McNeil strikes to lift Everton off bottom

2 Dec 2023
Nottingham Forest v Everton FC - Premier League

Winger's first goal of the season enough to beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 at City Ground

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Everton claimed a fifth away victory of the season to move off the bottom of the table to within two points of safety, beating Nottingham Forest 1-0 at the City Ground.

How the match unfolded

Everton edged the opening period and came close to opening the scoring midway through the first half when Beto, back in the starting XI as a replacement for the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin, missed a great chance.

Forest ‘keeper Odysseas Vlachodimos spilled a cross in under pressure but the Portuguese forward could only sky the loose ball.

Forest started to get into the match and Anthony Elanga almost scored for a third successive match but his snapshot 10 yards out went wide.

Dwight McNeil was the player who came closest to registering a goal in the first half as the Everton winger beat Vlachodimos but saw his shot cleared the ball off the goalline by the retreating Murillo, via the post.

Premier League - Nottingham Forest v Everton
Murillo clears Dwight McNeil's shot off the line

Five minutes after half-time Forest defender Felipe hit the outside of a post after a goalmouth scramble from a corner.

McNeil was not to be denied midway through the second half to put Everton in front. A cross from Jack Harrison from the right found him at the far post, where he controlled the ball and sent a beautiful half-volley into the far corner for his first goal since May.

Nottingham Forest v Everton
McNeil connects perfectly with a half-volley from just outside the left corner of the six-yard box
Nottingham Forest v Everton
McNeil's rising drive whistles into the top-right corner

Forest huffed and puffed but hardly troubled Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal until the 86th minute when Murillo shot from distance, but the home side's second shot on target was parried away.

Elanga then had another chance but could not get his shot on target.

Back-to-back home defeats leave Forest 15th on 13 points. After starting the match bottom of the table, the win lifts Everton to 18th with seven points, two from Luton Town and safety. 

Everton report

Bottom six

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
15 Everton EVE 26 -6 25
16 Brentford BRE 25 -9 25
17 Nott'm Forest NFO 26 -14 24
18 Luton LUT 25 -16 20
19 Burnley BUR 26 -33 13
20 Sheffield Utd SHU 26 -44 13
Full table
Key stats

- Everton have won four of their last five Premier League away games, as many as in their previous 42 on the road. This is the first time they’ve won three consecutive away league games since February 2021 (a run of four). They have also won four Premier League away games this season, as many as they won in the road in 2021/22 and 2022/23 combined.
- Having lost just two of their 20 Premier League home games between October 2022 and November 2023, Nottingham Forest have now lost their last two at the City Ground.
- Dwight McNeil scored his first Premier League goal of the season for Everton, with his 22nd shot of the campaign.
Everton have scored first in four of their last five Premier League games and have never lost when opening the scoring under Sean Dyche (W10 D4).
- Thirty-three of Sean Dyche’s 82 Premier League wins have been 1-0. Of all managers with at least 50 victories in the competition, only Tony Pulis has won a higher share by that scoreline (41.8 per cent or 41 out of 98).

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