20 For 20: Deadline-Day Delight
Goodison salutes a new hero as Darron downs City.
In a bid to discover the Club's most memorable games of the Premier League's 20 seasons, we asked fans to vote in an exclusive poll on evertonfc.com. Today, our countdown from 20 to one begins with an unforgettable deadline-day evening at Goodison Park…
EVERTON 1-0 Man City, 31 Jan 2012
Title-chasing Manchester City were stunned at Goodison Park as Everton's thoroughly deserved victory allowed Manchester United to close the gap on their faltering neighbours.
Darron Gibson got the only goal against Roberto Mancini’s big-spending side, who arrived on Merseyside top of the table but left with their tails between their legs.
It was a game where the Blues’ fighting spirit came to the fore. Denis Stracqualursi never stopped running in attack, Tony Hibbert slotted in at centre-half as if he’d played there all his life, while John Heitinga halted everything in his path.
Throw in the half-time unveiling of striker Nikica Jelavic - signed as the game got underway - and the late loan return of Steven Pienaar and it's not difficult to imagine this deadline-day triumph taking on greater significance for David Moyes and his side as the season progresses.
More importantly for now it was a vital three points for the hosts – their first since New Year’s Day – and it took them into the top half of the table with a rare clean sheet to boot.
On a bitterly cold night, the contest started at a frantic pace. But Hibbert, in at centre-back for Shane Duffy, stopped Sergio Aguero as he looked to split Everton open, setting as he did so the tone for that particular battle. Thereafter, the Argentine barely had a touch.
The game was held up in the strangest of circumstances just before the interval when a spectator handcuffed himself to the left-hand post of Joe Hart’s goal. Stewards and police intervened and eventually – after three-and-a-half minutes - bolt-cutters were used to remove the offender, who was roundly booed as he was escorted from the ground.
Yet City manager Roberto Mancini may have been cursing their decisive action when Gibson let fly on the volley 30 minutes from time.
Deflected as it was, the Irishman's first strike since signing from Manchester United earlier this month will no doubt have been celebrated as wildly by fans of his former club as it was here by those in Blue.
For a full match report, click here.
Howard Neville Hibbert Heitinga Baines Donovan Gibson Fellaini
Manager: David Moyes
Manager: Roberto Mancini
"That is probably up there with the best of my wins here. That is as good as it has been at Goodison for a while considering the players we had missing and the team we were up against and it says a lot about the Club that we always seem to come back and do it." - David Moyes
"Here is never easy." - Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini
“It was a great time to get my first goal with it being against them. I'm sure I’ve got a few texts waiting on my phone from my old teammates." - goalscorer Darron Gibson
“This is a big thing for me. It is a new step in my career, a step forward and I can promise the fans and the people at the Club that I will give my very best and score as many goals as possible." – new boy Nikica Jelavic
- As Steven Pienaar’s loan switch from Tottenham was confirmed, Louis Saha heads in the opposite direction after agreeing a short-term move to White Hart Lane.
- Steven Spielberg's War Horse is the top grossing film at the UK box office.
- Former Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Fred Goodwin loses his knighthood as a result of the near collapse of the bank in 2008.
- Serbian Novak Djokovic defeats Spain's Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open.
- Former President of Italy Oscar Luigi Scalfaro dies at the age of 93.
- Italian divers end their search for victims of the Costa Concordia disaster. Thirty-two people died after the cruise ship ran aground in Tuscany.
- The victory over Manchester City proved a turning point in Everton’s season as they put together a run which saw just two defeats in 16 games.
- The Blues finished the season seventh, one place outside of Europe but above city rivals Liverpool for the first time since 2005.
- Nikica Jelavic became the fastest player in 100 years to reach 10 Everton goals. He ended the campaign with a total of 11 in 14 starts.
- Manchester City came from behind, scoring twice in stoppage time to defeat QPR 3-2 on the final day of the season to clinch their first Premier League crown and deny neighbours Manchester United in the process.
For a full 2011/12 fixture list, click here.