Barclays Premier League
Everton 1-0 Manchester City


Irish midfielder Gibson only played in one Manchester derby during his United days but made a vital contribution in his first appearance in an Everton shirt against City



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor from Goodison Park 


Manchester City succumbed to defeat at bogey team Everton as their boss David Moyes savoured a 150th Premier League win as a manager through Darron Gibson's first goal for the club.

Former Manchester United midfielder Gibson, who moved at the beginning of the month for £2 million from Old Trafford, struck a shot with his laces that hit the side of City's Gareth Barry and whooshed past Joe Hart as the Premier League leaders were beaten for the third time this season and are now only top on goal difference with second-placed United beating Stoke.

Toffees boss David Moyes was close to completing the deal of Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic when choosing his team while Louis Saha was close to the exit door in a surprise switch to Tottenham.

He had a difficult decision to make in defence with former City defender Sylvain Distin injured along with Phil Jagielka, Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and Seamus Coleman - leaving out young Shane Duffy who had played well in the last three games in which he had started. Tony Hibbert and John Heitanga began at the heart of the defence with Phil Neville making his 650th career appearance at right-back.

Midfielder Ross Barkley played for the under 18s at the weekend and is still recovering from a knee problem. Striker Denis Stracqualursi made only his second Premier League start, with Anichebe also on the treatment table, playing just ahead of Tim Cahill in his usual attacking position from midfield.

City, who didn't play at the weekend having being knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round stage, last played last Wednesday in Merseyside in the second leg of their Carling Cup semi-final at Liverpool.

Boss Roberto Mancini welcomed back captain Vincent Kompany after a four match ban but Mario Balotelli served the second match of his four-game suspension. Both Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero started upfront with the Blues reverting to a conventional 4-4-2 while Micah Richards, in spite of picking up an injury in the warm-up, was fit enough to start.

They also had transfer news of their own having confirmed the arrival of defensive midfielder David Pizarro on loan for the rest of the season from Roma earlier in the evening.

Roberto Mancini's side knew that a win could have been key with Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United all in action while for Everton starting the day in fourteenth, they were only four points behind Stoke City in eighth place, who were up against it at Old Trafford.



The Toffees have now won four of their twelve home games in the Premier League this season- the same number of victories that they have managed on the road.

The first chance of the game came in the fifth minute when Landon Donovan's corner was met by Denis Stracqualursi whose header had the beating of Joe Hart but was cleared off the line by the head of former Everton defender Joleon Lescott, who left Goodison Park to join City for £24 million under acrimonious circumstances in August 2009.

It looked at first as though the ball may have crossed the line however the decision was correct from an up-with-play assistant referee Richard West.

A minute later, at the opposite end of the field, Silva, who was man-marked by Jack Rodwell when the two sides met in September at the Etihad Stadium, played a ball through the inside of Hibbert to Richards, in one of the only attacks that the City right-back made into the Everton half throughout the game, and his low effort was saved by the feet of Tim Howard in the Everton goal.

Early on, the final ball from City was a little on the disappointing side with the powerhouse of Yaya Toure sorely missed in midfield. Everton had lost five Premier League games at home already this season - they only lost three in the entire campaign last season.

Aguero dragged a shot wide after a tremendous first touch to take it down and away from Heitanga, he then danced around Phil Neville before missing the target with the effort on his right foot midway through the opening 45 minutes.

City were starting to lose their way in the game a bit at this point which began to lift the spirits of the Everton supporters and their players. Baines' early cross into the box was knocked down by the Argentine striker Stracqualursi with Fellaini coming onto it but he couldn't get hold of it and it went wide.

The closest person to finding a goal in the first half was Samir Nasri, whose vicious shot cracked off the underside of the crossbar from some way out before coming back out to an offside Aguero who was superbly denied by Howard anyway.

Everton's organisation was coming through with a defensive unit, every player working for each other and the hustling and tussling to knock City out of the stylish stride seen in the early months of the season whilst praying on the fact that Merseyside is not the place to play for their visitors, who have managed just two wins in fourteen visits to Goodison Park with Everton also leading the head-to-head by one victory in this their 170th meeting.

The game was stopped for a whole five minutes whilst stewards removed an Everton fan who had entered the pitch and handcuffed himself to one of the posts at the end where Hart was keeping shut in an act of pure stupidity.

City needed some more penetration and to work a quiet Tim Howard in the Everton goal but still maintained a record of not being behind in a Premier League match yet this season at half-time.

During the intermission, Everton's latest capture, Croatian forward Nikica Jelavic, was paraded for the first time infront of the Toffees' fans after his £5.5 million transfer from Rangers was rubber-stamped as first half proceedings were taking place.



Manchester City’s three goals against Tottenham before this game took their league total to 60 goals after just 22 games, the same amount that they managed in the whole of last season.

Everton were still pressing at the start of the second half with City looking to counter-attack. Silva broke away after Neville's long-throw at one end was broken up with the Spaniard playing a ball behind Dzeko but Nasri came onto it, took a touch and then blasted a shot which nicked off Baines and over for a corner.

Although Richards and Clichy weren't doing a great deal of attacking, most of Donovan and Drenthe's work on the wings for the home side was done inside their own half with Roberto Mancini's side growing stronger.

But Everton had the first say on things with the first goal on the hour as Baines' cross brushed the head of Cahill, who scored his first goal of the season in the last league match against Blackburn here, and fell kindly to Donovan in some room before the American, on loan from LA Galaxy, laid it back to Gibson whose powerful shot with the laces was in the net in the blink of an eye via the back of Gareth Barry who had turned his back.

This was the Republic of Ireland international's first Everton goal to his announce himself as an Everton player. Seconds later, James Milner, who was one of the substitutes brought on by Mancini who scored his first league goal for the club during City's 2-0 win in the reverse fixture earlier in the season in Manchester, was swapped with winger Adam Johnson.

Tails were up for David Moyes' side while City needed to keep their heads with Nasri trying to kick out at Tim Cahill as City untidily lost the ball in the middle of the park as Baines and the Australian looked to mount an attack for Everton.

Lescott was taken off on his old ground as they looked to use the width that the Serbian international Aleksandar Kolarov provides off the bench while soon afterwards young 18-year-old Spanish forward Jose Baxter - one of Everton's youngest ever Premier League players took to the field in place of Roysten Drenthe, who had gone into the notebook of referee Peter Walton moments earlier for a late challenge on Richards.

Everton were unlikely to score again - they had failed to score more than once in their last ten matches in the league. It was whatever we had we hold for the home side in the dying minutes with City throwing men forward but couldn't fashion any more clear-cut opportunities.

The full-time whistle was blown by the oldest match official in the Select Group as Everton won for the first time in six Premier League matches and for only the fourth time at home this season - after victories over Wigan, Wolves and Swansea City - something which has been hard this season but strong in previous years which could launch the typical strong post-Christmas finish to the season from the Toffees.

The focus turned away from the excitement of the transfer deadline day and with the headlines made on the pitch in the title race by old foes as Gibson still helped his old club United by bagging the winner against City which allowed Fergie's side to move level on points at the top.

The goal itself from the central midfielder was reminiscent of the goal he scored in last season's Champions League semi-final second leg against Schalke. With City playing bottom half teams in their next six league games, it was the ideal chance for them to storm ahead with United involved in an eagerly-anticipated showdown with Chelsea on Sunday.

They could also take something from the fact that the last eight titles have been won by the side who is top at the start of February.

Some much needed confidence for Everton which was a great end to a terrific day for them in all as shortly after kick-off they announced the return of midfielder Steven Pienaar on loan from Spurs until the end of the campaign.

Afterwards, Roberto Mancini blamed his side for "underestimating" Everton whilst also blaming his own lack of preparation for the match as a reason why they lost.

Adam Higgins
The Football Site -  Chief Football Editor

"It typifies Everton's desire and determination to keep going even against the big teams in recent years- they love to rise to the occasion. Their defensive organisation was important and they deserved the win more than Manchester City did. It has put a dent in their title hopes and their form has took a significant downward spiral in recent weeks showing to me a considerable sign of weakness. The pressure is getting to the City players now. Darron Gibson provided the game's moment of quality and that proved decisive. He should relish the challenge he has now and looking ahead to plenty of first-team football while for Everton they should be able to kick on now as they always do annually in the second half of the Premier League season."



Tuesday 31st January 2012

Barclays Premier League

Goodison Park (Merseyside)


Everton 1-0 Manchester City                                     KO 8pm             Live on Sky Sports 1/HD1          (HT 0-0)

Gibson 60


Everton:  (4-4-1-1)  24 Howard - 6.5/10, 18 Neville (C) - 7.5/10, 2 Hibbert - 9/10, 5 Heitanga - 9/10, 3 Baines - 7.5/10, 9 Donovan - 8/10, 4 Gibson - 9/10, 25 Fellaini - 8.5/10, 10 Drenthe - 8/10 (Baxter 78 - 1.5/10), 17 Cahill - 8/10, 11 Stracqualursi - 8.5/10 (Vellios 87 - 1/10).

Subs not used:  1 Mucha (GK), 34 Duffy, 20 Barkley, 31 Forshaw, 19 Gueye

Booked:      Drenthe (77)


Manchester City:  (4-4-2)  25 Hart - 6/10, 2 Richards - 6.5/10, 4 Kompany (C) - 6.5/10, 6 Lescott - 6.5/10 (Kolarov 68 - 3/10), 22 Clichy - 5.5/10, 7 Milner - 6/10 (Johnson 62 - 3.5/10), 18 Barry - 7/10 (De Jong 86 - 1.5/10), 19 Nasri - 6.5/10, 21 Silva - 7/10, 10 Dzeko - 7/10, 16 Aguero - 7.5/10.

Subs not used:  30 Pantilimon (GK), 5 Zabaleta, 15 Savic, 62 Razak

Booked:     Kompany (34), Lescott (58)


My Man of the Match:     Johnny Heitanga (Everton) - Rating 9/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:    James Milner (Manchester City) - Rating 6/10



Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire) - 7.5/10
Attendance: 29,856


Match Facts

Everton - 43%                Manchester City - 57%

Shots: Everton - 9                   Manchester City - 17

Shots on target: Everton - 4                   Manchester City - 11

Shots off target: Everton - 5                 Manchester City - 6

Corners: Everton - 3                    Manchester City - 9

Fouls: Everton - 12                   Manchester City - 9

Offside: Everton - 2                     Manchester City - 6

Assists: Everton - 1 (Donovan)                 Manchester City - None




Everton manager David Moyes

"I am extremely pleased with the application of the players on a difficult night for us but one where we felt we should raise our game. It's nice to see the lads putting in a shift like that and getting the result their resilience thoroughly deserved I thought. City are always going to pose a threat and they had one or two moments where they could have caused us some worries but all in all it was a fabulous result for us. Darron (Gibson) is a gifted footballer who I watched a lot during his days at United and I know he has a lot to offer us- his goal was brilliant and the other lads have accepted him really well. Our defensive stability and organisation can rarely be questioned- we have just lacked the regular goalscorer, the out and out striker and the lack of a scoring touch in the final area. I don't know why we have this hold over City in terms of playing them here but it is something we can take pride from. We hope this victory can lead us onto good things in the next three or four months and we can try and push up the table."

Click here for the post-match interview with Everton's match winner Darron Gibson



Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini

"Probably it's my fault because we didn't prepare very well for this game. I thought before the game it was going to be easier but it is never easy. The players put everything on the pitch but I made some mistakes during the last three days preparing for this game. Everton at home is a strong team. Every time they play against us they play very well. This evening we had the chance and when we conceded a goal we didn't have more chances to score. The decisions are very unlucky against us at this moment. It's very important that we start to win next Saturday against Fulham. The season is long, we have 15 games [to go] and I hope we can recover all the players quickly. But it's important that we recover our strength this week. David (Pizarro) is a good midfielder, he has experience and I know him very well and we hope he will add something to the squad between now and the end of the season."

Click here for the full post-match interview with City boss Roberto Mancini 


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