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Everton 1-0 Fulham Prem35 The Sun

last updated Monday 29th April 2013, 11:32 PM

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Phil Thomas at The Sun

Everton (1) 1 Fulham (0) 0

AT LEAST some things remain as predictable as ever on Merseyside.

For if they think Luis Suarez and controversy go hand in hand - or should that be arm in mouth? - that's nothing compared with Everton and three points when Fulham are in town.

Not since 1959 have the Cottagers left Goodison with even a single point.

After yesterday, the past 20 league visits have ended in defeat.

It is the worst run of results ANY top-flight team has against another. So if David Moyes was going to mark his 50th birthday with a game against anyone, he could not have hand-picked better opponents.

Do not be fooled by the closeness of the scoreline either. There may have been only a solitary goal between them but, for long periods, they were leagues apart.

And thanks to Steven Pienaar celebrating his own little landmark - 150 Premier League games for the Blues - with the winner, Moyes' European dream is still on the horizon.

The Goodison gaffer, who brought up his personal half-century on Thursday, had his tongue so far in his cheek it was a wonder he could get the words out when he said: "Oh, aye, I'll be having a party - a real Scottish rave with no English there!"

But he was as serious as when he admitted: "We still have a chance of Europe but we'll probably have to win our last three games.

"Even then, if the teams above us keep winning there won't be a lot we can do.

"All we can do is win our matches and hope others slip up - but we have already beaten last year's total with this one today."

To be honest, it was a surprise Everton were not out of sight by half-time, so dominant were they and so lethargic their opponents.

It took them just 15 minutes to find a way through and, although the finish itself was simple enough, the build-up would have graced any game.

Leon Osman was involved twice, playing a clever one-two with Kevin Mirallas before finding Seamus Coleman, and Pienaar was on hand to sweep in his cross at the far post.

Moyes had insisted the South African's displays had dipped a little of late. If it was intended to spur him into action, it certainly had the desired effect.

His manager admitted: "Steven knitted us together and scored a great goal.

"It was an intricate move, a good finish and it will do him the world of good."

Pienaar was absolutely top drawer against Fulham, combining superbly down the left with Leighton Baines throughout.

His understanding with Mirallas - who gave another shining performance - is also developing so nicely there is plenty to be optimistic about on the blue half of Merseyside.

Two fantastic Pienaar-Baines combinations set up Marouane Fellaini but his first effort flashed wide and the second hit team-mate Victor Anichebe, preventing it from sneaking inside the post.

Fulham would have worked up a greater sweat in a post-match warm-down than they did in that first half when, frankly, they were abysmal.

Their one hint of a threat came when Kieran Richardson drilled a cross in front of goal but just too far for Mladen Petric, on after half an hour when Dimitar Berbatov tore a calf muscle.

And Urby Emanuelson had far more time and space than he realised when sweeping wide Alex Kacaniklic's pull-back.

At the other end rookie Ross Barkley was denied a marvellous solo effort only by the diving Mark Schwarzer, who also reacted well to beat away a Mirallas volley.

And the unmarked Fellaini should have ended any doubts when he met a superb deep cross from Baines, only to plant his angled volley into the ground and over.

Not that you really ever expected that to have any bearing on the result. Even Martin Jol knew that.

The Fulham chief said: "It was only 1-0 and, with a bit of luck, we could have got a point. Then again, they could have had two or three goals. "If your home form is great you can live with that away form - but we have lost just as many there as well."

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Mirallas, Osman, Fellaini, Pienaar, Jelavic (Barkley 67), Anichebe.
Subs Not Used: Mucha, Hibbert, Heitinga, Oviedo, Naismith, Duffy.

Booked: Osman.

Goals: Pienaar 16.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Manolev, Senderos, Hangeland, Richardson (Duff 56), Emanuelson, Karagounis (Rodallega 77), Enoh, Kacaniklic, Ruiz, Berbatov (Petric 30).
Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Frimpong, Hughes, Frei.

Booked: Enoh, Emanuelson, Manolev.

Att: 34,563

Ref: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire).


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