David Moyes suffered a return to Goodison Park he would like to forget as Everton overcame Manchester United 2-0 in the Barclays Premier League.
The Scot spent 11 years at the Merseyside club before joining United at the start of the season and saw first-half goals from Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas condemn his new side to victory while keeping alive Everton's UEFA Champions League hopes.
The pressure was on Roberto Martinez's men to respond after Arsenal's 3-0 win at Hull City earlier in the day and Everton did just that with a dominant performance. Baines put Everton in front with a penalty after Phil Jones had handled Romelu Lukaku's shot midway through the first half. Shortly before the break, Mirallas gave the hosts some breathing space with a fine low finish across David de Gea after getting on the end of Seamus Coleman's pass. The result keeps Everton a point behind Arsenal in the race for fourth, while United remain seventh, six points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur in sixth.
Steven Naismith, recalled to the side along with James McCarthy, could have given Everton the lead in the 22nd minute. Lukaku's knockdown found the Scot alone inside the area, but Naismith blazed over the crossbar from just inside the area.
That miss was rendered irrelevant six minutes later, though, as Baines put the hosts in front from the penalty spot. Jones, having lost his footing, stuck out an arm to block Lukaku's shot and, after referee Mark Clattenburg awarded the spot-kick, Baines sent his effort straight down the middle. Everton doubled their lead two minutes before the break, Mirallas finishing from a tight angle after being slipped in by Coleman.
Lukaku had the chance to make the game safe in the 62nd minute, but the Belgian fired straight at De Gea after being picked out by a sensational pass from Mirallas on the halfway line. Naismith spurned another opportunity before being denied by De Gea at full stretch 10 minutes from time.
Former United goalkeeper Tim Howard, who this week signed a contract extension, was not seriously called into action until three minutes from the end, when he made a superb save from former Everton man Wayne Rooney to preserve his clean sheet.
The win, which secured Everton's first league double over United for 44 years, provided a welcome tonic for Martinez and his side after the disappointment of Wednesday's surprise 3-2 defeat by Crystal Palace, while the result leaves Moyes with plenty to ponder.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez: "You work on being adaptable, with where you are in the game and what the situation is. It's very pleasing when you've got young players in their early 20s who can cope with those aspects of the game so well.
"We had to be solid, very well organised and the use the dynamic football that we have. The way we got into the final third was very enjoyable and then we worked very hard to keep a clean sheet. The manner in which we did that was very pleasing."
Manchester United manager David Moyes: "We gave away two terrible goals. We get done by two stupid decisions - well, a stupid decision to dive in front of the ball in one of them.
"Prior to that we had passed the ball well, kept it well, and were in control of the game. We played well in the first half, but didn't have a final through-pass or a final finish, that was the disappointing part."
"It does [hurt to miss out on the UEFA Champions League], because it's part of this club and we want to be in it. We want to get back in it as quickly as we can. We're going to try to get a team that can win better than this team can."
|03 May 2014||v Man City (H)|
|26 Apr 2014||v Southampton (A)|
|11 May 2014||v Hull (A)|
|26 Dec 2014||v Everton (H)|
|28 Dec 2014||v Newcastle (A)|
|01 Jan 2015||v Hull (A)|