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Match Report


Posted Sun 13 Feb 11 at 18:05 PM

Report: Wanderers 2 Everton 0

Gary Cahill's first goal of the season and Daniel Sturridge's third in as many appearances helped secure three points for the Whites and cement their place in the upper echelons of the Barclays Premier League table in front of the live television cameras.

Cahill capped a thrilling week in which he had earned his second England international cap by glancing a header of an Everton defender and into Time Howard's net to get the ball rolling before Sturridge made sure of a maximum haul capping an impressive display with an instinctive finish from close range.

In truth Wanderers were good value for their victory and could have had more than their double as Stuart Holden saw a goal disallowed and Johan Elmander was just a lick of paint away from a third late on.

Daniel Sturridge

Wanderers boss Owen Coyle stuck with the same starting line-up that had slipped to a slender and somewhat unlucky defeat in the capital against Spurs the previous weekend. The on loan Daniel Sturridge started his first game at the Reebok Stadium and was looking to maintain his record of a goal a game.

Everton were without Louis Saha, who had scored four of the Toffees' five goals in their last outing against Blackpool. Victor Anichebe took up the lone striking role in the Frenchman's absence but spent the majority of the opening 15 minutes penned inside his own half as Wanderers started positively.

Mark Davies' nimble footwork was on centre stage for all to see as he caused numerous problems when weaving his way through the Everton midfield. One particular highlight in the early throes of the game was Wanderers' fluidity to rapidly switch from a 4-5-1 formation with Sturridge and Johan Elmander in the channels to an out-and-out 4-3-3.

The Whites were asking all the questions and with their first real chance of the game ten minutes in were given an early answer. Paul Robinson won a free-kick down the left flank which Holden duly whipped onto the head of Gary Cahill who glanced a header goalwards that took a deflection beyond the stranded Tim Howard. It was the defender's first goal of the campaign in a week where he had earned his second England international cap.

Wanderers continued to press but it was the visitors who carved out the next clear cut opening. Leighton Baines superbly arced a superb ball into the Wanderers penalty area from deep that found a darting Tim Cahill run, but Australian could only sidefoot his attempt wide of Jussi Jaaskelainen's goal.

The next moment of note came on the half hour mark. It had been an entertaining opening but that momentum somewhat ceased when Zat Knight was forced off on a stretcher with what looked like a knee problem. The towering defender had made up the ground to reach out a leg and deny Anichebe a clear shot on goal but in doing so landed awkwardly seemingly twisting his knee. After a couple of minutes on the sidelines with the physio, Knight took just a couple of steps back onto the field of play before immediately signalling for a substitution. David Wheater took his place.

Minutes before the break Mikel Arteta curled an effort from the edge of the area into Jaaskelainen's bread basket before Mark Davies saw a low drive deflect wide of Howard's goal.

The second half continued to ebb and flow just as the first had. Everton peppered the Wanderers penalty area with copious long ball but were continuously thwarted by a strong rearguard. There was little in the way of guilt edge chances, as Tim Cahill fired a left-foot shot over on the turn.

After Wanderers had weathered that particular Everton storm, they set out in search of a second. Chung-Yong Lee was introduced in an attempt to add more guile in the final third and that substitution reaped immediate rewards.

A long ball into the Everton danger zone was only half cleared and with the ball spinning wildly in the air Chung-Yong superbly cushioned a header into Sturridge who was lurking unmarked just outside the six yard area. The striker then proceeded to take his Wanderers tally to three in three by emphatically finishing beyond Howard.

Wanderers almost made it three after a superb piece of ingenuity from Sturridge, who backheeled into the path Stuart Holden who smashed home only for the linesman to have deemed the ball to have gone over the line and out for a goal kick.

Jose Baxter forced a smart save out of Jaaskelainen in a rare foray into the Wanderers half, before Elmander and Sturridge both came close to adding a third as referee Lee Probert's whistle signalled three points for the Whites.

Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight (Wheater 28), Robinson, Elmander, M Davies, Holden, Taylor (Chung-Yong 60), Sturridge (Muamba 90), K Davies(Unused substitutes: Bogdan, Petrov, Klasnic, Rodrigo)

Everton: Howard, Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Coleman (Osman 61), Arteta, Cahill, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov (Beckford 61), Anichebe (Baxter 78)(Unused substitutes: Mucha, Hibbert, Jagielka, Duffy)

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