Premier League - Everton deprive City of top spot
Mon, 20 Dec 22:01:00 2010
Early goals from Tim Cahill and Leighton Baines put the visitors 2-0 ahead and well on the road to three points.
The result was plunged into doubt when visiting forward Victor Anichebe was sent off on 60 minutes for a second yellow card after he had felled Pablo Zabaleta.
City's incessant pressure finally paid off when Phil Jagielka netted an own-goal on 72 minutes, but Everton's 10 men bravely held out.
Kolo Toure was sent off in the dying seconds for a second booking after he had brought down substitute Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
City were celebrating the news that captain Carlos Tevez had withdrawn his transfer request before the match; however Cahill brought the fans back down to earth by nodding home the opening goal.
Anichebe just failed to convert a Baines cross, but Seamus Coleman dinked a lovely little ball on to the head of Cahill, who had an easy task to finish under the exposed home goalkeeper Joe Hart.
City should have levelled on 10 minutes when Yaya Toure picked out David Silva. The Spanish forward was unmarked in the area, but was wasteful as he thrashed a shot into the side of the net.
City paid dearly as Everton scored a second goal on 18 minutes. Cahill played a cushioned pass to Baines and he slipped a swerving shot beyond the despairing dive of Hart from inside the area.
City huffed and puffed as Everton were pinned back deeper and deeper. They could have had a penalty as a Silva shot seemed to hit the arm of Phil Neville, while the excellent Tim Howard dived to swat Aleksandar Kolarov's shot wide of a post before the break.
Kolarov then drilled in a couple of efforts from distance that almost gave City renewed hope. Howard saved the first one while the second shot flew wide of the target before Anichebe was sent packing.
Everton manager David Moyes was ready to throw on Louis Saha to replace the tiring forward, who picked up a second yellow card minutes after a clumsy late challenge on Hart earned him a first booking.
Everton were a man down, but they never lacked spirit.
City finally got their rewards when Yaya Toure's shot hit the net via Jagielka, but Howard was on hand to save the day as he dived to paw a shot out from Tevez after Mario Balotelli somehow saw a shot come back off a post after he had chipped the Everton keeper.
Howard was a key man for the visitors as he produced wonderful stops from Yaya Toure and Tevez to ensure Everton picked up only their fourth win of the season.
In temperatures as low as minus nine, the Everton keeper was hot, even if he needed some good fortune when substitute Tony Hibbert seemed to handle in the box in the game's death throes.
Manchester City have now lost four successive home matches against Everton, their longest home losing streak against an opponent since they suffered four straight losses against Chelsea between 2005 and 2008.
Manchester United will remain two points clear of City on Christmas Day, the 17th time they have been top entering the festive run of fixtures.
Roberto Mancini's side missed the chance to go top over Christmas for the first time since 1929, despite managing 25 shots on the Everton goal.