English Premier League

Everton 1 – 0 Burnley

Dominic Calvert-Lewin capitalized on an error by Burnley goalkeeper Arijanet Muric to score his second goal in as many games and help Everton to a priceless win over their fellow strugglers at Goodison Park.

The bizarre goal earned the Toffees their first top-flight win in 14 attempts – since a victory over Burnley at Turf Moor on 16 December – and lifts them up to 15th in the table, four points clear of the relegation zone.

Calvert-Lewin, who ended a run of 23 games without a goal in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle, scored at the end of a poor first half, when Muric’s attempted clearance struck the Toffees frontman before looping over the Burnley keeper and into the unguarded net.

The striker could have doubled the hosts’ advantage early in the second half but shot straight at Muric after getting the better of Dara O’Shea inside the penalty area.

Burnley’s hopes of forging a route back into the game took a turn for the worse when O’Shea lost possession near the halfway line before committing a professional foul on Dwight McNeil, earning the defender a straight red card.

Josh Brownhill’s curling effort flew narrowly wide of the far post in a nervy end to the contest, but Everton held on to claim three crucial points and deal a major blow to their opponents’ own survival hopes.

“We designed an ugly win – and it worked,” Sean Dyche told BBC Match of the Day. “We’ve played very well in games this season and not won. I spoke to the players about finding that winning mentality.

“We worked very hard to see the game through. It was an important win today, without a doubt.”

Nervy Toffees hold on for crucial win

Despite setting an unwanted club record of 13 successive Premier League games without victory in Tuesday’s game at Newcastle, Everton came into this game on the back of a hugely encouraging second-half display at St James’ Park.

Dyche’s team had the better of a first half that was low on quality and chances, but Burnley appeared to grow in confidence as the game approached the half-hour mark and the home fans became increasingly restless as a result.

The first half appeared to be petering out as it entered stoppage time, but Calvert-Lewin charged down Muric’s attempted clearance to break the deadlock in unorthodox fashion.

The last time the 27-year-old found the net in back-to-back Premier League games was in September, when he scored in a win over Brentford and a defeat by Luton.

“I’m really pleased for him,” Dyche said. “Strikers sometimes need an ugly goal.

“He closed [the goalkeeper] down well, and a few minutes earlier he had a similar situation where he didn’t quite get [to the ball]. It’s two in two for him now – fair play to him.”

The Toffees had opportunities to double their advantage after the interval, with Calvert-Lewin sending a right-footed drive straight at Muric before second-half substitute Beto failed to race clear of the Burnley back line after latching on to a long ball in behind the Clarets’ rearguard.

The home fans had to endure a nervous end to the game, but aside from Brownhill’s shot, which whistled narrowly wide of the angle between post and bar, Burnley rarely tested Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal.

Everton are set to find out next week whether they will face another points deduction for a second alleged breach of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules, but this was a crucial win regardless.

Clarets running out of time

Burnley were frustrated not to beat Wolves in midweek, but this defeat – which ended their four-game unbeaten run – could have more severe ramifications for their survival battle.

Vincent Kompany’s side remain six points adrift of safety, and trail the Toffees by 10 points with just six games left to play.

The visitors grew into the game after a tentative start, with David Datro Fofana heading straight at Pickford prior to Calvert-Lewin’s fortuitous opener.

But the young striker’s header proved to be the Clarets’ only effort on target despite enjoying 63% possession against a Toffees side who, while playing a large chunk of the second half with a man advantage, were relieved to see the game out.

“I don’t think you need to overanalyse [the mistakes],” Kompany told BBC Match of the Day when asked about Muric’s error and O’Shea’s red card. “The main thing for us is that I think we played really well again. It’s unfortunate.

“We knew we had to work hard to create chances, but in the moments when we got into the right areas we lacked that little bit of a spark to turn a game in which we played well into a win.”

Burnley have now failed to score in 12 of their 32 league games this season – the most of any team in the top flight.


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