Blues fight back to see off United

Just as they did against Carlo Ancelotti’s men 10 days ago, David

Moyes’ team roared back from a goal down to register another famous

win, which could have even greater consequences at the top given

United are the ones playing catch-up. This time, young substitutes

Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell did the damage, Gosling bundling home

Steven Pienaar’s cross 15 minutes from time and Rodwell sending the

home fans into ecstasy right at the end with a solo effort. For

Wayne Rooney, Everton’s first victory over United – excluding

penalty shoot-outs – for five years, and only their second in 32

games, would have been particularly galling given his history,

although for once, England’s talisman failed to make much of an

impact. Unlike Rooney, the debate over Dimitar Berbatov’s value to

United continues to rage but the Bulgarian put United ahead in the

16th minute when Sylvain Distin failed to cut out Antonio

Valencia’s low cross and he killed the ball with one touch before

smashing it into the roof of Tim Howard’s net. Everton desperately

needed to score next and they did so within two minutes when Phil

Neville launched the ball out of his own half and Jonny Evans could

only head the ball straight to Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. There

appeared to be no imminent danger to Edwin van der Sar’s goal, but,

spotting a gap low to the Dutchman’s left, Bilyaletdinov let fly

with such power, there was no chance to move before it flashed into

the net. The atmosphere instantly lurched from apprehensive to

expectant. As Rooney, possibly guilty of trying too hard against

his old club, was having a rare off-day, the visitors’ dominance of

possession failed to translate into threats on the Everton goal.

Instead, United were the ones who found themselves rocking, just as

Chelsea had done once their lead disappeared. Bilyaletdinov drove

over following an excellent piece of skill from Saha, then Landon

Donovan wasted an even better chance after Wes Brown had prodded

Leighton Baines’ cross into his path. The interval was not kind to

Everton in the sense that it allowed their visitors time to regroup

and rediscover the poise and authority they had enjoyed before

Bilyaletdinov’s leveller. Darren Fletcher exchanged passes with

Rooney before drilling a shot wide. Berbatov then showed his

frustrating side when he glanced a header wide from Rooney’s cross

when he should have at least kept his effort on target. It proved

to be the Bulgarian’s last meaningful contribution before Ferguson

reverted to the two winger approach and introduced Gabriel Obertan

with a quarter of the contest still remaining. Moyes made the most

telling substitution shortly afterwards, when he replaced

Bilyaletdinov with Gosling. Ferguson will be demanding to know why

Valencia let Steven Pienaar run unchecked onto Donovan’s short pass

towards the byline. It provided the South African with time to pick

out Gosling’s run and, getting in front of Patrice Evra, the

youngster duly bundled home from six yards. Hearts continued to be

in mouths and fingernails shorn as Rooney’s free-kick shaved the

post. But this was to be Everton’s day. It has been claimed Rodwell

will one day follow Rooney out of the blue half of Merseyside to

Old Trafford. Once Ferguson has spat out the bitter taste of his

side’s sixth defeat of the season, even he will probably admire the

clinical way he finished off Mikel Arteta’s through-ball at the

death.