Everton 1-0 Brentford: Powell lifts Toffees OUT of relegation zone
Everton 1-0 Brentford: Dwight Powell lifts resurgent Toffees OUT of the relegation zone with a stunner from the edge of the box after just 35 SECONDS
- Everton were ahead after just 35 seconds thanks to a rocket from Dwight McNeil
- Brentford were much improved during the second half and laid siege on goal
- Nerves aplenty at Goodison Park but they have risen out of the relegation zone
Dwight McNeil stuck after just 35 seconds as Everton ended Brentford’s 12-match unbeaten run and climbed out of the relegation zones.
It was the perfect start for Sean Dyche’s unchanged side in the pouring Goodison Park rain.
A ball into the channel by Seamus Coleman was turned into decent possession by the harrying of Demarai Gray.
When the ball arrived via Alex Iwobi to Abdoulaye Doucoure centrally, he released McNeil who had time to pick his spot despite the attentions of Aaron Hickey and bent a left-foot finish beyond goalkeeper David Raya.
It was the winger’s third goal of the season having won his place back under Dyche after previously working for him at Burnley.
Dwight McNeil scored the only goal of the game as Everton beat Brentford on Saturday
The winger rifled in the only goal inside 35 seconds when connecting on the edge of the area
Sean Dyche cut an animated figure on the touchline as Everton held on for a massive victory
Bournemouth’s win against Liverpool earlier in the day had placed more pressure on Everton who responded well.
With Dyche taking a soaking in the technical area, they came close to adding a second goal when Michael Keane won a set-piece header only for the ball to float agonisingly wide.
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
Everton (4-3-3): Pickford 6: Coleman 6, Keane 8, Tarkowski 8, Godfrey 6; Onana 5.5 (Davies 80), Gueye 6.5, Doucoure 6.5; Iwobi 6.5 (Mykolenko 90), Gray 7 (Maupay 86), McNeil 8.5
Subs unused: Begovic (Gk), Holgate, Mina, Coady, Garner, Simms
Goal: McNeil 1
Booked: Coleman, Doucoure
Brentford: Raya 6: Hickey 5.5 (Wissa 74), Pinnock 6, Mee 6, Henry 7; Norgaard 6 (Onyeka 74), Janelt 6, Jensen 6 (Schade 62 6); Mbuemo 7, Toney 6.5, Damsgaard 5.5 (Dasilva 62 6)
Subs unused: Cox (Gk), Ajer, Jansson, Ghoddos, Baptiste
Referee: Simon Hooper 6
Amadou Onana had an even better opportunity when Raya parried Alex Iwobi’s cross into this path but the Belgian somehow shovelled the ball over from six yards.
Brentford finally came out of their shell after 25 minutes when Bryan Mbuemo took a pot-shot that saw Pickford fumble the slippery ball.
Ivan Toney then got his first sighter from a cross but Keane stuck tight and ensured he couldn’t finish.
Idrissa Gueye then lost out to Toney in the middle of the park. The striker didn’t need an invitation to stride forward and pop off a shot that Pickford again dealt with uncomfortably by electing to punch away rather than catch.
Everton caught their second wind before half-time when Raya blocked Gray’s shot at his near post and then kicked Alex Iwobi’s effort away after another corner had caused alarm.
Everton’s celebrations for a second goal were cut short after 43 minutes once Gray had wheeled away in celebration.
Ethan Pinnock’s clearance had hit him at close range and rolled in but VAR ruled it had connected with the Everton player’s upper arm rather than his shoulder.
Gray remained dangerous in the second period and had a shot held by Raya after he’d outpaced the Brentford defence.
Bees manager Thomas Frank tried to have an influence by sending on Kevin Schade and Josh Dasilva just past the hour.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Brentford as their 12-game unbeaten streak was ended
Demarai Gray thought he had made it 2-0 to Everton but soon VAR was called into action
The verdict was that there had been a handball in the build-up so Gray’s goal was chalked off
England manager Gareth Southgate was in attendance to cast his eye over proceedings
Brentford’s players were frustrated with the decision making of referee Simon Hooper
McNeil sealed his man-of-the-match performance when he was in the right place to hook off the line after Pinnock had tried to bundle in a corner from close range.
Frank then made another double-change for the last 15 minutes with Josh Dasilva and Yoane Wissa introduced.
There was almost instant reward when Schade rose for a header but directed it wide with Pickford looking beaten.
Then, in the third-minute of injury-time, Raya came up for a corner and was left unmarked – before misdirecting his downward header harmlessly wide, lifting Everton to the giddy heights of 15th.
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