Premier League: Everton 2 West Ham 0
By Football News
Everton gave outgoing manager David Moyes the perfect Goodison Park farewell with a convincing 2-0 win over West Ham on Sunday.
A pair of goals from Kevin Mirallas gave Everton their sixth home Premier League win in succession, as Moyes' side ensured they would finish above local rivals Liverpool for the second season in a row, a feat that had not been achieved since 1937.
Moyes – who will leave Merseyside to replace Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in the off-season – used his notes in the official programme to thank the Everton supporters, and he was afforded a terrific reception by the packed crowd prior to kick-off.
But once the whistle blew, it was just how Moyes would have wanted it: Everton were straight down to business. They started full of energy and played with freedom, as Leon Osman pulled the strings in a terrific midfield display.
Defender Sylvain Distin poked the ball just wide in the fourth minute and two minutes later the first goal came, as Mirallas finished a superb team move with aplomb.
Leighton Baines created the passage of play, beating a man before passing to Marouane Fellaini, and his quick ball movement found Steven Pienaar, who in turn released Mirallas, with the Belgian side-footing past West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen from 18 yards.
Darron Gibson hit a volley just over in the aftermath, while Victor Anichebe and Osman also had attempts on goal against a lacklustre West Ham side. Anichebe was a constant threat, having a shot deflected wide before Jaaskelainen made a great block with his legs to deny the Nigerian in the 25th minute.
West Ham enjoyed a brief spell of pressure just after the half-hour mark, with captain Kevin Nolan having two attempts on goal – one of which required a smart save from Tim Howard – while a series of blocks kept Everton at bay.
James Collins made two last-ditch challenges to deny Anichebe and Fellaini, while Nolan lunged at a Mirallas strike to keep the margin to one goal at half-time.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce introduced striker Carlton Cole at the break, in place of midfielder Mohamed Diame, but it did little to stem Everton's flow.
Mirallas had two chances early in the second half, while Seamus Coleman also went close, as Everton continued to excite.
West Ham could have no arguments when Everton finally got the all-important second goal and it was no surprise that Mirallas was the scorer.
He latched onto a smart Gibson pass, switched the ball from his left foot to his right, and hit a 20-yard effort that beat Jaaskelainen, via a deflection off Collins.
Moyes clenched his fists in joy at the goal, and his smile might have grown wider if Osman had converted a golden chance in the 68th minute, but after a Steven Pienaar cut-back, his effort was superbly saved by Jaaskelainen.
Everton really should have scored a third goal, but Anichebe headed wide while Osman was again denied by Jaaskelainen late on.
West Ham fired two late warning shots, with substitute Joe Cole's left-footed effort requiring Howard to make a good save, while Carroll headed a Matt Jarvis cross onto the post with three minutes to go.
Everton, though, were more than deserving of a two-goal win as Moyes finished with a record of 113 wins from his 213 matches in charge at Goodison Park.