Sylvan lining for Wolves as Everton start slowly
Everton 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Sunday 22 August 2010
Fabio Capello will have enjoyed better afternoons.
While 3,000 travelling Wolverhampton Wanderers supporters might disagree after watching their side secure a precious away point, this uninspiring encounter is unlikely to live long in the memory of most, including the England manager, as Everton's early-season problems continued.
Beaten by Blackburn Rovers on the opening day last weekend, David Moyes watched his side throw away a chance to get their season up and running after the much-maligned striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake came to Wolves' rescue with a second-half equaliser.
Blake managed to score only two Premier League goals last season but the former Manchester United player surely looks destined to make a bigger impact this term judging by the way he tucked away Kevin Doyle's 74th-minute low cross following a fine counterattack.
Everton had taken a 43rd minute lead through Tim Cahill, the Australian lashing the ball into the roof of the net after Mikel Arteta's free-kick had cannoned off Wolves' wall into his path.
Yet Everton were no better than ordinary and Moyes can have few complaints about the outcome which has left his side with one point out of six, a poor return in the circumstances. Everton are now unbeaten in 13 at home, but that is no consolation for the Everton manager.
"I thought we played fine in the first half and I could only see the result going one way," said Moyes.
"Did I expect us to have more points than we have now? Yes. The players have got to take chances when they fall to them."
There was no sign of what was to come as Everton made the high-tempo start that Moyes had demanded, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov firing a left-foot opening over from 12 yards. The visitors conceded a string of free-kicks, with George Elokobi, the Cameroon defender, booked for kicking Arteta.
Leighton Baines fired over from a set-piece and Marcus Hahnemann, who was the busiest of the two American keepers, did well in the 26th minute when he made a full-length stop to keep out John Heitinga's rasping effort.
There was nothing Hahnemann could do when Cahill struck a ferocious shot on the turn after Arteta's free-kick had cannoned off the wall. Everton, who gave a first Premier League start to Jermaine Beckford, had been upset that the referee, Lee Mason, had not awarded a penalty after Arteta appeared to have been fouled inside the area by Stephen Ward. But those protests ended when Cahill lashed the ball home to earn the hosts a deserved half-time advantage.
Wolves improved significantly after the break yet it still looked as though their day would end in frustration before Doyle and Ebanks-Blake combined to earn the visitors a point that could prove so valuable in nine months time.
"We were hopeless in the first half," said Mick McCarthy, the Wolves manager. "It was my responsibility because I was trying to stop them from playing and fiddling around with the team a bit. But our second-half performance was much better. We got in their faces and played higher up the pitch. It was a good goal and we deserved to equalise."
Referee: Lee Mason
Man of the match: Cahill.
Match rating: 5/10
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