Wednesday 29 March 2017

Heitinga rocket rescues Toffees

Everton 1
Birmingham 1

Heitinga scored the equaliser for Everton. Photo: Getty Images
Heitinga scored the equaliser for Everton. Photo: Getty Images

Graham Chase

The potential for yet more cup glory awaits them at the weekend but there was some satisfaction in the Premier League for Birmingham last night, with a scrappy point dragging them out of the relegation zone.

The Carling Cup winners entertain Bolton in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

But after seeing John Heitinga's first Everton goal cancel out Jean Beausejour's opener, they held on to end a two-match losing run and move out of the bottom three on goal difference, with a game in hand on the teams around them.

The hosts, already without Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini through injury, suffered a blow with just six minutes gone when Mikel Arteta pulled up clutching his hamstring.

Birmingham were also forced into an early change, with David Bentley being replaced by David Murphy.

Everton were soon in control; Leon Osman also cut in from the left past Lee Bowyer and had a curling effort held by Ben Foster.

With 16 minutes gone the visitors took the lead; from Sylvain Distin's poor clearance, Jordon Mutch lifted a straight ball into the area and Beausejour rose above Tony Hibbert to head in.

It was a surprise when Heitinga met Cameron Jerome's loose clearance on the edge of the area to drive a powerful curling shot into the top corner.

Then, there was confusion when referee Peter Walton attempted to caution Mutch.

But after groping around in his pocket, he did not have a yellow card so just lifted his arm as if he had.

Walton did not have long to wait to prove that he had found his yellow card at half-time, cautioning Liam Ridgewell with a flourish two minutes into the second half.

Ridgewell was lucky not to receive further punishment when he wrapped his arms around Saha to prevent the Frenchman getting a decent contact to Osman's corner.

The goalkeeper also got his hands to Victor Anichebe's deflected effort as Everton failed to respond to manager David Moyes' challenge to mount a push for the top six. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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