Everton has played in hundreds of matches throughout club history, and some of them have stood out as all-time greats. The club dates back to the late 1870s, so it’s hard to narrow things down to just five matches. However, we feel that these five are all ones that Everton fans should know and go back to watch whenever they’re feeling down.
Ending the Drought in 1978
The Merseyside Derby is the biggest match of the year for Everton as they get to take on archrival Liverpool. The two clubs were formed between 1878 and 1884, and have been playing each other almost every year since then outside of some long gaps around both World Wars. In November 1971, Everton would defeat Liverpool 1-0, but it would take years before Everton came out on top again.
Seven draws (six of them scoreless) and eight Liverpool wins later, Everton finally put the skid to an end on October 28, 1978. In Goodison Park, the two squared off in a First Division match, and both of them were near the top of the table. Neither team scored in the first half, but Andy King added a goal in the 58th minute which would prove to be the only one of the match. While Liverpool would take the First Division title, Everton came out on top that day.
The Stomping of Sunderland
While Everton wasn’t a favorite to win the English Premier League in the 2007-08 season, the club was still expected to do very well. Everton ended up finishing in fifth place behind Liverpool and Arsenal while collecting some impressive victories along the way. The most impressive of those wins was a record-setting performance against Sunderland on November 24, 2007. In front of 38,594 in Goodison Park, Everton came to play.
Everton started off the scoring with a goal by Yakubu Aiyegbeni in the 12th minute, then Tim Cahill added to the tally five minutes later. Steven Pienaar made it a 3-0 game, but Dwight Yorke scored Sunderland’s lone goal just before the half. Everton didn’t let up in the second half, with Cahill and Aiyegbeni each notching a second goal while Andy Johnson and Leon Osman added to the total, giving Everton the 7-1 victory.
3-0 Over Liverpool
We already mentioned the Merseyside Derby and the magic of the 2007-08 season. Just a year before that season, though, the Merseyside Derby had one of the best Everton victories in the rivalry’s history. Both Everton and Liverpool found themselves toward the top part of the table, with Everton fighting for a spot in the UEFA Cup while Liverpool was aiming for a Champions League berth.
While both clubs would reach their respective destinations, there was a moment when Everton looked like the Champions League team. On September 9, 2006, Everton shut out Liverpool 3-0 in front of the Goodison Park crowd of more than 40,000. Everton scored twice in the first half, adding one more to make it a 3-0 victory. Andrew Johnson netted two of those goals while TIm Cahill scored the other.
European Cup Finals
Prior to the UEFA Champions League, the European Cup Winners Cup was the top prize in all of European football. Everton qualified for the 1984-85 edition of the tournament and advanced past UCD with a 1-0 victory in the first round. Everton then shut out Internacional Slovnaft Bratislava 4-0 before defeating Fortuna Sittard 5-0. In the semis, Everton won 1-3 in the second leg after a scoreless first leg.
The finals then pitted Everton against Rapid Wien, with more than 38,000 attending the final in Italy. After a scoreless first half, Andrew Gray made it a 1-0 match in favor of Everton in the 57th minute. 15 minutes later, Trevor Steven added a second goal. Hans Krankl got Rapid Wien within one during the 85th minute, but Kevin Sheedy scored just one minute later to put the game away and clinch the title.
Rooney Comes Alive
Every legend has to have that moment when they become a household name, and October 19, 2002 was that day for Wayne Rooney. During the 2002-03 Premier League season, Everton was considered to be an above-average team with an outside shot at the Champions League. Things got off to a rough start, however, as the team had just three wins against two draws and four losses heading into their matchup with Arsenal.
Arsenal got off to a hot start that day with Freddie Ljungberg scoring in the eighth minute, but Tomasz Radzinski knotted things up in the 22nd minute. After four yellow cards and no goals between the two clubs, the 90th minute saw the emergence of Wayne Rooney. He netted the winning goal, giving Everton the much-needed win and launching his legacy.