Hull v Everton
Everton lost a five-goal thriller against Hull City after almost pulling off a staggering comeback.
3-0 down at the end of the first-half, The Blues looked completely down and out at the KC Stadium but they fought valiantly in the second period and pulled two back.
An own goal by Zayette and a penalty from Saha gave them hope but it wasn’t enough to snatch an unlikely share of the spoils.
The travelling Toffees had been encouraged before the start by the announcement of Steven Pienaar in the starting eleven but their enthusiasm was destroyed by a quite shocking opening half-hour.
Hull took the lead after just nine minutes. Tim Howard made a fantastic save to deny Jozy Altidore but in a busy penalty area, Stephen Hunt reacted quickest to slam the loose ball into the net.
Everton had actually started reasonably brightly but the goal inspired the home side. Giovanni stung Howard’s hands on 14 minutes with a well-struck shot and Everton suddenly looked decidedly uncertain.
It got worse after 19 minutes when Andy Dawson curled an inch-perfect 20-yards free-kick over the defensive wall and into the top corner of the net to make it 2-0.
Hull’s third goal came on 27 minutes. Hunt’s low cross wasn’t dealt with and Dean Marney’s effort from 12 yards found the net via a ricochet off Tim Cahill.
The Toffees were shell-shocked and looked totally bereft of confidence. By contrast, the struggling Tigers couldn’t quite believe their luck and just before the break Altidore fired over from the edge of the box.
Dan Gosling came on for the second half to replace Yakubu and the Blues then had an instant chance when Baines fired straight at Matt Duke.
David Moyes had clearly asked for an early goal…and he got one!
In the 49th minute, the visiting fans finally had something to cheer. Baines and Heitinga created some space on the left touchline and the Dutchman’s low centre was bizarrely sliced over his own goalkeeper by Kamil Zayette.
Everton, at last, were making a decent fist of things and in the 63rd minute the luckless Zayette upended Louis Saha in the box and the French striker picked himself up to convert the spot-kick.
Now it was Hull City that were rocking and astonishingly, with over a quarter of the match remaining, it was game on!
It was also ‘end-to-end’ stuff and Howard made another fine save to beat away a Richard Garcia shot to keep Everton in with a shout. Then Heitinga was yellow-carded for a body-check on Marney as a contest that had been embarrassingly one-side suddenly became one you couldn’t take your eyes off!
A lovely short passing move involving Gosling, Pienaar and Heitinga presented Tim Cahill with half an opening and although he connected well from distance, the ball flashed wide.
Everton continued to take the fight to the Yorkshire side but it just wasn’t to be. Full marks for endeavour after the break but a calamitous first 45 had left too high a mountain to climb.