Everton dent United's title hopes

Everton dent United's title hopes

Everton 3 Man Utd 1

After flattening Chelsea with a sucker punch on their last league outing, Everton completed a spectacular one-two to leave Manchester United's title challenge on the ropes.

Just as they did against Carlo Ancelotti's men 10 days ago, David Moyes' team roared back from a goal down to register another famous win, which could have even greater consequences at the top given United are the ones playing catch-up.

This time, young substitutes Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell did the damage, Gosling bundling home Steven Pienaar's cross 15 minutes from time before Rodwell sent the home fans into ecstasy at the end.

This was all after Sylvain Distin failed to cut out Antonio Valencia's low cross, Dimitar Berbatov killed the ball with one touch before smashing it into the roof of Tim Howard's net after 19 minutes.

Given the dominance United had enjoyed until that point, Everton desperately needed to score next.

That they did so inside two minutes.

The goal had route one stamped all over it as Phil Neville launched the ball out of his own half.

Jonny Evans jumped with Louis Saha but, off balance, could only head the ball straight to Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

There appeared to be no imminent danger to Edwin van der Sar's goal, but, spotting a gap low to the Dutchman's left, Bilyaletdinov let fly with such power, there was no chance to move before it flashed into the net.

As Wayne Rooney, possibly guilty of trying too hard against his old club, was having a rare off-day, the visitors' dominance of possession failed to translate into threats on the Everton goal.

Instead, United were the ones who found themselves rocking, just as Chelsea had done once their lead disappeared.

Bilyaletdinov drove over following an excellent piece of skill from Saha, then Landon Donovan wasted an even better chance after Wes Brown had prodded Leighton Baines' cross into his path.

The interval was not kind to Everton in the sense that it allowed their visitors time to regroup and rediscover the poise and authority they had enjoyed before Bilyaletdinov's leveller.

Darren Fletcher exchanged passes with Rooney before drilling a shot wide.

Berbatov then showed his frustrating side when he glanced a header wide from Rooney's cross when he should have at least kept his effort on target.

It proved to be the Bulgarian's last meaningful contribution before Ferguson reverted to the two winger approach and introduced Gabriel Obertan with a quarter of the contest still remaining.

Moyes made the most telling substitution shortly afterwards, when he replaced Bilyaletdinov with Gosling.

Ferguson will be demanding to know why Valencia let Steven Pienaar run unchecked onto Donovan's short pass towards the byline.

It provided the South African with time to pick out Gosling's run and, getting in front of Patrice Evra, the youngster duly bundled home from six yards.

Hearts continued to be in mouths and fingernails shorn as Rooney's free-kick shaved the post.

But this was to be Everton's day.

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