That was a good game. Everton are a good team. Roberto Martinez is a good manager. They didn't actually play all that well today - the first half, they did nothing, an were suffering in the second, until a couple of brilliant touches from McGeady sorted Mirallas an opportunity which he took like a man who knew. Their game with Arsenal next week will be a jazzer.
Fulham, meanwhile, played well - Magath looks to have the team right, and focused - but it's close to impossible to see how they might stay up.
Anyway, thanks for your comments and company. Leighton Baines has had a hair cut.
FULL-TIME: Fulham 1-3 Everton
90+3 min Surely Everton, former Cup Winners' Cup winners, are better than "We're all going on a European tour"?
90+1 min There shall be four additional minutes. Here's Enna Cooper to ease us through them. "The back-four of Walker, Caulker, Dawson and Naughton that Spurs fielded on occasion last season is possibly semantically even more pleasing than Fulham's today. Couple either defence with Wigan's midfield and forwards of last season and you've got the world's finest firm of footballing accountants: McManaman, McCarthy, McArthur, Maloney, Koné and Gomez (as every firm of accountants has one partner whose name doesn't fit)."
That's very nice - I knew there had to be a reason it was picked.
90 min Gary Naismith (what was his name after he got married?), what a player! He takes the ball off Baines and chugs through the middle unmolested, before unleashing a scudding drive from 25 yards that follows a straight line and smashes the base of the left post.
89 min "Sorry, Martin Brooks, your prosody is wrong", chides Nick Germancos. "Riise and Reither are trochees not iambs. Sorry, Daniel Harris, for being such a pedant in the course of an exciting football game - but I can't let this pass..."
And neither should you. The MBM if nothing if not severe as regards that precise distinction.
GOAL! Fulham 1-3 Everton (Naismith, 87)
Everton bundle along the left, and Baines clips back a cross for Lukaku. He's crowded out, and it looks as though the move's over, but the ball squirts to Mirallas, who chips softly past Heitinga and then falls over him. Before anyone can cry penalty, Baines, still there by the by-line and plenty offside, drives a low cross, and Naismith, alone and palely loitering by the six-yard box, takes a touch and pokes it across Stockdale. Some fairly handy changes by Roberto Martinez today, then.
84 min Naismith should finish it, but doesn't. McGeady finds Lukaku inside him, who drags body and ball right before reversing a pass left. Naismith is there, and attempts a finish not dissimilar to that of Mirallas, but without the same accuracy, and Stockdale gets down well to save with his studs.
83 min Everton have scored more late goals than any team in the division, and it's not hard to see why. They've got pace and stuff, but more than anything, they have a manager who believes in them. Football's a simple game, so it sort of follows that this is the principal aspect of management. See Rodgers, Brendan.
81 min Dembele is replaced by Roberts.
GOAL! Fulham 1-2 Everton (Mirallas, 79)
This is lovely. Howard humps a groundkick towards McGeady, who's not quite free, but free enough to control brilliantly on his chest, left of centre. Then, quite free, he slides a brilliant pass to meet the run of Mirallas, gambolling through the centre and in on goal. He extends a leg to guide it into his path, draws the keeper - it's a decent likeness, too - and slips a low shot inside the left-hand post. There follows rapture.
76 min Osman is off and McGeady is on.
75 min I wonder if Roberto Martinez regrets taking Deulofeu off now, because Fulham are all over this. A lovely lay-off from Dembele arrives perfectly into the path of Sidwell, who's scythed through by Baines at the cost of a booking. The free-kick, roughly in centrefield, is clipped towards Heitinga at the back post - and he's only right there, all alone and shaping into a flying header. But it's straight at Howard, and the chance goes - though Fulham are soon back, Dejagah ushered away from goal by Coleman before nipping back and crossing superbly. Kasami is there, and his effort is blocked, the ball squirting to Heitinga - and his hard drive is blocked away. Two good saves from Howard, but he shouldn't have had a sniff of either, really.
74 min "'Riise, Heitinga, Hangeland, Reither'," subvocalises Michael Cosgrove." In shortened form, that gives 'Reichhattenhangelandritter', which sounds like the name of a piece of made-in-Germany welding equipment."
Or some chocolate.
WHAT A GOAL! Fulham 1-1 Everton (Dejagah, 71)
Oh yes! Dejagah takes a ball from Sidwell on the left and advances, cutting inside and past McCarthy, who then slips and finds himself frenching the turf. But with not much doing, Dejagah has no choice but to absolutely annihilate a wondrous drive that screeches into the near-post top corner. That was something, a thing, and everything.
70 min Fulham have found something since the changes - nothing yet describable, but a thing nonetheless.
68 min Deulofeu departs and Mirallas arrives.
66 min Lukaku almost finishes it, soft-shoeing away from Riether down the right and barging through Heitinga inside the box. He then loses possession, regains it, and shmices a shot straight at Stockdale from five yards.
64 min Double change for Fulham. Richardson and Kvist off, Woodrow and Dejagah on.
63 min Fulham's first attack in a while, Heitinga's loping cross bouncing in front of Howard, who collects easily. Everton quickly break, Deulofeu - easily the best player on the pitch - burning diagonally from right to left. But just as he rights himself back inside to shoot, he slightly overruns the ball, and Heitinga inserts a leg to stop him. But that was great nonetheless - he is going to be a player, and he knows it - he's got the strut.
61 min Everton are going to score more times.
59 min Naismith is playing like a boss! Taking up a position at inside-left, he watches a low pass onto his toes, body already turning, and slides instantly into the path of the advancing Baines, ahead and outside. Inside the box and with a shooting opportunity, he's distracted by the presence of Lukaku, sort of hedging with a sort of cross, that's too much of a sort of shot to quite arrive in his path.
57 min Deulofeu teases Riether again, laughing at his lisp, and exchanges passes with Naismith before banging over another inviting low cross, again treated with disdain by his team-mates.
55 min "Has there ever been a better sounding back four than Fulham's today?", wonders Martin Brooks. 'Riise, Heitinga, Hangeland, Reither'. Assonance, consonance: internal rhyme, it's beautiful. The stresses arrange as: Iamb, Anapaest, Amphimacer, Iamb.* In all my time carrying tea around & pretending to study poetry I've not seen that arrangement. I propose we call it 'the high line'.
*short, long/ long, long, short/ long, short, long/ short, long. (if you broke it up into disyllabic feet it would be iamb, spondee, iamb, iamb, iamb. But that would be Riise, Heitin, GaHan, Geland, Reither and then 'GaHan' would be a spondee too and the whole thing would collapse. From an Arsenal perspective, no collapses please!)".
I think there's a half-rhyme and a para-rhyme as well. Any more for any more?
52 min "Just your normal first half away Everton performance" emailed Daniel Miller at half-time. "2-11-3-3-6 so far this season - with 11 goalless first halves."
I've no idea what that telephone number means, but imagine it's simple enough for everyone else to deduce.
GOAL! Fulham 0-1 Everton (Stockdale og, or Barry, 50)
Baines' corner isn't much, and it's headed away easily enough - but only to Naismith, loitering around the environs of the box, just left of centre. He trots into a volley that's strong and controlled, and it hits Barry, who may have deliberately flicked it, before cannoning Stockdale's shins - he was running back towards his line.
50 min Everton have stepped things up already, snapping into tackles and trying and stuff. Deulofeu wins another corner after burrowing towards the right by-line, and, and, and...
49 min "Some nice work so far from Sylvain 'Staring-blankly-in-to-middle' Distin", offers Matt Dony.
I like to call him Soi.
47 min Everton rattle some quick passes, Naismith and Osman combining in a one-two that results in a dangerous low cross from the former. It whooshes across the box and earns a corner, which comes to nothing.
47 min Does the "live by the river" bit contradict the tone of London Calling? I contend aye.
46 min We've started.
The PA is playing London Calling. Naismith is on for Barkley.
Does Roberto Martinez become angry? Because if so, his players will be getting telt round about now.
That was a relatively pleasant bit of stuff from Fulham. They've fought really hard for possession and have passed sharply and smartly. In particular, they've found space on their right and the delivery has been good too. Everton have done mainly nothing, Deulofeu aside.
HALF-TIME: Fulham 0-0 Everton
45+1 min Fulham should score! They don't. Kasami finds Sidwell, just outside the box and on the right. He curves over a ball to the back post, and this time, Dembele is right there. He heads firmly, but straight at Howard.
45 min There shall be one minute of additional time.
44 min Hangeland sends a ball down the left for the excellent Richardson (yes, I know!). He pauses, thinks (yes, I know!) and squares to Dembele, on the edge of the box. There's a little space and time, so he takes it, before trying a curler that loops over the top.
42 min Everton pass the ball to each other a few times, and it makes its way out to Deulofeu. He nudges a yard to the side of Riise, and curls over a brilliant low cross that was too good to anticipate, so no one did.
41 min Everton surely won't play this badly in the second half. Fulham need to do something.
40 min "Enough of this nickname nonsense", says James Chambers. "We all know how unimaginative footballers are... His nickname is probably Stoney, or The Stonester, or Stonalicious, or the Stoneinator... Or John."
Or Paint Trophy.
38 min Distin finds Barry, facing his own net, and Kasami bustles through him. "Allow that!" says Lee Probert, and Kasami proceeds towards goal, cutting in to drive a shot at the near post - but Distin is there, extending a body to block. This is really good from Fulham.
36 min Barkley, who's been quiet, is found by Osman "in and around the penalty box". There's not a whole lot of room in which to manoeuvre - he's surrounded - but manages to dig out a decent enough shot that's snatched by Stockdale at the near post.
34 min Kasami, on the touchline. takes a throw from Riether and with his back to goal hooks over another suitable cross. No one's there to enjoy it, so it makes it's way to the other side of the box, where Riise meets it with his left foot. It does not go near the goal.
32 min Richardson pulls off Coleman and takes a pass on the half-turn, skipping around him. Coleman pulls him back, and is booked.
30 min Everton have been very Neil Pointon so far. Of whom it would be immoral to talk without posting this. "A block tackle", reckoned Motty, and so it was.
27 min More niceness from Fulhan, Sidwell on the right chwipping over a cross towards the back post. Holtby does brilliantly to slide away from his marker, and arches back and neck to butt towards the far corner, but Howards backpeddles to tip over the top. The corner comes to nothing.
26 min "John Stones nickname is 'Sticksan'", reckons "Sean Moore (not the drummer from the Manics)", channeling Neil "Dissa" Pointon.
23 min Much action! Dembele, whose movement looks very smart - or if you listen to the commentators, is strong and powerful - espies Richardson on his outside. He feeds the ball into his path, and there follows a low, hard shot, well saved by Howard with his studs. And immediately, Everton break, G Deulofeu rushing down the right with thrilling pace, teasing Hangeland, nipping outside, and driving a shot that Stockdale blocks clear.
21 min Richardson takes possession in midfield, left of centre, and looks up to see Dembele pointing for a pass, McManaman-style. It's duly delivered, in between the centre-backs, and well controlled, only for a shot to be dribbled at Howard, only for the linesman to flag for offside, only for it not to be offside.
20 min "I like to imagine Niall Quinn as a historian", emails Andrew Byrne. "'The Second World War had a significant impact on a number of countries during the middle of the 20th century. It is still talked about. To be fair, this shouldn't be a surprise.'"
19 min Deulofeu has "G Deulofeu" on his shirt. Presumably in order to avoid confusion with the myriad other Deulofeus in the division. Kasami, meanwhile, arcs over another cross, Sidwell rushing after itand the back post - but the delivery is a little strong.
18 min Is John Stones' dressing room nickname Toilet Testes? Please tell me that it is.
16 min "So the evolution is from mullet to ray?" arfs John Tumbridge, wishing he'd thought of it ten minutes earlier. As we all do.
14 min This is really close. McCarthy does brilliantly to block a shot from Richardson, and from the ensuing right-wing corner, Hangeland peels away towards the near corner of the box and contorts he head into the hard flick that scoots towards the far post. Kasami is after it, and throws his brow at it, but can't quite get the angle to divert it home, as Barkley tugs his shirt.
12 min Fulham are playing well here - not words I ever supposed to type. But they are, and Hangeland clips a free-kick out left to Riise. He chests down and nashes by Deulofeu before cutting back for Richardson, but Distin sends it behind.
11 min Everton have yet to really threaten, and Roberto Martinez is on the touchline, stroking his chin. As we'd all like to, given its unfathomable smoothness.
9 min Lovely from Kvist, who slides through midfield and around McCarthy before seeking Richardson outside him. The ball is dispatched in that direction, but fails to make it.
7 min Richardson sprays a long ball right to Kasami, who steps inside and curves a tempting cross to the far post. But Dembele was on his heels generally being 17, so the ball skipped off the turf and behind.
6 min "I put it to you M’Lud" puts it to me M'lud John Tumbridge, "that there were points in his life when Hoddle's Hair did not resemble a manta ray: I present evidence here.
That's the beauty of it - it's revolutionary evolution.
5 min Everton knock the ball backwards and forwards along their back four, like Liverpool in their eighties heyday.
3 min Fulham break nicely, and eventually the ball arrives Holtby on the right. He attempts to drill a composed yet powerful finish high inside the near post, but slices it all black years away instead.
2 min A pass canons Barry in centrefield and he squares for Osman to send Lukaku away at inside-left and running at Heitinga. He leans infield and shoots hard, but the ball is deflected behind for a corner. Richardson heads it behind and there follows another, which comes to nothing.
1 min Heitinga is still wearing his mask, but he's no Facundo "Alright" Sava.
1 min Fulham begin. To the heart, tick-tock, you don't stop, stop!
Niall Quinn is co-commentating. I am already blinded by the insight.
Fulham hand a debut to Moussa with two esses Dembele. He's only 17, the scumbag, but I'm told by Lawrence Ostlere, sat diagonally opposite me (is that possible?), that he and Patrick Roberts are very good.
The players are lining up in the tunnel before the tunnel. Here they come! "Ladies and gentlemen, it is showtime!"
Yes, he really said that.
Riff time. Uses and occupations for Glenn Hoddle's pet ray.
Roy Hodgson received the ball whilst walking along the touchline, and kicked it back. Hilarity ensued. Talking of which, Glenn Hoddle's manta ray is appearing in an improvised sitcom to be shown on BBC3.
Konstantinos Mitroglu cost £12m, or in the region of, in January. He has made one start and one substitute appearance, for the league's bottom side. Oh.
Other hand, and in the interests of balance, he has scrumptious eyebrows.
Glenn Hoddle's hair is in fact not hair. Scientific research has revealed it to have been a manta ray all along.
So, Fulham make three changes from their most recent kicking. Holtby, Dembele and Kasami come in, and the splendidly-named Cauley Woodrow, Kacaniklic and the suspended Amorebieta are saved. Everton are unchanged.
Fulham: Stockdale; Riether, Heitinga, Hangeland, Riise; Holtby, Kvist, Sidwell, Richardson; Kasami, Dembele.
Subs: Stekelenburg, Diarra, Kacaniklic, Dejagah, Woodrow, Roberts, Bent.
Evertonians: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Deulofeu, Barkley, Osman; Lukaku.
Subs: Robles, McGeady, Mirallas, Naismith, Garbutt, Alcaraz, Browning.
Preamble At some point in a lifetime, and however hard they try to avoid it, people have to prove themselves. Can you be socially acceptable? Are you a waste of space? Will your friends invite your ex to their wedding?
Hello Everton! Yes, it is now that time. Again. It's true that Arsenal's run-in is easy, and it's true that with the serious pressure off, they'll probably do enough. But you never know; win both games in hand, and Everton are right there. It's all very well taking three points at Old Trafford - even West Brom do that. Taking points everywhere, though, at this stage of the season, is the preserve of the proper.
Fulham, on the other hand.