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[the Goodison Gazette]

Season 2001-2002

Moyes' passion already evident
16 March, 2002

David Moyes: first win already under his belt

As his new charges left the field at the end of an epic home win over Fulham, secured against all the odds by a heroic defensive 10-man stand in the second half, David Moyes made sure that the players saluted the faithful supporters who raised the Goodison roof and spurred the Blues to three precious points.

Grabbing Duncan Ferguson as he tried to make his way to the dressing room following a tireless display in both defence and attack, Moyes insisted he acknowledge the fans, yet another sign of the passion and feeling the new manager has for the role he has occupied for just two days.

After the game, the 38 year-old enthused at the fantastic reception he got from the fans and described their contribution to the game as "incredible". Having already labelled Everton as the "People's Club" of Liverpool — "all the people you meet on the street ar Evertonians," he said upon joining — Moyes seems to have captured the spirit of the club already.

Although reserve team coach Andy Holden picked the team for today's crucial home game — one of only three remaining between today and the end of the season — the effect of Moyes' appointment was tangible in the build up to the game and in the manner in which Everton stormed into a 2-0 lead inside 12 minutes.

David Unsworth's delicious left-foot volley after a mere 27 seconds gave an explosive start to Moyes' first match in charge and after another 12 minutes, captain Duncan Ferguson — deputising for the injured Kevin Campbell — had made it 2-0, picking up Edwin van der Saar's poor clearance and firing inside the post to send Goodison wild.

However, the Blues' attempts to consolidate were severely undermined after half an hour when Thomas "Mad Dog" Gravesen had a moment of hot-headed madness and collected his second yellow card of the half, reducing Everton to 10 men with 60 minutes of the match still to go.

Having ridden out the remainder of the first half quite comfortably, the home side found their lead cut in half by Steed Malbranque who sauntered through the defence to make it 2-1 with 52 minutes on the clock.

Wave after wave of pressure from Jean Tigana's well-groomed side ensued and Everton's ten men defended desperately at times with little offensive outlet due to the loss of Tomasz Radzinski to injury at half time. Joe-Max Moore took up the lone striker's role freeing Ferguson up to help in defence and the Blues were thankful when he headed off the line from a corner.

In the panic, Moyes' new side gave up possession far too easily, adding to their troubles, and they nearly paid dearly when Luis Saha's backward header bounced off the crossbar with 5 agonising minutes left on the clock. Some last-ditch defending later and the final whistle was met with delirium in the stands and praise for the heroes in Blue on the turf below.

Despite three vital points, Everton remain rooted in relegation trouble, thanks to Derby County's handsome win at Bolton and Ipswich's surprise point at St James Park, Newcastle. The Blues travel to Derby in their next game but will be feeling positive having won their first Premiership match since January 12th.

In his post-match interview with the BBC, Moyes also suggested that although he has had no contact with the Frenchman, there is no problem with David Ginola who trained with the team on Friday and is expected to do so next week.

Read ToffeeWeb's match summary and match reports as we get them:
Everton 2-1 Fulham


by Lyndon Lloyd


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