Beckford brilliance sends Ancelotti off on 'holiday'
Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Monday 23 May 2011
If, as expected, this was Carlo Ancelotti's last match in charge of Chelsea it seems an undeserved way to be remembered. As for Jermaine Beckford, the scorer of Everton's ludicrously brilliant winner, he will happily pull this out of his personal memory bank for years to come.
Ancelotti may have delivered the only Premier League and FA Cup Double in Chelsea's history last season but memories under Roman Abramovich are short and, consequently, Ancelotti's shelf life even shorter. Survival Sunday meant something entirely different at Goodison Park.
With a win percentage of 62 per cent from his 109 games in charge, Ancelotti has more than done enough to justify his existence and he remains popular with players and fans, but a trophy-less season is simply something Abramovich is unwilling to countenance.
"Relax," said the Italian when questioned about his future, "I'm officially on holiday from today. I'm not sure how long my holiday will be."
The game was sealed by a stunning goal from Beckford as he ran the length of the field to beat Petr Cech and help Everton to a win that was all the more impressive because they played 40 minutes with only 10 men following Seamus Coleman's dismissal for two bookable offences.
A bitty opening was illuminated by Coleman toying with Ashley Cole as the Everton man, who cost the home side less than one week of Cole's wages, underlined his startling progress under David Moyes this season. In fact, the former Sligo Rovers midfielder should have opened the scoring with 15 minutes gone as he wriggled into the area but he gave Cole just enough time to get back.
Almost immediately, pleas for an Everton penalty were fruitless as Alex clattered Leon Osman in the area but replays showed that the well positioned referee Peter Walton judged it beautifully and spotted it was actually a wonderful, albeit risky, challenge.
Chelsea took an age to unlock Everton's defence, which is much-improved this season, and Sylvain Distin managed to block a Nicolas Anelka effort that reminded Everton that the visitors may be an animal licking its wounds but that does not mean it cannot bear its teeth from time to time.
It is a shame Everton could not do the same. A Beckford effort went for a throw-in just before half-time to encapsulate the game's mediocrity although Coleman's dismissal for a hefty tackle on John Obi Mikel did ensure a more lively second period.
Coleman's second yellow card came just five minutes after his first and while it changed Everton's shape it did not curtail their approach.
Beckford again missed a decent opportunity as he found Cech's legs rather than the goal and Mikel Arteta also went close, while Chelsea were so shorn of ideas that it was left to John Terry to try to score from 35 yards out, with predictable results.
Beckford had looked as equally unlikely to find the net until, for once, his execution matched his ambition. After a 70-yard dash down the centre of the pitch and through Chelsea's defence he somehow found the winner.
Substitutes: Everton Anichebe (Beckford, 80), Cahill (Arteta, 90). Chelsea Kalou (Mikel, 61), Ferreira (Alex, 70), McEachran (Essien, 78). Booked: Everton Baines, Heitinga, Coleman. Chelsea Alex. Sent off Coleman (53). Man of the match Jagielka. Match rating 7/10. Possession Everton 49% Chelsea 51%. Attempts on target Everton 3 Chelsea 9. Referee P Walton (Northants).
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