Everton’s first outing of September was one of the most emphatic draws on home soil in recent years.
A draw which ultimately felt like the most satisfying of wins, those perched on the edge of their seats in the Gwladys Street when Everton looked destined for a 3-1 defeat against Manchester United will keep this memory close to their hearts for many years to come.
As the final whistle loomed, injury time goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta sent Goodison Park into scenes of euphoric celebration. A trademark Cahill header and the Spaniard’s 93rd-minute volley delivered the unthinkable and secured the Blues a dramatic point against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. There was even the notion that Everton might grab an astonishing winner in added time. The Blues launched a counter attack and just as Phil Jagielka was about to strike on goal the referee blew for full time.
The action of the official incensed David Moyes and Steve Round and the pair would later be fined by the FA for remonstrating furiously on the pitch after the game had ended.
As fans hoped that result would prove to be the catalyst in kick-starting Everton’s season, their Goodison good fortune was not to continue as the visit of Premier League returnees Newcastle United a week later gave David Moyes’ men a reality check.
The Magpies were desperate to reassert themselves in the Premier League and a stunning goal from debutant Hatem Ben Arfa condemned the Blues to their third 1-0 defeat of the new campaign. A wounded Everton then faced a trip to west London’s League One outfit Brentford just three days later in the Carling Cup.
Seamus Coleman’s first goal for the Club and a debut for Slovakian goalkeeper Jan Mucha were scant consolation for the Toffees as they laboured to a 1-1 draw before losing the dreaded penalty shoot out 4-3 and exiting the competition as a result.
Back on the road to London the following weekend, Everton graced Craven Cottage in an entertaining encounter with in-form Fulham. While the match gave Coleman his first Premier League start and Everton their first clean sheet of the season, the Blues were unable to convert at the other end and had to settle for their second draw of the month - remaining rooted in the wrong half of the Premier League table.
But there was a sense during that game that something was beginning to click, with the Toffees much more assured in their approach play.