Full time: Everton 1-0 Stoke

Mike Jones blows his whistle and the points are Everton's thanks to an excellent goal from Kevin Mirallas. They stay sixth, three points behind Arsenal, and are still in the hunt for European football. Stoke had enough chances to snatch a point at least but it's still only one league win for them in 2013. They're four points above the bottom three and they're not safe yet. Thanks for reading. Bye.

90 min+3: One final chance for Stoke after Osman brings down Adam just outside the area on the right. He could cross the ball but instead decides to shoot. Tim Howard beats the ball away, and...

90 min: Sylvain Distin is wincing and holding his side. I'm not sure what he's done. But he's got three more minutes to see this out.

88 min: Barkley is booked for a foul on Whelan. The Everton fans disagree with Mike Jones's decision and they'd be right to.

86 min: Stoke are struggling to get on the ball now.

82 min: "Man, hadn't realised there was an evening MBM tonight! Hasn't the Guardian thought of MBMing Doctor Who instead? Would probably attract more girls!" says Ryan Dunne, star of The Horn Identity.

80 min: Kevin Mirallas has picked up an injury and is replaced by Ross Barkley.

79 min: Charlie Adam replaces Geoff Cameron and Kenwyne Jones replaces Peter Crouch.

77 min: Stoke have had their chances. If you said they haven't had their chances, you'd be lying. The latest to go begging is for Jerome, who was set up by Shotton's backheel. He had a sight of goal but his effort flashed wide of the far post.

76 min: Huth heads wide from Whelan's free-kick. Stoke are getting ready to bring on Kenwyne Jones and Charlie Adam. There's still no sign of Michael Owen though.

73 min: This time it's Jelavic but his effort, bent around the wall with his left foot, flies just past the left post. It looked like Begovic got fingertips to the shot but a goal-kick is given, much to Jelavic's annoyance.

72 min: Everton have another free-kick in more or less the same position after a spot of head tennis ends with Shotton bumping into Osman's back.

71 min: Baines hammers it straight into the wall. But...

70 min: Osman slips a clever pass through to Jelavic on the edge of the area. He's got the wrong side of Shawcross, so Shawcross rugby tackles him. He's booked and Everton have a free-kick inside the D.

66 min: Another headed chance for Jelavic. Another header straight at Begovic after he had met Gibson's cross from the right. He's getting into the positions but he can't do the hard part.

62 min: What a chance for Shotton. Wilson curled a cross into the Everton area from the left and Distin responded with a strange header which squirted up to Shotton at the far post. He didn't have much time to react and ended up heading over from around six yards out. In his defence, the ball came at him very quickly but that was a great opportunity for Stoke to equalise.

61 min: Coleman's curved pass finds Jelavic in behind the Stoke defence. He can't bring it down though and instead heads it back to Mirallas, whose low volley takes a deflection and is saved comfortably by Begovic.

59 min: "I've always liked Everton," says Simon McMahon. "Of course for the neutral you can't mention one without thinking about the other. Has there ever been another period like the mid to late 80s when two teams from the same city were so good?" Birmingham in the McLeish years.

57 min: The Stoke fans thought this was in. Whelan hangs his free-kick up to the far post, where Huth's downward header drops inches wide of the left post. Howard wouldn't have saved it.

56 min: Whelan's corner is headed behind by Gibson for another. The second is sent low to the near post by Whelan, where Shawcross heads on. Heitinga kicks the ball away from near his own goal, and a minor scramble and a shout for handball follows. Eventually it's hacked away, only for Anichebe to concede a free-kick on the left.

54 min: Anichebe's shot from the edge of the area is deflected wide for a corner. Under severe pressure, Begovic manages to punch it away.

53 min: Torpor is setting in. Fight the torpor.

50 min: Without really threatening, Stoke have started this half well. They're testing Everton with a succession of high balls but the hosts are standing up to them.

47 min: Distin has to cover well as Walters threatens to get on the end of Jerome's flick. Whelan's corner is headed away.

46 min: Off we go again. Everton get the second half underway, attacking from right to left.

Looking at Stoke's disallowed goal again, I'm not sure who the linesman thought was offside. It certainly wasn't Crouch.

Half time: Everton 1-0 Stoke

Everton lead at the break thanks to Kevin Mirallas's moment of inspiration. After a tedious opening 15 minutes or so, it's been quite entertaining.

45 min+1: Glenn Whelan is booked for pulling back Anichebe. It was like he was trying to yank his arm off. A pleasant side, Stoke.

45 min: There will be one minute of added time.

43 min: Mirallas plays a one-two with Anichebe and suddenly it all opens up for him on the edge of the area. He decides to take another touch though and when he does shoot, it's deflected behind for a corner, which is a waste.

42 min: Stoke have a free-kick on the left. As soon as it's taken the whistle blows for a free-kick to Everton, as Huth throws Baines out of the way. Subtle.

41 min: Shawcross is engaging the wick of a few Everton players. Watch this space.

40 min: Stoke go so close to equalising. Walters turns on the left and hits a shot that might have taken a deflection on its way through. Either way it's a good save from Howard, who dives to his left and pushes the ball to safety.

Updated

39 min: A free-kick to Everton, 25 yards from goal and to the right of the D. You'd think it's made for the left foot of Baines, but Jelavic decides he fancies a try.

It was made for the left foot of Baines.

37 min: Stoke have the ball in the Everton net but the flag is up for offside. A long throw was cleared as far as Whelan, whose volley fell to Crouch, who was judged to be offside. It was tight. Anyway the ball broke to Shawcross, who swept it home but the whistle had long gone.

36 min: That was just an electric run from Mirallas. The speed to get away from N'Zonzi was something else. The run started halfway inside his own half, for crying out loud!

35 min: Baines has a dig from 25 yards out. And why not? It flies over the bar though. 

32 min: Tony Pulis is raging against the world. It's all so unfair.

30 min: Mirallas nearly doubles Everton's lead! Stoke are fuming after being denied what they should have been a free-kick near their own area but play continued. Jelavic played a reverse-pass to Mirallas and his shot from the right of the area fizzed an inch wide of the far post.

GOAL! Everton 1-0 Stoke (Mirallas, 28 min)

What a brilliant individual goal this is from Kevin Mirallas! Stoke had a free-kick on the left, which ought to have been cause for concern for Everton. Instead the ball was cleared to Mirallas, who was still inside his own half. Somehow he wriggled clear of a messy exchange with N'zonzi and found himself one-on-one with Cameron. He went right then left, completely fooling the Stoke defender, and then expertly slipped the ball under Begovic with his left foot.

27 min: Everton are causing Stoke problems now and once again it's the Baines-Jelavic combination. A peach of a cross from Baines finds Jelavic unmarked but he gets his timing all wrong and ends up flicking his header well off target.

26 min: This is picking up now. Shotton's excellent cross from the right is just too high for Jerome in the middle and Heitinga has to head away from inside his own six-yard box. "I'd be enjoying this more on Ceefax," says Gary Naylor. What's a Ceefax?

24 min: And now a chance for Coleman. He cuts inside from the right, making his way into the Stoke area, and then sends the ball high, wide and not very handsome with his left foot.

23 min: Fine defending from Huth denies Jelavic this time. Baines, who's troubled Stoke in these last few minutes, whips a delicious low cross towards the far post. Jelavic throws himself at it but Huth was there too and managed to divert the ball behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.

23 min: Jelavic wastes a decent chance for Everton. Coleman's cross from the right was only half-cleared, allowing Baines to pick up the pieces by the left byline. He took as much time as possible before dinking a cross into the middle, where Jelavic's header was sent straight at Begovic.

21 min: A better touch here and Baines surely would have given Everton the lead. He started this move with a pass into Anichebe's feet. He waited for Baines to make his run and then, with his back to goal, he flicked it into the path of Baines, whose first touch took him towards goal and whose second touch took him away from goal. Huth eventually shut him out.

19 min: Whelan hoicks a free-kick into the area, where Crouch is penalised for fouling Distin. And the world keeps on turning.

17 min: I have to say I've been wondering why they chose to show this match live.

I'm still wondering why they chose to show this match live.

15 min: Anichebe tries a volley from 30 yards out but his body shape wasn't right as he connected with the ball and it bounces harmlessly through to Begovic.

14 min: "Despite the excellent early save from Howard, it seems really harsh on Jan Mucha to get dropped after his performance at Man City," says Duncan Smoth. "Though it will give him more time for those excellent calendars he does each year."

12 min: This is better from Everton. Coleman charges in from the right flank, running at the Stoke defence. He could shoot but instead lays it off to Osman, who tries to swerve one in just as he did against Manchester City. It takes a deflection and strikes Wilson on the right hand inside the area. Everton's claims for a penalty go unanswered though. Stoke have probably got away with one there.

10 min: This is a very slow start from Everton. Everyone present wants to wake up sharpish. An opportunity is presenting itself for Stoke here.

7 min: Stoke have started this well. Everton might be missing the physicality of Fellaini. Which brings me to this email. "Everton look a bit short on tallness here," says Gary Naylor. "Lots of empty seats at Goodison too. Feels a bit like a pre-season game just now."

6 min: Having seen the chance again, Walters was a bit further out than a yard. He was three yards out and seemed to hit the ball with his wrong foot, which led to it striking the bar. A terrible miss.

5 min: It's so subdued inside Goodison Park. Everton's fans are waiting for their team to get going.

3 min: How on earth did Stoke not score their 10th away goal of the season? I cannot believe they are not ahead. They won a throw on the right and you know what that means. Delap Shotton hurled it into the middle, where Huth sent a downward header towards the bottom corner. Howard managed to tip it out but only as far as Walters, who somehow managed to turn the ball against the underside of the bar from a yard out. I'm not sure how. What a miss.

2 min: Jelavic controls a high ball on his chest brilliantly, but his cross towards the far post is well overhit. He's not been at his best in front of goal this season but maybe his goal against Manchester City two weeks ago will help him finish the season in style.

Off we go then. Everton are kicking from right to left and the stadium is very quiet indeed. But it's Stoke!

Here come the teams. They share a very respectful pre-match handshake. By the way, Stoke haven't won away from home since beating West Brom at the start of December. But they always beat West Brom, you know. That remains their only away win all season. They've only scored nine away goals, the worst record in the league along with West Ham, who have at least managed three wins.

Your teams are here. Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar are both suspended for Everton, which is a blow for them. Phil Jagielka and Nikica Jelavic come in them. Stoke's team is one for the neutral to enjoy.

Everton: Howard; Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Baines; Coleman, Gibson, Osman, Mirallas; Jelavic, Anichebe. Subs: Mucha, Oviedo, Naismith, Hitzlsperger, Barkley, Stones, Duffy.

Stoke: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Shotton, Whelan, Nzonzi, Walters; Crouch, Jerome. Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Owen, Adam, Whitehead, Kightly, Wilkinson.

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)

Preamble

Hello. You might say that Everton and Stoke are in the Alan Curbishley Zone. Back when Charlton Athletic were punching above their weight in the Premier League, their fans used to complain that Curbishley, now living out the rest of his days in the Sky Sports News studio, had taken them as far as he could, failing to realise that he had actually taken Charlton as far as they could go. Be careful what you wish for, they were told, it could get ugly if he leaves. And sure enough, when Curbishley did leave The Valley, Charlton were relegated a year later despite the heroic efforts of Les Reed. They signed Djimi Traore and went through three managers that season, and relegation to The Championship was followed by a three years in League One.

That's not to say that Everton would end up in the third tier if David Moyes left. But it is still staggering that some Everton fans do not appreciate just how good Moyes is and what a job he has done to consistently keep them in the mix for the European football every season, even though he has much less money at his disposal than the managers around him. Moyes is not perfect and it is easy to understand why some supporters were so livid after that defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup; it is true that they do seem unable to make that final leap, too often getting a nosebleed in rarefied territories. It was similar to the defeat to Liverpool in last season's semi-final when Everton were meek and negative against inferior opposition, while this season they have thrown away too many games. But a week after that defeat to Wigan, they were exceptional in the win over Manchester City. It was a handy and much-needed reminder of how strong they can be at their best under Moyes.

The situation is slightly different at Stoke. There is a sense that it is all becoming a little bit tired under Tony Pulis, whose side continue to do what they do, but with increasingly less effect. That's the problem for sides whose style is an eyesore; fans are happy if it gets results and quicker to criticise when the defeats start to stack up. Stoke have won once in 2013. That was against Reading at home in February. They're probably not going to go down under Pulis, they'll grind out enough wins and the club will continue to make money, but is anyone really getting much out of this? It was all summed up by that weakened team he played at Valencia in the Europa League next season. Glory is less important than finishing 12th, or maybe 11th, in the league. Pulis has been given dosh too, but he continues to sign players who fit into the system: big, physical and boring. And would you believe that Stoke are big, physical and boring. Unlike Moyes, it might be time to see what someone other than Pulis can do.

Kick-off: 5.30pm

Updated