07/10/2023 0comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 3 - 0 Bournemouth

Jack Harrison scored his first Everton goal with a beautiful finish and Abdoulaye Doucouré slammed home the third after James Garner had opened the scoring

Everton finally got off the mark at Goodison Park in 2023-24 with an emphatic win over Bournemouth that saw James Garner and Jack Harrison score their first goals for the club on home soil.

Garner capitalised on a slip by Illia Zabarnyi to fire the Toffees ahead after just seven minutes and Harrison, making his first start since joining the club on loan in the summer, doubled the advantage nine minutes before half-time with a quite brilliant finish from 25 yards out.

Abdoulaye Doucouré made it 3-0 on the hour mark as Everton notched more than a single goal at home for the first time in almost a year while Dwight McNeil hacked off his own line and Jordan Pickford was on hand to make a late save from substitute Kieffer Moore to preserve his first clean sheet since this same fixture on the final day of last season.

With his side failing to turn their dominance into victory last week against another winless side, Luton Town, Sean Dyche had been prepared to replace Amadou Onana in midfield with Garner but an injury in the warm-up to Idrissa Gueye saw the Belgian reinstated as a late change to the starting XI.

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Harrison, meanwhile, was deployed wide on the right and, after a fairly scrappy opening five minutes or so, Everton’s harassment of the Cherries’ defence paid dividends as they tried to play out from the back.

Zabarnyi lost his footing trying to turn away from Garner and the 22-year-old gratefully seized on the loose ball, advanced on Neto in the opposition goal and using Doucouré and Dominic Calvert-Lewin as decoys, he calmly passed it wide of the keeper to score Dyche’s side the potentially pivotal first goal in the game.

The ever-purposeful Dwight McNeil dragged a shot wide of goal from the edge of the box with a quarter hour gone and Calvert-Lewin unwittingly blocked Harrison’s low drive from threatening Bournemouth’s goal a couple of minutes later before the hosts had a flurry of corners that caused the visiting defence all manner of grief without leading to a second goal.

Everton did double their advantage eight minutes before half-time, though, thanks initially to excellent work by Calvert-Lewin who stole along the byline and cut the ball back looking for Doucouré but it was cut out by Lewis Cook for a corner.

Neto managed to punch clear from the set-piece and then got two fists to the return delivery from the left by Vitalii Mykolenko but his second clearance fell to Harrison outside the box who took it first time, sweeping a delicious shot over the defence, stranded keeper and in off the underside of the crossbar.

Though they had enjoyed a spell of superiority midway through the half, Bournemouth for their part had only threatened Pickford’s goal once early on when Dominic Solanke’s ambitious half-volley from an almost impossible angle flew into the side-netting.

And they came within inches of going into the break three goals down in first-half stoppage time. First, Calvert-Lewin’s header came back off the crossbar from Ashley Young’s cross and then Onana swivelled onto Mykolenko’s square pass in the box but it squirmed inches wide.

The pattern of dominance and tenacious pressing from Everton continued into the second half and when Calvert-Lewin forced another error from Zabarnyi and released Doucouré, the Mali international fluffed his lines with a powder-puff finish that Neto comfortably gathered.

He would make amends 13 minutes later, however, moments after Calvert-Lewin had dropped an audacious volley over the crossbar. Doucouré fed McNeil down the left flank and continued his run into the box as the winger curled the ball in towards the back post where Harrison arrived looking to grab his second on the day. His header was blocked on the line but Doucouré was hand to belt home the rebound.

With a bit more composure, the Blues could have inflicted worse damage on the Cherries but Doucouré volleyed another McNeil cross over while Calvert-Lewin was unfortunate to see his clipped effort over the advancing keeper drop a few inches the wrong side of the post and Doucouré blazed another chance over.

A penalty claim by Calvert-Lewin was waved away by referee David Coote but from the corner, Neto made a terrific double-save by his post to deny Onana from point-blank range.

Bournemouth were well beaten by the time the game entered the final 20 minutes but Andoni Iraola’s side would have their best chances of the contest at this stage. Solanke had planted a header straight into Pickford’s arms from a central position, Zabarnyi thought he had scored until McNeil cleared his header from under his own crossbar and Moore forced Pickford into a strong parry.

McNeil tested Neto again at the end of a quick counter-attack and, late on, Pickford palmed aside a skidding effort from Marcus Tavernier while Calvert-Lewin’s replacement, Beto, smashed into the side-netting after being played in by McNeil.

The handsome win means that Dyche avoided setting an unwanted club record for five straight home defeats to start the season and means the team can breathe a little easier going into the international break with a three-point cushion between themselves and the bottom three.


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