Fulham 2 Everton 1: Cahill goal not enough for Blues at the Cottage

By • Sep 13th, 2009 • Category: Match Reports, News |

Everton left West London today with nothing more than an increased injury list. After defeats to Arsenal and Burnley, Everton needed to build on victory over Wigan with a good result at Craven Cottage. It looked as if this would be the case at half time after Tim Cahill headed Everton into the lead however two second half goals from Fulham condemned the Blues to a 3rd defeat of the season.

Everton were on the back foot before the match had even started, Fulham were boosted by the return of former Goodison hero Andy Johnson, who got a good reception from the Everton faithful, and former Liverpool player Danny Murphy, who didn’t get such a good reception. Everton on the other hand were without player of the season so far Louis Saha who had a hamstring problem, his place was taken by  Jo, who’s performance was nothing short of atrocious.

The first half was a comfortable one for Everton, everything that Fulham did was well dealt with by the Everton defence, especially Sylvain Distin who kept Fulham’s top 2 quiet superbly for the opening 45 minutes. Fulham’s best effort came from a corner, with Clint Dempsey heading just wide, with some fans thinking it had gone in. It was Everton though who took the lead just after half an hour, a foul by Danny Murphy earned him a booking and Everton a free-kick. Leighton Baines swung it in with his left and Tim Cahill headed it home in typical fashion. However television replays suggest that the Australian was in an offside position when the ball was played, it wasn’t to matter in the end though.

Everton just simply stopped playing after the break, close to the hour mark Fulham had their equaliser. Phil Neville brought down John Pantsil just outside the box, Murphy’s shot was blocked however it came only as far as Paul Konchesky whose goal-bound shot rebounded off Distin and past the helpless Howard. It was desperately unlucky and there was certainly nothing that could have been done to prevent it.

The goal was a sign of things to come as matters got progressively worse after that. John Pantsil slid in to challenge Phil Neville and caught him under the knee. Neville was in agony, yet referee Peter Walton bizarrely waived play on before Neville belatedly received treatment and was stretchered from the field. Initial news on his condition is positive and it appears it is merely a deep gash beneath his knee.

Everton’s misery was compounded on 78 minutes as Fulham scored the eventual winner. Damien Duff was allowed to run at the defence and struck a wonderful shot into the corner to win the game. Unlike the first goal, this was not unlucky,  Leighton Baines should have pushed him out to the right instead of letting him cut inside and there were question marks over Joseph Yobo’s positioning.

Everton’s first real attack on goal in the second half came soon after, a Baines corner was flicked on by Heitinga for Fellaini who failed to beat stand-in keeper David Stockdale, the rebound fell to Yobo who’s shot was cleared off the line by Murphy. Everton continued to press but were nearly caught short as Dempey struck with Howard out of his goal, Sylvain Distin got back to clear off the line.

All in all a very disappointing day for Everton by the Thames, the next few games will be crucial they are to move away from the bottom of the table and nearer to that top 6.

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