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Sunday 21 September K.O. 16:00



Molineux Stadium | 6th May 2012 14:00

Wolves v Everton

Everton were left to rue a wrongly disallowed goal and spurned penalty shout as they were held to a goalless draw by Championship-bound Wolves.

The double-blow came in a frustrating first half, derailing what had been a positive start for David Moyes' side as they looked to all but seal a top-seven Premier League finish.

Victory at Molineux would have put the Toffees in a commanding position to hold off chasers Fulham and Liverpool, but they were denied the chance to take the lead when referee Lee Mason failed to spot Michael Kightly clip the heels of Leon Osman just inside the box.

Then, to rub salt into the wounds, Mason's assistant raised a flag on Nikica Jelavic as he cooly beat goalkeeper Dorus De Vries, the Croatian having ran from a position where he was clearly two yards onside.

Yet, the officials couldn't take all the blame. For all their flair and purpose, the Blues wasted a hatful of additional chances to see off their beleaguered hosts, their finishing falling well below the standards set in recent weeks.

WolvesMarouane Fellaini tussles with Stephen Hunt

In the build-up to kick off, Everton's players wore t-shirts to show their support for Wolves defender Jody Craddock and his son Toby, who was this week diagnosed with leukaemia.

Missing among the group, however, were Leighton Baines and Darron Gibson, the pair unable to shake off the knocks which kept them out of Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Stoke.

Instead, Moyes made just one change, James McFadden coming in for only his second Premier League start of the campaign in place of Victor Anichebe, whose run out at the Britannia Stadium was cut short by a groin problem.

When the action got underway, Everton were quickly on the pulse, Pienaar driving forward and seeing a shot blocked inside the opening minute.

The Blues' movement and fluidity in midfield was an undoubted cause of concern for the hosts and Tim Cahill should perhaps have done better when Marouane Fellaini's flick on found him in space at the back post.

Another forward glance from the combative Belgian allowed Jelavic to find McFadden soon after but the Scot dragged his effort across De Vries' goalmouth and wide of the post.

WolvesTony Hibbert lets fly

Everton's early endeavour should then have been rewarded with a penalty when Osman's legs were clearly taken away by Kightly just inside the box. Yet referee Mason, stood but five yards away, saw otherwise and waved play on.

When Pienaar then slid Jelavic through, the Croatian once again demonstrate his ice-cool nerve in front of goal. This time, though, it counted for nothing. The linesman's flag cruelly, incorrectly robbed him of an 11th Everton goal.

In between, Tony Hibbert sparked momentary excitement, cutting inside from right back and letting fly with an effort which may well have tested De Vries had a brave block not diverted it towards the stands.

Wolves, meanwhile, searching out a first home win in 10 attempts, were looking shot-shy on their final Molineux outing of the campaign.

When they did finally carve out a chance, from a free-kick that never was, centre-half Cristophe Berra's header was firm, true and four yards over the crossbar.

The remainder of the first half brought only a tame scuff from Osman, though Wolves weren't faring much better, wild efforts from the two Stephens - Hunt and Fletcher - rocketing into the home fans amid humoured chants of 'Whatever will be will be, we're going to Barnsley'.

David Moyes at WolvesDavid Moyes cuts a frustrated figure on the sidelines

Perhaps burdened by their first-half misfortune, Everton were sluggish in getting going after the break.

Indeed, it wasn't until Kightly capitalised on some defensive sleepiness to fire a warning shot which arrowed wide that the Blues awoke from their slumber.

The catalyst was unsurprisingly Fellaini, who again sent a teammate free with a towering, pinpoint header. Having got between Richard Stearman and substitute George Elokobi, Jelavic would have expected more of himself than to steer his effort wide of the post.

A hopeful poke from Osman which was neither shot nor cross then trickled away before Pienaar found the side-netting after neatly side-stepping his marker.

Even Hibbert had another go. But again the full back, impressive throughout, was left thwarted by a crucial black and gold intervention.

Substitute Denis Stracqulursi did bundle the ball home before the end, but only after Fellaini had - correctly this time - been flagged offside.

Seventh still remains very much achievable, but this just wasn't to be Everton's day.



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