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Sunday 21 September K.O. 16:00



Goodison Park | 7th May 2011 15:00

Everton v Manchester City

On the day Duncan Ferguson returned to Goodison Park, it seemed fitting Everton should produce a comeback steeped in guts, heart and determination.

The home supporters gave their hero a rousing reception ahead of kick off, as the popular Scot returned to his old stomping ground five years to the day since netting his final Blues goal at the stadium.

His presence clearly had the revering hordes pumped up and, in time, that inspiration found its way to the players too.

Having fallen behind to Yaya Toure's first-half goal, Sylvain Distin and Leon Osman produced two headers of which Ferguson himself would once have been proud.

In doing so, they secured a sixth win in seven meetings with Roberto Mancini's Champions League chasers and tightened the Toffees' stranglehold on seventh.

Duncan FergusonDuncan Ferguson greets the crowds

Moyes made one change for the clash, John Heitinga returning after a hamstring problem to replace Tim Cahill, a player self-admittingly lacking fitness following the foot injury which has plagued the second half of his campaign. Still, the Australian's 27-minute cameo from the bench would later prove a catalyst for Everton's stunning twist in fortunes.

With the clock having barely ticked past 60 seconds the first chance of the afternoon arrived - but perhaps too early for Osman, the midfielder firing his effort high into the fans behind the Gwladys Street goal.

He wasn't the only one needing to readdress his bearings though. On 12 minutes, James Milner spotted the run of David Silva in behind Tony Hibbert, but when the World Cup winner found another in the onrushing Patrick Vieira, the former Arsenal man inexplicably cleared the crossbar from eight yards.

Before that, Silva had himself threatened. But after an exquisite moment of instant skill, the Spaniard could only drag his shot across the face of Tim Howard's goal.

The fortunate escape vitalised Everton, and they were soon putting their guests back under pressure.

A succession of corners and crosses went in, and then out of the Manchester City box, before a clever shuffle by the tireless Victor Anichebe drew a foul from Kompany 20 yards from goal. The striker received a challenge from Moyes to rediscover his best form this week; on his performance here, the words were clearly heeded.

Mikel Arteta eventually stepped forward to claim the resulting free-kick, but despite supplying no shortage of power, the midfielder could only find the edge of the City wall.

Still, the game was threatening a first telling blow - and it soon arrived. Ruefully for Everton, it was delivered by the hosts.

Anichebe jumps for the ballVictor Anichebe jumps for the ball

A momentary lapse in the Blues' rearguard allowed Milner to hook the ball across the penalty box. And though Hibbert threw himself to clear the danger away from Silva, possession quickly found its way back to City's No 21. This time he had time and space, and utilised it to turn away from Distin and tee up Toure for a deft finish.

A rare lull in proceedings followed and Everton's only further chance of the half saw Jack Rodwell head wide after meeting Phil Neville's teasing cross from the right.

After the break, City started brightly and Silva wasted little time in regathering the strings. He played Toure through again, but Howard came out smartly to prevent the Ivorian doubling his tally.

It was to be the Spaniard's last meaningful contribution; the remainder of the contest was Everton's.

Having gone in behind, Moyes' response had been to bolster his attack and throw on Jermaine Beckford for Hibbert. The substitute was soon in the action, but after twice turning his marker was unable to muster a shot to truly test keeper Joe Hart.

Tempers momentarily threatened to boil over on the hour mark when Rodwell's tackle on Nigel de Jong left Kompany incensed, leading to an exchange of shoves which saw both players booked.

The Belgian's mood wouldn't have been lightened any when, moments later, Distin beat him to Arteta's deep free-kick to pull the Blues level with a textbook header from eight-yards out. Hart got a hand to it, but he could not deny the Frenchman a goal against his former employers.

Ossie glances in his goalLeon Osman glances the ball home

Instantly, the deafening roar which had greeted Ferguson before battle was back. And spirits were hardly dampened seven minutes later when Kompany was beaten once more.

With Osman giving away nine inches on City's centre half, the dual was seemingly something of a mismatch. Yet, the in-form midfielder timed his run perfectly, allowing him to divert Neville's pinpoint centre on an unstoppable path towards Hart's top corner.

The scorer took a blow in the process and missed the riotous scenes of celebration while grounded. It will have been worth the pain.



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