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Season Review: March

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

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A return to form in the league would see Everton pick up three wins from three games in March as David Moyes was named Manager of the Month for the 10th time.

First up was the visit of relegation battlers Reading - and the Blues did little to ease the mounting pressure on the soon-to-depart Brian McDermott.

It may have taken 41 minutes for Marouane Fellaini to finally conjure a breakthrough, but a simply stunning solo run and shot from midfielder Steven Pienaar had the game all but sewn up by the hour mark.

A neat one-two between Mirallas and Pienaar allowed the Belgian to make it 3-0 five minutes later, meaning a late bullet header from Hal Robson-Kanu was nothing more than a consolation.

One negative to come from the game was an injury to Phil Jagielka, the centre-half sustaining a severe gash to the ankle in a challenge with striker Adam Le Fondre.

Reading

The problem would keep the England man sidelined for three weeks and his absence may have played a part in the following week's shock FA Cup exit against Wigan Athletic.

Three goals down at the break, the Blues just couldn't recover as their dream of silverware ended for another year.

Bouncing back was key - and Moyes' men did so in some style.

A thumping, swirling left-foot drive from Leon Osman had Goodison purring just before the half-time whistle, as stationary Manchester City stopper Joe Hart could only watch the ball fly beyond his reach and into the top corner.

That itself looked like it would be enough to secure a sixth win in eight meetings with the Etihad outfit, but Nikica Jelavic stepped off the bench to make sure in injury time, the striker's shot deflecting off Gael Clichy to give him his first Premier League goal since early December.

Leon Osman lets rip with a screaming shot that gives Joe Hart no chance.

Leighton Baines then caught the eye as attention turned to the international break, the left-back bagging a first-half hat-trick of assists to propel England on their way to an 8-0 win over San Marino.

The game against the world's 207th-ranked team also saw Osman make his first competitive outing for his country, the midfielder replacing Manchester United's Tom Cleverley early in the second half.

A tougher challenge awaited the Three Lions pair back at Goodison Park as Jagielka made his return for the visit of Tony Pulis' Stoke.

A typically relentless battle against the Staffordshire outfit ensued, but a strike which was later voted Everton's Goal of the Season came via the jet-heeled Mirallas to settle the contest with just 27 minutes played. 

Picking up the ball well inside his own half, the winger pinned back his ears and tore towards the Park End goal.

Kevin Mirallas

A lucky ricochet and a swift change of direction later, he was through on Asmir Begovic and able to muster the necessary composure to beat the Bosnian and slot his side towards a ninth home league win of the campaign.

A week later Moyes picked up his prize. But a fine Goodison run was far from over...

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