Tag: Steven Naismith

Euro 2016 Qualifier: Scotland 6-1 Gibraltar

Steven Fletcher scored Scotland’s first hat-trick for 46 years as they recorded an emphatic victory over Gibraltar.

Shaun Maloney netted a penalty before Gibraltar stunned Hampden with their first competitive goal.

However, Fletcher restored the lead before Maloney tucked away another penalty and Steven Naismith got Scotland’s fourth.

The Scots laboured through the second half until Fletcher headed home and curled in for Scotland’s sixth.

That hat-trick – the first since Colin Stein netted four against Cyprus in 1969 – gave Scotland their biggest win since beating the Faroe Islands 6-0 in 2006.

The result means Gordon Strachan’s side keep pace with Germany, who beat Georgia 2-0 and, like Scotland, move on to 10 points, with Poland and the Republic of Ireland playing later in the evening.

Strachan had hinted beforehand at a change of system against a team who had conceded 21 and scored none in their four previous competitive fixtures.

And so it proved as he played just one central defender in Russell Martin, opting to load the attacking areas in the quest for goals.

But Scotland found Gibraltar awkward opponents, struggling to find a sufficiently high tempo or a crispness of passing to pick the lock of a well-drilled and stuffy side.

As they began to exert their authority, Fletcher might have had a penalty and moments later Maloney did, using his experience to dangle a trailing leg into the Gibraltar keeper Jamie Robba.

Read more at BBC Sport

Europa League: Everton 2-1 Dynamo Kiev

Everton once again produced a Europa League performance in contrast to their domestic displays as Romelu Lukaku’s late penalty secured them a 2-1 come-from-behind victory in their last-16 first leg against Dynamo Kiev.

The Toffees started the contest at Goodison Park poorly and fell behind in the 14th minute to an Oleg Gusev finish, but they improved markedly as the first half went on and equalised in the 39th as Lukaku’s strength allowed him to set up a Steven Naismith strike.

Roberto Martinez’s side did their best to sustain the momentum after the break, but it looked as if they would be frustrated in their attempts to add another goal.

However, a handball from Danilo Silva eight minutes from time saw referee Carlos Velasco Carballo award a spot-kick which Lukaku converted, making him Everton’s all-time record European scorer with seven goals and sealing the advantage in the tie for his side.

Martinez’s men have been struggling in the Barclays Premier League this term but they continue to impress in continental action and will fancy their chances of emerging from next week’s second leg in Kiev with a quarter-final place booked.

They are the only British club left in the competition, and 24 hours after Chelsea’s dramatic exit from the Champions League, this result also lifted some of the gloom that has been surrounding the overall performance of Premier League and Scottish Premiership sides in Europe this term.

At first, Everton seemed afflicted by the same uncertainty they have shown domestically as they came under early pressure from a dynamic Dynamo outfit.

That pressure soon reaped dividends for the Ukrainian league leaders when Antolin Alcaraz sliced the ball behind for a corner.

Andriy Yarmolenko sent it into the box and, with the Everton defence slow to react, Gusev nipped around a clutch of blue shirts to meet the delivery with a neat volley past Tim Howard at the near post.

The hosts were initially unable to get much going at all in response, aside from Kevin Mirallas thrusting his hand into the face of Atunes to earn a booking.

 

Sergei Sydorchuk lashed a shot off-target and saw a low drive turned behind by Howard either side of Phil Jagielka blocking Dieumerci Mbokani’s header.

A chance of sorts did present itself for Everton just after the half-hour when Dynamo goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy came haring out of his box and made a hash of his attempted clearance, with the ball falling to Lukaku, but the striker’s lob was off target.

Moments later, Alcaraz caused a scare at the other end by inadvertently playing in Mbokani, who was unable to take advantage.

However, Everton then suddenly came to life. Lukaku’s free-kick skimmed the top of the bar, a corner was given and from the delivery, Jagielka’s header was cleared off the line by Silva, with Alacaraz subsequently shooting narrowly over.

Within three minutes of that the game was level, Lukaku battling well to hold off several Dynamo players and tee up Naismith, who slotted home.

Another home goal appeared set to follow swiftly when Mirallas took the ball around Shovkovskiy but the winger failed to pick out fellow Belgium international Lukaku.

Everton looked to keep their foot on the pedal as the second half got under way and after an Alcaraz long-range shot was fumbled by Shovkovskiy, Naismith glanced a header wide from a corner.

Dynamo replied with Mbokani nodding onto the roof of the net and Martinez then replaced Mirallas with Arouna Kone, who swiftly saw Shovkovskiy get down to claim his header.

Further efforts were traded, with Yarmolenko shooting over and a Lukaku strike gathered by Shovkovskiy.

Everton then snatched victory on the night when substitute Leon Osman diverted the ball against the hand of Silva and the resulting penalty was slotted in — just about — by Lukaku.

In the dying moments Lukaku’s cross was nodded goalwards by Osman and Naismith failed to connect on the stretch — but Everton fans were happy enough at the final whistle.

 Read more at ESPN

Premiership: Everton 2-2 Leicester

Matthew Upson’s late own goal denied Premier League bottom club Leicester victory as Everton drew a fifth home game in a row.

Steven Naismith’s opener gave manager Roberto Martinez hope of a first home league win since December.

Sloppy defending allowed boyhood Everton fan David Nugent to equalise for Leicester, before Esteban Cambiasso put the visitors in front.

But Upson turned Christian Atsu’s cross into his own net with two minutes left.

Leicester’s spirited performance ended a run of four straight defeats, and will have given manager Nigel Person hope that they can avoid relegation, even though the draw leaves them four points from a position of safety.

Everton, so impressive in their 4-1 Europa League victory over BSC Young Boys on Thursday, have repeatedly failed to transfer high-quality European form to domestic competitions.

Romelu Lukaku, who scored a hat-trick in Switzerland, was unable to follow that up with a goal against Leicester, although he did get a flick to Atsu’s late cross before Upson got the scoring touch.

The Belgium international had myriad chances to add to his season’s tally of 13 goals, but sent the ball high over the bar from eight yards in the first half after Seamus Coleman had held off Upson to cut the ball back, lifted a clear second-half chance too high from a lovely James McCarthy flick, and had a goal-bound header blocked in the final minutes.

Everton team-mate Ross Barkley was guilty of a bad first-half miss of his own, with Aaron Lennon getting down the right to deliver a low cross, and the ball running loose to the England midfielder to clear the crossbar after Lukaku’s attempt had been blocked by Wes Morgan.

Jeff Schlupp, denied by a great John Stones block at the end of the first half, blazed wide early in the second period after Tim Howard had parried a Matty James shot into his path.

Instead, it was the home side who scored first, as Lukaku held up Darron Gibson’s pass for Naismith, who cut in on to his right foot and squeezed a shot past Morgan and Robert Huth, and just inside a stranded Mark Schwarzer’s post.

But Everton’s defensive vulnerability has hurt them time after time this season, and they conceded a soft equaliser as two Leicester substitutes combined within a minute of coming on.

Jamie Vardy got down the right to play in a low cross, and Nugent turned in the loose ball as Howard and Stones got into a mix-up at the near post.

The visitors were soon in front thanks to another Howard error, as the United States international keeper flapped at a Riyad Mahrez cross, and Vardy cut back for Cambiasso to drive in from 10 yards.

It looked as though Cambiasso would be the match winner, but Upson’s own goal ensured that Everton finish the weekend six points above the relegation zone.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Everton 1-1 Man City

Manchester City lost ground to Chelsea in the title race as Everton came from behind to earn a fully-deserved point.

Fernandinho’s scrambled goal – as Everton appealed in vain for offside – with 16 minutes left looked to have condemned Roberto Martinez’s side to their fifth successive league defeat.

Everton, however, built on their midweek improvement against West Ham United in the FA Cup third round and merited the point they were given when Steven Naismith’s glancing header put them level within four minutes of City’s opener.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini will be disappointed at a result that saw Chelsea regain a two-point lead at the top after their win against Newcastle United – but he can have no complaints about the final outcome.

Everton’s players have been questioned, as has their belief in Martinez’s passing approach, after their recent dismal run but there was plenty of spirit on display here – exemplified by the outstanding Romelu Lukaku, who gave Manchester City’s £30m defender Eliaquim Mangala a torrid time.

City were without Yaya Toure, on Africa Cup Of Nations duty, while Vincent Kompany was on the bench, along with fit-again Sergio Aguero, and their presence was sorely missed against an Everton side that looked more rejuvenated and confident as the game progressed.

Everton’s fans were angry at a second-half goal from Phil Jagielka being ruled out for offside and were complaining about offside and a possible handball in the build-up to Fernandinho’s goal, but the rousing reception Martinez’s players received at the final whistle showed Goodison Park’s appreciation for a much more resolute display.

Lukaku revealed after the draw with West Ham United that the players had approached Martinez with a suggestion to occasionally adopt a more direct approach.

And yet it was Everton’s tendency to over-play ponderously in defence that placed them in most danger in a first half City dominated without demonstrating the required cutting edge.

Goalkeeper Joel Robles was fortunate to get away with a poor clearance when he was played into trouble by John Stones while Jesus Navas failed to hit the target after Mo Besic’s risky pass bounced off Jagielka.

Lukaku clearly had the weapons to trouble City’s defence when he got the right service, as he proved just before half-time when he outpaced Mangala only to be blocked by Joe Hart. Seamus Coleman then picked up the loose ball and rattled the bar from 25 yards.

The striker left Mangala trailing again just after half-time to bring another fine save from Hart as Everton finally played to Lukaku’s strengths in the hope of making the breakthrough.

City’s failure to break the deadlock saw Pellegrini send on Aguero for Stevan Jovetic after 66 minutes, the Argentine returning for the first time since suffering a knee injury against Everton in early December.

The goal finally came after 74 minutes when, as Everton appealed for offside, Fernandinho’s effort squeezed past Coleman on the line from David Silva’s cross-shot.

Everton responded swiftly and were level inside four minutes, Naismith beating Hart to Leighton Baines’s free-kick to score with a glancing header.

Read more at BBC Sport

Premiership: Everton 3-1 QPR

Everton ended a run of four games without a win as Queens Park Rangers endured another miserable away day.

Rangers have yet to pick up a single point away from home this season and never looked likely to end that sequence at Goodison Park once Ross Barkley put Everton on the way to a 3-1 victory in the 33rd minute.

The midfielder netted his first goal of the season in spectacular fashion and Kevin Mirallas made it two before half-time, with Steven Naismith adding a third eight minutes after the break.

Everton sat back and allowed QPR to come at them, but Bobby Zamora’s tap-in 10 minutes from time was too little, too late.

It was just a third home win of the season for Everton, who climb above Liverpool into 10th place in the Premier League table.

QPR’s cause was not helped by leading scorer Charlie Austin being suspended following his red card against Burnley, while defender Steven Caulker was also out after suffering a head injury at a team lunch last weekend.

For Everton, Naismith returned after a hamstring injury and there was the welcome presence of John Stones and Arouna Kone on the bench following their spells on the sidelines.

Boss Roberto Martinez also brought Barkley back into the starting line-up and, in an Everton side that looked to have lost confidence, he stood out from the start.

In the 12th minute, the 21-year-old played a fine ball over the top for Naismith, and the Scot’s cross was just ahead of Romelu Lukaku.

QPR had arguably made the brighter start, with Matt Phillips guiding a tricky volley just over the bar and Junior Hoilett shooting straight at Tim Howard.

The home fans let their disgruntlement be known but there were signs of the sort of play Goodison Park has become accustomed to in the 26th minute when Coleman broke down the right and crossed for Naismith, whose shot was inadvertently blocked by Lukaku.

And seven minutes later the hosts took the lead through a moment of individual brilliance.

Barkley picked up the ball by the half way line and drove forward before unleashing a shot that arrowed into the top corner via a slight deflection off Mauricio Isla.

If there was an element of luck about that one, there was a lot more about Everton’s second 10 minutes later.

Joey Barton gave away a free kick for catching Naismith with his elbow and Mirallas’ shot spun off the head of Eduardo Vargas and beyond Rob Green.

Vargas had enough time to get a deliberate touch but he could not have directed the ball into a worse position as far as his team and keeper were concerned.

Everton’s tails were well and truly up and they almost managed a third before half-time but this time Aiden McGeady’s curling effort was just past the far post.

The opening moments of the second half saw Mirallas appeal for a penalty after Richard Dunne put his arm across the forward, but any real contact appeared minimal and referee Neil Swarbrick was not convinced.

The hosts remained well on top, though, and got their third in the 53rd minute after Green and Dunne had both made a mess of trying to clear the ball.

Mirallas played in McGeady on the right and his cross found Naismith in yards of space to head the ball in despite the efforts of Nedum Onuoha and Dunne on the line.

QPR boss Harry Redknapp introduced Zamora and, with Everton looking like they thought the job was done, Rangers enjoyed a decent spell.

Leroy Fer and Jordon Mutch shot over but they got the goal they deserved in the 80th minute when Howard could only parry Mutch’s shot straight to Zamora, who netted his first of the season.

The home fans were becoming frustrated again, and the game had a sour end for Everton when Mirallas was carried off after a poor tackle from Mutch.

The Belgian’s ankle appeared to buckle and he was replaced by Kone, making his first league appearance for more than a year.

The Ivorian almost set up Samuel Eto’o for a fourth but his shot hit the far post deep into injury time.

Read more at ESPN

Europa League: Everton 3-0 Lille

Everton cruise to win over lacklustre Lille to go clear at the top of Group H.

Everton took control of Group H in the Europa League with a 3-0 win over a listless Lille side at Goodison Park.

After a cagey opening to the game, it was Leon Osmanwho opened the scoring with an excellent half-volleyed finish after 27 minutes, which was the perfect way to celebrate his new one-year contract extension.

The goal prompted a spell of Everton domination which culminated in Phil Jagielka’s headed goal from Aiden McGeady’s corner four minutes before half-time.

Lille offered almost nothing in response, with Liverpool-bound Divock Origi unable to make an impression on the game.

It was left to Steven Naismith to kill the game off on the hour-mark, as he smashed Leighton Baines’ cross into the roof of the net to send the Toffees three-points clear at the top of Group H.

Read more on Yahoo Sport

 

Euro 2016 Qualifying: Poland 2-2 Scotland

A ferociously-struck Arkadiusz Milik equaliser denied Scotland a famous win in Warsaw, but a hard-fought point was an impressive result for the visitors.

Poland threw everything at the Scots in the second half after going 2-1 behind to a clever Steven Naismith finish.

Earlier, Krzysztof Maczynski’s cooly-converted opener was cancelled out by Shaun Maloney’s equally calm strike.

But Milik earned the Poles a deserved point and Kamil Grosicki almost struck a winner when his effort struck a post.

The result ensured Poland kept pace with the Republic of Ireland at the summit of a delicately-poised Group D after Martin O’Neill’s side drew 1-1 with Germany.

The world champions – who were beaten in Warsaw on Saturday – are level with Scotland three points back, with the Irish travelling to Celtic Park in November.

Another surprise appeared to be on the cards when Gordon Strachan’s side took the lead early in the second half on Tuesday, but there was to be no repeat of the friendly win in March.

There was, however, plenty of poise about Scotland’s performance, a trait that is becoming more and more evident under Strachan.

And though they were put under significant pressure as the game wore on, a combination of stout defending and poor finishing meant that they left with a point.

It will be a cherished point, too, given that Milik had already passed up three chances before he scored and Robert Lewandowski had a shot saved superbly by Marshall.

The Poles came into the match in buoyant mood and their confidence was enhanced after a rare Scottish defensive lapse allowed them to take the lead.

Alan Hutton the guilty party, his heavy touch on the edge of his own box presenting Maczynski with the chance and the midfielder took it in clinical fashion, side-footing off the inside of Marshall’s left-hand post and over the line.

But the home fans had scarcely stopped celebrating when the Scots drew level with a wonderfully crafted goal.

Steven Fletcher switched play to Ikechi Anya on the left and the winger’s cutback was slotted expertly past Wojciech Szczesny by Maloney from 10 yards.

Steven Whittaker was a surprise inclusion ahead of Andrew Robertson at left-back but the defender prevented a seemingly certain second Polish goal, nipping in ahead of Lewandowski to clear with the goal gaping.

That seemed to have paved the way for Naismith to give the Scots victory when he guided a James Morrison free-kick past Szczesny, but Milik had other ideas, ripping a strike past Marshall after Artur Jedrzejczyk’s reverse pass.

Read more on BBC Sport