Everton 0-1 QPR: Sunday Mirror match report
Published 22:05 20/08/11 By Simon Mullock
At the end, Bill Kenwright looked like a poor man listening to the next-door neighbours celebrating a lottery win.
A week which saw the Everton chairman being stitched up by his own fans had just got a whole lot worse.
It was bad enough that his private confession about the club once known as the Mersey Millionaires being broke had been made public.
But then came Queens Park Rangers riding on the crest of the optimism generated by their own takeover to inflict a painful defeat.
Kenwright, slumped in his usual seat at the front of the Goodison directors’ box, looked ashen-faced and close to tears as he clutched his head in his hands at the final whistle.
Around him jeers for Everton’s own meek efforts were mixed with applause recognising that Rangers deserved their win.
Everton boss David Moyes said: “We didn’t play well enough to win, but I didn’t think we deserved to lose either.
“People know the current situation. The team is the thing that will make it better or worse and today they couldn’t make it better.
“If we sold anyone the money would probably go to the bank, so that’s something I don’t want to do.
“But everyone has a price; Fabregas, Ronaldo. I’ll do what is right for the club because I’m not stubborn.”
This was a day that money talked as Rangers, bouyant from the hope that Neil Warnock will be given a £10million transfer kitty after Tony Fernandes’ takeover, bounced back after their opening day defeat at home to Bolton.
The visitors rode their luck early on, but once Tommy Smith had fired them into a 31st-minute lead they were able to repel Everton with some degree of comfort.
Everton had an early penalty appeal rejected after Jack Rodwell had crumbled under Matt Connolly’s nudge in the back.
And the Toffees felt aggrieved again when Leighton Baines’ free-kick beat a static Paddy Kenny but bounced to safety off the underside of the crossbar.
Everton were also encouraged by the display of Ross Barkley on his debut.
The 17-year-old was their best performer and the 30-yard shot that curled just wide evoked memories of Wayne Rooney. But Rangers went ahead when Phil Jagielka surrendered possession to Alejandro Faurlin on the edge of his own penalty area.
The ball was worked to Smith via Akos Buzsaky and his angled low shot was too good for Tim Howard.
Rangers had been laid low with a virus overnight that forced Warnock to send home DJ Campbell and put Jay Bothroyd on the the bench.
But it was Everton feeling sick when Tim Cahill stooped to meet Jermaine Beckford’s right-wing cross only to head wide from four yards.
Beckford should have done better than head weakly at Kenny before the break.
And Rodwell opened the second half by breaking clear only to shoot straight at the Rangers keeper.
The home fans made their feelings clear by jeering Moyes for his decision to replace Beckford with midfielder Marouane Fellaini. Almost immediately, Cahill forced Kenny into a save with a shot on the turn.
Kenny excelled again to grasp Barkley’s deflected blast from 30 yards and was perfectly positioned to grasp Fellaini’s injury-time header.
Rangers boss Warnock said: “We have had a traumatic 48 hours since the takeover.
“Then we had this virus. DJ Campbell collapsed and we had to send him home.
“Adel Taarabt and Connolly had it too and when Bothroyd caught it we had to put him on the bench.”
VERDICT: Rangers will be relieved to get last week’s heavy defeat out of their system. There is little wrong with Everton that a few quid would not put right, but the cupboard is bare.
THE BIG ISSUE: Will Everton hold onto David Moyes with no money to spend?
Everton remain one of the biggest names in the game – even if they don’t have a bank balance to match.
David Moyes has worked miracles in his nine years in charge and his prospects of doing it again hinge on a group of players capable of beating any team in the Premier League.
Moyes’ men were given a rousing reception but the mood of optimism was punctured by Tommy Smith’s opener for QPR just after the half-hour.
Ross Barkley, 17, was Everton’s best player and fans will want him – and his boss – to hang around to prove once again that money doesn’t always talk in the big league.