Tuesday 12 December 2017

Everton outgun nervous Wolves


David McVay at Molineux

The green-eyed monster that prowls Stanley Park proved the irresistible force that deepened Wolverhampton Wanderers' relegation woes at Molineux.

For more years than they care to remember, Everton have cast an envious eye towards their bitter Merseyside rivals but a sequence of six unbeaten games has raised expectations of finishing above Liverpool for only the second time since the blue corner claimed the First Division title in 1987.

"It would mean a lot to the fans and we haven't given them a lot to shout about," conceded Everton manager David Moyes whose team are just one point and one place behind the old enemy.

But these are ominous times for Wolves who must now wait another two weeks before resuming their campaign against Fulham, knowing that they will remain stranded in the bottom three.

Everton had not prevailed here in the league since 1982 -- and Wolves were relegated.

The home side lost 4-1 away to Newcastle a fortnight ago and suffered another crushing defeat by three goals yesterday.

They started brightly, seemingly intent on atoning for that St James' Park drubbing but once Jermaine Beckford glanced a near-post header beyond Wayne Hennessey's grasp, any semblance of confidence drained alarmingly from the home side's ranks.

It was Leon Osman's right- wing centre that created the Beckford opening in the 21st minute and the move was replicated shortly after with Hennessey this time diverting the forward's header around the upright.

The Wolves goalkeeper was again alert to save from his own defender, George Elokobi, after a deflection off the player's back, a brief respite as the ball found its way to Phil Neville who arrowed in a right foot shot for a rare goal. A tribute celebration to his injured room-mate Tim Cahill, punching the corner flag, followed.

"I promised I would do that and he said there was no chance of that happening anyway," said Neville. "It took about five minutes for it to sink in even though it was the Wolves' corner flag so I'm sorry if I was inciting anyone."

And it was all over by half time as Diniyar Bilyaletdinov whose surge at a retreating Wolves defence ended with the Russian winger delivering a blistering left foot shot into the top corner for a 3-0 interval lead, which was seldom in jeopardy in a muted second half.


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