Moyes gets perfect Goodison send-off
Published 12/05/2013 | 17:12
Striker Kevin Mirallas ensured David Moyes departed Goodison Park for the final time as Everton manager in perfect circumstances.
The Belgium striker scored both goals to provide a fitting send-off for the Toffees boss - heading for Manchester United in the summer - after he has stood on the touchline in the blue corner of Merseyside for 11 years.
The sixth successive home league victory against a West Ham side who seemed to have no intention of spoiling the party also guaranteed Everton finished above Liverpool for the second successive season in and the first time in the top flight since 1937.
In his programme notes, club captain Phil Neville, who is leaving Everton as a player this summer, said he had never met a harder working man than Moyes - which is some tribute from a man who spent 11 years with Sir Alex Ferguson at United.
And the players started as if they wanted to give their manager the performance his excellent long-term work deserved, taking only six minutes to break the deadlock.
It came from a move which would not have been out of place at Old Trafford - and involved two of players who have already been heavily linked with following their departing manager down the M62.
In a crisp passing move, the ball was moved in from the left touchline from Leighton Baines to Marouane Fellaini, the two players most likely to be coveted by Moyes for his new dawn at United, and then on to Steven Pienaar who teed up Mirallas to drill home from the edge of the area.
That kicked off Moyes' farewell party, with the manager joining in himself by showing his appreciation on the touchline.
Everton, as has so often been the story this season, should have capitalised on their advantage as a Darron Gibson chest-trap and volley dipped onto the roof of the net while Victor Anichebe fired straight into the groin of goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen from close range.
West Ham fans taunted their hosts with a chant of 'Where's your Moysey gone?'.
Everton supporters' response of 'You've got Sam Allardyce, You've got Sam Allardyce' suggest that whoever the identity of Moyes' successor is they do not want anyone in the mould of the Hammers boss.
As the entertainment on the pitch waned, the Gwladys Street End took up the baton with an ironic chant asking about the identity of 'Man United' in less-than-complimentary terms which brought a collective chuckle from Goodison Park.
The visitors looked like a side safe in mid-table as their only two chances came from captain Kevin Nolan in the last 15 minutes of the first half.
Firstly he drew goalkeeper Tim Howard into a low save to his left with a left-foot volley before hooking across goal from close in.
Goodison turned up the volume in the second half to give Moyes an idea of what he was leaving behind but the manager was more concerned with no-one following in Leon Osman's cross-shot through the six-yard box from Baines' delivery.
But the Scot was all smiles and double fist-pumps on the hour when Pienaar released Mirallas to run at the defence and his shot deflected up off James Collins and past Jaaskelainen.
The Hammers goalkeeper denied Osman's first-time strike to prevent a third, Collins deflected Pienaar's goalbound shot wide and Anichebe headed off-target as the Toffees threatened to romp home.
Even West Ham's on-loan Liverpool striker Andy Carroll could not but a dampener on proceedings, hitting the post with a late header.