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Saturday 13 September K.O. 15:00

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December

December

There were a whopping seven fixtures in December but Everton only lost one - and that was the dead rubber against BATE Borisov.

First up was a trip to a very wet AEK Athens where a manful performance yielded a 1-0 win. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov was the goalscorer but the game was notable for Everton's ongoing injury woes, which saw three players limp off and 17-year-old Shane Duffy pressed into an impressive debut.

His exuberant showing set the tone for a spirited month which provided opportunities for a number of other promising young players.

The win booked qualification from the Europa League group stage with a game to spare.

That game was followed by an even more remarkable one as Everton rallied from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Spurs. Seamus Coleman was the improbable hero as he set up both goals on his Goodison debut before Tim Howard ensured a dramatic finale with an injury-time penalty save. 

Buoyed by that memorable encounter, the Blues did even better a week later with a 3-3 draw at Chelsea. Louis Saha, Yakubu and a Petr Cech own-goal held the league leaders on their own patch. That was one of only two matches that the eventual Premier League champions failed to win at Stamford Bridge.

The earlier win over AEK meant the home tie against BATE Borisov was meaningless. David Moyes protected his senior squad by fielding a side full of teenagers.

But still Jack Rodwell was forced off through injury on a night when the youngsters were narrowly defeated.

The subsequent knockout stage draw pitted the Toffees against Sporting and ensured a return to Lisbon.

Soon it was back into Premier League action but Bilyaletdinov's goal couldn't secure victory over in-form Birmingham.

Another 1-1 draw ensued, this time away at Sunderland on Boxing Day with Marouane Fellaini levelling five minutes from time. Two days later the months fixtures ended as they had begun - with an Everton home win.

The fit again James Vaughan was on target against Burnley, with Steven Pienaar scoring the second in a 2-0 win which also saw Phil Neville return from long term injury.

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