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MATCH REPORT

Posted on 21 February 2007  - 12:00

Jermaine Jenas struck a superb late winner to bag maximum points against Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday night.

Jermaine Jenas struck a superb late winner to bag maximum points against Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday night.

JJ, returning from suspension, received the ball from Steed Malbranque, turned and curled home from 20 yards as this Premiership encounter ticked into the final minute. It was his fifth goal of the season, his second in as many games and worthy of winning any match, securing our second away win of the Premiership campaign.

The team adopted a pretty resolute approach in the opening exchanges, dealing with the robust style of the home side by including an extra enforcer in the midfield in the shape of Teemu Tainio to the left of Didier Zokora and Jermaine Jenas. Aaron Lennon was the speedy option on the right.

Two Everton players - Victor Anichebe and Philip Neville - were yellow carded inside the first 20 minutes, the Neville offence on Dimitar Berbatov leading to our first half chance when a Jenas free-kick from the left resulted in Pascal Chimbonda leaping at the far post but unable to steer back on goal.

Paul Robinson carried on from where he left off on Sunday after 22 minutes when a headed clearance from Anthony Gardner was volleyed back in low and with considerable zip by Leon Osman. Robbo stooped low to his left and brilliantly turned around the post to gasps from the Park End.

The gasps were for different reasons on 35 minutes - this time in front of the Gwladys Street population. Tainio managed to scramble the ball out of central midfield and into the path of Lennon down the right flank. Lennon had one option and sized it up quickly, cutting back and picking out the run of Berbatov, who opted to strike first time and the ball flew high past a stranded Tim Howard.

It was Berbatov's first away goal in the Premiership.

Just over three minutes before the break Everton were level after Michael Dawson took a tumble and was adjudged to have felled Anichebe in the process - a decision that sparked plenty of protest. Mikel Arteta was on free-kick duty and arrowed a measured strike beyond the reach of Robinson and into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Everton made a change after the interval, replacing striker Anichebe with defender Gary Naysmith to a degree of disquiet from the Goodison supporters. They did have the next big chance when Arteta conjured up an another chance for Osman in front of goal, with Robinson once again denying the energetic midfielder.

Keane then cleverly set up Berbatov to drilled goalwards, but the pressure was increasing at the other end. Osman was just wide with a flicked header from another Arteta set piece and a threat was lurking a the extra man in midfield was beginning to tell.

Berbatov and Keane alternated in dropping back in to match up, but it appeared that our attacking ideas had run dry in the face of a power-based onslaught.

Steed Malbranque was introduced with just over ten minutes remaining in place of a flagging Lennon and there was a big chance moments later when Jenas teed up Berbatov inside the area, but the Bulgarian flashed his shot over the bar. Then Keane spurned a golden opportunity when he gave Alan Stubbs the slip and homed in on goal, but miscued his effort.

Just as it looked like a draw, JJ produced one of his specials, bending into the far corner from 20 yards. Talk about saving the best until last...




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