Everton deservedly collected a monumental victory over fellow Premier League strugglers Leeds to climb out of the relegation zone and send their opponents into trouble.
Seamus Coleman scored the winning goal in the second half owing to an error from goalkeeper Illan Meslier, who failed to cover his front post, allowing the skipper’s effort to arrow in.
Victory was Everton’s second in three games under new manager Sean Dyche, lifting them up to 16th place, while Leeds drop to 19th and remain without a win under interim boss Michael Skubala.
Everton offered the more potent threat in the first half at Goodison Park and centre-back James Tarkowski’s towering header was pushed away by Meslier.
Neal Maupay’s spin and shot and Vitaliy Mykolenko’s effort were straight at Meslier in the second period, but Coleman’s winner now gives Everton real hope of survival.
Leeds failed to muster a shot on target. Patrick Bamford driving wide from the edge of the box and Crysensio Summerville heading over in the opening period were their best chances.
Everton claim priceless win
It was dubbed a relegation six-pointer beforehand and Everton came away with all the points to boost their chances of remaining in the top flight come the end of the campaign.
The Dyche era saw a dream start with victory over Arsenal and, although they were beaten by Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Monday, Everton returned to winning ways following a sequence of 12 defeats in 16 games.
Coleman set Goodison rocking with a fortunate 64th-minute winner, latching on to Alex Iwobi’s pass down the right flank and, as Meslier moved to anticipate a cross, the ball flew into the net.
Everton were the better side throughout the contest and held on for a priceless victory, but they should have had more goals.
The imperious Amadou Onana screwed over from the edge of the box from Idrissa Gueye’s pass, while Conor Coady’s header and Maupay’s follow-up were both cleared off the line.
Having failed to sign a player in the January transfer window and unable to keep striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin fit, Dyche will need the goals to be spread around.
His side have scored more than once in a league game just twice in 23 attempts this season and winning goals in his two victories have both come courtesy of defenders.
Serious strife for Skubala
Leeds looked a shadow of the team that pushed Manchester United close in their previous two league games, and suffered a significantly damaging defeat.
They did not manage to draw Everton keeper Jordan Pickford into making any saves. They extended their winless league run to 10 games and have secured only four victories all campaign.
A wretched run at Goodison was stretched to one win in 16 games and they have now failed to score in 11 of 15 visits to the ground.
Leeds announced during the week that Skubala will remain in charge for the “upcoming games” but after bottom side Southampton’s shock 1-0 win at Chelsea, Leeds hover just a point and a place off the root of the table.