• Premier League

Naismith stuns Chelsea into first defeat of season

ESPN staff
September 14, 2013
Steven Naismith marked his 27th birthday with the only goal at Goodison Park © PA Photos

Jose Mourinho suffered his first defeat of his second spell as Chelsea manager as Steven Naismith's first-half goal gave Everton a 1-0 victory at Goodison Park.

The goal came against the run of play near the end of the first half, with Naismith heading home from close range, but the hosts were deserving of the three points by the end of a keenly fought encounter.

Chelsea gave Samuel Eto'o his first start since arriving from Anzhi Makhachkala in the transfer window, while Gareth Barry made his debut for the hosts. But it was the Cameroon international who made the first impact, heading narrowly over from Ramires' cross after just five minutes.

Juan Mata, making his first start of the season for Chelsea, was also looking lively and linking up well in the early stages of the game, with Ross Barkley, Leon Osman and Barry working hard to contain the visitors' midfield.

Jose Mourinho critical of players

  • "We were the best team because we played the best football, because we dominated the whole game, because we had 21 shots. But by the other way, a team who has 21 shots - some easy, in easy situations - and made a mistake at the end of the first half, maybe I should say we deserved to lose."

Barry had already made some key interventions before preventing a certain goal on 29 minutes. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard got into a tangle trying to play a pass to Sylvain Distin and instead sending it straight to Andre Schurrle. The Chelsea attacker made the right decision in squaring to the unmarked Eto'o, but he delayed his shot just long enough for Barry to somehow make a last-ditch sliding challenge and deflect the goalbound ball away for a corner.

Shortly after it was Everton who threatened as Osman and Kevin Mirallas combined to set up Naismith, but the Scot scuffed wide at the near post. At the other end, Ramires brought a spectacular fingertip save out of Howard with a fine volley from 15 yards.

The pressure was building on Everton, and Jose Mourinho looked aghast as Schurrle blew Chelsea's next opportunity. Ramires burst forward from midfield and slipped the German through on goal but he somehow contrived to not even trouble Howard with his effort inside the box.

Branislav Ivanovic headed a Mata free-kick over the bar, and Eto'o then teed up Mata after fine interplay with Eden Hazard, but the midfielder clipped his shot wide.

Just as it seemed like Chelsea would eventually make their pressure tell, Everton broke the deadlock. Barkley pushed forward on the edge of the box, Osman pinged a flat cross deep to the far post where Nikica Jelavic headed back across goal to leave Naismith with the simple task of heading beyond Petr Cech from a yard.

Oscar is sandwiched by Distin and Osman © PA Photos

Chelsea went into the break barely believing they were behind, and came out fast in the second half. Ramires' 40-yard sprint allowed him to tee up Shurrle but his dinked shot beyond Howard found the side-netting. Soon after, Hazard's shot tested Howard and Eto'o failed to convert the rebound.

The teams then traded tame penalty appeals, as first Oscar - on as a substitute for Mata - crumpled under a twin challenge from Osman and Distin, before the latter appeared to be shoved by David Luiz when challenging for a corner in the Chelsea area, with referee Howard Webb waving away both appeals.

Everton fans thought they had a penalty on 79 minutes when Hazard pushed Seamus Coleman, but the referee gave a free-kick on the edge of the box that came to nothing. Luiz was then perhaps fortunate to escape with only a yellow card when he hauled back Mirallas on the halfway line with what was a cynical pull of the Everton man.

Despite Chelsea pushing forward in the closing stages, it was Everton that came closest to adding to the scoring, with Leighton Baines curling a free-kick off the bar with Cech beaten and Osman firing a 20-yard effort high and wide.

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