April

April

The thought of leading Everton into Champions League battle next season fills David Moyes with immense pride: "For me, getting Everton into the Champions League would be my greatest managerial achievement so far in my career, but that's a way to go yet. How often in the last 10 years have Everton entered this point of the season with something positive to play for?"" he questions.

His side begin the month with 51 points, but begin in the worst possible fashion, stumbling to a third consecutive Premiership defeat when Zoltan Gera's goal gives West Brom all three points at The Hawthorns. The loss is further compounded when it is announced that James Beattie has damaged medial ligaments and will be out for six weeks.

The memories of that day are quickly erased when Crystal Palace come to Goodison and leave after suffering a 4-0 routing. Tim Cahill grabs two after Mikel Arteta opens the scoring with a phenomenal free kick and 16-year old James Vaughan breaks all sorts of records when he claims the fourth with four minutes from time! In guiding the ball past Gabor Kiraly in to the Gwladys Street net, Vaughan becomes the youngest ever Everton senior player; youngest ever Everton goalscorer; youngest ever Premiership scorer, and youngest ever Premiership player to score on his debut.

One of Everton's most memorable evenings in recent years occurs on the 20th April, when Manchester United visit Goodison, this time in the Premiership. Duncan Ferguson causes history to repeat itself when he heads home a second half winner in the Gwladys Street End, which echoes the last time the Blues enjoyed success over the Red Devils in the league - in 1995.

James Vaughan celebrates his debut goal

Moyes salutes the Goodison fans after the game, declaring: "The crowd were awesome tonight. The supporters played their part, but I think that they realised what the players were doing as well. They responded to how the players were going about the job. The performance was excellent: the togetherness, the spirit. I can tell you they are a terrific bunch and they have shown it on the pitch again."

It's a case of 'after the Lord Mayor's show' three days later when Birmingham are the visitors. Emile Heskey gives the Midlanders the lead, but a last-gasp equaliser from Ferguson gives the Blues a share of the spoils. Initially, Everton see it as two points dropped, but Liverpool's defeat at Crystal Palace makes it a valuable point earned.

European football is assured by virtue of Arsenal's narrow derby win over Tottenham. David Moyes says: "I enjoyed it when I found out that we were in the UEFA Cup for definite, but already it's in the past and we're looking forward to achieving whatever we can in the next few weeks."

The month ends in disappointment. Goals from Collins John and former striker Brian McBride condemn Everton to a 0-2 defeat at Fulham, as Tim Cahill is carried off with what appears to be a very serious back injury. Evertonians begin to look nervously at the league table and the remaining fixtures again.

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