Blues find extra gear to despatch Fulham

, 14 December, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent
Everton 4 - 1 Fulham

Gareth Barry conceded the penalty for the equaliser but later scored his first goal in an Everton jersey
Everton scored four goals for the second home game in succession as they kept their impressive run of form going despite a somewhat ragged second-half that was marred by the loss to injury of Gerard Deulofeu.

After his goalscoring feats against Arsenal last weekend and Stoke the week before, the Spaniard was handed his second Premier League start but endured what was, on balance, a more frustrating afternoon that was brought to an end after an hour when he pulled up with a hamstring strain.

It was a setback that was soon followed by a Fulham equaliser that was both a reward for the visitors' increased desire after half time and punishment for the Blues' growing sloppiness, particularly in their own half.

Leon Osman had curled home beautifully with his left foot from the edge of the box as Everton capitalised on their first-half dominance with a goal after 17 minutes but his effort was canceled out by Dimitar Berbatov's 67th-minute penalty.

Gareth Barry's clumsy challenge on Alex Kacaniklic prompted Anthony Taylor to award the Cottagers a penalty and Berbatov beat Tim Howard with his customary nonchalance to make it 1-1.

It was a goal that had been coming as Everton repeatedly played themselves into trouble in front of their own penalty area and Kacaniklic should have had Rene Meulensteen's men level four minutes after the break but he somehow put the ball over the bar with Howard helplessly prone on his goalline.

Maarten Stekelenburg, meanwhile, had been keeping Fulham in the game at the other end with a terrific save to deny Romelu Lukaku and had to be alert to palm a Seamus Coleman effort away.

But when a lovely interchange between Steven Pienaar and Romelu Lukaku sent the South African to the byline and he centred, the goalkeeper could only divert the cross into the path of Coleman who reacted quickly to slot the ball into the empty net and restore the Blues' lead with 17 minutes left.

2-1 became 3-1 when Sylvain Distin rose highest to meet the latest in a succession of Everton corners and it dropped to Lukaku three yards from goal. Again Stekelenburg foiled the Belgian but Barry was on hand to nod home almost on the goalline.

Fulham's resistance had been broken by this point, the Londoners resigned to heading back south with their 21st consecutive defeat in this fixture, but there was time for Mirallas to drive the final nail into their coffin in injury time.

Osman released him with a nicely-weighted pass from inside his own half and the Belgian forward drove towards the opposition box, ignored calls from his compatriot Lukaku for a pass inside and fired a low shot that Stekelenburg got a hand to but couldn't prevent from finding the net.

The win further pads the Blues' goal difference and pushes them into fourth place ahead of the Sunday fixtures, four points behind leaders Arsenal.

Quotes or other material sourced from ToffeeWeb Match Reports

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