Top five Everton derby goals

Posted by Luke O'Farrell

Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty ImagesAndy Johnson's header and Pepe Reina's subsequent hugging highlight the list of best Everton goals in the Merseyside derby.

This Sunday marks the 220th Merseyside derby and the continuation of the most-played fixture in English football. The previous 219 meetings have provided plenty of flashpoints, from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again; it's best not to mention Clive Thomas to anyone of the blue persuasion.

With past meetings serving up 556 goals, countless red cards and thousands of talking points, there are a number of highs and lows to look back on. After sifting through video footage and personal memories, this list selects five of the best derby goals from an Everton viewpoint.

- Walsh: Derby weakened by clubs' positions
- Pienaar: Europe our main focus

The countdown begins in reverse order and the fifth goal merits a place on comedic value alone. There are hundreds of better derby goals, but there are few funnier ones. Leading 2-0, thanks to some dreadful Liverpool defending, Everton were playing out the remaining few minutes of the Goodison derby in the 2006-07 campaign.

Lee Carsley chanced his luck from distance after a period of Everton possession. The effort, though well struck, was straight at Pepe Reina. Fortunately, for the home side, in a moment of inexplicable madness, the Liverpool keeper parried the ball up into the air.

Bearing down on goal, Andy Johnson reacted first to head into an empty net. Grasping at thin air, Reina missed the ball and proceeded to catch Johnson instead. Delighted after securing his brace, Johnson wheeled away in delight and left a desolate Reina alone in the Liverpool goalmouth.

Fourth place features a goal from another of those promising Everton youngsters who never quite fulfilled their potential. The youngest Merseyside derby goal scorer on record, Danny Cadamateri earned Everton a vital three points in October 1997.

For Everton fans in the 1990s, this was one of the few positive derby memories and ensures the goal makes the list on sentiment as well as quality. Robbing a defender near the halfway line, Cadamateri burst clear, cut inside and arrowed a shot beyond David James.

The 'Cadamateri derby' was a brief highlight in the bleakest campaign of recent times. Starting the final day of the season in the bottom three, Everton avoided the drop by the skin of their relegation-threatened teeth (thanks to a Gareth Farrelly goal and the exploits of Gianluca Vialli at Stamford Bridge).

Although an impressive strike, the third-placed entry is the only goal to feature in a losing effort. An enigmatic presence in midfield, Olivier Dacourt returned to France after just one season; another player whose career improved after leaving the sinking ship operated by Walter Smith.

Before leaving, however, Dacourt was able to leave his mark on this fixture. After just 41 seconds of the 160th Merseyside Derby (the one with the line-sniffing incident), Dacourt unleashed a fine effort into the top corner. Unable to hold onto their lead, Everton eventually lost 3-2 thanks to a Robbie Fowler brace and a Patrick Berger goal.

The second placed goal comes via the right boot of Andy King. Without a win against Liverpool since 1971, this Andy King effort from 1978 provided the solitary goal in a much-needed win against the neighbours. Not content with the match-winning headlines, King stole the post-match headlines albeit in more comical fashion.

In the process of providing a post-match interview, King was abruptly ordered off the pitch by a police officer; the officer telling King and the reporter to "get off the pitch" as he pushed them towards the sideline.

Saving the best until last, the goal heading the list is that Graeme Sharp goal from 1984. Everton were winless in league derbies since the aforementioned Andy King derby of '78, but Sharp rectified that at Anfield with a thunderous finish.

Following an average start, Everton began the Anfield derby of '84 in sixth place. Fourth by the end of play, the win was the third of 10 successive victories that season and catapulted Everton towards the most successful season in their history, securing the league title and the European Cup Winners Cup. Only tiredness and Manchester United prevented a historic treble.

Looking towards Sunday, an Everton win would ensure a top six finish and another season above their local rivals. However, ignoring the bigger Premier League picture for a moment, supporters care only about taking three points off their neighbours.

The how, what and why of it all is largely inconsequential on derby day. Nevertheless, chasing a first win at Anfield since 1999, it would surely be sweeter for Evertonians if a victory arrived with a goal similar to one of the five detailed here.

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