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Thursday 18 September K.O. 20:05



Goodison Park | 21st September 2011 20:00

Everton v West Brom

‘Phil Neville, superstar', begins the Everton fans' chant for their captain.

If the definition of a footballing superstar is to score great goals at vital times, then he undoubtedly delivered on this occasion.

With the match heading for the lottery of penalties after Marouane Fellaini's late strike had cancelled out Chris Brunt's penalty - the captain unleashed a beautifully executed, curling left-foot shot with all of 103 minutes on the clock to win it.

Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise bearing in mind the last time he troubled the scorers was in equally spectacular fashion.

On this occasion it was decisive as well, providing a welcome tonic after Fellaini had notched with just two minutes of normal time left during a productive stint as a makeshift striker.

Everton, with Neville as one of six changes from the weekend win over Wigan had by far the more possession in the first half with the visiting Baggies showing little attacking intent other than one-man threshing machine Solem Tchoyi.

Chris Brunt penaltyBrunt puts West Brom ahead

The Cameroonian slashed an opportunistic effort miles over in the eighth minute and wasn't much closer shortly afterwards after slack play in the Everton backline.

Royston Drenthe had Everton's first real effort on goal just before the 20 minute mark. Having seemingly replaced Leighton Baines as set-piece taker in chief, he swung a 30-yard effort a yard or so over.

West Brom soon wasted another sight of goal when Peter Odemwingie blasted over.

A delicious open play delivery from Baines should have been glanced in at the other end by Fellaini but the Belgian was off target on the half hour.

Seamus Coleman and Denis Stracqualursi carried most of the attacking threat in the opening half and both went close early in the second period.

First the Irishman jinked towards goal only to fire straight at Fulop, then the Hungarian parried a close range effort from the Argentine after Fellaini had nodded Baines' cross into the danger zone.

George Thorne should have stabbed in a corner for the visitors but soon they were ahead from the penalty spot. Odemwingie sprinted onto Tchoyi's pass and was felled by Jan Mucha with Brunt slamming home the penalty with the minimum of fuss.

David MoyesMoyes instructs from the touchline

David Moyes reacted to the blow by introducing Tim Cahill and Apostolos Vellios but neither could affect an instant impact and soon Magaye Gueye was also on for his first appearance of the season.

But it took the repositioning of Fellaini to ignite Everton's search for an equaliser and transform the game from an ugly mire permeated by baffling refereeing decisions into the engaging cup clash it became.

Fellaini had been pushed up front and he was involved in the build-up as Vellios glanced a Coleman cross wide with just over 10 minutes left.

The big Belgian caused West Brom significantly more problems in his advanced role and had Fulop tumbling to gather with a near post header.

Finally the Everton onslaught had begun and soon Vellios was hauled down on the edge of the D - Baines' free kick was into the wall though.

Eventually, however, Fellaini did find the breakthrough with two minutes left, collecting Vellios' header, turning and firing smartly past Fulop from 18 yards.

Phil Neville scoresNeville celebrates his winner

Everton could have snatched it at the death when Rodwell nodded Neville's cross wide but instead it was extra time.

As the first period kicked off Fellaini remained up front alongside Vellios with Cahill in midfield.

Tchoyi produced another unlikely miss five minutes in after slithering through the defence and around Mucha but the tempo of the match had dropped significantly.

Exquisite skill on the byline from Vellios almost set up Drenthe as the game passed the 100 minute mark. He missed but the winner was indeed on the way.

Drenthe picked up the ball and surged into the box before teeing up Neville whose left-foot curler will surely rival last season's rocket at Wolves when he picks his best career goal.

There could have been a third goal at the start of the second period but Cahill somehow managed to run over the ball as it drifted towards him on the edge of the area.

All that remained was for Everton to see out the last 15 minutes and they did so without great alarm.



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