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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Season Review: December

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Everton built on their early season form in December with a continuing sequence of solid results - and one Goodison blockbuster.

First, the Toffees travelled down the M62 to tackle defending champions Manchester City.

David Moyes' men weren't phased by the task at hand and immediately set about pushing forward. It was no less than they deserved when Marouane Fellaini - that man again - converted a cross at the second attempt via the improvised use of his thigh.

And only an extremely harsh penalty – despatched by Carlos Tevez - prevented the Blues recording another famous Etihad win.

Everton v Manchester City

Another big game followed a week later with Spurs arriving at Goodison and taking a second-half lead through Clint Dempsey’s deflected drive.

As time ticked away it looked as though a first home defeat of the campaign was imminent.

Alas, no.

First Steven Pienaar steered a rare header past Hugo Lloris, and then, in added time, Nikica Jelavic diverted Apostolos Vellios' bungled bicycle kick into the goal to spark wild celebrations among Blues fans and in the dugout.

A low-key draw at Stoke followed before another away match, this time at West Ham. Two later-rescinded red cards – for Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson - were the talking point as Victor Anichebe and Pienaar secured an important 2-1 win.

Steven Pienaar

Everton's late Christmas present was the boxing day win over Wigan - another game which could have been wrapped up way before Phil Jagielka's towering second-half header.

The England international was adding to Leon Osman's earlier deflected effort and his contribution proved vital when the opportunistic Arouna Kone pulled a goal back in dubious fashion late on.

The Blues signed off for 2012 with another Goodison game against one of the league's heavyweights.

Phil Jagielka

Again they stood equal to their foes, with Chelsea under the cosh in the early stages as Pienaar put his side ahead.

Both teams were going for it and either could have won - but in the end the Londoners triumphed narrowly, 2-1.

Still, 2012 had been hugely positive for Everton. And more good form was just around the corner.

>>> Pre-order the Everton End Of Season Review DVD now.

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