Swansea 0 Everton 2: Toffees leapfrog Swans as Baines and Jelavic strike
17:21 GMT, 24 March 2012
Second-half goals from Leighton
Baines and Nikica Jelavic saw Everton leapfrog Swansea in the Barclays
Premier League table and become just the third away side to win at the
Liberty Stadium this season.
Baines' dusted himself down after
being fouled by Ashley Williams to curl a lovely free-kick beyond Michel
Vorm just before the hour, and Jelavic sealed the win by tapping in his
second goal for the Toffees with 14 minutes remaining.
On their way: Leighton Baines scores the first goal from a free-kick
Swansea: Vorm, Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Taylor, Sinclair (McEachran 72), Britton, Allen, Sigurdsson, Routledge (Lita 71), Graham (Moore 71). Subs not used: Tremmel, Tate, Monk, Gower.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Osman, Gibson (Heitinga 83), Cahill (Fellaini 58), Neville, Pienaar, Jelavic (Stracqualursi 81). Subs not used: Mucha, McFadden, Gueye, Anichebe.
Goals: Baines 59, Jelavic 76
Referee: Neil Swarbrick.
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Swansea had dominated possession during the opening half but could not make it pay as Gylfi Sigurdsson and Danny Graham failed to convert their best chances.
Much had been made of Swansea's potential chances of European qualification following a run of three-straight wins and they enjoyed the better of the first half but could not make it pay against a disciplined Everton rearguard.
After a low-key opening the first chance fell Swansea's way in the seventh minute after Sigurdsson's pass had played Danny Graham in down the right channel, but the striker could not get hold of his shot and it was easily held by Tim Howard.
As with most visitors to the Liberty Stadium this season, Everton had to cope without the ball for long periods and Wayne Routledge blazed a presentable chance over after Joe Allen's cushioned lay-off, while Phil Jagielka bravely cleared a dangerous Sigurdsson cut-back seconds later.
Taking a tumble: Phil Jagielka slides in on Swansea's Scott Sinclair
Everton's first effort on goal came
after 27 minutes as Jelavic headed wide from Baines' free-kick with Leon
Osman poised in a better position behind him.
But Swansea were soon back in control
and Jagielka was again Everton's saviour as he blocked Sigurdsson's
shot after the Iceland international had been picked out by a lovely
outside-of-the-foot pass from Routledge.
But the pattern of the game altered
after the break as the likes of Steven Pienaar and Osman, peripheral
figures up to that point, began to feature more prominently.
Tough tussle: Gylfi Sigurdsson (right) holds off Steven Pienaar
They could have led moments after the
restart but Jelavic could not keep his effort down as he stretched for a
loose ball after Osman had charged down a Williams clearance.
Swansea keeper Vorm had been a
virtual spectator but he was alert enough to beat away a fierce Darron
Gibson drive, with Tim Cahill failing to connect as Jelavic helped the
rebound back across goal.
Graham then headed over from
Routledge's cross with Howard stranded as the contest finally showed
signs of opening up, while Pienaar shot narrowly wide at the other end
as the introduction of substitute Marouane Fellaini began to influence
play after replacing Cahill.
Game over: Nikica Jelavic celebrates scoring the second goal (above and below)
And, having soaked up so much
first-half pressure, the Toffees grabbed the lead just before the hour
as Baines stepped up to curl a left-footed free-kick into the right
corner of the net after Williams had brought the England international
down on the edge of the box.
Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers made a
triple substitution as he sought to change the flow of the game as
Graham, Scott Sinclair and Routledge made way for Luke Moore, Josh
McEachran and Leroy Lita.
Flying high: Baines and Everton are now just two points behind Merseyside rivals Liverpool
But as the hosts pressed forward they
left themselves vulnerable to the counter and, after Pienaar had curled
an effort wide, the South African teed up Jelavic who fired horribly
off target with just Vorm to beat.
Not this time: Swansea's Wayne Routledge holds off Darron Gibson
The former Rangers' striker then
missed another fine chance as he failed to connect with Baines'
cut-back, but he made no such mistake in the 76th minute as substitute
Fellaini turned past Williams in the box to give the striker a tap in.
That goal meant Everton had scored
twice in a Premier League game for just the second time in 18 matches,
and Vorm then made a fantastic scrambling save to deny substitute Denis
Stracqualursi a third after more trickery from Pienaar.
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