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Premier League

  • August 20, 2011
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Goodison Park, Liverpool
  • Referee: K. Friend
  • • Attendance: 35008

Everton 0-1 QPR: First-half Tommy Smith strike proves decisive

Rangers earn first points in the Premier League after a hard-fought victory at Goodison Park

QPR earned its first points in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Everton thanks to a clinical first half finish from Tommy Smith and a dogged display of defending in the second half, becoming the first team to win at Goodison Park since November.

The Toffees were starting their Premier League season a week late after their game away to Tottenham Hotspur was postponed because of the London riots, while QPR had a rude awakening in its first game in England’s top flight, losing 4-0 at home to Bolton Wanderers.

The big talking point at the start of the game came from the home side, who handed a full competitive debut to England Under-19s international Ross Barkley, who impressed throughout the match.

Everton dominated the first fifteen minutes of play, but QPR grew into the game in the first half, despite the Toffees’ goalkeeper Tim Howard still being given little to do. However, Everton had the first clear-cut chance of the game in the 21st minute after a free kick from Baines hit the underside of the bar and rebounding away after some good work by Barkley just outside the penalty area.

It was QPR that took the lead in the 31st minute through Tommy Smith, who received a cross from Akos Buzsaky, turned his marker and finished clinically to the far post. It was QPR’s first goal in the top division in English football for 15 years, and it seemed to damage Everton’s confidence.

The Toffees, however, had a great chance in the 38th minute through Tim Cahill, who headed wide when he seemed almost certain to score.

Frustration began to creep into Everton’s play in the second half, as it was unable to retain possession. However, the introduction of Marouane Fellaini for Jermaine Beckford saw an immediate improvement in Everton’s play.

QPR continued to defend doggedly as Everton struggled to forge any clear openings, and Paddy Kenny remained untroubled in the Rangers goal. As the game moved into added time, Everton still found itself unable to create any chances, with a only Fellaini header straight at Kenny from an offside position being its only attacking moment.

As the referee blew the full time whistle, the boos rang out across Goodison Park, showing the fans’ frustration at both their team’s play and their lack of summer spending in the transfer window.