Blues put on second-half show to beat Fulham

Saturday, 29 September, 2018 0comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 3 - 0 Fulham

Gylfi Sigurdsson missed a penalty but went on to score twice as the Blues ran out comfortable winners

Everton shrugged off a flaccid first-half performance to eventually power their way past Fulham, collecting their first clean sheet of the season along the way.

Gylfi Sigurdsson atoned for hitting the bar with a penalty to stroke home the opening goal in the 56th minute and wrapped things up late on with another well-taken strike either side of Cenk Tosun's first of the campaign.

Unchanged from the side that lost at Arsenal last Sunday, Everton started slowly, a pattern that would be a feature of a scrappy first period that was interrupted by a succession of free kicks for both sides.

The Blues briefly exhibited some of the incisiveness that the Goodison faithful hoped would see them press home their status as the favourites on the day when Richarlison surged forward in the third minute but, caught in two minds over whether to shoot or nudge it on to Theo Walcott, Sigurdsson ended up stabbing the ball behind.

Richarlison had another chance to drive at the visitors' defence when the ball was given away to him but he ran into a cul-de-sac before Kurt Zouma connected with Lucas Digne's excellent free kick and forced a save from the goalkeeper but was flagged offside.

Fulham carved out the first clear chance when Ryan Sessegnon evaded Keane at the byline and cut it back for Andre Schürrle but the German skied his effort over the crossbar.

Bettinelli spilled Walcott's low drive at the other end and Sigurdsson despatched another direct free kick off the wall but it was Sessegnon who should have broken the deadlock shortly before half-time.

The teenager popped up on the far side of the area with Everton's midfield and defence conspicuous by its absence but he fired off the face of the bar with just Pickford to beat.

Everton were markedly better after the break and while the stream of set-pieces continued, it was from open play where they would eventually do all the damage to the Cottagers.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin had the first opening of the second half and looked to have got the better of Denis Odoi as he drove into the box but as the goalkeeper rushed out, the defender shoved him over and, on the advice of his asssistant, referee Roger East awarded a penalty. Sigurdsson stepped up but chipped his effort disappointingly off the crossbar.

The Blues took the lead five minutes later, however. The Icelandic international threaded a great ball to the byline for Jonjoe Kenny and when the fullback's cross came back out, Sigurdsson passed the ball superbly through the crowd box and inside the far post.

It could easily have been 1-1 five minutes after that, however, as the home side were caught with too many numbers forward and Fulham raced away on the counter-attack. Luciano Vietto was picked out as Kenny was left trying to cover two men but Pickford pounced off his line in impressive fashion to snatch the ball at the Argentinian's feet.

Everton then doubled their lead with Kenny involved again. This time, the young defender's neat pass found Walcott whose chipped cross was perfect for substitute Tosun. The delivery from the right picked the Turk out in front of goal and he had the simple task of nodding home from close range.

Walcott forced another save from Bettinelli with 10 minutes gone but it took the introduction of Bernard late on to create the third goal. The Brazilian was sent away down the left by Digne and after feigning a move to the byline, he cut back to Sigurdsson who side-footed his second past the ‘keeper.

The victory was a welcome second on the Premier League season and eases some of the anxiety over what had become a disappointing start to the new campaign.