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Venue: KC Stadium, Hull
Premier League
 Sunday 11 May 2014; 3:00pm
0 2
Half Time: 0-1
McCarthy (9')
Lukaku (46')
Attendance: 24,848
Fixture 38
Referee: Howard Webb

Match Report

Everton enjoyed something of an end-of-season party at the KC Stadium, recording a comfortable 2-0 win, their 21st of the campaign, that ensures that their record points haul of the Premier League extends to 72, the highest tally not to earn a place in the Champions League places so far.

The top four dream was already over for this season at least and fifth place was effectively guaranteed so Roberto Martinez's team were playing for little other than pride, those three extra points that would take them past the manager's 71-point target, and a win for their incredible away support which, once more, sold out the club's allocation and vocally showed their appreciation for what has been a hugely satisfying season.

Martinez named a strong starting XI, one from which England hopefuls Ross Barkley and John Stones were conspicuous absentees, and his team eased to victory on the back of a performance that exhibited so much of what the Spaniard has brought to Everton since arriving a little under a year ago.

Indeed, it was from a spell of the seemingly effortless possession football that has become a hallmark of Everton under Martinez that the Blues opened the scoring in only the ninth minute, Sylvain Distin collecting the ball off Gareth Barry inside his own half and finding Romelu Lukaku with an accurate pass in the final third of the field. The Belgian shrugged off his marker before rolling the ball inside to Steven Naismith who, in turn, slipped a pass behind the Hull defence to meet the forward run of James McCarthy, a player at whom the only criticism you could possibly level this season would be his lack of goals. His first-time shot proved too strong for Allan McGregor, though, and the ball looped off his glove and into the net to make it 1-0. A deserved goal for one of the players of the season.

It would not be the only time Everton carved open Steve Bruce's side and Naismith probably should have done better in the 21st minute when he was picked out by Barry's square pass in the area but side-footed wide. Later in the half, a powerful run by McCarthy down the right channel saw him beat his opponent to the ball for speed and desire but while Lukaku showed equal determination to get in front of his man to meet the cross, McGregor was able to save by his near post.

For the home side, Sone Aluko had drifted a shot over Tim Howard's crossbar, Jake Livermore had fired wide after an error by Aiden McGeady and Nikica Jelavic had fired a free kick into the defensive wall but, in truth, they posed little threat to Everton's solid back line which had a familiar look about it with the return alongside Phil Jagielka of Sylvain Distin.

Any doubts about the result were probably erased within a minute of the resumption of play after half time and it was another terrific goal by the visitors, fashioned in the end by a defence-splitting ball by Leon Osman, the 16th pass of a move that started with Tim Howard after Paul McShane's punt forward had ended up with the American in the Blues' area. Lukaku glided past McShane to meet the pass and stepped inside the centre himself in front of goal before burying a shot past the stranded goalkeeper.

From then on it was mostly exhibition fare from both teams as the travelling fans ran through their repertiore of chants, including some mockery of Liverpool letting the title slip as Manchester City cantered to victory and the title in Manchester. McGeady's mesmerisingly quick feet engineered space for a shot in the 58th minute but his effort was tame in the end while Seamus Coleman finished another lung-busting run by McCarthy by blazing into the stands from 25 yards.

Hull, who prior to today hadn't lost to the Blues at home since 1953, enjoyed a spell of pressure in the last 20 minutes but were largely restricted to shots from distance, one powerful effort from Liam Rosenior that Howard did well to gather at the second attempt and another from Robert Koren that the 'keeper turned behind superbly with a one-handed save. Curtis Davies also flashed a late header past the post that came very close to ruining Howard's clean sheet.

Prior to that, Gerard Deulofeu replaced McGeady, Steven Pienaar made a welcome return in place of Osman and Lukaku was given an ovation by the away fans when he came off, possibly for the last time in an Everton jersey, a couple of minutes from the end of give Lacina Traore a run-out.

All in all, a great way to sign off an impressive season with Everton finishing fifth to secure a place in the Europa League next season along with Tottenham, three points below in sixth, and Hull who will be in Europe irrespective of how they fare in next weekend's FA Cup Final. That match will bring final resolution to the Blues' season as the result will determine at which phase of the competition they kick off their Europa League campaign a win for Arsenal would put Everton straight into the group stage.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Roberto Martinez rested Ross Barkley and John Stones for the final match of his excellent inaugural season as Everton manager. Nikica Jelavic starts for the home side, who still have the FA Cup Final to play.

Everton kicked off in confident mood, moving the ball around in strong possessive mood, McGeady the first to get a ball into the area from the right wing. But it was defended away and Quinn nearly beat Coleman. Lukaku picked up the ball and looked for a simple one-two off Naismith but the return ball was far too heavy and the chance was gone.

But the weakness of Hull's defence had been exposes and in the next move Naismith drove a perfect pass beyond Lukaku to the overlapping McCarthy whose first-time shot was just too strong for McGregor, looping up off his hand and curlinging under the bar into the net for the first goal of the game.

Everton visibly relaxed and the standard of the football took a downward step, McCarthy resorting to a series of backward passes that eventually put the defence under unnecessary pressure although Lukaku did well to relieve it hold the ball, turn and make a surging run, playing the ball out to McGeady but his cross was horribly overhit.

More crisp movement into the Hull area saw Barry cross to Naismith's feet but Naismith's first-time shot was wayward. Next was McGeady who crossed in behind Lukaku, and that let Hull surge forward, Howard forced to come out and punch, but Jelavic was offside. Hull returned, though and a rusty-looking Jagielka somewhat clumsily fouled Quinn and was booked.

Another bright attack from Everton saw an excellent ball in from Baines crossed in just out of Lukaku's reach and McCarthy could not get to it either at the far post. At the other end, McCarthy fouled Quinn in a dangerous place but Jelavic could only power the kick into the Everton wall and Howard saved the afters.

After a brace of corners were wasted in standard fashion, Baines tried to make things happen with some determined running. But a poor Coleman clearance let Figueroa fire in a low shot at Howard.

McGeady did well to dispossess Figueroa and win the third corner but McCarthy sliced the cleared ball and Hull looked to apply themselves a little more after they had been perhaps a little too disinterested for Steve Bruce's liking...

Some excellent running saw McCarthy play in a good cross that Lukaku did well to divert under pressure, forcing a low save by McGregor as Everton finished the half a little stronger.

From the restart, good possessions set up a nice move down the middle Osman exchanging passes with Naismith before playing in Lukaku with an inviting pass and the Big Belgian forced his way beyond the defender to control the ball and finish superbly past McGregor.

Everton could definitely relax now as the travelling Blues fans revelled in end-of-term frivolities on the back of good news from both Anfield and the Etihad, suggesting that Liverpool would indeed be denied the Premier League title.

McCarthy should have done better on a surging attack but played his cross behind Lukaku and Coleman, following in wide right but his shot was poor. Martinez made a change, Deulofeu on for McGeady. Hull attacked with a little more desire, sub Rosenior firing in at Howard.

Osman gave way to Steven Pienaar, back from injury as Everton looked to play out the last 10 to 15 mins of the game and the season. Hull came close when Davis headed just wide from a corner. Howard then had to make a really good save off sub Koren to keep his sheet clean.

With less that 2 mins left, Romelu Lukaku, in perhaps a farewell salute, was withdrawn to allow Lacina Traor to make only his second Everton appearance of his abridged loan spell from Monaco.

The result underlined and absolutely superb first season for Roberto Martinez, with Man CIty confirmed as Champions which means Liverpool are denied... perhaps the best news of the day, with Manchester United failing to qualify for European football next season.

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Everton bring the curtain down on a hugely impressive first season under Roberto Martinez this Sunday with their final match of 2013/14 and a trip to Hull City.

With fifth place a footballing certainty – an Everton defeat, a win for Tottenham over Aston Villa with a 19-goal swing is the only way the Blues could finish any lower – the only thing left to play for are a victory to see out the season in style and the extension of what is already a record Premier League points haul to 72 points.

Martinez has stated on numerous occasions that he wants to finish with as many points as possible and had long ago made 71 points his goal so he will probably be urging his players to put three more on the board against a team who will surely have one eye on the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

In actual fact, it's the Tigers' date with the Gunners at Wembley next Saturday that will have more bearing on Everton's immediate future than this weekend's dead rubber at the KC Stadium. Should Arsenal win the FA Cup, it would guarantee that the Blues' Europa League campaign would start in September in the group stage of the competition whereas a triumph for Hull would necessitate Everton going into the final qualifying round in late August.

A few weeks ago, Evertonians still harboured hopes that the team's Champions League hopes would still be alive going into this game and fears that Nikica Jelavic would be the one to break their hearts by perhaps scoring the winning goal against his old teammates.

The Croatian is level with Matty Fryatt with season goals for the season in all competitions but was an unused substitute in the defeat at Manchester United in midweek, perhaps because Steve Bruce wanted to give more time for Fryatt to sharpen up seeing as Jelavic is cup-tied for the Final.

Everton, meanwhile, expect to welcome two players back from extended layoffs in the form of Steven Pienaar and Lacina Traore. The latter has played just 60 minutes of football for the Blues since arriving on loan from Monaco and spent almost three months since then sidelined with a torn hamstring. The former, meanwhile, has been out for two months since limping out of the FA Cup defeat at Arsenal and his craft has been missed at times, particularly when options off the bench have been scarce in recent games due to mounting injuries.

Both players could see action at some point and Martinez is believed to be very keen to see Traore return on loan next season so would no doubt be interested to see him get some playing time in this one to inform his thinking. Darron Gibson is the third long-term absentee to have returned to full training but he is not expected to be ready.

In terms of debuntants from the younger members of the squad, Ryan Ledson's involvemebnt in the U17 European Championships has precluded him making his bow but Tyias Browning stands a chance, perhaps, of coming on as a substitute to get a taste of first-team action if he is named on the bench; likewise for Luke Garbutt who has already featured briefly in the game at Southampton.

Gareth Barry is expected to return to the starting XI for what could be his last match in an Everton jersey after being ineligible to face Manchester City last weekend, possibly at the expense of Leon Osman if Martinez elects to keep Ross Barkley in the team.

Lyndon Lloyd

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Match Report
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HULL CITY (4-4-2)
  McShane (Rosenior 63')
  Aluko (Koren 73')
  Jelavic (Fryatt 54')
  Subs not used

EVERTON (4-4-2)
  Jagielka booked
  Osman (Pienaar 77')
  McGeady (Deulofeu 69')
  Lukaku (Traore 90')
  Subs not used
  Gibson (injured)
  Kone (injured)
  Mirallas (injured)
  Oviedo (injured)
  Junior (loan)

Premier League Scores
Cardiff 1-2 Chelsea
Fulham 2-2 C Palace
Hull City 0-2 Everton
Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle
Man City 2-0 West Ham
Norwich 0-2 Arsenal
So'hampton 1-1 Man United
Sunderland 1-3 Swansea
Tottenham 3-0 Aston Villa
West Brom 1-2 Stoke City

Team Pts
1 Manchester City (C) 86
2 Liverpool 84
3 Chelsea 82
4 Arsenal 79
5 Everton 72
6 Tottenham Hotspur 69
7 Manchester United 64
8 Southampton 56
9 Stoke City 50
10 Newcastle United 49
11 Crystal Palace 45
12 Swansea City 42
13 West Ham United 40
14 Sunderland 38
15 Aston Villa 38
16 Hull City 37
17 West Bromwich Albion 36
18 Norwich City (R) 33
19 Fulham (R) 32
20 Cardiff City (R) 30


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