For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for match stats, click on the stats tab. Manager reaction below.
Kevin Mirallas curled in a sensational late free-kick as Everton came from behind to earn a 2-1 home victory over Aston Villa on Saturday.
The hosts dominated possession in the opening period at Goodison Park, but found themselves behind against the run of play in the 34th minute thanks to a Leandro Bacuna strike. Everton had the lion's share of possession after the break, but were struggling to break down the Villa defence until substitute Steven Naismith latched on to the end of a Steven Pienaar flick to equalise after 74 minutes.
With the fixture looking like it was heading for an eighth draw in 11 matches between the two teams, Mirallas scoring superbly from 25 yards in the 85th minute to snatch three points. The win completes Everton's first Barclays Premier League double over Villa and sends Roberto Martinez's side fifth, while Paul Lambert's team remain 10th.
There was no place in the Everton squad for Lacina Traore, who was introduced to the home fans before kick-off following his loan arrival from Monaco, but Aiden McGeady made his first Barclays Premier League start for the hosts and went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the opening two minutes. Cutting inside from the right, the Republic of Ireland winger unleashed a superb curling effort from the edge of the penalty area that struck the left post.
Everton dominated possession in the opening stages, but struggled to cause Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan too many problems in the wake of McGeady's early strike. The 27-year-old, who was signed from Spartak Moscow during the January transfer window, was also responsible for the game's first shot on target, but his low drive was comfortably collected by Guzan.
Having not troubled Tim Howard at all for the opening 30 minutes, it was Villa who took the lead when Fabien Delph dispossessed Ross Barkley superbly in the middle of the park and Christian Benteke slid in Bacuna and the Dutchman slotted beyond the Everton goalkeeper from close range for his fourth goal of the season and second in as many matches.
Martinez brought Pienaar on in place of Barkley for the second half as Everton went in search of an equaliser and Leon Osman blazed across goal 10 minutes in, missing out on a seventh career goal against Villa. Pienaar shot from 20 yards shortly after the hour, but his fizzing effort only stung the palms of Guzan.
Everton finally pulled themselves level in the 74th minute, when Naismith burst into the penalty area to latch onto a Pienaar through-ball and poke beyond the Villa goalkeeper. Mirallas completed the comeback five minutes from time with a wonderful set-piece finish.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez: "I think it's without doubt the most satisfying win of the season.
"You come off the back of a disappointing result (against Liverpool) and in the first half we were too responsible, the players were thinking too much, and were too concerned with the outcome rather than enjoying it.
"After going behind it was a moment of adversity, but we should be proud of the way we won."
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "We were excellent up until that first Everton goal, then the second it's a world-class free-kick but I'm not sure we deserved to lose the game.
"I thought we looked really comfortable - they had one chance in the first half and hit the post. We knew it was going to be a tough game at the best of times but we had a gruelling game on Wednesday.
"I am not happy to lose but if we keep that level of performance we will be all right. We are still there with a decent points tally and if we keep playing the way we are, we will certainly win more games than not."
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|22 Feb 2014||v Chelsea (A)|
|01 Mar 2014||v West Ham (H)|
|15 Mar 2014||v Cardiff (H)|
|22 Mar 2014||v Swansea (H)|
|25 Mar 2014||v Newcastle (A)|