European dream still alive after Everton's late escape

Everton 2 Fulham 1

It was David Moyes's 47th birthday and, when it comes to presents, most football men would settle for a last-minute penalty.

Not since 1959 had Fulham earned so much as a point at Goodison and they were 23 seconds away from achieving another when Chris Baird's extended leg thudded into Tim Cahill's chest. Mikel Arteta, his eyebrow laced with seven stitches and his brain still pounding from a first-half clash of heads, converted the spot-kick.

The man from the club's official website who had written that Everton's faint hopes of overtaking Liverpool to qualify for the Europa League were now "extinguished" was forced, like the rest of us, to revise his judgement. It is just possible there will be European football here next season, but it is not something Moyes dwells on.

Roy Hodgson, who had made nine changes to the Fulham side that had travelled to Germany by coach and fought Hamburg to a goalless stalemate, was angry and deflated.

"I thought it was unbelievably harsh and I thought the move began with what should have been our throw-in," he said. "It is very difficult for me to be anything other than depressed when a great performance is taken from me in the 95th minute." The Fulham manager added that he was not confident that Bobby Zamora would be fit for the second leg of their Europa League semi-final.

Mark Schwarzer, most assuredly will and the Fulham keeper's heroics carried on seamlessly from where he had finished in the Nordbank Arena. Perhaps the best of his saves was the finish to a thrilling Everton move, in which Louis Saha's back-flick was played on by Yakubu to Cahill, only for the Australian midfielder to be denied by his countryamn at the near post.

At the interval, Moyes had replaced Diniyar Bilyaletdinov with Victor Anichebe and four minutes later the Nigerian's soft header bounced twice and sneaked into the very corner of Schwarzer's net. It was judged by some to have been an own-goal, although this would have been overly harsh on Chris Smalling, who may have been participating in a shadow side but demonstrated why Sir Alex Ferguson thought him worth bringing to Manchester United next season.

Nursing an outfit whose season began in July in Vilnius and facing an improbable European semi-final on Thursday, Hodgson made extensive changes but Fulham nonetheless performed with verve and discipline. They had, however, not scored in the league away from Craven Cottage since January and required a dreadful back-pass from Leighton Baines to break through. As Baines's face wore the look of someone who has just realised he had forgotten to pick the kids up from nursery, Erik Nevland tucked the ball home and ran over to celebrate with Fulham's fans – all 142 of them.

Everton (4-5-1): Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Pienaar, Neville (Saha, 60), Cahill, Arteta, Bilyaletdinov (Anichebe, ht); Yakubu (Baxter, 87) Substitutes not used: Turner (gk), Yobo, Senderos, Wallace.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Pantsil, Baird, Smalling, Shorey; Riise, Greening, Dikgacoi, Dempsey; Okaka (Stoor, 88), Nevland (Elm, 78). Substitutes not used: Zuberbuhler (gk), Kelly, Adranik, Buchtmann, Briggs.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

Booked: Fulham Pantsil.

Man of the Match: Schwarzer.

Attendance: 35,578.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map