Go north, try hard, lose. The annual Goodison defeat is out of the way and we are now free to concentrate on more plausible opponents, such as Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers.
Fulham were poor in the first half. We couldn’t keep the ball, we didn’t do especially well getting it off Everton. Then they scored a poor goal to go ahead, the specifics eluding me at this point but for whatever reason Hangeland wasn’t part of a back four that needed all four members at the time, and poor Carlos Salcido was left with Tim Cahill and Seamus Coleman to deal with. Cahill was alone in the middle of the six yard box so Salcido probably had to go to him, but the ball soared on over them both and Coleman was free to do what he wanted, and his header back across goal was good enough to beat Schwarzer. Bah.
Just as we thought a second half comeback might be on the cards, Louis Saha hit a rocket to make it 2-0. The “rocket” descriptor is over-used in football, but seriously, this one did fly as if Saha had attached something explosive to the back of it. The ball just *went*. Wowzers. There remains a good argument that if Saha could play 38 games a season he’d be about as good a centre-forward as there is.
Problems for Fulham then. The second half was much better, but as we’ve said before, no use getting aggressive when the fight’s over, is there? Hughes introduced Zamora, whose first touch set up Dempsey, who slid a left footed drive past Howard from the edge of the box. Nice. But there was no more from there. We had all sorts of possession, but Everton know what they’re doing at the back and another always looked unlikely.
And so it went. Hughes sent for Kakuta and Gudjohnsen to thoroughly overload the attacking end of the field, but still nothing. Dembele screwed a shot wide, Zamora headed wide, but Everton weren’t unduly bothered. Salcido cleared off the line for a second time, Schwarzer made a couple of neat saves, but, well, anyway… we’ve lost at Everton again. No sense getting upset about these things; it was never going to be any other way.