Everton 4-1 Fulham: Coleman and Barry ensure normality at Goodison Park over Fulham (video)
Fulham went into halftime a goal down and brought it back level on a penalty, but Seamus Coleman and Gareth Barry restored order and gave Everton all three points in a 4-1 win at Goodison Park.
Leon Osman had the opener for Everton early, and the 1-0 lead stood for a while before Dimitar Berbatov finished from the spot to give the visitors hope, but their Goodison Park woes continue.
The match had a bit of a dull start, with both sides looking to win the possession game and solidify themselves with deliberate build-up play.
Fulham won that battle early on, but couldn’t produce much of anything in the opening 15 minutes.
Everton played on the counter-attack mostly, looking to build more, and their fluidity bought them the opener.
In the 18th minute Bryan Oviedo on the wing found Setven Pienaar who sliced back for Leon Osman making a run, and the midfielder cut back from right foot to left foot before letting fly past Stekelenburg from the top of the box.
Everton sprung to life after the goal, and Romelu Lukaku would have had a second on a header if Stekelenburg had not saved beautifully from close range.
They pushed again after the half-hour mark, with Gerard Deulofeu continuing to harass the Fulham left flank. Osman had a good chance at a second from deep but his bending shot went wide left.
After the halftime break Fulham pressed early, with Scott Parker coming close in the first two minutes. Then again some bright play from the away side saw Steve Sidwell fire off a shot which was deflected directly to Kacaniklic all alone in front of goal, but he blazed over, missing a sitter with nobody but Howard to stop him.
With the early chances wasted, Fulham were back to defending Everton’s smart build-up play.
Unfortunate circumstances struck Martinez and Everton, as the bright Deulofeu went down injured and had to be stretchered off on 60 minutes, replaced by Kevin Mirallas.
Fulham asked a few questions, and found their answer in the 65th minute when Alex Kacaniklic was fouled by Gareth Barry in the edge of the box. It’s the second week in a row Kacaniklic has won a penalty, smartly inviting contact by shielding the ball with his body and easing into the defender.
Dimitar Berbatov finished the penalty easily, wrong-footing Howard for level terms.
It wouldn’t last long though, as Everton didn’t change a thing and found another reward. Steven Pienaar made a run and Lukaku found him in traffic. Pienaar’s cross was initially stopped by a diving Stekelenburg, but it spilled through his hands and Seamus Coleman was there to collect and finish into the empty net.
Everton, with their lead restored, had he same for their confidence, and they’d put it away in the 85th minute when Gareth Barry got the close-range rebound from a Stekelenburg save and poked it home off his head.
Kevin Mirallas made it 4-1, a trinket of his own at the death, as he wrong-footed Stekelenburg from distance in injury time.
The loss means Fulham have now gone 26 league matches without a win at Goodison Park, and only four points overall.
Everton take the three points and move above Liverpool temporarily into fourth place with 31 points.
Fulham remain in 18th place still looking to edge their way out of the relegation zone.
Everton - Osman 18', Coleman 73', Barry 85', Mirallas 90'+4
Fulham - Berbatov 63' (pen)
Everton – Howard; Oviedo, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman; Barry, Osman, Pienaar (Stones 88'), Barkley, Deulofeu (Mirallas 63'); Lukaku.
Fulham – Stekelenburg; Riise, Senderos, Hughes, Riether; Parker, Sidwell, Karagounis (Bent 78'), Kacaniklic (Kasami 69'), Dejagah; Berbatov.