Everton through to final after beating United

By Ian Phillips • Apr 19th, 2009 • Category: Match Reports |

Everton are in the FA Cup Final for the first time in 14 years after a historic win over Manchester United at Wembley. After a dire 120 minutes Tim Howard was the Blue’s hero with 2 penalty saves. Amazingly the American stopper had never saved a penalty for Everton before, but after Tim Cahill’s miss, Tim Howard saved from Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand to send the West Stand of Wembley into dilerium.

The game started with all the talk about Sir Alex Ferguson’s team selection. As we reported on Friday Wayne Rooney missed out, however that was not all. United made 8 changes with Ronaldo, Van der Sar, O’Shea and Carrick also missing. Everton fielded their strongest possible line up with a welcome return for James Vaughan on the bench.

In the first half nothing really happened. In the second half Phil Jagielka caused the talkiing point of the game by bringing down Wellbeck in the box, Mike Riley however decided against giving the penalty. Maybe the comments of David Moyes accusing him of being a United fan were in his mind? Apart from that nothing really happened. In the first period of extra time, nothing happened, then in the last 15 minutes, astonishingly, nothing happened. For many neutrals I’m sure an ITV ad break would have been welcome, the game did not live up to expectations. However it then went to penalties and Everton’s semi-final started there.

United got the first bit of luck being allocated their end of the ground for the penalties. Up stepped Tim Cahill, so often Everton’s hero, the Evertonians expectant, were shocked to see the ball blaze over. For many defeat looked inevitable, Tim Howard had never saved a penalty for the Blues and United had won their shoot-outs in the Champions League and FA Cup finals. Dimitar Berbatov stepped up to put United in front but his lazy penalty was saved by the number 24. Leighton Baines took number 2 and he made no mistake drilling the ball into the net. Tim Howard then wrote his name down into Everton folklore, saving captain Rio Ferdinand’s spot-kick to give the Blues hope. Penalties were then converted by Phil Neville, Nemanja Vidic, James Vaughan and Anderson. Phil Jagielka, the villain of Goodison Park a year ago when he missed against Fiorentina in the UEFA Cup, bravely stepped up to the plate, and buried it. Evertonians all over the world went crazy.

Next up: Chelsea – a dress rehearsel at Stamford Bridge.

A truely wonderful day. Everton will play in the FA Cup Final live on ITV 1 and Setanta Sports 1, and all over the world, at Wembley Stadium on Saturday May 30th at 3pm


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