Last-gasp penalty gives Everton victory

Everton 2 Fulham 1

A last-gasp penalty from Mikel Arteta kept Everton's slim hopes of Europa League football on the boil against a second-string Fulham side.

With Thursday's second leg of Fulham's semi-final against Hamburg in mind, boss Roy Hodgson made nine changes for this game, coming within seconds of ending a run of 16 successive defeats at Goodison Park.

Although Erik Nevland gave Fulham a 36th-minute lead against the run of play, Victor Anichebe hauled Everton level five minutes after his arrival as a half-time substitute before Arteta stroked home a face-saving winner deep into injury time.

You can hardly blame Hodgson for making as many changes as he did, with arguably the most high-profile game in the club's history looming.

Hodgson rested eight players - Paul Konchesky, Aaron Hughes, Danny Murphy, Dickson Etuhu, Damien Duff, Zoltan Gera, Brede Hangeland and Simon Davies - with Bobby Zamora nursing an Achilles injury.

For the first 36 minutes of the game they were over-run and barely in the match as Everton created, and wasted, a host of chances.

The first of those came after 30 seconds as Mark Schwarzer, one of only two survivors from Thursday's goalless first leg in Hamburg, smothered a 20-yard snap shot from Tim Cahill, making his 200th appearance for the Toffees in all competitions.

That set the tone, yet remarkably Schwarzer was never called upon again until late in the first half when he stopped on the line a deflected effort from Yakubu.

However, the right-hand post came to his aid in the second minute as Diniyar Bilyaletdinov cracked a left-foot volley against the base after Tony Hibbert had floated over a right-wing cross.

One-way traffic followed with Cahill off target with a free header, Yakubu dragging a shot past the post after an error from defender Chris Smalling, whilst Cahill also drilled another low effort wide.

What would have been an untried Fulham rearguard defended stoutly, putting bodies in the way.

But then nine minutes from the break Fulham scored their first away league goal since a 3-2 defeat at Stoke on January 5, ending a blank seven-game run.

It came courtesy of a howler from Leighton Baines, who played a nonchalant pass to Tim Howard without looking, allowing Nevland to nip in and flick the ball over the advancing American goalkeeper.

Nevland's fourth this season also ended Fulham's goal drought on Merseyside - against both Everton and Liverpool - at nine hours and 14 minutes, with their last in a 4-1 defeat at Goodison in April 2007.

Fulham should have added a second shortly before the break when Stefano Okaka lofted a delightful chip into the area for Clint Dempsey to run onto, but with only Howard to beat, he volleyed over the crossbar.

At half-time boss David Moyes brought on Anichebe for Bilyaletdinov, which proved inspired as the striker levelled five minutes later.

Arteta, nursing a stitched cut over his left eye following an incident at the end of the first period, supplied a dinked cross from the left-hand edge of Fulham's penalty area.

Yakubu attempted a dramatic scissor kick, fortunately just avoiding Anichebe's head as he bravely nodded into the ground from six yards for what proved to be his second goal of the season as it took a slight deflection beyond Schwarzer's outstretched grasp.

Fortune then favoured Fulham as referee Lee Mason failed to spot an Anichebe cross hit Nicky Shorey's left arm in the area on the hour.

Ten minutes later Jonathan Greening's intercept to Tony Hibbert's right-wing cross flashed a yard beyond Schwarzer's right-hand post.

Then within a minute a goal-bound downward header from Louis Saha, on as a 61st-minute substitute for captain Phil Neville, bounced off Dempsey and inches over the bar.

It meant Fulham were still in the game, and they should have stolen victory, only for Stefano Okaka to shoot tamely into the welcoming arms of Howard after being played in by Nevland on a 76th-minute break.

It was then Everton who had the chance to win it, but a defiant Schwarzer brilliantly saved from Cahill at point-blank range in the 80th minute, prior to a more routine stop from Arteta four minutes from time.

But with a draw on the cards, a Chris Baird foul on Cahill inside the area allowed Arteta to score from the spot with virtually the last kick of the game.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific