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The team suffered a rare home defeat as Everton, reduced to ten men, struck twice in the second half on Saturday afternoon.

The team suffered a rare home defeat as Everton, reduced to ten men, struck twice in the second half on Saturday afternoon.

The sending off of Kevin Kilbane was about the only piece of good fortune in a game when little came off as Everton placed the shackles on any attacking intent before helping themselves at the other end.

It was an unchanged starting XI to that which began against Sheffield United on Tuesday. For their part, David Moyes chose not to start with James Beattie and opted for the potentially smothering effect of five across the middle, with Andy Johnson the lone figure in attack.

Everton's numerical advantage in midfield certainly served to stifle the early exchanges of the afternoon. Imagination and creativity was called as the visitors who were once dubbed the 'dogs of war' sat in and were content to let their opposition play in front of them.

Johnson, who scored here on his last visit while with Crystal Palace, proved he would be a danger when it took a lunging challenge from Michael Dawson to prevent him taking a free shot on goal.

The first significant goalmouth action came on 25 minutes, stemming from a long throw by Benoit Assou-Ekotto. The ball was allowed to bounce inside the Everton area before Dimitar Berbatov helped it along followed by a further touch from Lee Carsley. The flight had already defeated goalkeeper Tim Howard and it took Gary Naysmith to hook the ball off the line via the crossbar.

Aaron Lennon then attempted to enliven proceedings with a sprint slalom around a good number of the Everton team before, on 31 minutes, the Merseysiders were reduced to ten men. It was Lee Young-Pyo who darted beyond Kilbane to the right of the penalty area and the winger tripped the full-back and was shown a second yellow card.

There was no immediate advantage as Everton dug in and the first half ended with neither keeper being called into genuine action, although Edgar Davids was not too far away with his low drive shortly before the break.

The pattern did not change much in the first few minutes of the second period, although Everton had a free-kick chance from Mikel Arteta - which was steered over the bar - after a Calum Davenport trip on Leon Osman.

Another free-kick, this time from wide on the right, led to the ten men taking the lead with 52 minutes on the clock. Arteta whipped, Lescott missed and the ball took a diversion off Davenport and rolled into the net.

Jermain Defoe was introduced on 59 minutes in place of Lee, with Jermaine Jenas nominally operating from right-back. Matters were not swiftly improving as Everton gained momentum from their goal and the imposing Carsley was dominating the midfield area, snapping into tackles and breaking up potential attacking movements.

The lead was doubled on 65 minutes when Osman got the better of Davids in a midfield chase and the Everton man spread the ball out wide right to the advancing Phil Neville. The England squad member struck a low cross first time and there to meet the ball in the six yard box was Johnson, who reached out a boot and prodded past Paul Robinson.

The team continued their attempts to pick holes in the Everton rearguard over the remaining minutes - with Dawson adding more muscle up front - but it was to no avail and the points are heading north.