Moyes fumes at referee after Everton fail to fire
ALTHOUGH Stoke fans wearing Hawaiian shirts held an 'annual survival barbeque' in an industrial estate outside the stadium, this was anything but a relaxed end-of-season runaround.
Despite equalling their record 10-match unbeaten run in the Premier League, Everton's slim hopes of overhauling Liverpool for seventh place are now over as they trail their neighbours by four points with just one game left.
But having looked like they might be dragged into a relegation fight before Christmas, form that would have rivalled Manchester United and Chelsea since the turn of the year should be applauded.
While Rory Delap produced one of the misses of the season for Stoke, Everton were aggrieved that a Phil Jagielka effort was ruled out for offside.
Victor Anichebe was in front of Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic when Jagielka met Mikel Arteta's corner but David Moyes went on to the pitch to remonstrate with referee Howard Webb after the match.
"He is in an offside position but whether he is interfering, I don't know," Moyes' assistant Steve Round said. "We've taken a corner and it's been headed straight into the net. I can't quite see why it should be disallowed.
"Missing out on Europe is a big blow. The ambition of the manager is to be in the Champions League and if we can't get in there, want to be in the Europa League."
Six days after their 7-0 hammering at Chelsea and the subsequent fallout of the dressing room spat between Glenn Whelan and Abdoulaye Faye, who was not involved yesterday, the hosts were desperate to prove a point.
There was no shortage of effort but that was about all in a dire opening period, as Ryan Shawcross glanced wide from a long throw from Delap.
Steven Pienaar was omitted from the Everton squad after failing a fitness test on an ankle problem. His replacement, Anichebe, failed to test Begovic with a shot on the turn. A couple of minutes after the restart Delap wasted a wonderful opportunity.
Sidibe sent Matthew Etherington into space down the left and the winger squared for Delap, who managed to miss the target despite being unmarked 10 yards from goal.
Other than a penalty shout for Anichebe and Jagielka's effort, there was little to show for a brighter finish, but Stoke manager Tony Pulis was pleased with the reaction of his players after last week.
"We showed a response," Pulis said. "There has been a lot of negativity around the football club about what's happened. But we're debt free, got a new building down at the training ground, we've got a great bunch of lads. It's a good place to be at this football club."