Match Report Everton fell to their first home defeat under Sean Dyche as Aston Villa’s superior quality told in the second half of a match that the Blues tried valiantly to win but were found desperately wanting in front of goal. Alex Iwobi failed to make an excellent early chance tell, Neal Maupay headed wide and had an effort cleared off the goal line, while both goalkeepers made stunning saves to keep matters goalless but a clumsy foul by Idrissa Gueye handed Ollie Watkins the chance to give the visitors the lead with an hour gone. With Everton’s lack of cutting edge up top, that was effectively that and Emiliano Buendia scored in this fixture yet again to wrap things up and halt Unai Emery’s three-game losing streak in charge of the Villans. With Dominic Calvert-Lewin still ruled out, Dyche named an unchanged line-up from the side that beat Leeds last weekend and they set about their task with tempo and intensity despite a curious early yellow card shown by abysmal referee Anthony Taylor to Amadou Onana, seemingly following consultation with VAR Chris Kavanagh. Everton’s tactic of getting the ball down the left flank to provide service to the centre almost paid dividends in the eighth minute when Iwobi arrived to meet Dwight McNeil’s cross but his shot from close range lacked conviction and Emiliano Martinez was able to make a fairly comfortable save. Two minutes later, Watkins underlined the threat he posed as he latched onto a ball over the top that left the lead-footed Conor Coady for dead but Jordan Pickford came off his line quickly to make an important block. Former Everton man, Lucas Digne, swept a direct free-kick over the crossbar in the 13th minute but as the volume and anger from the home crowd grew with every horrendous decision from Taylor and his assistants, the hosts started to build some pressure on Villa’s back line. Maupay should have hit the target from a corner won by Iwobi but glanced his header wide in the 29th minute and then Martinez had to pull off a magnificent save to deny Onana when the Belgian met Vitalii Mykolenko’s cross and the Argentinian tipped his header over. On the stroke of half-time, Everton opened Villa up superbly when Iwobi clipped a well-weighted ball behind the defence for McNeil but he elected not to hit it early with his weaker right foot and instead laid up Maupay who could only curl a shot tamely into the keeper’s arms. 10 minutes into the second half, the Toffees thought they had broken the deadlock when Iwobi’s miscued shot ricocheted back off the prone Ezri Konsa and when the ball was played back into the six-yard box, Maupay lunged at the loose ball but didn’t make sufficient contact to force it home and Tyrone Mings hacked it off the line. Four minutes later, it was James Tarkowki’s turn to hook it clear from under his own crossbar after Digne had got in behind Iwobi and Seamus Coleman, crossed for the unmarked Watkins to head goal-wards but Pickford did brilliantly to claw it onto the post. Less than two minutes later, however, Buendia’s first contribution after coming off the bench was to prod the ball to John McGinn in the area where Gueye felled him and left referee Taylor with no option but to point to the spot. Watkins made no mistake, rifling his penalty into the roof of Pickford’s net. Dyche eventually responded by withdrawing one of his most creative players in the form of Iwobi in favour of Demarai Gray and then replaced Maupay with Ellis Simms as the young substitute had a decent effort at equalising when he connected with Abdoulaye Doucouré’s cross but couldn’t keep his volley down. Villa, meanwhile, looked to try and capitalise on Everton’s need to push forward and Douglas Luiz drove over from distance before Buendia killed the contest with Villa’s second. The midfielder twisted, turned and then easily evaded Coady in the box before rifling a shot inside the near post that gave Pickford no chance. Tarkowski had a late chance off a corner but headed a couple of feet over and Martinez smothered a free-kick from Gray down by his post but it wasn’t to be for Everton. The defeat, coupled with results elsewhere, drops the Blues back into the relegation zone with back-to-back away fixtures to come at Arsenal and fellow strugglers, Nottingham Forest in the next nine days. Lyndon Lloyd top Matchday Updates This weekend's visit of Aston Villa proved to be another massive relegation battle in Everton's quest to stay in the Premier League with Sean Dyche's fourth game in charge. No Calvert-Lewin or Townsend today, with Patterson and Garner still not considered fit enough to play any part as Sean Dyche names the following side with Simms replaced by Maupay in the starting line-up. Maupay kicked off with Everton playing toward the Park End. Onana stepped into the back of Douglas Luiz, although not even a free-kick but, two minutes later, Onana is shown a very early yellow card after the VAR has a word in Mr Taylor's shell-like. Everton pressed upfield but didn't really create a direct attack but Villa came forward for McGinn to lash his shot over Pickford's goal. A great ball forward from McNeil was held up well by Maupay until McNeil overlapped and crossed in well for Iwobi in a great position in front of goal... surely he would score. No. He didn't connect properly. A Villa ball over the top beat Coady and was controlled well by Watkins coming in behind him he looked to score one-on-one but Pickford came out well to challenge and the ball came off him for a corner. Villa had a strong spell of pressure from the corner but the Everton defence held firm. Villa smelt blood and continued to work the ball around, Onana catching Bailey for a dangerous free-kick. Lucas Digne curled it over after much deliberation. Everton finally got forward again, McNeil digging out a cross that went straight to Martinez. He repeated the move with the same result. Everton did well stopping Villa playing out from the back and Mykolenko tried to find McNeil again. He should have had a corner as the defender kicked the ball behind but of course Mr Taylor thought otherwise and this clear and obvious error did not warrant a word from the VAR. Villa were controlling the ball well enough, content to fart about with it at the back. Everton did force a turnover but McNeil's ball from deep was wasted. However, there was some really good pressure until Doucourer felt a defender's shirt and was deemed to have committed a foul. The crowd were getting more and more annoyed as a throw-in was taken quickly and then called back by Mr Taylor. McNeil then had to fight for and eventually win a free-kick. It was taken quickly to Mykolenko and his cross in forced a corner that was well contested by Doucoure. A laboured 'charge' by Doucoure saw Onana and then Iwbiy unable to fashion as shot, eventually getting a corner that Iwobi delivered very well to Maupay, his header going wide, inches in front of Coady at the far post. McNeil had another fantastic battle with Cash, incredibly getting in his cross at the end of it but again no-one in a blue shirt could get any traction on the ball for a decent shot at goal. Coleman brilliantly intercepted brilliantly and Iwobi got the ball over to McNeil but Mykolenko put in a superb cross this time for Onana whose great header was miraculously saved by Martinez. It was an action-packed game with Everton mounting repeated attacks but Villa's tight defence rendering space at a considerable premium, while always looking dangerous on the break – a well-known Everton weakness. McNeil again conjured another excellent cross that the static Douccoure allowed to bounce off him and behind for a goal kick. Some really stupid Everton defending allowed Villa to press the ball and that was fortunately averted until Maupay fired in a low midfield ball straight to Ramsey. Villa won a free-kick wide left that was cleared by Coleman but it came back in for Gana to clear. A ball over the top caught Onana offside. More great work by McNeil on Cash was maddeningly called a foul. Another good forward ball from Iwobi found McNeil ad he fed Maupay who wanted an extra touch and Martinez read his undisguised shot with ease. A hugely competitive game full of very tight play, zealous defending, and seriously poor refereeing ended with McGinn deemed to have dragged down Onana just outside the Villa box. McNeil took it but his feeble shot into the four-man wall was a real let-down. The match resumed, not quite at the same frenetic pace. Everton seemed to be winning the midfield until an easy turnover allowed Ramsey to charge forward and shoot wide. Everton tried to build slowly, probing for opening until McNeil almost controlled a good ball over the top that saw some good pressing, met with equally staunch Villa defending Another very deep ball again picked out McNeil. Bailey body charged Gana and Tayleor really didn't want to give it, but he had to, McNeil punting it in, Iwobi smacking a rebound wide only for it to hit a prone defender and bounce across goal where Maupay had to score but Ings cleared it right off the line. Madness! Everton maintained some excellent forward pressure but could not force the killer opportunity. And then of course Villa countered, Digne easily beating Iwobi to cross for Watkins, whose excellent downward header was pawed onto the post in a magnificent save by Pickford, with Coady cleaning up on the line behind him. What a let-off. Villa pressed again after three changes and Gana made a fair tackle on McGinn getting the ball but McGinn fees something and collapses for a soft penalty that Taylor was desperate to give without waiting for the VAR. Watkins drove it high past Pickford from the spot. Everton resumed their attacks with a cross that Doucoure drove wide. Iwobi played a great cross for Maupay who spun backwards and lost the ball right in front of goal! More good work from McNeil but Watkins again got free and Coady needed to stop him. 70 minutes and finally a sub from Dyche. Everton continued manfully to try and find more roots to goal, Mykolenko cut down right in the corner of the area by Kamara. Immediately Maupay set up Gray who feebly passed it into a defender instead of lashing it into the goal. Villa mounted a rare attack, Gana being fouled by Konsa stepping across him, deemed a foul by the Everton man. Watkins was allowed to get forward and give Pickford's gloves a warming. Doucore was approached by Buendia and caught the Villa man inadvertently with his elbow as he played away, the Everton man said to have fouled and then getting a ridiculous yellow card for his protestations. Simms, cold off the bench, really should have got his first touch on target but it flew well off target after good work by Doucoure to set him up for the strike right in front of goal. Villa got forward and Luiz wellied one over from distance. Gray crossed from the right but it screwed off Ramsey and into Martinez's hands. Villa advanced and Buendia made it look far too easy to beat England's No 1 at the near post. Everton had tried everything within their severely limited playbook to score, and failed. Two sucker punches from Villa had found the net. Everton got a corner that Tarkowski could only head over from beyond the far post. Everton laboured through the last minutes knowing the game and the points were lost. Gray punted in a free-kick straight to Martinez. The high press on Villa playing out yielded nothing. Gray punted another free-kick straight to Martinez. A corner failed to threaten and the game just petered out to a very disappointing end that sees Everton drop back into the Bottom 3. Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Onana [Y:2'] (82' Davies), Gana, Doucoure [Y:76'], Iwobi (70' Gray), McNeil, Maupay (76' Simms) Subs not Used: Begovic, Holgate, Mina, Keane, Godfrey, Vinagre. Aston Villa: Martinez [Y:77'], Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne (61' Buendía), McGinn, Luiz, Kamara, Ramsey, Bailey (61' Moreno), Watkins. Subs not Used: Sinisalo, Zych, Traoré, Chambers, Young, Durán, Dendocnker. Michael Kenrick top Match Preview Sean Dyche seeks his third win in four games as Everton manager this weekend as Aston Villa come to Goodison Park as English football's most-played fixture gets a traditional 3pm Saturday kick-off. Dyche has overseen home wins over Arsenal and Leeds United either side of a disappointing showing at Anfield, a sequence that has lifted the Blues out of the relegation zone for the first time in six weeks and boosted the club's hopes of surviving the drop this season. He now faces a Villa side who pulled away from the danger zone themselves when they acted far more decisively than Everton's Board by firing Steven Gerard last October. The Villains come into the match week sitting in 11th place, some seven points better off than their hosts this weekend but with the Premier League table so tight, no team in the bottom half is truly safe even though Unami Emery's men are only 12 points shy of the 40-point target that generally means survival. For Everton, Amadou Onana is expected to be in the starting XI as the club continue to manage a minor knee problem but Dominic Calvert-Lewin is still not back in full training. Onana, who made his Everton debut in the reverse fixture at Villa Park back in August, was withdrawn from last Saturday's win over Leeds United after feeling discomfort in the knee but Dyche says that the problem is minor and the Belgian will be available. Meanwhile, Calvert-Lewin is training on grass but is not yet back with the main group as the club's medical staff try to build up his overall fitness and allow him to get over a troublesome hamstring issue that has kept him out of the last two games. He played an hour against Arsenal in Dyche's first match in charge but was substituted after an hour. "He's building up well. He's not with us yet but I think that will come quite quickly," Dyche said in his press conference at Finch Farm this afternoon. "Our intention is to get him as fit as possible so we can break this spell of ups and downs with injuries. We want all of our players — not just Dominic — fit and available." Andros Townsend is still weeks away from making a full recovery as he is still working to get full load on the knee which required surgery almost a year ago to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and Nathan Patterson won't yet be in contention as he sustained a minor knock playing for the Under-21s. With none of the "walking wounded" back, Dyche is expected to name an unchanged XI from the one that started against Leeds, which would mean another chance for Neal Maupay up front. In general, little changes are expected tactically either but the Blues will know that Villa, who have an in-form Ollie Watkins leading the line and threats behind him in the form of Leon Bailey, Philippe Coutinho and Emiliano Buendia, will pose a far greater threat to their defence than Leeds did last weekend. They are on a three-game losing streak, however, having shipped 11 goals to Arsenal, Manchester City and Leicester and Everton will hope to exploit those defensive vulnerabilities. As they did against the Gunners, the Blues' best bet will be to keep things as tight as possible at the back and hope to make the breakthrough first at the other end. Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday 25 February 2023Referee: Anthony TaylorVAR: Chris KavanaghLast Time: Everton 0 -1 Aston Villa Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Gueye, Onana, Iwobi, Doucoure, McNeil, Maupay Lyndon Lloyd top * Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.