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|Venue: St James Park, Newcastle||Premiership||Sunday 28 Nov 2004; 2:00pm|
|Bellamy (5')||Half Time: 1-0
|Attendance: 51,247||(Fixture 15)||Referee: Neale Barry|
It was yet another unchanged side as Moyes steadfastly refused to change his winning team or his winning tactics. And for the first few minutes of this game, it looked like the Everton steamroller was on track again as the Blues pushed the Toonies back into their area immediately.
But it didn't last long... a clearance from Given, flicked on to Bellamy, a superb 1-2 with Kluivert and the fast little sod was off to the races, curving his shot perfectly around Martyn and inside the post. Hmmmm... What now, Moyesey?
Everton were rocked, and the usual game-plan was obviously toast. Newcastle sensed there was blood on the counter and came at Everton relentlessly for the next 30 mins, racking up possession stats in the 70%-30% range. There were a number of close scrapes but the Blues incredibly held firm. Cahill got himself booked, and looked in grave danger of getting a second yellow, his body language making him always look like the guilty party in any physical contact.
The Everton defence withstood the barrage, with Jenas hitingthe bar at an angle with an acrobatic effort, and Stubbs stopping a fierce drive from Kluivert on the line.
The last 10 mins of the half were more even, with Everton slightly edging it as the pendulum swung back their way, although Hibbert got himself booked rather unfairly after a fractionally mis-timed tackle caught Bernard.
The Second half started much like the first, with Everton taking the game to the home side. They finally got an opportunity to make a difference when Bent was bundled over on the D and Lee Carsley poised long over the ball until Barry was ready. Then, after a Kilbane step-over, Carsley clipped a lovely shot perfectly up and around the Newcastle wall and into the top of the goal with Given little boy lost after seeing its arc way too late... BRILLIANT!
There followed the best spell of the game from the spectators perspective, although pure football was in limited supply as both teams went for a result with passion and commitment, amidst a fantastic atmosphere generated by over 50,000 in St James Park. The challenges were at times brutal but Barry, after booking Bent for dissent over a rare poor decision, called almost every one of these incidents right, with Newcastle doing everything they could to regain the advantage.
A Bellamy shot from distance clipped the outside of the post, as Everton tenaciously defended the point they had earned. Worryingly, though, the forward movement of the ball was sporadic at best, with no real connection from midfield to attack. I beg to differ with the Moyessiah: I still don't think we are scoring enough goals.
After another spell of fierce Newcastle dominance, Everton finally broke the ball forward to Bent, who got his foot to it ahead of Given, the keeper having advanced well out of his area. Surely Bent could now carry the ball in on goal and take all three points for Everton! But, with the ball rolling away to the edge of the area and always narrowing the angle, Bent elected to strike it at the first opportunity... and pushed it rather lamely wide with the open goal gaping. Oh deary deary me... WHAT A MISS!
After that, it was time to batten down the hatches as Everton got every player back for each Newcastle attack. The Toonies came desperately close, with a Jenas shot blocked by Osman, and a glorious opportunity for Bellamy blocked by Pistone as he turned. From the corner Ameobi headed fractionally over.
In the end, it was another superb defensive performance by Everton, who seemed to learn the clear lesson from Bellamy's speedy strike and did everything they possibly could to ensure the pacey Toon attack would not get behind them. So, a great result from that perspective, but with Bent's fantastic chance missed, it felt like a vital 2 points dropped... with Manchester United closing in fast.
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2)
B&W Shirts, black shorts, black socks
| EVERTON (4-5-1)
Blue shirts, white shorts, white socks
Bowyer (82' Ameobi)
Subs not used:
Red Cards: —
Gravesen (91' Yobo)
Cahill (86' Watson)
Bent (88' Ferguson)
Subs not used:
Cahill (18'), Hibbert (45'), Bent (58')
Red Cards: —
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