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v Crystal Palace

Sunday 21 September K.O. 16:00



Goodison Park | 24th November 2007 15:00 | Attendance - 38,594

Everton v Sunderland

For the first time under David Moyes and the first time this century Everton have scored seven goals in a match.

This was a stunning annihalation of Roy Keane's Premier League newboys. The fact there could have been even more goals underlines that fact on a day when Everton played with class, gusto and finesse.

Listing the goalscorers alone will fill a standard match report. Yakubu and Tim Cahill netted twice - both getting one in each half - with Steven Pienaar, Andrew Johnson and Leon Osman rounding off the rout.

Everton have been impressively shifting through the gears in recent months - coinciding with the return to fitness of the majority of Moyes' talented young squad.

It was apt, then, that on the weekend every significant player was available the Blues produced a masterful display that will live long in the memory. Not since Joe Royle's Everton hammered Southampton 7-1 in November 1996 have the Toffees mustered such a display of scoring excellence. That was a squad with many of the players who had secured FA Cup glory in 1995.

If this team continues in this vein of form the 12 year wait for a trophy could yet end this season. But such talk is for another day - today the focus should be on the style and flamboyance of this thrilling Everton outfit.

Wave after wave of Everton attack began from the outset.

Pienaar fired wide from the edge of the box on five minutes, setting the tone as the home side started well. A Paul McShane block was required moments later to deny Cahill after a head back from Yakubu.

Cahill expertly despatches the ball past Craig GordonCahill expertly despatches the ball past Craig Gordon

Indeed, so confident were the Blues at the outset of this game Nuno Valente was compelled to try from distance - with his right foot! He forced Gordon into a stop low to his right.

The Scotland international could do nothing to prevent Yakubu's opener on 12 minutes though. A searching ball forward caught the visitors flat-footed. Yakubu charged through and, with the help of a deflection from McShane, his effort looped over the head of the stranded keeper and into the net.

It was soon two - at the culmination of a thrilling attacking move. With just 17 minutes on the clock a stunning move down the right which started with Phil Neville included Yakubu and Arteta before Neville received the ball again to chip the most delicate of balls into the area. Cahill took the ball down with his back to goal and turned to unleash a low drive which flashed beyond Gordon.

Sunderland's first sight of goal came minutes later - a Kenwyne Jones drive from 25 yards skipping narrowly wide.

That was a breif break for the Black Cats - who were being absolutely pummelled by wave after wave of slick, crisp Everton attacking play.

Osman had a couple of well-struck efforts stopped by Gordon as the home side maintained their tight grip on proceedings.

The flowing football produced another just before the break - this time it was Steven Pienaar completing a great move. His incisive one-two with Nuno Valente as he charged into the left-side of the box presented him with the opportunity to rifle a right-footed shot into the roof of the net to ensure the game should have been all but over before the interval.

Instead, a rare Sunderland attack saw Howard forced into two stops before Dwight Yorke fired in the rebound seconds ahead of the half-time whistle.

Tim celebrates his well-taken goalTim celebrates his well-taken goal

As the rain came down heavily over Goodison in the second period, the story of the game did not change dramatically - although a double substitution from Roy Keane at least suggested the Black Cats were not going to go down as easily as their first half showing suggested.

They produced a couple of speculative efforts in the early period of the second half but the Blues remained the most likely to add another - with Arteta finding the side netting from a free-kick and Cahill forcing Gordon into saves, first with a header and then from a fierce drive. Yakubu produced a great run only to fire wide when it seemed he would add his second and the Blue attacks continued in waves.

So when a long ball from Yobo picked out Cahill, who rounded his marker with a deft touch of skill before passing the ball beyond the advancing keeper and into the net there was no real sense of shock - it had been inevitable.

What was surprising was the miss Michael Chopra conjured up moments later from a rare break forward. Everton were guilty of a degree of complacency and as the ball fell to the former Cardiff striker it seemed they would be punished. Instead, he stabbed the ball high and wide with the goal at his mercy five yards out.

Everton's response - two more goals, the woodwork being struck, fine saves forced from Gordon. This was stunning to behold for the fans inside the ground.

With 17 minutes left to play Yakubu showed why he has such an impressive scoring record with a sweet finish.

He was promptly replaced by Andrew Johnson who, with 10 minutes still to play, latched on to a great ball from Neville, left his marker for dead and produced a cracking finish to make it six.

Yakubu scores the first goalYakubu scores the first goal

The seventh was another cracker on a day when Goodison held its very own Goal of the Month competition - Osman skipping throguh the heart of the Sunderland defence evading a string of tackles before passing the ball into the net.

And still the Toffees had time to hit the post through Arteta and force Gordon into a couple of smart stops as the barrage continued.

Sunderland were shell-shocked - Goodison was rocking. As always, you know there is going to be a show when the Everton boys are there!



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