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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 December 2007, 16:59 GMT
Everton 2-0 Bolton
By Phil McNulty

Everton's Tim Cahill celebrates after his strike against Bolton
Everton's Tim Cahill celebrates after his strike against Bolton
Everton produced a powerful second-half performance to earn a deserved three points against Bolton.

Phil Neville's speculative cross floated beyond Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen after 51 minutes to break the deadlock.

And Tim Cahill slammed home the second from Joleon Lescott's cross 19 minutes later to seal the victory.

Nicolas Anelka had a late effort saved by Tim Howard, but he was kept quiet by the outstanding Phil Jagielka.

Everton had Mikel Arteta back after he missed the defeat by Manchester United through illness, while Thomas Gravesen was handed his first Premier League start since returning to Goodison Park on loan from Celtic.

But the pair struggled to make an impact as the first-half developed into a predictable war of attrition.

Bolton posed little or no attacking threat, while Everton's efforts were frustrated by Gary Megson's side.

Arteta came close with a 20-yard free-kick that was deflected just off target after 20 minutes.

Everton striker Yakubu thought he had broken the deadlock three minutes before the interval, only for his close-range strike to be ruled out for offside against Cahill.

Bolton keeper Jaaskelainen made a brilliant save to prevent his side from going behind seconds after the break, changing direction to save from Cahill after good work by Yakubu.

Lescott missed an even better chance from Arteta's resulting corner, turning wide from inside the six-yard box after Jagielka's flick.

Everton had flown out of the blocks after the break, and Bolton's resistance was broken in freakish fashion after 51 minutes.

Neville played a speculative cross into the middle, and Cahill's attempt to make connection troubled Jaaskelainen and the ball drifted into the net.

Everton's goal prodded Bolton into life, and it needed a spectacular goal-line clearance from Lescott to deny a looping effort from substitute Gavin McCann.

But David Moyes' side were really flowing in the second half and they went two up after 70 minutes - with credit to an excellent piece of refereeing from Rob Styles.

He played advantage after McCann fouled Gravesen, and when Lescott crossed from the left, the predatory Cahill arrived to slam a finish high past Jaaskelainen.

Bolton's Anelka finally escaped Jagielka's attentions with seven minutes left, only for Howard to save well at his feet.


  • Everton manager David Moyes:
    "We played really well in the second half, creating lots of chances, and we deserved our victory. We kept doing the right things.

    "Our performance was seamless from the way we have been playing recently, just carrying on from where we played so well at Manchester United.

    "Phil Jagielka's been playing great. When he came here we knew he was a good Premier League player and he is now settling in more and enjoying his game. He was excellent."

  • Bolton boss Gary Megson:
    "It wasn't a good day for us. We set off ok then couldn't get out of our own half for any sustained period. It was more by luck than judgement than we went in all square at half-time.

    "I don't have a problem with the referee playing advantage for their second goal, but we thought the ball came to Joleon Lescott from Thomas Gravesen's arm."


    Everton: Howard, Neville (Hibbert 87), Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott, Arteta, Carsley, Gravesen (Johnson 80), Pienaar, Cahill, Yakubu (Vaughan 90).
    Subs Not Used: Wessels, Nuno Valente.

    Goals: Neville 51, Cahill 70.

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Andrew O'Brien, Meite, Gardner, Davies, Nolan (Joey O'Brien 75), Campo (Samuel 58), Guthrie (McCann 58), Diouf, Anelka.
    Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Giannakopoulos.

    Booked: Andrew O'Brien, Diouf, Nolan.

    Att: 38,918

    Ref: Rob Styles (Hampshire.)


    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Everton's Tim Cahill 6.85 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



  • SEE ALSO
    How to watch Match of the Day
    08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day
    Live - Premier League
    26 Dec 07 |  Premier League
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    26 Dec 07 |  Football


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