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2 May 2012
• Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: A. Taylor
• Attendance: 26500
FULL-TIME - A draw was probably a fair result in the end as both teams enjoyed spells of concerted pressure. Both goals were scored by Stoke players (best to keep that quiet around Peter Crouch though) with Jerome's solo equalizer a joy to watch.
90' + 5'
Yellow Card Steven Pienaar
90' + 5'
Wow! And the last kick of the game almost sees Stoke score the winner! The ball is laid off by Etherington from the free-kick and Huth drives in a rasping shot. It is deflected off of the wall and is awkwardly caught by Begovic
90' + 4'
You'd think this would be a last chance for Stoke who win a free kick about 30-yards outside the area. Dangerous position.
90' + 3'
And Jones fires over the bar! That was a nervous few moments for Everton. First the ball finds its way to Huth outside the six-yard box but he volleys the ball into a defender.On the end of a wicked deflection is Kenwyne Jones who, under a lot of pressure, fires wildly over the bar.
90' + 2'
Stoke aren't done yet though and win a corner in the dying stages.
Everton still doing the majority of the pressing, most of the wide play coming from either Pienaar, and more surprisingly, Fellaini. The Belgian is popping up in all of the Toffees' attacks in this last period of the game.
A half-chance for Ricardo Fuller as a ball is played through to him. It looked easy for Jagielka to deal with the ball but he miscues his clearance and it runs through to the striker who, off balance, skews the ball wildly over the bar.
Everton are now the ones pushing harder for a winner as gold bodies stream forward. Stoke however are defending valiantly and manage to get away with a scramble in their own box which is eventually dealt with by Fuller.
Osman again finds space in a dangerous central position just outside the area, but his effort is tamely hit into the arms of Begovic.
Everton are just having to defend now as the home-side continue to crank up the pressure. Moyes' men manage to get a rare glimpse forward, but Stoke have bodies back and are able to clean up and mount another foray into the opposition half.
And the pace of the other Stoke substitute, Ricardo Fuller, almost pays dividends. The Jamaican picks up the ball on the left and proceeds on a determined run, managing to cut between two Everton defenders, get to the byline and force a corner. Who said Stoke were just a long-ball team?
Everton try to respond from a corner on the left, but the header by Cahill floats untroubled over the bar.
That was a great solo goal from Jerome, and a great piece of tactical play from Pulis. He knew Crouch's aerial presence wasn't going to trouble Everton and so mixed it up with a bit of pace. The away side were still in battering ram mode and couldn't adjust quickly enough.
Assist Matthew Upson
Goal Cameron Jerome
GOALLLLL! Tony Pulis resorts to plan B by bringing on Cameron Jerome, and it works wonders! His injection of pace sees the Everton defence scrambling as he burst through the middle. And despite being outnumbered, the striker pulls the trigger from just outside the area and manages to knock the ball over a diving Begovic. 1-1
The Distin and Jagielka are doing brilliantly to nullify Stoke's aerial threat. As a result, despite the home side having been on the front foot for a while now, they have not been able to find an opening. Everton are just looking for the perfect chance to break.
Yellow Card Ryan Shawcross
Stoke are beginning to pile on a bit of pressure, but Everton are dealing with it well thus far. They win a free kick just inside the Stoke half.
Another penalty shout as Jones is pulled down in the area, but once again the referee is having none of it.
Osman is Everton's dangerman. The away side once again find themselves on the break with Pienaar on the right. He brings the ball deep into the opposition half with the Stoke defenders desperately chasing back, and pulls the ball back into the path of Osman who has taken up a superb central position in the box. However he scoops his shot high, wide and not very pretty.
Yellow Card Marc Wilson
A handball shout for Everton as Osman hits the ball against the chest of Wilson. The winger had embarked on a mazy run into the area, beating 3 Stoke defenders before his curled shot is blocked.. Everton are adamant it was a handball, but the referee got it right.
Stoke ARE managing to get the ball to the heads of Crouch and Jones but the strikers are being wasteful with their flick-ons. They are giving the ball back to the opposition who then have tonnes of space to work with on the counter.
Everton seem to have the wind in their sails after scoring that goal late in the first-half, and are teasing the Stoke midfield with a string of fluid passing passages in the middle. Not going very far with it so far though.
And Everton get us back underway here.
Everton won't be bothered though. As things stand, they are set to go 5 points clear of Liverpool in the Premier League standings. Seems as if the country's Blues are overpowering their red counterparts of late.
Stoke were by no means second best in the game, and will be disappointed to go into the break a goal down. there's no doubt Tony Pulis will be more annoyed about the avoidable manner in which the goal was conceded.
Half-time! Everton lead 1-0, but to be honest either team could have found the opener. It was fitting then for the first goal to come in such a scrappy manner.
Own Goal Peter Crouch
AND IT'S A GOAL FOR EVERTON! Crouch's goalscoring heroics continue, only this time at the wrong end of the pitch. An Everton free-kick just inside the opposition half is whipped into the Stoke area and is woefully defended. Begovic temporarily saves, but the ball manages to deflect back off of Crouch.
Ahhh and Pienaar goes agonisingly close. He leaves his marker for dead on the left, cuts inside and bursts into the area before unleashing a vicious shot which Begovic does well to get a hand to.
This match is the footballing equivalent of a Grandfather clock as the momentum swings back in Everton's favour.. It's a very open game and it would take a brave man to bet on who scores the opener
And it's the hot-shot Croatian, Jelavic, who is the next to come close. Whether or not he knew anything about it though is another story. A brilliant piece of wing-play from Gueye sees him get to the by-line and pull the ball back into the opposition area. It skids past a number of bodies, including Stoke's defenders, and is majestically shinned just over the bar by Jelavic. If he scored that, he would have claimed he meant it. He didn't.
Reasonably end to end here, with both teams having had moments to strike.
OHHH! And Stoke come close again, and surprise, surprise, it's from a Delap throw. He rifles in an angled ball towards Crouch who meets the ball with his head 6 yards out. Yet Howard is equal to it and, falling backwards, pulls off a magnificent save to tip the ball over the bar. Close
Osman is Everton's main point of attack so far, and it is he who finds a pocket of space in a central position just outside the area. However is driven shot is once again directed straight into the arms of a grateful Begovic.
Stoke get lucky with some sloppy defensive work. First Fellaini finds heaps of space in the penalty area but strikes his shot against Shawcross. Yet the ball pings out to Osman in a similarly dangerous position in the box, but he fires an effort straight into Begovic's arms. that could have been worse for the home side.
This is the most I've seen a team struggle from Delap's throw-ins this season. The visitors are left to struggle with two such throws in quick succession, the first leaves Howard flapping and the second is almost bundled in by the Everton defenders who eventually boot the ball out of danger.
The majority of play has undoubtedly swung back in Stoke's favour, as they continue to barrage Everton's back four. Meanwhile, Anichebe is struggling here and will be subbed for Gueye. The Nigerian has spent more time on the floor than on his feet this half.
Ahhh, and it's the artillery's chief commander who almost creates the opener for the home side. Rory Delap cranks up his cannon of a throw and launches the ball to the head of Huth who sees his looped header nestle on the top of the net.
As is the cliche, Stoke are resorting to long balls into Everton's half, particularly with the monstrously huge pairing of Kenwyne Jones and Peter Crouch up top. However the Toffees are dealing well with the artillery.
And it's Etherington who attempts an audacious chip-cum-volley from just outside the area, after spotting Howard slightly off his line. However his effort sails harmlessly over the bar.
Stoke are however looking dangerous on the break in wide positions , particularly in the guise of Etherington. He whips in another ball into the opposition box, but Walters cannot leap high enough to get a head to it. If that landed to Crouch, it may have been a different story
Despite Stoke having the best chance, it is all Everton now. The Potters' defenders can't seem to clear beyond the opposition's midfield and it gives them the chance to build. One such move sees Jelavic charge down the keeper who dangerously kicks the ball against him .
Considering the size of Anichebe, he went down very easily. Crumpled under his own weight perhaps?
Everton putting pressure on the Stoke back-line now. First they win a corner, and then Anichebe holds the ball up in the area and feels he deserves a penalty after Shawcross pulls him to the ground. Nothing given
WOW! That could and maybe should have been the opener for Stoke. Delap winds up one of his huge throws on the rifght and rockets the ball into the area. It lands to Huth with his back turned, who subsequently performs a ballet routine and arabesques the ball into Howards hands..
Everton (playing in their rather dashing gold away kit) think they win a free-kick on the right apex of the area, but the referee deems it obstruction by Anichebe on the floor.
And the red and white striped Stoke get us underway here!
As always, the atmosphere at the Britannia is bouncing. The Potters fans really know how to whip up a football frenzy. They have every right to be confident as they are unbeaten in their last six games against Merseyside opposition.
Everton will be hoping to consolidate their place above their Merseyside rivals with a win here tonight. If they manage to hold on for the rest of the season, it will be the first time since 2004 that the Blues have come out on top against the Reds.
A nice little stat; if Nikita Jelavic scores two or more goals vs. Stoke, he will be the first player in Premier League history to score this amount in four consecutive games. He's certainly been an inspired signing by David Moyes.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin, Cahill, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic, Anichebe Subs: Mucha, Coleman, Duffy, Barkley, Stracqualursi, McFadden, Gueye
And because I'm nice, I'll start you all off with the team news: Stoke: Begovic, Huth, Shawcross, Upson, Wilson, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington, Jones, Walters, Crouch Subs: Sorenson, Shotton, Woodgate, Whelan, Palacios, Fuller, Jerome
Hi everyone and welcome to this evening's match-up between Stoke City and Everton at the Britannia Stadium. Tell me your thoughts @CWinterford or via our official Twitter page @GoalUK
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