Everton striker Ayegbeni Yakubu ready to lift side higher following defeat of Stoke City

01 November 2010 01:07
Rock bottom of the table at the start of October, Everton reached Halloween just two points off a Europa League slot. At this rate, they will be in orbit by Christmas, though manager David Moyes senses the hard work is about to begin.

It has been a spectacular month for the blue half of Merseyside by any measure, highlighted by a thunderous derby victory over Liverpool.

 Related ArticlesEverton 1 Stoke City 0Premier League actionPremier League tablePremier League fixturesTelegraph player raterSport on televisionSaturday's sometimes laboured defeat of Stoke City at Goodison Park was not such a spellbinder but a precious first goal of the season from Ayegbeni Yakubu just about reflected the difference between the two sides.

'We have the makings of a real good team but we are not quite there, there is more to come,' Moyes said. 'I want us to be creating more and be more adventurous in our attacking. We pass the ball and play some good football but probably not quickly enough to make a difference.

'We've been a wee bit pretty in what we've been doing. Sometimes you have to try and score not always the perfect goal but I can't discourage the players from playing in the right way and picking people out.'

One of Everton's problems has been the lack of a prolific spearhead and Yakubu became the first recognised Everton striker to score this season with his angled finish from close in midway through the second half.

Jermaine Beckford is still settling in after his summer move from Leeds and Victor Anichebe has not appeared this season because of a knee injury but Louis Saha's rehabilitation from an Achilles problem continued with a lively 30-minute substitute's role on Saturday.

Moyes said: 'We need to have a goalscorer who can get 15 goals a season to give us a real chance if we think we can be a team at the top.'

Yakubu, who hit 21 goals in his first season at Goodison following a £11.25 million move from Middlesbrough in 2007, believes he can answer Moyes's call.

'My fitness is really good, better than last season. To get a goal will give me more confidence and I am going to score goals,' said the powerful Nigerian striker who had failed to pull the trigger when sent through by Steven Pienaar in the first half.

Yakubu's strike, after Tim Cahill had lashed against the visitors' post, came just as Stoke looked to be getting the upper hand.

Manager Tony Pulis was angry that Tuncay's goal was ruled out for a push on Leighton Baines, while Ryan Shawcross and Matthew Etherington also went close in a game of few clear chances.

Stoke have now lost their last four outings and could slip into the bottom three if that sequence is extended at Sunderland next weekend. 'When they scored it was a little bit against the run of play,' Pulis said. 'We are disappointed we didn't get the point we deserved. We just need the breaks.'

Source: Telegraph