The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Birthday boy Naismith floors Chelsea in 1-0 victory for Everton at Goodison Park
LIVERPOOL, England - Everton forward Steven Naismith celebrated his 27th birthday on Saturday by scoring in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea in the Premier League.
Chelsea had by far the better chances in the opening 45 minutes, but Naismith nodded home from point blank range in first-half stoppage time at Goodison Park— handing the visitors their first defeat of the season under returning coach Jose Mourinho.
It was also Everton's first victory under the Merseyside club's new coach Roberto Martinez.
His team's neat passing and counter-attacking style certainly caused problems for Chelsea, which lacked a cutting edge up front despite having plenty of possession.
Though Chelsea made the more impressive start, Everton created the first clear chance when Naismith broke down the right and crossed for Nikica Jelavic to direct his header straight at keeper Petr Cech.
Chelsea handed a debut to Samuel Eto'o and the experienced Cameroon striker nearly opened his account in the 29th minute after an embarrassing blunder by Everton keeper Tim Howard. The American's miscued pass went straight to Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle, whose square pass gave Eto'o an open goal — only for Gareth Barry to arrive in the nick of time for the home side with a sliding tackle.
Howard made up for his error with a superb save in the 35th minute to deny Ramires' rising shot.
And the American rode his luck three minutes later when Schurrle ballooned his drive over the top after the ball fell kindly for him in the area.
Everton's players soaked up the pressure and got their reward on the stroke of halftime when Leon Osman crossed to the far post, Jelavic headed back across the face of the goal and Naismith nodded the ball over the line.
Chelsea returned to the attack after the break and coach Mourinho took off defender Ashley Cole for striker Fernando Torres among a set of substitutions that also brought on Frank Lampard and Oscar.
But Mourinho's side failed to create clearcut chances, while Everton continued to pose a threat on the break, with Leighton Baines hitting the bar with a free kick in the closing stages.
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