VIDEO: Tim Howard scores against Bolton
GOODISON has been waiting all season for a goal from Cahill. But when it arrived last night, not one Everton supporter was celebrating.
While Tim's barren run continues, Bolton namesake Gary struck to bring Everton's festive momentum to a shuddering, shocking halt.
It was that kind of evening, as atrocious conditions contributed to one of the most surreal sights the famous old stadium has seen in many a year.
When Everton fans arrived expecting a United States international to add thrust to their attack, they probably didn’t have Tim Howard in mind.
But as Landon Donovan began his second stint at the club, Howard took advantage of the howling wind inside Goodison to score in the 63rd minute with a 90-yard clearance from the edge of his own area that bounced once before floating over backpedalling Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan.
Yet within 15 minutes the game was turned on its head as former Liverpool striker David Ngog and Cahill scored to drag Bolton off the foot of the table and consign a poor Everton to a deserved, dismal defeat; their worst of a difficult campaign.
Not quite the drama David Moyes was seeking given his pre-match promise to offer greater entertainment to the long-suffering home support.
Everton's ongoing Goodison travails – now just three home wins in 10 Premier League games – are sapping the faith of supporters and contributed to an attendance last night of only 29,561, the lowest home league crowd during Moyes's tenure and the worst top-flight Goodison turn-out since 28,138 saw Southampton beaten 2-0 in December 2001.
To be fair, Bolton only brought 250 away fans. But they were the ones rejoicing at the final whistle as Everton's players steeled themselves for a gale-force battering from their manager in the dressing room.
Moyes was accurate in this assessment that, Howard and Donovan apart, his team did themselves few favours.
Certainly, that the former now needs only two goals to be Everton's leading scorer underlines why the Goodison manager is desperate to bolster his attack during this month's transfer window.
Seeking an answer using current resources, Moyes handed Denis Stracqualursi a first Premier League start alongside Louis Saha in a two-pronged attack.
It didn't work, the Argentine lacking a cutting edge while Saha's only real contribution was to have a hand in Bolton's equaliser.
Everton were no better defensively, although they suffered the disruption of losing Phil Jagielka before half-time, the centre-back twisting his leg while bravely blocking a shot.
His replacement, Jack Rodwell, lasted only 19 minutes before suffering a recurrence of a hamstring problem. Worryingly, the midfielder has now been restricted to just 103 minutes of action since his impressive full England debut against Sweden on November 15.