Everton 1 – 3 Fulham. Everton’s hopes of Premier League survival suffered a blow as they were beaten by Fulham at Goodison Park.
Harrison Reed put the visitors ahead midway through the first half with a composed finish after Harry Wilson’s curling shot had come back off the post.
The home side responded well though, levelling through Dwight McNeil’s low drive 13 minutes later and ending the half in the ascendancy.
Sean Dyche’s team began the second half quickly, too, but Fulham went ahead against the run of play on 51 minutes as Willian picked out Wilson with a lovely cushioned pass and the former Liverpool winger confidently found the corner.
Stunned by the goal, Everton lost their way and Daniel James extended Fulham’s lead after 68 minutes, racing onto Kenny Tete’s long ball and slotting past Jordan Pickford in the home goal.
Fulham could have scored more before Everton belatedly – and briefly – stirred again and attempted to rally late on.
However, Marco Silva’s side held on comfortably to end a run of five successive defeats and leave Everton in 17th, above the drop zone only on goal difference.
Since Dyche’s appointment, it is Everton’s home form that has given them hope in their battle against relegation with wins over Arsenal, Leeds and Brentford as well as a last-gasp draw against Tottenham.
Those points may be vital come the end of the season, but aside from 15 minutes either side of half-time, there was little of the fight or intensity that led to those results as they succumbed to a Fulham side sat comfortably in midtable and in the midst of their worst run of the season.
Neither side offered much in a scrappy beginning but it was Fulham who provided the greater threat in the lead up to their opening goal.
The Blues took the knock well and should have been level through Neal Maupay, making a rare start, but the striker’s close-range header was kept out by Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno – albeit replays showed it may have been offside in any case.
The equaliser did come three minutes later, McNeil collecting James Garner’s pass, slipping past Reed and arrowing the shot into the bottom corner to rouse a sunbathed Goodison Park.
In the 10 minutes before the break, it was all Everton and Maupay had the chance to put them in front after a one-two with McNeil, only to be thwarted by Leno again.
A bright start to the second half, in which McNeil’s mishit cross hit the outside of the post, kept the home crowd’s decibel level up but the energy of both fans and home players evaporated after Wilson’s goal.
Having fought back once, Everton seemed to lack the belief that they could do so again. James got Fulham’s third and even with more than 20 minutes to go, both sides seemed sure the game was over as a contest.
With seven games to go, Dyche’s side cannot afford to repeat the sort of listless performance they delivered for much of this game – and certainly not at home.
source – BBC