Premier League: Everton 1 Fulham 0
By Football News
Everton boosted their European hopes as they sailed to a 1-0 home win over Fulham on Saturday afternoon.Steven Pienaar's 15th minute goal proved to be enough for the hosts, with Martin Jol's side proving to be incredibly toothless in attack.
Everton were boosted by the return of Phil Jagielka and Nikica Jelavic, while Giorgos Karagounis replaced the suspended Steve Sidwell in attack for the visitors.
The hosts made the brighter start, Victor Anichebe lashed an early effort over from 25 yards, while Marouane Fellaini nodded straight at Mark Scwarzer from a corner.
Everton finally took the lead in the 15th minute. Seamus Coleman latched onto Leon Osman's through ball on the right and cut the ball to Pienaar placed his effort beyond Schwarzer into the left-hand side of the net.
Fellaini went close twice in quick succession as he first hit an effort narrowly wide before a goal-bound effort was blocked by team-mate Anichebe.
The visitors had been ponderous in attack, but went close just before the break as Kieran Richardson flashed a ball across goal that a sliding Mladen Petric was inches away from turning in.
Everton made the brighter start in the second half, but it was Fulham who almost levelled the scores. Alex Kaciliknic's cut-back found Urby Emanuelson in the box but he spooned his effort wide of the post.
Leighton Baines then put a delightful cross into the six-yard box but it was wasted again by Jelavic as the ball glanced harmlessly off the Croat and wide of the Fulham goal.
Mirallas thought he should have had a penalty in the 74th minute in a challenge with Stanislav Manolev but the Fulham defender clearly won the ball well.
The game should have been wrapped up in the 85th minute when the ball made its way to Fellaini on the right-hand side of the box. With the goal gaping he hit his shot into the ground and it bounced over the crossbar.
Substitute Ross Barkley could have wrapped up the win as he went through on goal in stoppage time, but he could not beat the onrushing Mark Schwarzer, although the one-goal advantage was enough to seal a win.