Scholes happy to slip away
Sun, 12 May 2013 18:27:00
David Moyes enjoyed a perfect Goodison Park send-off as his Everton side beat West Ham 2-0 thanks to a double from Kevin Mirallas.
In truth the home side should have won more comfortably, with Jussi Jaaskelainen and James Collins to thank for keeping the home side at bay.
It was less than six minutes until Everton took the lead. Leighton Baines drove down the left wing, laying the ball back to Marouane Fellaini. Fellaini in turn played in Steven Pienaar, who unselfishly passed to Mirallas rather than shoot himself, and the Belgian's side-foot gave Jaaskelainen no chance.
The early goal set the tone for the first half, with Fellaini and Leon Osman acting as the pivot from which full-backs and wingers could operate. Mirallas in particular looked dangerous, and almost had another opportunity to score when the otherwise excellent Collins was involved in a mix-up with his goalkeeper.
Halfway through the first half and Jaaskelainen again thwarted Everton from extending their lead. Fellaini's shot struck a defender and fell to Victor Anichebe. The striker looked offside (although replays showed not) but Finnish keeper smothered the save from close range.
Five minutes later and Tim Howard had his first save to make when Kevin Nolan struck a left-footed volley from the edge of the area. The American had to be a full stretch to keep out the effort.
The second half started as the first ended, despite the introduction of Joe and Carlton Cole by Sam Allardyce. Seamus Coleman twice played dangerous balls into the box which found only space, before a Baines cross was met by Osman, who could only fire across goal.
On the hour mark, Everton's lead was doubled. A fine ball from Darron Gibson found Mirallas, and the Belgian fired at goal from 20 yards. The ball took a horrible deflection off Collins and looped over his goalkeeper.
The home side were in danger of running riot, and within ten minutes had four more clear cut chances. Collins made another two fine blocks, whilst Jaaskelainen made a fantastic save from Osman
With 20 minutes left whilst Anichebe headed harmlessly wide when presented with a great opportunity to score, and it was the striker's last action, replaced by Nikica Jelavic.
Howard was forced into making another save, diving low and parrying out Joe Cole's effort. With ten minutes to play, but that was West Ham's only effort of note during the second half until Andy Carroll headed against a post with four minutes to play.
As the final whistle blew, the Goodison faithful rose to acclaim their departing hero, and Moyes deservedly took the plaudits with misty eyes.
Manchester United midfielder Scholes announced his retirement for a second time yesterday, having resumed his career in January 2012 after initially quitting the game at the end of the 2010-11 season.
He is notoriously media-shy and he joked that the news surrounding Ferguson's retirement after more than 26 years in charge at United - plus continued speculation about Wayne Rooney's future, had given him the opportunity to slip away quietly.
"It couldn't be any better could it?" Scholes said.
"(The speculation of) Wayne Rooney asking for a transfer - there's not much else that can go well for me.
"Yeah, it's the perfect weekend for me. (My) last game and I will just slip under the radar and off I go."
The 38-year-old made 717th Manchester United appearance against Swansea today after making his debut on September 21, 1994 in a League Cup game against Port Vale. Scholes revealed there will be no changing his mind about retirement this time.
"I think this is it. I'm sure this is it," Scholes told Sky Sports.
"It's probably not the season I would have liked to go out on but the last four months have been quite difficult with injury, with my knee and trying to get back fit again.
"I'm totally convinced. I was convinced last time to be honest with you. At the time you are but I know now in my head that I have gone as far as I possibly can physically.
"This is the end. Again."
Scholes has made only a handful of appearances this year after he suffered a knee injury in January and he last played in the Premier League in December last year.
He has won 11 Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, five Community Shields and two Champions League titles with the club.
Scholes is unsure what the future holds for him, following Ferguson's departure from Old Trafford.
"The manager wanted me to be on the coaching side but it's going to be a different manager," he said.
"I don't know what the new manager will want.
"But yeah, I would like to be in charge of my own team and in charge of my own players and try and make a team play the way I like football to be played."