Memory Lane – Aston Villa at Goodison Park

Villains – Oldest Rivals, Oldest Friends! Everton v Aston Villa

Villains – Oldest Rivals, Oldest Friends! Everton v Aston Villa

Everton versus Aston Villa — Top Flight games:
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This season’s game between Everton and Aston Villa will be the 100th encounter between the two sides in a top-flight fixture at Goodison Park; the return fixture at Villa Park will take the League games between the two sides to the two hundred mark. A dizzying fact although the two teams will actually have met for the 101st time at Villa Park as the opening 3 fixtures of the 1939-40 campaign were wiped from the record books due to the cancelling of that season's fixtures because of the outbreak of the Second World War.

If it hadn’t have been for Aston Villa’s chairman, William McGregor, Everton may not have gained entry as founder members of the Football League, for it was he who sanctioned the Toffees to become part of the Football League.

The Football League was indeed his brainchild and it was originally only open to one club from each city – a rule that would deny Everton plenty of opportunities to play in European competition some 60 years later – the players and supporters of Bootle FC were far from happy that Everton FC had been admitted to the newly formed league as they felt they were better equipped to play in the competition but apparently it was Anfield that swayed the decision in Everton’s favour. Imagine if Bootle FC had have been awarded entry into the Football League, possibly Everton would have remained at their original home, Anfield, to this day... and the regular Merseyside derby may have been Bootle FC versus Everton FC.

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Many of the Southern clubs were reluctant to join the newly formed alliance and the Football Association were unsure that another competition was necessary but, despite their misgivings, McGregor canvassed many influential people long and hard and eventually his brainchild became a reality.

Everton’s first home encounter with Aston Villa took place at Anfield on 6 October 1888 and ended in a victory for the hosts as they beat Villa (2-0). This was the first of eight consecutive victories for the Toffees as they dominated Aston Villa on home soil until 19 September 1896 when the visitors won the game by the odd goal in five. Villa took a two-goal half-time lead thanks to goals from Devey and Campbell. Jack Taylor pulled a goal back for the Toffees but Campbell scored again to restore Villa’s two goal advantage. Alf Milward reduced the deficit but Villa hung on to claim their first away win over Everton. The first time that Villa visited Goodison Park was on 1 October 1892 where a goal from Alan Maxwell (75') was enough to give the Toffees the points.
Everton: Williams; Howarth, Chadwick; Boyle, Holt, Jamieson; Latta, Maxwell, Geary, Chadwick, Milward.

During that eight-match winning sequence the Blues scored thirty goals and conceded just five. In point of fact Everton won nine of their first ten matches against Villa on home soil.

If Everton won the majority of the League battles with Aston Villa during the early encounters on home soil, it was Aston Villa who claimed more silverware and prevented Everton from landing more trophies. In 1897, Villa beat Everton in the FA Cup final at Crystal Palace – a game which many contemporaries thought was the greatest Cup Final ever played outside of Wembley and possibly the greatest first-half of any FA Cup Final. Villa beat Everton (3-2) with all the goals coming in the opening half of the game.

Whilst Everton had won two League titles and an FA Cup before the First World War, it was Aston Villa who were the serial collectors of trophies prior to WW1 as they won the First Division on six occasions and finished Runners-up six times whilst they won the FA Cup on five occasions. Villa won both competitions in 1897, the year they beat Everton twice becoming only the second team to do the double after Preston North End had managed that feat in the inaugural season of the Football League.

Following the FA Cup final defeat in 1897, Everton only managed to beat Aston Villa at Goodison Park as often as Aston Villa beat Everton as the sides shared seven wins apiece with four games having been drawn as both sides scored 23 goals during the period leading up to the war. Everton also succumbed to Aston Villa in the FA Cup at the Semi-final stage in 1905 as Villa went on to lift the trophy by beating Newcastle United (2-0) in the final.

Between the formation of the Football League and 1915, Everton had won 15 of the 27 home League matches against Villa and had lost 8 with 4 ending in stalemates. Everton’s biggest home win had been at Anfield when they beat Villa (7-0) and their biggest margin of victory at Goodison Park had been by two goals on several occasions during that period.

Both Aston Villa and Everton found winning football matches more difficult following the resumption of the Football League in 1919 and Villa in particular found it hard to replicate their pre-war domination of the English game, although they did lift the FA Cup once again in 1920 when they beat Huddersfield Town (1-0) at Stamford Bridge. One highlight for Everton in the early 1920s was the game played at Goodison in January 1922 when Bobby Irvine scored a hat-trick against Aston Villa, in just five minutes, Bobby scored his goals in the 62nd, 64th and 67th minute, making it the fastest hat-trick in the club’s history, Everton won that game by the odd goal in five.

In Aston Villa’s Golden Jubilee season of 1923-24 the Villains lost the FA Cup final to Newcastle United (0-1) in their first Wembley appearance. Villa managed to finish higher than Everton in the League table every season from 1919 until Everton became champions in 1928.

During that Championship season, Everton completed the double over Aston Villa as they won at Villa Park (2-3) thanks to a hat-trick from Dixie Dean. In the return game at Goodison Park on 21 April 1928 Waring and Gibson scored for fifth placed Aston Villa, but Dixie Dean scored another two against the Villains whilst Anthony Weldon helped the Blues to another (3-2) victory as they retained their place at the top of the table.
Everton: Davies; Cresswell, O'Donnell; Kelly, Hart, Virr; Critchley, Martin, Dean, Weldon, Troup.

In the decade following the resumption of League football Everton hosted Villa on ten occasions beating the visitors on five occasions, drawing four times and their first defeat by Villa at Goodison during this time came in 1929. The following season, mid-table Aston Villa visited Goodison Park with Everton struggling to maintain their top-flight status on 5 March 1930. Everton scored three times via Tom Griffiths, Dixie Dean and Jimmy Stein but to no avail as Villa scored four times through Brown, Waring and Houghton (2) to deprive the Toffees of much needed points in their unsuccessful battle against relegation
Everton: Sagar; Williams, O'Donnell; Robson, Griffiths, White; Critchley, Martin, Dean, Rigby, Stein

When Everton returned to the top-flight they played Aston Villa at Goodison Park two years to the day of that previous reverse on 5 March 1932. Having won at Villa Park (2-3) earlier in the campaign, the Toffees were looking to do the double over the Midlanders as the Toffees took another step towards the title. Astley and Waring scored for Villa but goals from Jimmy Dunn, Tommy Johnson and a brace from Dixie Dean helped the Blues to victory (4-2) as they kept their place as league leaders in front of some 39,000 supporters.
Everton: Sagar; Williams, Cresswell; Clark, Gee, Thomson; Critchley, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, Stein.

Everton didn’t lose another League game against Aston Villa at Goodison Park prior to World War Two, as the next four games were drawn with both sides scoring nine times. Aston Villa became the last of the original members of the Football League to be relegated in 1935-36 and regained their top-flight place for the last campaign prior to WW2.

The final time Aston Villa visited Goodison prior to the outbreak of hostilities had been on 29 April 1939 as Everton completed yet another double over Aston Villa as they had won at Villa Park by three goals without reply the previous September. In the penultimate game of the campaign goals from Stan Bentham, Billy Cook from the penalty spot and Torrance Gillick gave the Toffees victory (3-0) in front of an attendance of only 23,667. Presumably the low attendance was due to the fact that Everton had already claimed the title in one of their recent matches.
Everton: Sagar; Cook, Greenhalgh; Mercer, Jones, Watson; Gillick, Bentham, Lawton, Stevenson, Caskie

That title win put Everton just one behind Aston Villa who had been crowned champions on six occasions. Everton’s league record between the wars against Aston Villa at Goodison Park showed that the Blues and Villa had both won 11 whilst the remaining 12 games had ended all-square.

At the resumption of League football, Everton won the first two matches at Goodison Park against Aston Villa scoring five goals without reply. Everton had the better of the next few games at Goodison but Aston Villa claimed an all important victory in April 1951. Both sides were struggling at the wrong end of the table and only two points separated the sides with three fixtures left to be played. This was Everton’s final home game of that campaign and 45,245 turned up to watch the crucial showdown.

Jimmy McIntosh scored for the Blues but it was not enough as Dixon and Smith scored for the visitors and won the points that all but secured their top-flight status. Everton on the other hand were left worrying about their top-flight status and eventually dropped out of the First Division as they failed to secure enough points from their final two away games.
Everton: Sagar; Moore, Rankin; Grant, Jones, Farrell; Buckle, Hold, McIntosh, Potts, Eglington.

When Everton returned to the First Division, Aston Villa won five out of seven encounters at Goodison Park including a victory in the FA Cup. One of the rare victories for Everton during that period came on 22 October 1955, when Dave Hickson who had been sold to Aston Villa returned to his former stomping ground only a month after he had left his beloved Toffees.

A crowd of 55,431 filed into Goodison to witness the return of their former favourite and it was reported that Hickson had been “the most loudly cheered visiting captain in the 100 years top-class football has been played” at Goodison Park. Jimmy Harris – who had been one of the reasons that Dave Hickson had been allowed to leave Goodison Park – was the Toffees hero on the day as he opened the scoring after just nine minutes and he doubled Everton’s lead in the 20th minute. Dixon scored for Villa in the eightieth minute but it was Everton who won the points. However, the game will always be remembered for the ‘Cannonball Kids” enthusiastic reception by the Goodison faithful.

Dave Hickson left Villa to join Huddersfield Town having only played twelve games for the Midlanders and scoring just the one goal. Two years later Dave returned to his beloved Everton and Jimmy Harris would be the man supplying the crosses for the centre-forward.
Everton: O'Neill; Moore, Tansey; Farrell, Woods, Lello; Mayers, Wainwright, Harris, Parker, Eglington.

Aston Villa managed to lift the FA Cup at Wembley in 1957 by beating Manchester United but Villa were relegated from the top-flight in the 1958/59 campaign – in the game at Goodison Park played on 29 March 1959, Dave Hickson scored for Everton against his former club whilst Alex Parker converted a penalty, McParland scored a consolation goal for Villa as the Toffees won 2-1.
Everton: Dunlop; Parker, Bramwell; Harris, Labone, Meagan; Harris, Thomas, Hickson, Collins, Ashworth.

Aston Villa returned to the First Division at the first time of asking under the guidance of former Goodison great Joe Mercer and Villa became the first winners of the Football League cup in 1961. Harry Catterick’s arrival at Goodison saw the pendulum swing back toward the Toffees as Everton had the better of the matches with Aston Villa on home turf. Catterick’s Everton sides never lost a match to Villa at Goodison as Aston Villa only took one point during his reign and that came in Everton’s Title winning season of 1962-63.

On 28 February 1964, Everton, having recently been knocked out of the FA Cup at Sunderland, faced Joe Mercer’s Aston Villa side at Goodison Park, and at some point in the match Geoff Sidebottom the Villa keeper had to be replaced due to a fainting incident and he had to be taken to hospital, as this game had been played prior to the introduction of substitutes Villa outfield player John Sleeuwenhoek had to replace him in goal as Villa were reduced to ten-men. As well as the incident with the Villa keeper, Referee Bill Hollan also had to retire early from the match following an injury sustained in a collision presumably with a player and Everton coach Ron Lewin took over as linesman. But Lewin was replaced by a qualified volunteer from among the crowd – following a controversial off-side decision relating to Everton’s equalising goal scored by Roy Vernon. If that had not been enough entertainment the second-half of the game could only be seen from one side of the pitch as the other half of the pitch was shrouded in thick fog. The game burst into life when Harry Burrows (5’) gave Villa an early lead from the spot, but Dennis Stevens (15’) drew the Blues’ level as the teams went in all-square at the interval. In the second-half Roy Vernon (55’) gave Everton the lead from the penalty spot and two further goals from Alex Young (66’) and Alex Scott (70’) put the Blues’ firmly in the driving seat although George Graham (77’) pulled a goal back – one of only two goals that he scored for Villa in his eight appearances for the club – but it was too little too late as Everton (4-2) ran out comfortable winners in front of 50,292 fans – but how many of those assembled managed to witness the whole of the game is open to question.
Everton: West; Brown, Meagan, Gabriel, Labone; Kay, Scott, Stevens; Young, Vernon, Temple

In 1966-67, Aston Villa, struggling at the wrong end of the table, took on Everton at Goodison Park but goals from Alan Ball, Alex Young and an own goal by Deakin was too much for Aston Villa as they only managed to score once through MacLeod as Everton (3-1) ran out winners.
Everton: Rankin; Wright, Brown; Hurst, Labone, Harvey; Scott, Ball, Husband, Young, Morrissey

Whilst that defeat at Goodison didn’t help Villa’s cause, it was Everton who sealed their fate on 6 May 1967 when goals from Fred Pickering (2), Jimmy Gabriel and Jimmy Husband helped the Toffees to beat Villa (2-4) at Villa Park and consigned the Midlanders to lower league football.
Everton: Rankin; Wright, Wilson; Hurst, Labone, Harvey; Ball, Husband, Pickering, Gabriel, Morrissey.

That game marked a severe decline in Aston Villa’s fortunes as they sunk to the third tier of the Football League, gradually they made their way back up into the higher echelons and managed to reach a Wembley League Cup final in 1971 which they lost to Spurs. Villa returned to the top-flight in 1974-75 when they finished as Division Two runners-up and also won a place in Europe for the first time in their long history by winning the League Cup at Wembley – they had beaten Everton (0-3) in a second-round replay at Goodison along the way. Aston Villa repeated their League Cup success in 1977 when they defeated Everton in a three-game final marathon.

Aston Villa became League Champions in 1981, for the seventh time in their history after a gap of over 70 years, along the way they beat Everton (1-3) at Goodison Park where a sensational goal from Tony Morley (4') gave Villa an early lead. Trevor Ross (35’) equalised with a penalty, but further goals from Dennis Mortimer (43') and Gordon Cowans (71') earned Villa the points.
Everton: Hodge; Ratcliffe, Bailey; Wright, Lyons, Ross; Megson, Eastoe, Varadi, Hartford, O'Keefe.

Twelve months later the Villa fans were celebrating winning the European Cup for the first time in the club’s illustrious history when Peter Withe was the goalscoring hero against Bayern Munich. Gordon Lee in an interview published in a Villa programme talked about his time at Everton and the difficulty in attracting top players to the club said he had been very close to bringing Peter Withe to Goodison from Newcastle United in 1980 and was astounded when he found out that Withe had chosen Villa ahead of his Everton team, because Gordon thought it had been a done deal. At least Gordon Lee and Everton had the consolation of ‘nicking’ Graeme Sharp earlier in Lee’s time at Goodison, after many believed that Villa was his likely destination.

Few pundits believed that Everton would become more successful than Villa during the ensuing years but thanks to a former Villa favourite Andy Gray, that is precisely what happened. During the period between Villa’s European triumph and the last season of Football League games prior to the start of the Premier League, Everton dominated the games between the two sides at Goodison.

Everton’s biggest victory over Aston Villa during this period came on Tuesday 31 August 1982 when the Toffees had won by five goals to nil, the Toffees biggest home win against Villa since they had left Anfield. Adrian Heath (2) and Graeme Sharp (2) both scored a brace and Andy King added another to complete the rout over the reigning European Champions.
Everton: Southall; Borrows, Bailey, Higgins, Wright; McMahon, Irvine (Richardson), Heath; Sharp, King, Sheedy.

That Everton victory (5-0) signalled a run of eight unbeaten games against Villa at Goodison Park which came to an end in 1991 when Villa won the final Football League top-flight match between the two sides at the venue. Graeme Sharp scored five goals for Everton in six League games at Goodison against Aston Villa and never finished on the losing side in a Goodison match against Villa during his time at the club. Graeme also made his final League appearance in an Everton shirt at Villa Park in 1991 when the sides drew (2-2).

Tony Cascarino had been the last opposition player to score for both sides during the same match and this had taken place while he was a Villa player. The match took place on 5 May 1990 at Goodison Park in front of just under 30,000 supporters. The game had been goalless until Tony Cascarino’s unfortunate own goal (31’), however, Tony made amends after the interval when he equalised for the Villa. Mike Newell (51’) put Everton back in front but just eight minutes later Gordon Cowans (59’) pegged the Toffee’s back. Tony Daley then put the visitors in front before a successful penalty by Kevin Sheedy (80’) restored parity and the game ended in a three-all draw.
Everton: Southall; Keown, Pointon, Ratcliffe, Watson (Atteveld); McDonald, Nevin, McCall; Newell, Cottee, Ebbrell (Sheedy)

The Premier League era has once again highlighted the closeness of the matches between the two teams at Goodison Park as Everton have won seven, Villa have won six and nine games have been drawn with Everton having scored 31 goals whilst Villa have scored 29 in reply.

Both founder members of the Football League the two sides were also founder members of the Premiership and the first Premier League game at Goodison Park between the two teams took place on 25 August 1992. A late goal from Mo Johnston (88’) two minutes from time was enough to win the game for Howard Kendall’s Everton against Ron Atkinson’s Aston Villa (1-0) who ended the season as Premier League Runners-up.
Everton: Southall; Harper, Hinchcliffe, Ebbrell, Watson; Ablett; Ward, Beardsley; Rideout, Horne, Johnston.

When Joe Parkinson hit the winning goal against Aston Villa at Goodison Park in May 1996, many believed that the goal had earned Everton a place in European competition alas Arsenal scored two late goals at Highbury and pipped Everton to that European spot.

Few would have believed that Everton would then go ten matches against Aston Villa without a single victory; five of those matches took place at Goodison and included two consecutive goalless draws. The first of which was played out in August 1998 which began Walter Smith’s League tenure in charge of Everton and also a game that witnessed John Collins having a penalty saved by Villa’s Mark Bosnich. This game also witnessed the Everton debut’s of no fewer than four players as Alec Cleland, John Collins, Oliver Dacourt and Marco Materazzi all tasted the atmosphere of Goodison Park for the first time in an Everton shirt.
Everton: Myhre; Cleland, Ball; Short, Materazzi, Tiler; Collins, Barmby, Ferguson, Dacourt, Spencer

Chris Lightbown of The Sunday Times reported an unintentional warning of what the Walter Smith years would become when he wrote:

“EVEN given the strangeness of opening days, this was an ominous result for Everton. Villa barely attacked them and an awful lot of Everton's problems revolved around the man they believe to be their greatest asset, Duncan Ferguson. To get the supply he needed, Ferguson had to keep running out to the flanks or the depths of midfield and that left his team with nobody to fill the vacuum he had created.”

Peter Robinson from The Times wrote:

“Football can be many things – dramatic, controversial, depressing, uplifting, tense and tedious to name but a few –but at Goodison Park on Saturday, it was just strange. A collection of oddities from start to finish. A rather unnerving way to start the season….“What Walter Smith thought of his first taste of the Premiership was hidden in a few mumbled inaudibles that never made it as far as the not-very-loudspeakers, but someone who was there reported that he said something about Scottish and English football being not that different. Which, bearing in mind the Highland Fling before the kick-off, was explicable, if not a lot else.”

The two goalless encounters were a rare occurrence as there had previously only ever been two goalless draws between the sides at Goodison Park during the whole of their many League encounters.

Everton’s first triumph of the new millennium came against an unbeaten Aston Villa side at Goodison Park which took place on 20 October 2001. Steve Watson (31’) opened the scoring following a slick passing movement just after the half-hour mark. Two more goals arrived for Everton either side of the hour mark as firstly Tomasz Radzinski (59’) finished well after receiving a good pass from Naysmith and then Thomas Graveson (62’) scored Everton’s third to give the home side a three goal advantage. Aston Villa weren’t out of the game just yet as Hadji (71’) took advantage of some slack marking and reduced the deficit and then almost unbelievably Aston Villa keeper and former Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel (92’) volleyed into the Everton goal after getting on the end of a corner. A few nervous moments followed but the Toffees hung on for the win.
Everton: Gerrard; Watson, Pistone; Xavier, Weir, Alexandersson; Graveson (Gascoigne), Radzinski (Ferguson), Campbell, Pembridge, Naysmith

Everton won three of the next four matches with Aston Villa at Goodison Park until Villa visited in November 2006 when a single goal from Chris Sutton (42’) was enough to take the points to Villa Park. Everton’s best victory during this period had arrived the previous March when James McFadden (16’), Tim Cahill (22’) and Leon Osman (45’) gave the Toffees a three goal advantage at half-time although Gabby Agbonlahor (64’) pulled one back for the visitors Tim Cahill (90’) scored his second and Everton’s fourth in the last minute of the match.
Everton: Wright; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith; Arteta, Osman, McFadden, Cahill, Neville; Beattie.

The last seven meetings have produced one win apiece and five drawn games, Aston Villa won a dramatic game in December 2008 where the visitors got off to a flying start when Steve Sidwell scored after only 31 seconds however, Joleon Lescott equalised for Everton after half-an hour. Ashley Young put Villa back in front early in the second period and it remained that way until deep into added time when Joleon Lescott scored a last gasp equaliser which had seemingly rescued a point for the Toffees but Aston Villa’s Ashley Young still had time to race through Everton’s rearguard and scored the winner with barely time enough on the clock to restart the game a devastating blow to the Everton team and the Goodison faithful. Everton: Howard, Neville (Van der Meyde 84), Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott, Osman, Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar, Cahill, Anichebe (Baines 86).

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill: as reported by the BBC said: "It was an amazing finish and I could not be more delighted. “It is a phenomenal victory for us - and the manner in which we did it speaks volumes for the ability and spirit of the team.

"Ashley Young was absolutely world class. He is a magnificent footballer and he put his chances in the net superbly. We got a great start but Everton clawed their way into the game and then put us under enormous pressure. We were under the cosh for long periods.

"They got an equaliser and just when you thought the referee was going to blow the whistle, Young comes up with a world class finish to win the match. I am ecstatic."

Everton boss David Moyes said: "I thought it was the final whistle after our equaliser. I don't know how much the injury time went on but that's what happens. Their third goal, everybody thought the referee was going to blow for time.

"There were mistakes organisationally, there were mistakes - we got caught on the ball, maybe we should have kicked the ball longer and without taking any risks.”That wasn't the reason we lost today. We played well today we had two off the line, one hit the bar. The players played well today."

Everton gained sweet revenge for this defeat the following February when the Toffees beat Aston Villa (3-1) at Goodison Park, on their way to the FA Cup final at Wembley in 2009.

The Last Time: 1 February 2014 as reported on the BBC website:

Everton recovered from their Merseyside derby thrashing by Liverpool to beat Aston Villa thanks to Kevin Mirallas's superb 25-yard free-kick. It looked like the hosts would suffer consecutive defeats after Villa defended Leandro Bacuna's first-half goal, their only shot on target. But substitute Steven Naismith broke Villa's resistance with a 16-yard shot.

And Mirallas's curling strike five minutes from time moved Everton up to fifth in the Premier League table. Beating Aston Villa earned Everton their 300th Premier League victory. It was also a 100th victory for Roberto Martinez in English football and his 50th in the Premier League

Prior to this result, Villa had only lost three times away all season and their 3-5-2 formation, along with some brave defending, made it look like they would pinch victory. But Roberto Martinez's decision to push up Leon Osman in support of lone striker Mirallas and introduce Naismith in the second half proved the difference.

With Tottenham drawing at Hull, Everton leapfrogged the north London side, whom they face a week on Sunday, and moved a point behind their Merseyside rivals as they continue their chase for a place in next season's Champions League.

And the manner in which Martinez continued to push for victory, despite lacking top scorer Romelu Lukaku, suggests they will press their challengers for the rest of the season. Villa were happy to yield possession for long periods and, once they scored against the run of play, looked intent on simply defending their lead.

However, once Naismith had scored after 74 minutes, Villa boss Paul Lambert did try to go for a winner. His side missed a chance to pull further away from the relegation zone but they stay 10th in the Premier League and are five points above the drop zone.

The visitors were close to going behind early on when Aiden McGeady, making his first Premier League start since signing from Spartak Moscow, cut in from the right and hit the far post with a curling shot.

But for the rest of the first half, Everton failed to test Brad Guzan in the Villa goal, and Lambert's side easily absorbed the pressure before scoring from their first decent break. Fabian Delph, who was impressive throughout, timed his tackle on Ross Barkley to perfection with Christian Benteke picking up the loose ball and feeding Bacuna, who nutmegged Tim Howard.

Everton, who lost 4-0 at Liverpool on Tuesday, improved after the break as Osman was shifted infield to support Mirallas. England international Osman had two good opportunities but did not trouble Guzan, while substitute Steven Pienaar shot straight at the American goalkeeper.

By the hour mark, Villa barely ventured out of their own half although Benteke almost headed into his own net. It was arguably as close as Everton had come to scoring.

Martinez then opted to replace defender John Stones with Naismith, and the game changed as the Scot picked up Pienaar's clever pass and found the bottom corner from 16 yards. It looked like the game would remain level, until Mirallas ensured Everton fans ended the week in a better mood.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez: "I think it's without the doubt the most satisfying win of the season. You come in on the back of a disappointing result and you want to get it right straight away. But in the first half we were too responsible, the players were thinking too much, and we were too concerned with the outcome rather than enjoying it.

"We hit the post and we concede a goal, so it becomes a real moment of adversity, but the way we reacted was an incredible example. After that test we are ready to finish the season as strong as we can."

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert: "We were excellent up until that first Everton goal, then for the second it's a world class free kick. You cannot do anything about that but I'm not so sure we deserved to lose the game.

"I'm not happy to lose but we had a really gruelling match on Wednesday night [against West Brom] and we had only two days to recover from it but if we keep that level of performance we will be all right."

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Reader Comments (3)

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Steve Carter
1 Posted 18/10/2014 at 08:59:10
Patrick, you are a legend. Thank you for the work you put in. I always enjoy your memory lane column.
Karl Masters
2 Posted 19/10/2014 at 21:35:08
A great read as ever, Patrick. Keep it up mate.
Colin Glassar
3 Posted 19/10/2014 at 22:25:11
Brilliant piece.

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