Goals by Shane Long and Gareth McAuley ended Everton’s 11-game unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League as West Bromwich Albion wrapped up a Merseyside double with a 2-0 win at The Hawthorns.
West Brom took their points tally to seven from a possible nine as they followed up their opening-day win over Liverpool with another victory.
Long converted a low cross from substitute Peter Odemwingie before McAuley headed home from a set-piece to condemn Everton to a first league defeat since March 24 against Swansea City.
Everton controlled the early stages and McAuley blocked a shot from Steven Pienaar. Nikica Jelavic got on the end of a corner from Leighton Baines but sent his near-post header wide.
The Toffees suffered a setback when midfielder Darron Gibson pulled up and had to be replaced by right-back Tony Hibbert with skipper Phil Neville switching to the centre of the park.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard dealt comfortably enough with a dipping attempt from Steven Reid but Albion came close to taking the lead after 29 minutes. Left-back Liam Ridgewell supplied a teasing cross that was met by Long and his header thumped against the crossbar.
Everton continued to look the more composed on the ball and Fellaini peeled away from his marker at the far post, only to send his header over the bar from a Hibbert cross. But Albion again went close a minute before half-time.
James Morrison made a probing run and, after cutting inside, found himself with only Howard to beat. But the American stood up and beat away a fiercely struck shot from the midfielder.
Fellaini had Everton’s best chance after 55 minutes when Neville headed a clearance from Ridgewell back into the box. The Belgian turned sharply enough to create the opening but dragged his shot across goal. The player then spurned an even better opportunity five minutes later when he side-footed over from 10 yards after racing onto a low cross from substitute Kevin Mirallas.
It proved costly as Long broke the deadlock after 65 minutes. Ridgewell found Odemwingie in space on the left flank and his low cross picked out Long, who got in front of Sylvain Distin to steer the ball past Howard.
Distin, Neville and Fellaini were all booked in quick succession for fouls as Albion looked to turn the screw. Claudio Yacob was only inches wide with a fierce drive and Howard tipped over a powerful shot from Youssuf Mulumbu.
But with seven minutes left McAuley sealed the win with his glancing header from a Chris Brunt corner.
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|30 Sep 2012||v Aston Villa (A)|
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|28 Oct 2012||v Newcastle (A)|