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Fulham lose at Everton Mail

last updated Monday 30th January 2012, 4:49 PM

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Dominic King at Daily Mail

Everton (1) 2 Fulham (1) 1

Maybe David Moyes should threaten his side more often.

Sensing that Everton's season was faltering, the manager used his pre-match press conference to deliver a blunt message.

Moyes demanded that standards be raised after a season short on excitement.

What he got on Friday night was Everton's best performance in three months and a place in the FA Cup fifth round.

Though they fell behind to an early Danny Murphy penalty, goals from Denis Stracqualursi and Marouane Fellaini carried the home side through.

There has been a sense of negativity hanging over Goodison Park for much of the year, stemming from the fact Everton have no money, but one thing that cannot be disputed is their spirit.

'You see it every day,' explained assistant manager Steve Round.

'The players have changed down the years but every player wants to do well for Everton.

We might not quite have the talent of some of the top teams but our spirit can't be matched.

' Moyes's decision to give Stracqualursi the task of leading his attack - the Argentine had not scored in 12 appearances since joining Everton on loan last August - was a surprise, but the gamble paid off and his first goal for the club could not have been better timed.

Everton started poorly and Murphy converted his spot-kick on 14 minutes after John Heitinga handled Damien Duff's shot.

The hosts felt the decision was harsh.

Everton responded impressively and parity was restored when the excellent Landon Donovan created an opening for Stracqualursi to head home.

While Moyes barely flickered at the goal, Stracqualursi dropped to his knees and started crying.

Frustratingly for Everton, they could not build on that platform and went into the interval level.

The hosts dominated possession in the second half and kept Fulham penned back around their 18-yard box but the final ball was lacking.

Yet just when a replay appeared likely, Donovan - whom Round described as a 'diamond of a guy and an intelligent footballer' -produced a wonderful cross for Fellaini to bullet a header past David Stockdale.

'If you go a goal up away from home you should see it out,' said Fulham boss Martin Jol, whose side wasted a number of counter-attacks.

'We know their style and they fire in a lot of crosses.

We just couldn't exploit our quality.

Everton: Howard, Neville, Duffy, Heitinga, Baines, Donovan, Gibson, Fellaini, Gueye (Drenthe 68), Cahill, Stracqualursi (Anichebe 83).
Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Hibbert, Saha, Vellios, Baxter.

Booked: Heitinga, Gibson, Cahill.

Goals: Stracqualursi 27, Fellaini 73.

Fulham: Stockdale, Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Duff (Zamora 79), Murphy (Trotta 87), Baird (Sidwell 82), Ruiz, Dempsey, Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Senderos, Frei, Davies.

Booked: Baird (73,f), Dempsey (86,d).

Goals: Murphy 14 pen (Handball by Johnny Heitinga. Placed penalty taken right-footed by Danny Murphy into bottom-right of goal).

Att: 25,300

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

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