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  • Everton 2-1 Fulham: Late controversial Arteta penalty

    A controversial last gasp penalty from Mikel Arteta kept alive Everton's slim hopes of European football as they beat an under strength Fulham side 2-1 at Goodison Park.

    Erik Nevland gave Fulham a shock and hardly deserved half-time lead when he capitalised on a Leighton Baines howler, but substitute Victor Anichebe headed home an equaliser just after the break that also might have gone in off Manchester United bound Chris Smalling.

    Everton huffed and puffed for a winner but it did not look like coming until Chris Baird put a high boot across the chest of Tim Cahill deep into stoppage time.

    The referee was probably correct in awarding the penalty but the attack came from an Everton throw-in that clearly came off Louis Saha.

    Arteta stepped up to take the pressure kick, and sent Mark Schwarzer the wrong way to ensure all three points for the Toffees.

    Fulham made it clear that their priorities lie in Europe by making nine changes from the team that drew in Hamburg on Thursday night - Baird and Schwarzer the sole survivors.

    Everton looked fluid in the opening moments with their busy midfield moving the ball around quickly and after only two minutes Diniyar Bilyaletdinov hit the outside of the post with a volley after Tony Hibbert's fine deep cross from right to left.

    However, while Fulham's personnel was somewhat unfamiliar, Roy Hodgson well-oiled sense of organisation was clearly evident. The Londoners struggled to get much possession but they constantly made life difficult for Everton by having two lines of four consistently breaking up the play.

    It was hard to see though how they would score, but when they did take the lead, it was well and truly gift-wrapped from Baines in the 35th minute.

    The left-back just completely misread his surroundings and played a casual back pass to Tim Howard. He did not see Nevland slip in behind him to nip in ahead of Howard and stab the ball home.

    That goal, Fulham's first away goal in the league since early January, seemed to lift them for a spell, and they had the next best chance of the half as Clint Dempsey volleyed over from close range after a fine scooped chip by Stefano Okaka.

    Everton meanwhile, were limited to scraps and half-chances with Yakubu and Cahill dragging their best chances wide.

    The second-half followed a similar theme but Everton were a little more inventive and also crucially equalised just five minutes after the restart.

    Areta was this time the creator as he stood up a great cross into the six yard box after a flick from Steven Pienaar put him free down the left; Anichebe and Smalling both seemed to get their heads on the ball and while the header lacked power Schwarzer could not adjust his feet in time and the ball crept into the corner.

    Everton continued to dominate but again without creating too many clear chances. Schwarzer batted away one header from Cahill, Jonathan Greening nearly headed into his own goal, and a close range Saha header bounced off the head of Dempsey; but Fulham also had a chance at the other end alone to see Okaka fire weakly at Howard when put clear by Nevland.

    As time ticked on it looked like Fulham were going to grind out a draw, especially when Saha headed a Baines cross wide in stoppage time.

    However, just as time was about to expire, Everton got that late penalty that left Fulham fuming, and David Moyes's side as much relieved as delighted.
    Seán Fay / Eurosport



    Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Smalling, Baird, Shorey, Dempsey, Dikgacoi, Greening, Riise, Okaka, Nevland

    Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Bilyaletdinov, Neville, Arteta, Pienaar, Cahill, Yakubu


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