Beattie bags win for Toffees
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: 06/11/05 2:06pm
Everton continued their recent improved form with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.
James Beattie's first half goal was enough to give Everton only their third win of the season and end Middlesbrough's run of three successive victories.
Both sides struck the woodwork in the second half, but Everton held on to take all three points and climb up the table.
Middlesbrough started the brighter of the two sides with Gaizka Mendieta controlling things in midfield.
The Spanish ace had the first chance of the game after two minutes with a strong run to the edge of the box, but he dragged his shot wide of the target.
Middlesbrough continued to dominate proceedings early on and Yakubu Aiyegbeni fired a shot straight at Nigel Martyn on 12 minutes.
Everton broke the deadlock on 16 minutes against the run of play through Beattie.
Andy van der Meyde worked a short corner with Phil Neville and whipped in a fine cross which Beattie headed home at the near post ahead of Ugo Ehiogu.
Middlesbrough wasted a great chance to draw level when the impressive Mendieta played Yakubu in on goal, but Martyn was quickly off his line to smother the Nigerian's effort.
Beattie could have doubled Everton's lead on the half hour when he evaded his marker to meet Tony Hibbert's cross only for the striker to head his effort over the top.
Tim Cahill tried his luck from long-range on 34 minutes when Mikel Arteta robbed George Boateng in the midfield and fed the Australian, but the midfielder wildly blazed his shot over the crossbar.
Mendieta had the last chance of the half for Boro right on the stroke of his half time with a shot from the edge of the area straight at Martyn.
Everton went close to scoring again on 52 minutes when Ehiogu cleared Arteta's dangerous cross ahead of his goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and was forced to concede a corner.
From the resulting corner Duncan Ferguson headed Arteta's delivery straight at Schwarzer.
Middlesbrough tried to push forward at every opportunity, but were struggling to break down Everton's resolute defence.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink flashed a shot from the edge of the area wide on the hour mark and two minutes later Boateng saw a fierce shot deflected just over the crossbar by substitute Kevin Kilbane.
Beattie really should have added his second goal of the game ten minutes from time when James McFadden picked him out unmarked at the back post, but the striker somehow smacked his shot against the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
Middlesbrough substitute Doriva forced Martyn into a good save on 86 minutes with a powerful shot from the edge of the area.
The visitors were unlucky not to draw level two minutes from time when Franck Queudrue rose highest to meet Mendieta's corner only to see his effort clip the top of the crossbar.
Click on fixture for player ratings
Everton v Middlesbrough
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||5|
|5||Shots off Target||5|
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||16||28|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||16||17|
|18||Queens Park Rangers||16||14|