It was by no means the comprehensive victory it threatened to be in the early stages, but eventually David Weir's first goal of the season - not that he knew a great deal about it at the time - proved enough for another win. They just about deserved it, because City did not look like a side challenging for a top-six finish. Though they rallied in the latter stages, for too long Joey Barton was given precious little support in the middle of the field, where Phil Neville and Tim Cahill had things largely their own way.
City's frustration was evident in the final minutes when Stephen Jordan was dismissed for his second yellow card, after a reckless lunge at Tony Hibbert.
"It was a big game to win," Moyes, the Everton manager, said. "We restricted them to very few chances and as for our goal, it doesn't matter how they go in!"
Everton had begun energetically. As early as the second minute, Leon Osman picked up possession in space on the halfway line and beat the back-pedalling Richard Dunne before shooting from 20 yards and grazing the crossbar.
The only goal of the game arrived within eight minutes. Mikel Arteta's corner was only partially cleared by Dunne and his header rebounded off Weir's thigh and bobbled over the line. Goal of the season material it was not, but Everton were hardly bothered.
They continued to press and their wholehearted, team- oriented approach was summed up by the sight of Alan Stubbs pursuing Georgios Samaras well into the City half before dispossessing him and immediately shooting at goal from 30 yards. Samaras, the £6m Greek forward making his full debut, looked rather taken aback by such an aggressive form of defending.
Everton began the second half in similar style to the first by hitting the top of the crossbar. This time it was Dunne's looping defensive header that caused the danger. Playing against his former club and booked late on, it was not one of the centre-half's better afternoons at the home of his former club.
City's best spell came in the final 20 minutes. Samaras headed Joey Barton's corner on to the roof of Richard Wright's net, before Kiki Musampa was presented with a shooting opportunity from the edge of the area. This time, Wright, making his 50th Premiership appearance for the home side, was able to make a comfortable save.
Given their respective starts to the season - City were second while Everton were bottom at one stage - the Merseyside club can be much the happier of the two with their respective mid-table positions.
"After the season we've had we're just pleased to be moving away from the wrong end of the table," Moyes said. "We had a very tough start in terms of playing all the top teams - and we knew that all along. Now we're catching up again."Reuse content