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EVERTON are giving a trial to goalkeeper Jacob Rinne, 19, of Sedish side BK Forwards.
TIM HOWARD is hoping Everton FC's growing defensive resilience will help them produce their usual end-of-season form and clinch a Champions League qualification spot.
Howard, 33, had to be at his very best to ensure the Blues held on for a point during the 0-0 draw at Southampton on Monday, as David Moyes’ side closed to within three points of the top four despite a poor first half display.
Everton are known for being slow starters in previous Barclays Premier League campaigns, with a decent run of form after the turn of the year leaving them in the hunt for European qualification.
But this season they have picked up a good haul of points and Howard wants that to continue until May, something he knows will be helped by their growing ability to keep clean sheets after their last two fixtures ended with shut-outs.
Asked how much confidence the start to the season had given the side Howard said: “A lot. Now it is going to be a matter of whether we can put two halves together.
“That is what everyone is wondering and it is our job to keep it up and keep our levels high.
“When we don’t perform well we need to get something out of it and so at the moment that is working.”
Moyes said the draw at St Mary’s was a missed opportunity for his side but Howard is pleased to keep the points tally ticking over with so many big clubs targeting a top-four finish.
He said: “It is easy to say ’what if’ but I always think if we can keep picking up points here and there it is better than a loss, it just depends how you look at it.
“We are right there in the mix and it is going to go week-to-week now. “We are three points off Spurs and Liverpool are four points behind us and Arsenal are four with a game in hand so if everyone does their job it is going to be basically who wins the head-to-head battles.”
I think it balances out,” he added. “There were times in the first half of the season where we weren’t earning clean sheets and we got bailed out with goals and won games.
“So we all have our jobs to do, like I say, and we did it well against Southampton. It’s a second clean sheet on the bounce, so we’ll take the positives out of it. The goals will come.”
This Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Bolton sees David Moyes take charge of Everton for the 500th time. To commemorate the feat, Joel Richards takes a look at 12 memorable games during his Goodison tenure to date.
Premier League: 16th March 2002 Everton 2-1 Fulham
HAVING been appointed just 48 hours before the day of the game, Moyes was given a rousing reception from the Goodison Park faithful and he was soon off to a dream start after David Unsworth gave the home side the lead after just 27 seconds.
Duncan Ferguson then added a second after 13 minutes and despite Steed Malbranque pulling one back for Fulham in the second half, the points were secure.
Premier League: 19th October 2002 Everton 2-1 Arsenal
BEFORE this match the bookies were expecting only one clear outcome with the defending champions arriving at Goodison on the back of a 30 match unbeaten run in the Premier League.
When Freddie Ljungberg had given the Gunners the lead on 8 minutes, the omens did not look good.
However the home side responded well and were level after 22 minutes through Tomasz Radzinski. However the introduction of a certain Wayne Rooney 10 minutes before the end changed the game and in injury time his spectacular strike from 30 yards won it for Everton and handed David Moyes an impressive scalp.
Premier League: 11th December 2004 Everton 1-0 Liverpool
HAVING not tasted victory over their local counterparts since 1999 (a 1-0 win at Anfield) Moyes and his Everton side were desperate to amend that statistic going into the 200th Merseyside Derby, and in a tight contest it was the Blues who edged it thanks to a goal that has gone down in Goodison folklore.
On 68 minutes Leon Osman set up fellow midfielder Lee Carsley whose 20 yard effort was drilled past Chris Kirkland into the Gwladys Street net to send the blue half of the city into delirium. The result put Everton second in the table as their unexpected push for a top four finish gathered momentum.
Premier League: 20th April 2005 Everton 1-0 Manchester United
STILL smarting from their recent loss to United in The FA Cup 5th Round, the Blues gained revenge on a memorable night at Goodison.
The pre-match build up was dominated once again by Wayne Rooney with Evertonians still seething following his summer transfer to Old Trafford and he was roundly jeered with every touch he made. But it was an old favourite who stole the headlines in the second half after Duncan Ferguson’s head met Mikel Arteta’s free kick which flew past Tim Howard to clinch the three points on a night which also saw United stalwarts Gary Neville and Paul Scholes sent off late on.
Premier League: 9th September 2006 Everton 3-0 Liverpool
AN UNBEATEN start to the 2006/07 season continued with what is arguable the most memorable game from Moyes’ tenure as he secured his second Merseyside Derby victory in comprehensive fashion, their biggest derby win for 42 years.
The home side took the lead after 23 minutes when Tim Cahill drove home from close range and they soon doubled their lead after new signing Andy Johnson pounced following a mistake from Jamie Carragher. Despite dominating possession Liverpool lacked any real conviction and in the final stages Johnson put the seal on a memorable sunny afternoon when he was on hand to head home after Pepe Reina comically fumbled Lee Carsley’s shot right into the striker’s path.
Premier League: 24th November 2007 Everton 7-1 Sunderland
ALTHOUGH David Moyes had been well known for his cautious style of play, there was no evidence of this on a day when Everton went goal crazy against a recently-promoted Sunderland side.
Doubles from Yakubu and Tim Cahill, as well as strikes from Steven Pienaar, Andy Johnson and Leon Osman put the seal on a day where Everton’s flamboyant football caused Roy Keane’s side all sorts of problems. After the game Moyes claimed it was “probably the best performance in my time here” as the Blues push for European qualification gathered pace.
FA Cup 4th Round Replay: 4th February 2009 Everton 1-0 Liverpool AET
THE FIRST FA Cup meeting since the memorable trilogy from 1991, which saw a 4-4 draw in between, ended 1-1 at Anfield just six days after the two sides had met in the league with the scoreline the same.
The replay at Goodison provided more drama and the home side were given a huge boost when Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard limped off with a hamstring injury after 16 minutes. However chances were few and far between throughout the contest but the sending off of Lucas just 15 minutes before the end of normal time swung the tie in Everton’s favour and with just two minutes of extra-time remaining, substitute Dan Gosling wrote himself into Everton folklore with a curling effort which deflected past Pepe Reina and set them on the road to Wembley.
FA Cup Semi-Final: 19th April 2009 Everton 0-0 Manchester United AET (Everton won 4-2 on penalties)
DESPITE a goalless 120 minutes, Everton’s first trip to the new Wembley is arguably one of David Moyes’ most memorable days as Everton manager as his side overcame a Manchester United side chasing an unprecedented quintuple to reach the FA Cup final.
While many neutrals would have pointed to Alex Ferguson making multiple changes to his United side, Everton could only compete with what was in front of them and after Tim Cahill missed the first spot kick, Blues goalkeeper and former United man Tim Howard saved Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand’s spot-kicks. Successive conversions from Leighton Baines, Phil Neville, James Vaughan and Phil Jagielka helped ensure The Toffees would be returning to Wembley a month later where they would ultimately lose 2-1 to Chelsea.
Premier League: 16th January 2010 Everton 2-0 Manchester City
BIG-SPENDING Manchester City arrived at Goodison unbeaten since Italian Roberto Mancini had taken charge, however that statistic was to change after 90 torturous minutes at Goodison Park.
There was added edge to the contest as it was the first meeting between the two sides since Joleon Lescott’s protracted move to Eastlands the previous summer, with Moyes using his programme notes to accuse City of acting with “no class.”
Steven Pienaar’s angled free-kick gave the home side the lead less than 10 minutes before the break and Louis Saha’s penalty in first-half injury time ultimately secured the points.
However, a notable highlight was midfielder Marouane Fellaini’s superb bit of skill in which he took the ball past Craig Bellamy.
Premier League: 11th September 2010 Everton 3-3 Manchester United
WHEN Manchester United go 3-1 up against opponents, the chances of them slipping up are normally slim-to-none.
However no-one told Everton that and in this classic between the two sides, injury-time goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta rescued a point from the most impossible of situations. It was the home side who actually took the lead in the first half after Steven Pienaar poked home from close range but United levelled just before the break thanks to Darren Fletcher who steered home from Nani’s pinpoint cross.
Second half strikes from Nemanja Vidic and Dimitar Berbatov looked to have wrapped up proceedings but Cahill’s header, followed by Arteta’s stunning drive through a packed box earned a share of the spoils.
Premier League: 22nd April 2012 Manchester United 4-4 Everton
IN WHAT was another dramatic meeting against the men from the opposite end of the M62, the Blues once again grabbed a point from United in dramatic fashion for the second successive season.
Having gone in front thanks to a header from recent signing Nikica Jelavic, the home side soon took control thanks to strikes from Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Nani. Marouane Fellaini soon pulled a goal back for the Toffees but Rooney instantly restored the Red Devils’ two goal cushion with 20 minutes left to play.
However Moyes and his side were not to be denied and Jelavic grabbed his second of the game on 83 minutes before Steven Pienaar, who had recently re-signed from Tottenham, equalised with just five minutes left to leave United’s title dreams in tatters.
Premier League: 20th August 2012 Everton 1-0 Manchester United
HAVING played a part in wrecking United’s bid for a 20th title the previous campaign, Everton heaped more misery on Alex Ferguson’s side with a 1-0 win on the opening weekend of the campaign thanks to a second-half Marouane Fellaini header.
The Belgian international was a constant menace to United throughout the 90 minutes and not even the introduction of Robin van Persie could help to spark the visitors into life. In what was another memorable night at Goodison under Moyes’ stewardship the home side deservedly took three points after dominating a first half in which David de Gea was at full stretch to deny both Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman.
The winner ultimately came after former United man Darron Gibson’s corner was met by the head of Fellaini who rose above Michael Carrick.