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v Crystal Palace

Sunday 21 September K.O. 16:00



Goodison Park | 14th September 2013 17:30 | Attendance - 36034

Everton v Chelsea

Steven Naismith scored the only goal as Roberto Martinez chalked up his first Premier League win as Everton manager.

The Scot marked his 27th birthday with a close-range header in first-half added time to decide a non-stop battle at Goodison Park.

Martinez was able to hand debuts to deadline-day arrivals Gareth Barry and James McCarthy, the former dazzling from the start ahead of a bright second-half cameo for the latter.

On the day Everton held a Spanish 'Fiesta' in honour of their new boss, the Spaniard had been deprived of the services of Steven Pienaar and Arouna Kone, the pair having both picked up knocks in the build-up to the game.

Ineligible to feature against his parent club, Martinez was also without loan signing Romelu Lukaku, though the Belgian took to the pitch ahead of kick off to a predictably rousing reception from all four sides of the stadium.

Lukaku ShirtLukaku is introduced to the Everton fans ahead of kick off.

And it was a player who arguably paved the way for the 20-year-old's move to Merseyside who spurned the game's first opening.

Ideally placed to meet a Ramires cross five minutes in, debutant Samuel Eto'o, a late transfer window arrival from Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala, passed up his chance to make a perfect start in Chelsea blue, instead heading well wide of the target from six yards.
Three minutes later, it was Everton on the attack, but after Naismith had delivered a pinpoint ball from the right, goalkeeper Petr Cech was equal to the downward header of Nikica Jelavic.

Ross Barkley then showed a flash of the brilliance that brought him a senior England debut last week, the youngster's lightning-quick feet leaving two opponents flummoxed before an offside flag spoiled his neatly threaded through ball for Kevin Mirallas.

A rusty challenge on Ramires aside, another loanee, Barry, was catching the eye on his first Everton outing. Neat and tidy on the ball, a late intervention on the tricky Juan Mata broke up one particularly threatening Chelsea break as the man borrowed from Manchester City set about pulling the strings of a new midfield.

And if that wasn't enough, just before the half hour the former Aston Villa man prevented what looked a certain goal - and, of all places, right in front of the Gwladys.

Howard made the mistake in clearing the ball straight to the feet of Andre Schurrle.

The German, another new face among the Chelsea ranks, darted forward and pulled it back for Eto'o. But though the four-time African player of the year seemingly had an open goal to aim at, Barry belied his recent lack of action to come from nowhere and produce a stunning block.

Naismith side-footed wide from Mirallas' driven centre five minutes later before another good chance went begging off the overzealous right boot of Schurrle.

Ivanovic then rose to thump a header over from a whipped Mata free-kick as Chelsea began to take greater control with half-time looming.

Yet, it would be the hosts who would go in ahead. Seamus Coleman had only just fluffed a back-post header when he found himself in position to deliver back into the box and deep towards Jelavic. The Croat's angle was always against him but he got enough on it to leave Naismith the simple task of nodding over the line from a yard out to open the scoring, as he had at Stamford Bridge on the final day of last season.

Naismith GoalNaismith heads in the only goal of the game.

On that occasion, Chelsea came from behind to steal a 2-1 win. Here Everton had greater reason to hang on. And there was to be no repeat.

The half started well for Jose Mourinho's men, Schurrle getting in behind and lofting a chip over Howard that only just journeyed wide of the post.

Barry then showed off a defter side, floating a  diagonal cross for Jelavic, which the striker headed back across goal but wide of the upright.

Barkley RamiresBarkley and Ramires in a midfield tussle.

The self-proclaimed 'Special One' had seen enough and looked to his bench for an answer. On came Oscar and Frank Lampard, with Schurrle and Mata making way.

Oscar was straight into the action and calling for a penalty within seconds. But referee Howard Webb saw nothing in his coming together with Sylvain Distin and duly signalled for play to continue.

Jelavic was tiring and shortly after the hour Martinez made a change of his own, McCarthy entering the fray to become the second Blues debutant of the evening.

The switch saw Mirallas push up front on his own, while McCarthy added further steal to an already resolute midfield.

Given more freedom in the final third, Mirallas soon won himself a free-kick 30-yards out and - with the aid of a deflection - forced Cech into a full-stretch save at his left-hand post.

A succession of corners raised the noise levels further as Everton visibly adopted a more confident swagger.

And after one shaky moment when Howard flapped at a cross, the hosts never looked like relinquishing their lead.

Leighton Baines may even have added another in the dying minutes but after Barkley had been fouled by Mikel, his swinging free-kick crashed against the top of the crossbar.

The final minutes saw a Premier League debut for defender John Stones as Naismith made way.

A happy birthday for the Scot and a signifcant landmark for Martinez. Roberto's reign is up and running.



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