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Premier League

  • 28 April 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Goodison Park, Liverpool
  • Referee: P. Dowd
  • • Attendance: 31885

Everton 4-0 Fulham: Red-hot Jelavic bags double to take tally to ten this term

Everton 4-0 Fulham: Red-hot Jelavic bags double to take tally to ten this term

Two strikes from the January signing and an outstanding display from loanee Steven Pienaar helped the in-form Toffees sweep aside the dismal Cottagers to claim an emphatic victory

A fantastic first-half display gave Everton the perfect platform to secure a comfortable 4-0 win over Fulham, with Nikica Jelavic, Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill all scoring to keep the Toffees’ remote chances of Europa League qualification alive.

On the back of their 4-4 draw at Old Trafford with title-chasing Manchester United, David Moyes named an unchanged side, meaning Fellaini continued in his attacking midfield role behind lone striker Jelavic.

Fulham, without a win at Goodison Park in 40 top-flight visits and without manager Martin Jol on the touchline due to illness, recalled exciting Swiss winger Kerim Frei into their starting line-up, with club captain Danny Murphy dropping to the bench.

Jelavic has made an immediate impact in Merseyside since his January arrival from Rangers and he took just six minutes to score his eighth goal in his last seven appearances.

The Croatian saw his 25-yard free-kick blocked by the arm of Pavel Pogrebnyak in the Fulham wall and referee Phil Dowd showed no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot, and the striker coolly converted from 12 yards.

Fulham struggled to get out of their own half in the opening 15 minutes, and a long ball from Heitinga put Jelavic clean through on goal to double the home side’s lead, but the angle was tight and he only managed to hit the outside of Mark Schwarzer's post.

After more clever play from Jelavic, Leon Osman's shot was deflected behind by Hangeland, and, from the resulting corner, and unmarker Fellaini beat Schwarzer and doubled Everton’s lead.

Clearly buoyed by their recent good form and bright start, the hosts continued to play with a wonderful style and panache, the likes of Osman and Steven Pienaar exchanging quick passes and interchanging positions.

Fulham nearly found a foothold in the match when Aaron Hughes' cross from the right was nodded down by Pogrebnyak into the path of the much-lauded Clint Dempsey, but the subsequent rising strike from 15 yards was denied by a brilliant save from Tim Howard.

If that save denied Fulham a lifeline, then Jelavic's second in the 39th minute ended the contest.

Pienaar strode through midfield before feeding a pass beyond the Fulham backline for Jelavic to run onto and, whilst a combination of a heavy first touch and the advancing Schwarzer initially sent him wide, the Croatian went unchallenged and drilled a low shot through the goalkeeper's legs to mark his 10th goal since his arrival in English football.

At half-time Moyes made one change to his line-up, replacing Darron Gibson, who picked up a booking late in the first half, with Tim Cahill, a move which saw Fellaini drop into a holding midfield role and Cahill move into an advanced position supporting Jelavic.

With the game all but won, Everton begun the second half but re-asserted their dominance in the 60th minute with a fourth goal, and once again it owed much to the stealthy running of Pienaar.

A lengthy spell of passing had some pace injected into it by the South African playmaker, who played a clever one-two to evade the Fulham midfield, before scooping a wonderful pass to the onrushing Cahill, who stretched and diverted the ball past the helpless Schwarzer.

Everton continued to look comfortable against the shell-shocked away side, all apart from Schwarzer who denied Osman with two smart saves in the space of a minute late in the game.

With seven minutes remaining Goodison rose to recognise the performance of Pienaar, as he was replaced by Royston Drenthe, the on-loan Tottenham midfielder having been at his effervescent best, and who, teamed with Jelavic, has given Moyes’ side the crucial cutting edge.

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