Everton 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Controversy Surrounds Both Goals As Toffees And Wolves Share The Points
Cahill and Ebanks-Blake strike to share a point...
By Alex Fisher
Everton were held to a 1-1 draw by battling Wolverhampton Wanderers performance at Goodison Park. A goal from Tim Cahill just before half time gave the home side the lead but a 74th equaliser from Sylvain Ebanks-Blake earned the visitors a point.
Everton started without their captain Phil Neville who was ruled out with a foot injury so Tony Hibbert came into the starting line up. After watching his side fail to score in their opening day match at Blackburn Rovers David Moyes brought in Jermaine Beckford for his first league start in place of Louis Saha. Russian midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Dutch defender Johnny Heitinga also came into the side for Leon Osman and Marouane Fellaini.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy made two changes to his starting line up following their opening day victory over Stoke City. Striker Kevin Doyle was welcomed back in place of summer signing Steven Fletcher, who was missing with a foot injury; and George Elokobi replacing summer signing Jelle Van Damme who was suffering with an ankle problem.
Everton begin game on front foot putting the Wolves defence under some early pressure from a Mikel Arteta free kick and a volleyed cross by Bilyaletdinov but neither chance really threatened the visitors goal.
The first sight of goal fell to the home side and it was the Russian Bilyaletdinov who had the chance. After a poor challenge by Christophe Berra on Beckford Arteta fired a free kick into the penalty area where Beckford headed down for Bilyaletdinov but he smashed his shot wide and over of the goal.
The home side created another good chance in the 13th minute, from his defensive midfield role John Heitinga played a pass into Steven Pienaar and the South African playmaker pushed a through ball into the path of Beckford inside the penalty area. The summer signing took on his marker and got to the byline but Cahill was unable to get on the end of the striker’s low cross and Marcus Hahnemann was able to claim the ball.
In the 19th minute Everton produced some neat passing football between Hibbert, Arteta and Pienaar which was ended when Wolves captain Karl Henry fouled Pienaar 20 yards from goal. Leighton Baines took the free kick but his strike went over the Wolves bar without troubling Hahnemann.
Six minutes later Hahnemann was called into action for the first time from a strike by Heitinga from 18 yards. Karl Henry lost the ball on edge of penalty area which enabled Cahill to lay the ball off to the Heitinga but Wolves’ American goalkeeper tipped the ball over the bar. From the resulting corner Cahill rose above three defenders but could only head over the bar from six yards.
In the 35th minute Everton had another chance to break the deadlock through the influential Pienaar. Wolves defender Elokobi was booked for a poor tackle on Arteta, from the free kick the Spaniard floated a ball into Cahill who in turn laid the ball back to Pienaar but the South African’s left foot strike flew harmlessly wide.
Two minutes later Everton had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Lee Mason, Arteta crossed the ball into the penalty area which was missed by Beckford but controlled by Cahill on his chest. As the midfielder looked to turn towards goal he fell to ground over a challenge from Elokobi but the challenge was deemed good and Wolves were able to clear the danger.
Controversy surrounded the referee again in the 42nd minute with two contentious decisions inside a minute. The first incident came when the referee decided to award Everton a free kick on edge of penalty area for a foul by Stephen Ward on Arteta despite the challenge clearly taking place inside the area. The Spanish midfielder blasted the free kick into the penalty area where it struck Jody Craddock, but as the defender went to clear the ball his leg appeared to be clipped by Cahill. However Mr Mason allowed play to continue and the Australian midfielder fired the loose ball into the back of the net to give the hosts the lead.
The second half began in the same fashion as the first half with Everton comfortably on top, and in the 50th minute Beckford had a great chance to open his account in the Premier League. Bilyaletdinov received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and looked to slide a pass into Beckford however the striker had drifted offside but his weak shot wouldn’t have tested Hahnemann anyway.
Ten minutes later another fantastic chance fell to Everton, this time for Bilyaletdinov. A deep right wing cross from Pienaar found Cahill who rose above his marker to head down to the Russian midfielder, but he missed the ball from six yards and the Wolves defence were able to clear.
The visitors were beginning to have more of the possession however in the 70th minute they were nearly caught on the counter attack by Everton. A Wolves free kick was easily cleared by the Everton defence to Beckford who raced away with the goal in his sights, however the striker was superbly stopped by a tackle from Berra.
A minute later Wolves created their first real opportunity of the match, a long throw from substitute Greg Halford caused some panic in the Everton penalty area but the when the loose ball fell to Matt Jarvis he could only fire harmlessly over the bar.
And the visitors pressure paid off three minutes later when substitute Adlene Guedioura ‘s strong tackle on Heitinga won the ball in the centre of the pitch. The midfielder released Kevin Doyle on the right wing, the Irish striker crossed the ball into the box and Ebanks-Blake stroked the ball into the back of the net from eight yards out.
With time running out Everton piled on the pressure onto the Wolves goal, and in the 87th minute they nearly got there reward through substitute Louis Saha. A floated cross from Arteta was met by the French striker but his looping header dropped onto the top of the bar much to the relief of Hahnemann.
In the final minute of normal time a great run down the left wing by Jarvis nearly created a second goal for Wolves. The midfielder jinked his way to the byline but as he attempted to find the unmarked Ebanks-Blake Sylvain Distin made a crucial interception to deny the visitors a late winner.
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