After surviving an early bout of pressure from Bristol City, Everton gradually asserted their Premiership status on the home side but still had nothing to show for it at half-time, in keeping with the league form that has made the men from Goodison Park the lowest scorers in the Premiership. Danny Cadamarteri had only the goalkeeper Steve Phillips to beat in the last seconds of the first half, but from inside the penalty box he put his shot wide.
After a first-minute scuffle between Bristol's Ade Akinbiyi and Everton's David Unsworth, which saw the pair state their claim for first bookings of the New Year, the home side put their lowly First Division position out of their minds and went on the attack, with the full-back Adam Locke seeing his 20-yard shot skim past Thomas Myhre's post.
That was the best Bristol could manage as they found themselves forced back by Everton. But, despite their territorial dominance, Everton failed to force Phillips into action until 33 minutes had gone, when Don Hutchison followed up on a blocked Cadamarteri shot only to hit his low drive too close to the Bristol keeper.
Five minutes later Bristol served a reminder of the threat they posed when a quick break saw Akinbiyi lay the ball back to Scott Murray, who curled his shot wide. With their best move of the match so far, Bristol City came close to snatching the lead just eight minutes into the second half. Midfielder Matthew Hewlett started the move in the centre circle and fed Akinbiyi on the right wing. He skipped past his marker and whipped in a low cross that Hewlett, arriving at pace, met with a downward volley that beat Myhre but hit the post and bounced out. The Norwegian then palmed the loose ball off Hewlett's head only to see it fall for Soren Andersen, who spurned the opportunity by driving his shot high over the crossbar.
That was Bristol's response in front of a sell-out crowd to Everton's own bright start to the half, when Phillips was forced to palm away a Nick Barmby cross. From the ensuing corner Slaven Bilic only managed to hit his shot at the keeper, who later almost fumbled a Bakayoko shot into his own net before recovering his wits.Reuse content