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Football: ALL WRONG; EVERTON 1 MAN CITY 0 LESCOTT 31 Sven fury at City's own tactics.

Byline: KEN LAWRENCE AT GOODISON PARK

THAKSIN SHINAWATRA might want to get his wad out now - for unless he starts splashing more cash, his Champions League dreams will have to wait for at least another season.

The Manchester City owner was at Goodison to see Everton snatch the lead then lock up shop with almost an hour of the game to go.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's side failed to break down the door for all their second-half domination and, at times, almost exclusive possession.

It took them until injury time to force Tim Howard into his first save.

That came from Martin Petrov, one of the players who must have disappointed Eriksson most, as Everton moved onto the tails of their Merseyside neighbours while City slid down to seventh.

Eriksson was not amused, his jaw well and truly set as he declared: "We started 40 minutes late."

He had no problems with the way David Moyes' men dug in, but plenty over the way City tried to put pressure on them, saying: "Knocking long balls, going for the second ball - we are not good at that.

"We might as well sell half of our team if we are going to keep playing as we did against Everton.

"Playing like that is barred at training. It is not our way because, while we had so much possession, we did not make the chances we should have."

Joleon Lescott scored the only goal, his sixth of the season, in the 31st minute, with a deft flick from Mikel Arteta's beautiful low pass.

But the central defender did not have to be a hero in his normal role yesterday.

Eriksson's side at times looked as smooth as he does, but the problem was they were going nowhere - and nobody went round in ever decreasing circles more than Petrov.

If only the Bulgarian were less petulant and more productive on the road, where he too often fails to make the most of his sensational pace.

And this time he was also up against a right-back in Tony Hibbert who never allowed him to get a proper run.

His lack of bite and ambition summed up the away form that is slowly, but surely, beginning to cost City.

Vedran Corluka and Dietmar Hamann both did their jobs well as holding midfielders, but setting up chances is not their forte.

As Everton curled tighter into their shell, the midfielders - as well as ex-Goodison defender Richard Dunne - mainly had the task of trying to induce pressure on Howard and the cordon of blue in front of him.

With Mexican loan striker Nery Castillo looking as if he didn't know what day of the week it was, and Brazilian playmaker Elano crowded out every time he did get the ball, this was far less of a nailbiter for the home fans than it could have been.

Everton, with African players Joseph Yobo, Yakubu and Steven Pienaar all on international duty, never impressed - but after last week's FA Cup embarrassment and Carling Cup semi-final reverse at Chelsea, they knew they had change things.

Moyes said: "With so many flair players missing, we found it difficult to adjust.

"But it was a good defensive performance and brought us a very big win."

DIDYOU KNOW?

City have not won a league game at Goodison Park since the first Premiership season in 1992, when a double from Mike Sheron and one from David White won it 3-1.

STAT ATTACK

STORY OF THE GAME

EVERTON MAN CITY

44% POSSESSION 56%

3 SHOTS ON TARGET 2

7 SHOTS OFF TARGET 2

4 CORNERS 5

15 FOULS CONCEDED 13

3 OFFSIDES 1

2 YELLOW CARDS 1

0 RED CARDS 0

HOW THEY RATED

EVERTON

Howard 5, Hibbert 7, Jagielka 6, Lescott 6, Nuno Valente 6, ARTETA 8, Neville 6, Carsley 6, McFadden 5 (Vaughan 5), Cahill 6, Anichebe 6.

MANAGER David Moyes 6

MAN CITY

Hart 7, Onuoha 6, Dunne 6, Richards 6, Ball 6, Vassell 5 (Ireland 5), Elano 5, Hamann 6 (Fernandes 5), Corluka 7, Petrov 4, Castillo 4 (Bianchi 5).

MANAGER Sven-Goran Eriksson 6

REFEREE Mike Halsey 5

HEAD TO HEAD

JAMES McFADDEN v MARTIN PETROV

McFadden was no kind of threat on the left flank, but at least he got himself in a sweat trying - more than the Bulgarian who actually happens to be a left winger.

MAN of the MATCH

MIKEL ARTETA

The Spanish midfielder would walk into any side in Europe, thanks to the kind of touch, vision and industry that was so evident here, especially in the first half.

NEXT 4PREM FIXTURES

EVERTON

WIGAN (A), TOTTENHAM (H),

BLACKBURN (H), READING (A)

MAN CITY

WEST HAM (H), DERBY (A),

ARSENAL (H), MAN UTD (A)

CAPTION(S):

JOLE IN THE CROWN: Joleon Lescott outwits City keeper Joe Hart to secure Everton the spoils
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 13, 2008
Words:801
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