BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Landon Donovan made his return to the Premier League and Tim Howard scored a remarkable and rare goal but Everton suffered a disappointing defeat at home to struggling Bolton.
Donovan earned the start and looked very active in the first half.
Early in the first half Donovan set up Denis Stracqualursi for a shot that was saved by Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan.
Just minutes before halftime Donovan appeared to be tripped up in the box by Sam Rickettes but was referee Phil Dowd refused to award a penalty.
After a scoreless first half, Everton struck first from the most unlikely source in the 63rd minute. Everton defender Sylvain Distin sent a backpass to Howard who then sent the ball way up the field. The game was played on a windy day and a gust carried the ball further. It ended up taking one bounce over Bogdan and into the net.
It was Tim Howard's first career goal in his 250th game for Everton. Coincidently, he is the first keeper to score in the Premier League since American Brad Friedel also scored a goal for Blackburn off a corner kick on February 21, 2004 in a game against Charlton.
Bolton found an equalizer four minutes later in the 67th when David Ngog took a pass from Mark Davies and fired a low shot past Howard to even the score at 1-1.
In the 78th minute Bolton went on top for good when Gary Cahill beat Howard from a tight angle in a goal that would prove to be the winner.
Everton return to action on Saturday when they host Conference club Tamworth in the FA Cup. Their next Premier League game is on Wednesday, January 11 when they travel to London to visit Tottenham.