Captain Neville sets a striking example

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Everton 3: Hard-working veteran bags rare goal to keep Wolves in the bottom three

If Phil Neville had been considering following his brother Gary into punditry in the foreseeable future, then he should think again.

While Gary has swapped his boots for broadcasting with Sky Sports, the younger Neville proved he still has plenty to offer at 34, even scoring his first goal in three years on an afternoon that was as perfect for the visitors, now unbeaten in seven League games, as it was harrowing for the home side.

Not even a touchline contretemps between the Everton manager, David Moyes, and Jermaine Beckford after the striker's substitution could take the shine off this victory after three goals in 24 first-half minutes condemned Mick McCarthy's men to a place in the bottom three.

It was alarming how the home defence disintegrated against a side shorn of so many leading lights. Continue in this vain and relegation will become a formality.

In a bold statement of intent, McCarthy had ditched the conservative 4-5-1 in favour of 4-4-2 and the omens looked promising as they dominated early on, Steven Fletcherseeing a goalbound header cleared off the line by Leon Osman.

But in the 21st minute the Toffees struck with their first opportunity when Beckford was allowed to ghost in unmarked at the near post to convert Osman's inviting centre .

Wolves almost equalised a minute later when Adlène Guedioura put an exquisite curling effort close to the right corner.

The excellent Wayne Hennessey denied Beckford a virtual carbon copy of the opener but there was nothing the Wales international could do to stop Neville's 20-yard drive into the top-left corner after he was teed up by Beckford.

It was his first goal since scoring against Aston Villa on 27 April 2008 and he celebrated by punching the corner flag, mimicking absent team-mate Tim Cahill's trademark celebration.

The Wolves defence was in disarray and Everton should have made it three seconds later when MagayeGueye raced through only to be again foiled by Hennessey. Before half-time they did add a third when a loose pass from Fletcher in midfield was intercepted by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, who fired a swerving Russian missile into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Game over. Wolves huffed and puffed in the second half in front of an increasingly agitated crowd, but Tim Howard was only seriously called into action twice. First he turned Karl Henry's well-struck drive around the post and then, from the resulting corner, he showed fine reflexes to keep out a Fletcher header.

The most noteworthy action in the second half took place by the dugout, where Moyes and Beckford had a heated exchange following the forward's withdrawal in the 73rd minute.

Moyes said: "He scored a great goal and was probably the instigator of our goals but I just thought in the second half he needed to work harder.I told him that if you play at Everton, that's what you do."

Beckford would do well to follow Neville's example. As Moyes said of his captain: "His level of professionalism means that whatever he does in his life after football, whether it be management or journalism, he will be a success. He works really, really hard," adding that his goal "was a big surprise, I thought he was crossing it. I haven't seen him score in training, never mind the games."

McCarthy, who must wait two weeks before he can attempt to put things right when Fulham visit, said: "We started really well. It was Moyesey giving out. They scored the first goal and not us and it was hugely disappointing.

"We are a bottom three team at the minute. Quite clearly we are not one of the best teams in the League but we have had great responses before. The fortnight drives us mad. We want to play next week, it's not ideal but there's nothing we can do about it."

Attendance: 28,352

Referee: Phil Dowd

Man of the match: Neville

Match rating: 6/10

house + home
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Life and Style
Bats detect and react to wind speed and direction through sensors on their wings
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living