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Cahill enjoys happy return with Everton winner

SoccerNews in English Premier League 14 Sep 2008

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Australia international Tim Cahill marked his return to the Everton side with the winning goal in their 3-2 Premier League victory away to top-flight newboys Stoke City Sunday.

Everton, who had been 2-0 up before the hosts fought back to 2-2, scored the decisive fifth goal of the match in the 77th minute when the midfielder eluded the Stoke defence to flick in a corner from Mikel Arteta.

Cahill hadn't played since March because of a broken foot and missed the start of the new season as well as Australia's opening World Cup qualifier in Uzbekistan in midweek.

The 28-year-old scored 10 league goals last season and played a crucial role in helping Everton to fifth place in the table and a spot in the UEFA Cup.

This victory took the Toffees into the top-half of the Premier League but left Stoke with only basement club Tottenham, who play Aston Villa on Monday, below them in the table.

Goals either side of half-time from Nigerian internationals Yakubu and Victor Anichebe put the visitors ahead and seemingly in control.

But Stoke got back into the game soon after the visitors' second with a goal from another Nigerian, Seyi Olofinjana before Mark Jagielka put through his own net in the 63rd minute.

Both teams had cause to rue a couple of controversial decisions by referee Alan Wiley.

First Stoke were denied a seemingly good goal when Ricardo Fuller, after rounding Tim Howard in the 59th minute and slotting the ball into the net, was penalised for making contact on Joseph Yobo.

Everton were as incensed when Wiley, who appeared to have awarded a penalty, seemingly changed his mind after consulting a linesman and gave a free-kick on the edge of the box instead when it appeared Stoke's Leon Cort had handled inside the box.

Furious Everton manager David Moyes, having berated the fourth official, was then sent to the stands.

A match that had been full of endeavour, with Stoke's aerial threat a persistent problem for the Everton defence, received a much-needed injection of class in the 41st minute.

Arteta's clever-reverse pass found Cahill and his precise ball released Yakubu who calmly slotted home past City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

Neither defence looked comfortable when defending set-pieces and Everton doubled their lead in the 51st minute when the unmarked Anichebe's glancing header from Arteta's free-kick gave Sorensen no chance.

Stoke, however, fought back after Everton failed to deal with two long throws. First Everton keeper Tim Howard could only punch weakly as he came to deal with Rory Delap's throw and Olofinjana volleyed the ball back fiercely past the American.

Another Delap delivery caused problems when Jagielka headed past Howard at the near post and Stoke were level.

But just when Tony Pulis's side thought they might be on course to complete a fine comeback, Cahill headed in from eight yards.

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