For match photos, click on Photostream above left. For stats, click on the statistics tab. Manager reaction below
Everton’s Leighton Baines was their unexpected matchwinner with two first-half goals as West Bromwich Albion’s poor run continued with a 2-1 defeat at Goodison Park.
The left-back smashed one in from the edge of the area before converting a penalty - his 10th success from the spot to maintain his 100% Barclays Premier League record.
Substitute Shane Long pulled a goal back midway through the second half but West Brom, who had won just once in their previous 13 league visits, have extended their recent slump to one point from a possible 15.
After West Brom’s first attack, in which Graham Dorrans’ shot was blocked by Sylvain Distin, the visitors struggled to create. Right-back Billy Jones almost compounded their problems when his tackle on the edge of the area led to the ball cannoning off Victor Anichebe and floating wide of a post.
Everton’s sole threat came from Marouane Fellaini’s shot on the turn against the upright from Anichebe’s knockdown via Baines’ cross.
The opening goal virtually came out of nowhere when the England left-back picked up Leon Osman’s pass and advanced to the edge of the area before smashing a shot past Ben Foster.
West Brom had George Thorne carried off on a stretcher just before half-time after a collision with Anichebe and it proved to be a double blow. Substitute Claudio Jacob’s first significant involvement was to concede the penalty just four minutes after coming on.
Steven Pienaar’s backheel released Anichebe on the left of the area and the Argentina midfielder, who has missed most of the last eight weeks with injuries, brought him down. Baines smashed home his second.
Romelu Lukaku wasted West Brom’s first chance of the second half when he was off target soon after the restart.
Everton’s left continued to be their most profitable avenue of attack and when Kevin Mirallas cut in he forced a low save out of Foster.
The introduction of Long for James Morrison in the 62nd minute paid immediate dividends as within three minutes he had pulled one back.
Lukaku’s diagonal run broke him clear of the defence and he rounded goalkeeper Tim Howard but his cross-shot was bundled up into the air by John Heitinga and Long reacted quickest to head in.
West Brom found another gear and when Dorrans rattled the crossbar with a long-range free-kick they began to sense their chance. Everton proved they could threaten from set-pieces with Pienaar’s curling free-kick tipped over from Gibson.
The South African’s next contribution could have brought the hosts’ third goal but when his deflected low shot rebounded off a post Leon Osman blazed over the open goal from six yards.
Nikica Jelavic replaced Anichebe with six minutes remaining but could not make an impact in that time. Fortunately for Everton he was not required, despite some late Baggies pressure, as they closed the gap on fourth-placed Tottenham to a point.
Everton manager David Moyes: "Bainesy has been playing really well and over the last couple of games I've been thinking he needs another challenge. He has to rise to it a little bit more and he has done that. He has picked himself up again.
"He has a lot of things going for him and he is turning out to be as good a left-back as there is. He keeps getting better when teams try to stop him, he tries to work on how he can alter doing things and he is a really good player.
"He is great for a manager because he wants to keep improving and we are very fortunate to have him here. He is carrying his ankle a bit but he misses no days of training and he gets on with it so he is a great player to have but he is also a great player to work with. He is a really good footballer, intelligent - apart from his style of hairdo he is all right."
"[Twente’s Leroy Fer] is not our player but it is right we look after the boy and it didn't work for the reasons it didn't work. The boy is a very good player and we wish him well but on this occasion we just couldn't quite conclude the deal.
"There are lots of things connected to signing a player: it could be a contract, it could be the agent, it could be the clubs and medicals as well. On this occasion some of them didn't come together. It is very late now so I don't know if we will be doing anything."
West Brom manager Steve Clarke: "If you go 2-0 down in the Premier League it is difficult to get a result. We had a go in the second half but the key moment was the penalty on half-time - if we'd come in 1-0 down we would have had more chance of getting something from the game.
"I don't think we were great tonight but I don't think Everton were particularly great either, it was a nothing game. We were quite comfortable until we gave away a bad goal but even after that we were in a decent place and the penalty on half-time made it much more difficult."
|19 May 2013||v Chelsea (A)|
|27 Apr 2013||v Fulham (H)|
|12 May 2013||v West Ham (H)|
|02 Feb 2013||v Aston Villa (H)|
|20 Apr 2013||v Sunderland (A)|
|02 Mar 2013||v Reading (H)|