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Fulham lose at Everton Telegraph

last updated Monday 30th January 2012, 4:47 PM

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Chris Bascombe at Daily Telegraph

Everton (1) 2 Fulham (1) 1

David Moyes has regularly cursed his inability to capture high-profile transfer targets.

There is a certain irony that the one he has signed twice will likely cause him as much frustration as any that slipped through his grasp.

Sadly for Everton, the class of Landon Donovan is only a temporary luxury.

How Moyes must wish he could lure the 29 year-old to Goodison on a permanent basis.

Donovan is halfway through an all-too-brief loan spell, but his contribution retained Everton's interest in a season which will drift if they don't build on the FA Cup progress they secured with victory over Fulham.

Donovan created both goals to overturn Danny Murphy's early penalty, enabling Denis Stracqualursi and Marouane Fellaini to head Everton into the fifth round.

The American winger has evidently learned plenty from the crossing expertise of LA Galaxy team-mate David Beckham.

His consistent accuracy from the flanks proved the difference.

Both teams went into the tie knowing their season was hovering dangerously on the edge of a descent into serial drabness.

Moyes admitted as much, acknowledging there would be little to get excited about between now and May if his side didn't progress.

With random verbal attacks on chairman Bill Kenwright following every final whistle, even when his side wins, the undercurrent of unease bubbles away.

A run in the Cup can at least retain a unified focus on team affairs.

Considering the importance of the competition, Moyes's team selection was somewhat surprising.

As well as Stracqualursi, he entrusted French youngster Magaye Gueye to locate the cutting edge his side has been missing.

Perhaps it said more about Moyes's view of Louis Saha, who was left to sulk on the bench as opposed to brooding on the pitch.

Turning to his underused striker Stracqualursi may have carried the vapour of desperation before kick-off, but the enthusiastic Argentine rewarded his manager's faith with the equaliser - a glancing header from Donovan's exquisite cross and his first for the club.

"He is a tremendous worker," said Everton's assistant manager Steve Round.

"He will run and run and run.

It's taken him a while to settle but we have seen him start to come to terms with it all.

" Just 25,300 were present to watch this match.

Officially, Fulham sold 400 tickets.

It looked like at least 200 of them had not bothered to make the trip.

Those that had were celebrating after 14 minutes.

Murphy scored the penalty and was heavily involved in the move which led to it.

His defence splitting pass to John Arne Riise allowed the full-back to cross for Damien Duff, whose shot struck John Heitinga's arm.

Referee Howard Webb showed the yellow card to the Dutchman, though in truth he was unlucky to get booked.

Everton's response thoroughly merited the victory, which was secured when Fellaini leapt majestically to meet another Donovan delivery in the 73rd minute.

Cahill hit the bar as Everton looked more likely to extend their lead than be forced into a replay by visitors who staggered disappointingly to defeat.

"If you look at the quality we've got, especially upfront, we could have done a lot better," said Fulham manager Martin Jol.

At least Fulham's season isn't over yet, although the fact their only focus now is avoiding relegation is hardly a consolation.

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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