Everton 4 Fulham 0: Jelavic brace sees Toffees stay on track for Merseyside bragging rights
16:10 GMT, 28 April 2012
Striker Nikica Jelavic extended his remarkable scoring spree as Everton ran in a glut of goals for the third successive Barclays Premier League match against a Fulham side who were never in the game.
The Croatia international scored twice to take his tally to 10 in 13 matches since arriving from Rangers in January and an impressive nine in his last seven appearances.
On the spot: Nikica Jelavic scores the opener from the penalty spot in the sixth minute
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin, Neville, Gibson (Cahill 46), Osman, Pienaar (Gueye 84), Fellaini (Barkley 75), Jelavic
Subs not used: Mucha, Stracqualursi, McFadden, Anicheb
Fulham: Schwarzer, JA Riise, Hangeland, Senderos (Baird 46), Hughes, Duff, Diarra (Etuhu 82), Frei, Dempsey, Pogrebniak (Murphy 66), Dembel
Subs not used: Stockdale, Kasami, Kacaniklic, Sa
With manager Martin Jol absent through
illness the Cottagers barely put up a fight as the Toffees made it 12
goals in their last three league matches.
With four against Sunderland and then
their remarkable comeback against Manchester United at Old Trafford last
weekend, David Moyes' side became the first Everton team since 1964 to
score four times in three successive league matches.
Fulham never came close to ending
their woeful run of never winning a league match at Goodison Park. It
now stands at 19, the longest sequence for a top-flight club at one
In the build-up to the game Moyes had
spoken of the belief and encouragement Jelavic's goals had given the
side, and while three months may not be long enough to provide a full
evaluation of long-term success he shows all the signs of being capable
of producing on a regular basis.
What he has brought to the team in a short space of time is a cutting edge and end product.
Cut above the rest: Marouane Fellaini rises above the goal-mouth scramble to nod in Everton's second
On many occasions this season
Everton's build-up play has been good but they have lacked the necessary
threat in the penalty area. Not so now with Jelavic, whose first was a
straightforward penalty – albeit created by his own free-kick – and his
second an impressive finish from the narrowest of angles.
The 26-year-old was up and running as
early as the seventh minute when Pavel Pogrebnyak raised his arm in the
defensive wall and referee Phil Dowd pointed to the spot without
Midfield tussle: Everton's Darron Gibson and Fulham's Mahamadou Diarra battle it out on the half-way line
Jelavic sent Mark Schwarzer the wrong
way and almost embarrassed the goalkeeper again when he crashed a low
shot against the near post after Phil Jagielka's long ball had dropped
just beyond Brede Hangeland.
Everton's second was not long in
coming as, courtesy of some lax defending, the unmarked Marouane
Fellaini was able to head in Steven Pienaar's 16th-minute corner with
Damien Duff's flailing leg on the line failing to clear the danger.
In half an hour Fulham had tested
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard just once, when he tipped over Kerim
Frei's shot, but the goalkeeper was mightily relieved to see the ball
drop behind after he had finger-tipped Clint Dempsey's deflected shot
onto the crossbar.
Job well done: Jelavic celebrates his second and Everton's third to seal the win before half-time
Head-to-head: Everton's Phil Jagielka clashes with Pavel Pogrebnyak
The match was over as a contest five
minutes before half-time when Pienaar's through-ball allowed Jelavic to
outsprint the defence, draw out Schwarzer and then somehow fire a shot
from a narrow angle through the goalkeeper's legs.
Fulham's misery continued after the
break as on the hour Everton substitute Tim Cahill made it four after
good link play between himself, Leon Osman and Pienaar.
The latter's scooped pass over the
defence was met by his midfield colleague's perfectly-timed run to slide
a low volley past Schwarzer for only his third of the season.
Jelavic was denied a deserved
hat-trick when the Fulham goalkeeper saved his 25-yard free-kick and
Pienaar forced another save out of Schwarzer with a shot across goal but
any further goals would have merely been window-dressing.
Fulham failed to create any chance of
significance in the second half and their performance was a typical
end-of-season one for a side in mid-table with nothing to play for.
Prior to the game Moyes had admitted
he was happy for the season to end quickly as they too had no real
incentive other than finishing above near-neighbours Liverpool. But he
must now be wondering what they could have achieved with their current
form had there still been a month or more to go.
And had they not had such a poor first half of the campaign, the opportunities could have been even greater.