The South African's effort means the Toffees still hold hopes of Europe as Spurs slip up at Wigan, while the Cottagers missed out on a chance of entering the top halfEverton kept dreams of a Champions League place alive with a 1-0 win over Fulham, with Steven Pienaargetting the only goal of the game.
The Toffees were dominant from the off and they were rewarded for their efforts when Seamus Coleman set up Steven Pienaar in the Fulham box to put the hosts one goal to the good.
The hosts went on to have numerous efforts around the Cottager’s area, but weren’t good enough to double their lead before the break.
Fulham looked to have got out of second gear after the break, but the hosts soon deflated their spirits again with some dominant football that meant the Cottagers had little chance of points.
A flurry of chances and great saves from Mark Schwarzer meant that the score remained 1-0, but the home side could have won it by three or maybe four goals in the end.
It was Everton who were handed the first chance of the game early on, with a Leighton Baines corner finding Marouane Fellaini at the back post; the midfielder in enough space to send a powerful header Mark Schwarzer’s way, but the Australian goalkeeper instinctively saved the effort at his feet.
A flurry of half opportunities for the hosts entailed in the first 15 minutes of the match, but the deadlock was broken 16 minutes in when a beautiful exchange of passing between Leon Osman and Seamus Coleman initiated the move that saw the latter set up Pienaar to comfortably place the ball into the net from the penalty spot.
Fulham’s position in the game wasn’t helped on the half-hour mark, as Dimitar Berbatov was forced off with an injury and limped to the bench to be replaced by Mladen Petric.
The visitors looked a little more up for the game after the break; Urby Emanuelson blasting the ball over the bar after the Everton defenders had left him all the space he required on the hosts’ penalty spot.
However, Everton soon started to turn the screw once more and had numerous occasions to double their lead when around the Fulham area. The hosts were also domineering in the middle of the park, with the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Osman easily displacing Giorgos Karagounis and Eyong Enoh.
Kevin Mirallas should have put Everton two goals to the good 15 minutes from time after some delightful skill that included tipping the ball over a Fulahm defender to set himself up on the angle, but the attacker’s powerful shot was met with the palms of Schwarzer, who pushed the ball away.
Schwarzer was called into action yet again, this time in the closing moments, as substitute Ross Barkley went one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but the youngster’s shot was denied by the Australian and Everton closed out what could prove an important victory.