Premier League - Everton keep up Arsenal chase with Fulham victory

Craven Cottage, Premier League – Fulham 1 (Dejagah 71’) Everton 2 (Stockdale 50’ (o.g.) Mirallas 79’ Naismith 87')

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Premier League - Everton keep up Arsenal chase with Fulham victory
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Everton's players celebrate after Fulham's goalkeeper David Stockdale (lying on ground) scored an own goal during their English Premier League soccer match at Craven Cottage in London March 30, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Everton beat Fulham 3-1 to maintain hopes of Champions League qualification.

The away side dominated the early possession, but Fulham created most of the first chances.

On 14 minutes, Brede Hangelaand flicked on Lewis Holtby’s corner, but Patjim Kasami headed behind. Seven minutes later, Richardson drilled straight at Howard. Everton countered and Gerard Deulofeu had his effort saved.

Fulham went close when Holtby’s looping header was tipped away. Young striker Moussa Dembele almost scored, but his header was straight at the ‘keeper.

In the second half, Everton went ahead. Steven Naismith’s shot bounced off Gareth Barry and Robbie Stockdale, who sent the ball into his own net. Romelu Lukaku almost made it two when his shot was saved instinctively saved by Stockdale.

On 71 minutes, Ashkan Dejagah equalised, cutting onto his right foot and arrowing a shot into the top corner from the edge of the box. Kasami then brought a good save from Howard.

But, with a little over 10 minutes remaining, substitute Kevin Mirallas converted Aiden McGeady’s through ball and Naismith sealed victory on 87 minutes, turning the ball in at close range.

KEY MOMENTS

3’ – EARLY CHANCE! Holtby finds space on the right of the box but slices a volley wide 

14’ – KASAMI HEADER: Hangeland glances on Holtby’s corner, but Kasami can only head wide and behind at the back post

23' – BOTH SIDES GO CLOSE! Holtby finds Dembele, who slides a ball through for Richardson on the left of the box, but he drills his shot at Howard. At the other end, Deulofeu has a similar chance, but his shot is blocked.

28' – HOWARD SAVE! A great chance for Fulham, as Holtby finds space behind Baines at the back post, but Howard tips away his looping header. 

45+1’ – DEMBELE CHANCE! Doing brilliantly to find space at the back post, Dembele wastes a free header but aiming straight at Howard.

50’ – GOAL! Fulham 0-1 Everton: Naismith’s shot deflects onto Barry, and then onto the stooping Stockdale, who inadvertently knocks the ball over the line.

65’ – STOCKDALE SAVE! After a mixture of skill and persistence, Lukaku forces a defender into a mistake and blasts the ball at goal from point blank range, but Stockdale instinctively sticks out a leg to save.

71’ – GOAL! Fulham 1-1 Everton: Dejagah cuts in from the left wing, past two defenders, and blasts a shot high into the top corner at the near post.

79’ – GOAL! Fulham 1-2 Everton: McGeady takes a touch, slides a ball down the centre for Mirallas who takes one touch to control the ball and another to slot in at the near post.

87’ – GOAL! Fulham 1-3 Everton: Baines sends the ball back to Lukaku and Mirallas, the ball runs back to Baines and he sends the ball across goal for Naismith to stab past the keeper.

90’ – NAISMITH HITS THE POST! With Fulham backing off his run from midfield, Naismith hits the post from 25 yards out. 

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KEY STATS

Everton are just four points behind Arsenal with a game in hand, while Fulham are five points from safety.

This is Everton's fourth win in a row.

This is Felix Magath's fourth defeat managing Fulham.

Everton's possession was as high as 70% in the first half, but they could not score until making changes in the second. 

TALKING POINT

Can Everton catch Arsenal? Arsenal yesterday proved they can only play well when the pressure is off. With Everton breathing down their neck, and the teams due to meet, Everton are well placed to take on the North London side. Everton are four points behind with a game in hand.

MATCHCAST: FULL MATCH STATS AND COMMENTARY

MAN OF THE MATCH

Steven Naismith (Everton): Everton struggled in the first half as Fulham closed them down all over the pitch, and the substitute turned the game around. It was his shot that bounced off to other players to give the side the lead, forcing Fulham to chase the game, and he turned in the third to seal the victory for the home side. Mirallas and Deulofeu also played their part in the Everton attack. 

PLAYER RATINGS

Everton: Howard 7, Coleman 6, Stones 6, Distin 6, Baines 6, McCarthy 5, Barry 6, Deulofeu 7, Barkley 5, Osman 6, Lukaku 6; Subs: Naismith 7, Mirallas 7, McGeady 7. 

Fulham: Stockdale 6, Riise 6, Heitinga 6, Hangelaand 6, Kvist 6, Sidwell 6, Kasami 6, Holtby 6, Richardson 6, Riether 5 Dembele 6; Subs: Dejagah 7, Roberts 6, Woodrow 6.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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