Premier League: Everton 2 QPR 0
By Football News
Everton's quest for Champions League football continued as they strolled to a 2-0 victory over QPR at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Goals either side of half-time from Darron Gibson and Victor Anichebe ensured the Toffees' late surge to finish in the coveted top-four positions remains a strong one with just seven games remaining.
Harry Redknapp's QPR, meanwhile, are now all but relegated as they suffered yet another defeat on the road, leaving them seven point from safety.
It was the visitors who made the brighter start and they were inches from taking an early lead.
Some nice build-up play down the left, including a brilliant solo run from Andros Townsend, created space for Junior Hoilett, but his curling effort went narrowly wide of Tim Howard's upright.
However, it wasn't long before David Moyes' side found their feet and a driving run from right-back Seamus Coleman ended in a loud penalty appeal from the Goodison Park faithful after Clint Hill clumsily felled the Irish international in the box.
Referee Lee Mason, however, waved away the claims.
Anichebe was once again preferred to the out-of-form Nikica Jelavic up front but he couldn't get on the end of Leighton Baines' wicked cross from the left, before his in-swinging corner forced Julio Cesar into action for the first time.
Despite looking shaky every time their Merseyside opponents sent a ball into their box, QPR were composed on the ball in the opening half and were only denied the opening goal by a superb save from Howard.
The recalled Ji-Sung Park controlled a long ball brilliantly on the edge of the box and his square ball from the by-line was met sweetly by the on-rushing Loic Remy, but Howard reacted instinctively to push his goal-bound effort to safety.
It was the wake-up call that the home side seemed to need after a rather lacklustre start to the game and a series of set-pieces lifted the decibel levels inside Goodison.
As so often the case when you are down at the bottom, the luck goes against you and Redknapp's side were once again left to rue their misfortune as Everton took the lead with four minutes remaining in the first half.
Kevin Mirallas' initial shot was blocked into the path of Gibson on the right side of the area, and the midfielder's powerful shot took a huge deflection off Clint Hill to leave Cesar wrong-footed and helpless.
The former Inter Milan goalkeeper kept his side in the game moments after the interval as he tipped Anichebe's close-range effort onto the post after fine work from Mirallas down the left.
Anichebe doubled the lead just before the hour mark when Baines' deep corner was met by the head of Sylvain Distin, and his effort was flicked past Cesar by the Nigerian striker.
The left-back's set-pieces were causing Christopher Samba and company all sorts of problems and just a couple of minutes later Phil Jagielka nearly extended the lead but couldn't fire home after a goalmouth scramble.
Redknapp introduced Adel Taarabt with half an hour remaining but at the other end the very impressive Mirallas saw his volley from an impossible angle superbly kept out by Cesar.
As the minutes ticked down, QPR desperately tried to pull a goal back and spark a comeback but the visitors lacked quality in the final third to cause any real problems to a resolute home defence.