away dressing room."
A complete display from Everton who have rarely found themselves defending anything. Their passing has just been too much for Fulham at times and the pressure told on 16 minutes, when Steven Pienaar fired past Schwarzer after a lovely team move. Even though he is playing a lone-striker, Martin Jol must be wondering how he can tighten up his midfield...
HT: Everton 1-0 Fulham
45' + 1'
Everton end the half with another dominant spell of play which sees Anichebe turn against the Fulham defence and fire a shot at goal. Hangeland gets a knick on it, however, and the ball rides through to Schwarzer...
One minute of stoppage time...
Fulham so close to an equaliser! A fantastic run by Kieran Richardson sees him dummy Phil Jagielka to the ground before sending a cross just beyond the reach of Mladen Petric at the far post.
Eyong Enoh is having a torrid half. The Fulham midfielder fails to stay with Baines who takes his opportunity to slip inside the penalty area and dink a cross over to Fellaini. The big man's shot prompts a Schwarzer save yet again... Fulham will be glad to finish the half at just 1-0 down.
It's just not clicking for Fulham up front, but they get a little luck as Jagielka lets Kacaliknic in. The England centre-half just about recovers to get a block on the Swede's shot.
Yet more wonderful one-touch football from Everton. Pienaar plays a one-two with Jelavic before sliding Fellaini in behind the Fulham defence. The Belgian drags his shot wide though.
Mladen Petric looks to be fulfilling much the same role up front having replaced the injured Dimitar Berbatov. The Croatian chases the Everton centre-halves back toward their goal but to no avail.
The ball flies straight into the wall and goes out for an Everton throw.
Yellow Card Eyong Enoh
A break away by Everton, though, sees Pienaar brought down by Eyong Enoh. The Cameroonian is booked for his challenge and Mirallas stands over the free-kick...
The game seems to have settled, much to Fulham's relief. They get a foul off of Steven Pienaar inside their own half and opt to keep possession. Karagounis shows his own extensive experience as he weaves in and out of several challenges in the middle.
Berbatov comes very deep to help his midfielders out and instill some calm into Fulham's play. They move steadily forward, but then the Bulgarian is caught offside.
First chance for Victor Anichebe and it's a difficult opportunity to take. A low cross in from Jelavic sees the Nigerian stoop to guide his header into the corner, but it drifts harmlessly wide of Schwarzer's right hand post.
Fulham really need a break here. It looks like they're pressing higher up the pitch now but Everton are adapting to it beautifully. Mirallas is forced into the left corner of Fulham's half but he doesn't panic, and the ball just goes all the way back to Tim Howard. The Toffees build again.
Assist Seamus Coleman
Goal Steven Pienaar
GOAL! Everton take the lead through Steven Pienaar and it's exactly the sort of goal they looked like scoring. Some great movement from Coleman sees him picked out by Leon Osman. The Irishman has only to cut it back for Pienaar who slots it across Schwarzer. Great goal.
Lovely again from the Toffees. Quick passing from Mirallas, to Fellaini, to Osman and back to Mirallas! The winger is just offside though. David Moyes' side are gliding through the gears.
Better from Everton. Baines begins the attack on the left, and finds Fellaini in the penalty area. The Belgian looks for Anichebe, but the striker can't get to the ball ahead of Brede Hangeland... It's all one way.
A poor touch from Kacaliknic sees him turn into a clattering challenge from Marouane Fellaini. Clumsy from both players there...
Manolev receives possession on the Fulham right, but then manages to juggle the ball out of play. Everton reclaim and press again through Coleman and Mirallas, Fulham not quite settled yet this afternoon.
Everton beginning to dictate now, and Fulham aren't particularly keen to go and win the ball back. Martin Jol seems to have set his side up to play on the counter here.
Our first goalflash! Marouane Fellaini gets up at the back post to fire in a powerful header but Schwarzer is well placed to parry. Fulham clear.
Both goalkeepers get their first touches as some long balls fly into touch at either end. Everton now getting it down and looking to set the rhythm.
The whistle blows, and our game is underway!
Referee Jon Moss leads the teams out onto a sun-drenched Goodison Park pitch.
David Moyes makes just one change from the side that lost to Sunderland last week - Darron Gibson is out and Nikica Jelavic is in. Meanwhile Martin Jol is without Steve Sidwell, who picked up his second red card of the season last week having just returned from suspension - he’s replaced by Giorgos Karagounis.
FULHAM XI: Schwarzer; Manolev, Senderos, Hangeland, Richardson; Emanuelson, Karagounis, Enoh, Kacaniklic; Ruiz; Berbatov. SUBS: Etheridge, Hughes, Frimpong, Duff, Frei, Rodallega, Petric.
EVERTON XI: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Mirallas, Osman, Fellaini, Pienaar; Anichebe, Jelavic. SUBS: Mucha, Hibbert, Heitinga, Oviedo, Naismith, Barkley, Duffy.
So, without further ado - let’s take a look at today’s line-ups...
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com’s LIVE play-by-play of Everton vs. Fulham. I’m Charlie Burgon and I’ll be keeping you abreast of all of the action from Goodison Park. Nothing but a win will do for the Toffees if they’re to keep their Champions League dream alive; the Cottagers meanwhile, will be pursuing a strong run-in and a top half finish.
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