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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 December, 2004, 16:55 GMT
Everton 2-1 Man City
Tim Cahill and Marcus Bent were on target as Everton stayed third in the Premiership with a hard-earned win against 10-man Manchester City.

Cahill headed in Thomas Gravesen's free-kick after 22 minutes, but Robbie Fowler responded with a powerful header two minutes before half-time.

Gravesen delivered a perfect cross for Bent to head home after 63 minutes.

City's misery was complete when substitute Christian Negouai was sent off for a foul on Bent late on.

The extent of Everton's improvement is that they have now exceeded their entire total of 39 points from last season.

City made much the better start, and Paul Bosvelt should have done better with a header when he was unmarked only eight yards out, but he was wastefully off target.

Everton slowly worked their way into the game, but it was slightly against the run of play when they took the lead after 22 minutes.

Gravesen's free-kick delivery was perfect and Cahill stole in ahead of his marker Danny Mills to head past goalkeeper David James from close range.

Everton gained in confidence, and it took a smart save from James to stop Steve Watson doubling their advantage.

Just as Everton looked set to go in at half-time ahead, City struck to equalise after 43 minutes.

Everton failed to clear Anelka's free-kick, and when Macken delivered a perfect cross, Fowler powered a header past Nigel Martyn.

Fowler, a Liverpool old boy, then foolishly ran half the length of the field taunting Everton's fans and was deservedly booked by referee Phil Dowd.

Everton almost restored their lead immediately, but Richard Dunne bravely blocked from Watson.

City pushed on after the break, and only an excellent diving save from Martyn kept out a powerful 25-yard drive from Mills.

James produced an outstanding piece of bravery to deny Bent as Everton pushed forward - but it was a brief reprieve as the Merseysiders went back in front after 63 minutes.

Gravesen was the creator, with a glorious cross to the far post that Bent headed beyond James.

Martyn was then Everton's saviour again, turning a fierce drive from Shaun Wright-Phillips around the post.

Mills was then booked for a flare-up involving Gravesen as the influential Dane exerted control in midfield.

The former England defender was then replaced by Negouai with 10 minutes left, but he only lasted three minutes before being sent off.

He left Bent in agony with a reckless challenge and was shown the red card.

City pushed for the equaliser, with even goalkeeper James thrown forward, but Everton's trademark resilience secured another crucial win.


Everton: Martyn, Hibbert, Stubbs, Weir, Pistone, Carsley, Watson (Ferguson 73), Gravesen (Yobo 81), Cahill, Kilbane, Bent (McFadden 90). Sub not used: Wright, Naysmith

Booked: Gravesen.

Goals: Cahill 22, Bent 63.

Man City: James, Mills (Onuoha 80), Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Bosvelt, Sibierski, Fowler, Macken (Negouai 80), Anelka. Subs Not Used: Waterreus, Barton, Flood.

Booked: Fowler, Mills.

Sent off: Negouai 83.

Goal: Fowler 42.

Ref: P Dowd (Staffordshire)





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