Everton 1-0 Stoke- Match Report
Report of match 30th March 2013
Everton 1-0 Stoke- Match Report.
Mirallas masterclass sinks struggling Potters
Forward Kevin Mirallas kept Everton's bid for Champions League football alive with the only goal in a 1-0 victory to increase Stoke's worries as their slide down the table continued.
The Belgium international struck from an electrifyingly quick counter-attack in the first half which left defenders trailing in his wake.
His sixth goal of the season, although only his third in 18 league appearances, was enough to ensure David Moyes' side built on their victory over champions Manchester City before the international break.
Everton began the day six points outside Champions League qualification but by the final whistle they were just four behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who slipped up at Southampton.
Their quest to play among Europe's elite for only the second time remains a possibility and the first half of next month is crucial to their hopes as they face Spurs and, more importantly, Arsenal - the team who stand between them and the top four.
Stoke, however, are looking over their shoulders with increasing anxiety as one win in 12 league matches has brought the bottom of the table into closer focus than manager Tony Pulis would have expected after finishing 2012 unbeaten in 10 games.
Goals, or a lack of them, are the Potters boss's concern with just six in 11 league games, which has contributed to a Premier League worst tally of 14 matches this season without scoring.
With Phil Jagielka returning from a three-match absence with an ankle injury to captain the side Moyes, without the suspended key duo of Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar, unusually opted for a back three.
It took a while for the side to settle in this new and unfamiliar formation and as a result Stoke should have gone ahead within three minutes.
Ryan Shotton's long throw picked out Robert Huth, whose header was well saved by Tim Howard - but Jon Walters crashed the follow-up against the crossbar from close range.
Aside from two Nikica Jelavic headers, one straight at Asmir Begovic and the other deflected wide by Robert Huth, Everton produced little in the opening 25 minutes.
Goalkeeper Howard was returning to the starting line-up after recovering from two broken bones in his back but no-one expected him to provide the assist for the opening goal in the 28th minute.
Marc Wilson's cross from a short free-kick was punched clear by the American and landed at the feet of Mirallas, the Everton player highest up the pitch.
Although he gave Steven Nzonzi a chance to nick the ball in the centre-circle the midfielder could not accept the invitation, got in a tangle and his opponent raced clear.
There are few who can match Mirallas in full flow and although Stoke scrambled to get back the #6million summer signing could not be caught, clipping a shot which Begovic got a hand to but could not stop.
With his confidence boosted, the former Olympiacos man then thrashed a shot across Begovic's goal and wide of the far post from the right corner of the penalty area.
The best Stoke could muster in response was Walters' curling shot which was palmed away acrobatically but theatrically by Howard.
In the second half Huth planted a header wide from Whelan's free-kick when he should have hit the target - and therein lies Stoke's problem.
When their considerable strengths, the physicality which grinds teams down and the aerial ability which often causes opponents so many problems, fail them there is nothing else in reserve.
Shotton also squandered a more difficult effort, Wilson's inswinging cross deflecting off Sylvain Distin's back, from a similar position.
Ryan Shawcross' rugby tackle on Jelavic to prevent the Croatian running clean through on to Leon Osman's pass earned the Stoke captain a booking and Everton a free-kick on the edge of the area but Leighton Baines blasted into the wall.
Fortunately for the hosts this was not a day when they needed the cushion of the extra goal as Stoke surprisingly hardly tested Howard and his recently-repaired broken back.
|Competition: Barclays Premier League Kick Off: 15:00 Venue: Goodison Park Attendance: 33,977|
|1 - 0||Stoke City
|90+3||Free kick awarded for a foul by Leon Osman on Charlie Adam. Shot comes in from Charlie Adam from the free kick, save by Tim Howard.|
|90+2||Unfair challenge on Leighton Baines by Ryan Shotton results in a free kick. Ryan Shotton goes into the referee's book. Tim Howard takes the free kick.|
|90+2||Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Robert Huth by Nikica Jelavic. Asmir Begovic takes the free kick.|
|87||Unfair challenge on Charlie Adam by Ross Barkley results in a free kick. Caution for Ross Barkley. Free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.|
|85||Unfair challenge on Victor Anichebe by Jonathan Walters results in a free kick. Tim Howard takes the direct free kick.|
|81||Unfair challenge on Seamus Coleman by Jonathan Walters results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Darron Gibson from right wing.|
|79||Kevin Mirallas goes off and Ross Barkley comes on.|
|78||Charlie Adam on for Geoff Cameron. Peter Crouch leaves the field to be replaced by Kenwyne Jones.|
|76||Cameron Jerome has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.|
|74||Sylvain Distin gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Peter Crouch. Centre by Glenn Whelan, Headed effort from inside the area by Robert Huth misses to the left of the target.|
|73||Marc Wilson takes a shot. Victor Anichebe gets a block in.|
|71||Unfair challenge on Leon Osman by Ryan Shotton results in a free kick. Strike on goal comes in from Nikica Jelavic from the free kick.|
|69||Ryan Shawcross concedes a free kick for a foul on Nikica Jelavic. Ryan Shawcross receives a caution. Leighton Baines fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.|
|68||Unfair challenge on Nikica Jelavic by Robert Huth results in a free kick. Leon Osman restarts play with the free kick.|
|67||Unfair challenge on Victor Anichebe by Jonathan Walters results in a free kick. Phil Jagielka takes the free kick.|
|65||Nikica Jelavic takes a shot. Save by Asmir Begovic.|
|65||Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Johnny Heitinga by Peter Crouch. Phil Jagielka restarts play with the free kick.|
|62||The referee blows for offside. Asmir Begovic takes the indirect free kick.|
|60||Header from close range by Ryan Shotton misses to the right of the target.|
|60||Kevin Mirallas takes a shot from 20 yards. Save made by Asmir Begovic.|
|59||Victor Anichebe challenges Marc Wilson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Glenn Whelan takes the free kick.|
|57||Foul by Nikica Jelavic on Robert Huth, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.|
|57||Corner taken by Kevin Mirallas from the left by-line to the near post, Peter Crouch makes a clearance.|
|55||Victor Anichebe gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ryan Shotton. Glenn Whelan delivers the ball, Close range header by Robert Huth misses to the right of the target.|
|54||Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Glenn Whelan from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Johnny Heitinga.|
|54||Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Glenn Whelan, clearance made by Darron Gibson.|
|53||Inswinging corner taken by Kevin Mirallas from the left by-line, save by Asmir Begovic.|
|53||Victor Anichebe takes a shot. Blocked by Ryan Shawcross.|
|53||Nikica Jelavic produces a cross, clearance made by Glenn Whelan.|
|51||Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Seamus Coleman by Glenn Whelan. Darron Gibson delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing.|
|49||Marc Wilson crosses the ball, save by Tim Howard.|
|47||The offside flag is raised against Cameron Jerome. Tim Howard takes the free kick.|
|46||Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Glenn Whelan played to the near post, clearance by Nikica Jelavic.|
|45+1||Free kick awarded for a foul by Glenn Whelan on Victor Anichebe. Glenn Whelan is booked. Direct free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.|
|43||Corner taken by Kevin Mirallas.|
|42||Kevin Mirallas takes a shot. Blocked by Robert Huth.|
|42||Foul by Robert Huth on Leighton Baines, free kick awarded. Tim Howard restarts play with the free kick.|
|40||Foul by Johnny Heitinga on Jonathan Walters, free kick awarded. Glenn Whelan delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel.|
|39||Jonathan Walters takes a shot. Save by Tim Howard.|
|37||Unfair challenge on Seamus Coleman by Marc Wilson results in a free kick. Strike on goal comes in from Nikica Jelavic from the free kick, Asmir Begovic makes a comfortable save.|
|36||Peter Crouch is ruled offside. Tim Howard restarts play with the free kick.|
|34||Leighton Baines has an effort at goal from long range that goes wide left.|
|33||Unfair challenge on Leon Osman by Cameron Jerome results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Tim Howard.|
|33||Free kick awarded for a foul by Leon Osman on Cameron Jerome. Glenn Whelan takes the direct free kick.|
|32||Kevin Mirallas fouled by Jonathan Walters, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Leon Osman.|
|30||Effort on goal by Johnny Heitinga from long range goes over the bar.|
|30||The ball is crossed by Darron Gibson, clearance by Ryan Shawcross.|
|29||Effort from the edge of the area by Kevin Mirallas goes wide of the left-hand upright.|
|27||Kevin Mirallas fires in a goal from the edge of the penalty area low into the middle of the goal. Everton 1-0 Stoke.|
|27||Johnny Heitinga gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Walters. Glenn Whelan restarts play with the free kick.|
|23||Effort from the edge of the area by Seamus Coleman goes wide of the left-hand upright.|
|22||Kevin Mirallas decides to take a short corner.|
|22||Nikica Jelavic takes a shot. Save made by Asmir Begovic.|
|18||Peter Crouch gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Sylvain Distin. Tim Howard restarts play with the free kick.|
|17||Leon Osman gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ryan Shotton. Glenn Whelan restarts play with the free kick.|
|17||Free kick awarded for a foul by Cameron Jerome on Phil Jagielka. Johnny Heitinga restarts play with the free kick.|
|14||Victor Anichebe takes a shot. Save by Asmir Begovic.|
|11||Leon Osman takes a shot.|
|10||Cameron Jerome challenges Sylvain Distin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Tim Howard.|
|8||Glenn Whelan fouled by Leighton Baines, the ref awards a free kick. Ryan Shotton takes the direct free kick.|
|6||Sylvain Distin gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Cameron Jerome. Free kick taken by Ryan Shawcross.|
|4||Marc Wilson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Seamus Coleman. Direct free kick taken by Johnny Heitinga.|
|3||Jonathan Walters takes a shot.|
|2||Robert Huth takes a shot. Tim Howard makes a save.|
|1||Ryan Shotton takes a shot. Sylvain Distin gets a block in.|