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30 March 2014
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: A. Taylor
• Attendance: 25454
A. Dejagah 71'
D. Stockdale 51' (own goal)
K. Mirallas 79'
S. Naismith 87'
My name's Ben Cullimore and it's been an absolute pleasure describing the action to you this afternoon. Have a great rest of the weekend and make sure you tune into the live text commentary of the next Premier League clash between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. Until next time, goodbye!
As for Fulham, the dark clouds of relegation are looming over Craven Cottage. They remain bottom of the table, five points from safety and with the poorest goal difference by some distance. A win away to Aston Villa next Saturday is vital.
The win moves Everton to just four points behind fourth-place Arsenal, and with a game in hand. They meet the Gunners at Goodison Park next Sunday in what is sure to be a truly exhilarating clash. Champions League football is a real possibility for the Toffees, and they certainly deserve it.
That really was a game of two halves. Everton looked like a completely different team in the second half and showed exactly why they are in contention for a Champions League spot. Naismith had a huge impact after his introduction at half-time and, despite their best efforts, Fulham weren't able to deal with the strength and skill of a very impressive Everton team.
FT: FULHAM 1-3 EVERTON
90' + 3'
Chance for Everton! Mirallas blasts a shot from the right of the Fulham box, but it flies just past the far post and the Belgian is denied his second goal of the game.
90' + 2'
Fulham are looking dejected as they try to string together some sort of attack in the hope of pulling off an almighty comeback. Dejagah is able to shoot on goal from the edge of the penalty area, but it's only half a chance, and one that Howard can deal with easily.
There will be four minutes of added time.
Chance for Everton! Naismith is in acres of space and darts forward into the Fulham half with the ball at his feet. He looks up and sees no white shirts around him so he decides to shoot from 25 yards out. It beats Stockdale and bounces off the post and into the feet of Baines, but the ball is coming at him too quickly and it ricochets off his shin and out for a goalkick.
Assist Leighton Baines
Goal Steven Naismith
GOAL! There it is; Naismith has scored and the three points will be going back to Goodison Park with Everton. Fulham's defenders, who have looked tired and nervous since the visitors scored their second goal, fail to deal with Mirallas, bringing the Belgian to the ground and allowing the ball to end up in the feet of Baines, who sets up Naismith in front of goal for a simple tap-in. 3-1!
Fulham's forwards are searching desperately for an equalising goal but look incredibly tired and devoid of any ideas when on the ball. Meanwhile, at the back, mistakes are being made by their defenders, and Everton look close to grabbing a third goal, which will surely seal the win.
Chance for Everton! Lukaku places a wonderful ball through the middle of the Fulham defence to set up Naismith, but the Scotsman's shot is saved well by Stockdale.
Hangeland is caught in possession and gives the ball away to Mirallas, who has injected a sense of urgency into his side since coming on. He darts towards goal from the right hand side of the box but the ball is cleared away for a corner, which amounts to little.
Assist Aiden McGeady
Goal Kevin Mirallas
GOAL! A thrilling few minutes has culminated in another Everton goal. McGeady picks out fellow substitute Mirallas with a world class through-ball, and the Belgian has no trouble calmly placing the ball past Stockdale. 2-1!
Chance for Everton! Coleman bursts down the left flank and sends a deep cross towards McCarthy, who shoots towards the far post, beating Stockdale but also beating the upright.
Yellow Card Leighton Baines
Chance after chance for Fulham! First, Holtby sends a great free kick towards Heitinga at the back post, who is completely unmarked. Howard saves his headed effort but the ball ends up with Dembele, whose half-volley is blocked and sent out to Dejagah on the right wing. The Iranian twists and turns before setting up Kasami, who fires a shot towards goal that, again, Howard saves wonderfully.
Everton look fired up. Stones sends a beautiful ball across to Baines on the left wing, and he crosses into the middle of the Fulham box. The Cottagers' defenders half deal with the danger, but the ball ends up with Distin, whose shot on goal fails to beat the plethora of white shirts in front of him and is then cleared up towards the other end of the pitch.
Assist Steve Sidwell
Goal Ashkan Dejagah
GOAL! Fulham have equalised through a wonderful long-range goal from Dejagah! The Iranian, who has been fantastic since coming on only six minutes ago, is given far too much time and space by the Everton defenders, and he punishes them by unleashing a rocket of a shot from the edge of the penalty area that flies past Howard and into the back of the net. 1-1!
Lukaku is set up on the left wing and tries to push his way into Fulham's penalty area, but Hangeland out-muscles the big Belgian and stops him in his tracks.
Fulham win a corner through Dejagah down the left flank. Hangeland flies through the air and almost meets the ball with his head, but it skims just past the Norwegian's airborne figure.
Everton break away on another attack, with Naismith and Osman linking up well just outside Fulham's penalty area, but their former teammate Heitinga is on hand to cut out the danger before they are able to penetrate the box.
William Kvist Jörgensen
Chance for Everton! Fulham are too indecisive in their own box, allowing Lukaku to muscle his way onto the ball and fire a venomous shot towards Stockdale, which the goalkeeper does well to parry away with his feet.
Chance for Everton! Deulofeu weaves in and out of the Everton defence before crossing towards Lukaku, but the ball goes just over the Belgian's head. They retain possession, however, and it ends up with the young Spaniard again, who sets up Baines on the edge of the box, but the left-back's first touch lets him down and Fulham are able to clear the ball back up the pitch.
Fulham win a corner, which Holtby whips in. Sidwell meets it with his head, but it's too high and powerful and it flies out for a goal kick.
Naismith has been fantastic since coming on at half-time! This time, a wonderful pass finds Baines in front of goal, but his effort skims just wide of the far post, where Lukaku was rushing towards.
Everton look full of life and far more confident after the goal. Deulofeu remains incredibly dangerous down the right wing and is causing all sorts of problems for Riise.
Fulham break away again, this time down the opposite wing, but Kasami's cross is uncharacteristically poor and fails to clear the first line of blue shirts.
Richardson rushes down the left flank before sending a looping cross in towards Dembele, but Howard looms large over the youngster and is able to scoop the ball from in front of his head with one hand.
Own Goal David Stockdale
GOAL! Heartbreak for Fulham as Everton grab the first goal. The Cottagers fail to deal with a corner and it ends up with Naismith on the edge of the penalty area. He volleys the ball towards goal and it deflects off Kvist before bouncing off Stockdale's legs and into the back of the net. 1-0!
Richardson rushes into Everton's half and finds himself in acres of space. He decides to shoot from distance, but his effort goes nowhere near its intended target.
Great play by Everton! Naismith and Osman link up on the edge of the Fulham box and pull off a wonderful one-two, which results in the Scotsman whipping a low cross across goal, but Riise is there to blast the ball out of play for a corner.
Everton patiently push forward into Fulham's half of the pitch, but the hosts exert a great amount of pressure on them, forcing them all the way back to Howard.
And we're underway once again!
Everton have made once change at half-time, with Naismith coming on for Barkley, who has picked up a calf injury.
As for Everton, they have impressed at times, particularly when their attacks have been orchestrated by Deulefeu down the right flank, but they are lacking that cutting edge in the final third. Lukaku has been largely anonymous, leaving Stockdale relatively untested in the Fulham goalmouth.
Fulham will no doubt be the happier of the two sides at half-time. They have arguably carved out the greater chances and have looked more dangerous when in possession. Holtby and Richardson have been instrumental in every one of the Cottagers' attacking movements, whilst 17-year-old Dembele's impressive performance earned himself a standing ovation as he left the pitch and made his way down the tunnel. If they continue like this after the break, Felix Magath's men will surely go ahead first.
HT: FULHAM 0-0 EVERTON
45' + 1'
Chance for Fulham! Holtby, who has played incredibly well so far, perfectly places his cross onto the head of Dembele, but his effort ends up in the arms of Howard. Anywhere else and it would have been in the back of the net.
There will be just one minute of added time.
Chance for Fulham! Hangeland thumps a terrific ball towards Richardson, who holds it up before turning and setting up Dembele on the edge of the box, but the teenager rushes his shot and it goes high and wide of the goal.
Deulofeu is having a wonderful time on the right wing. The young Spaniard sends another great ball into the heart of Fulham's penalty area, but there are no blue shirts there to tap it into the back of the net.
Temperatures are rising! Dembele is brought to the ground on the edge of the Everton penalty area, leading to cries of disgust from the Fulham faithful, and almost immediately after Richardson and Deulofeu clash on the left flank, resulting in pushing and shoving between the two players.
Chance for Fulham! Kasami wins back possession and breaks through a wall of blue shirts, but he's held off by Distin and Howard rushes out and pounces on the ball.
It's end-to-end stuff here! First, Everton carve out a chance down the right wing through Deulofeu, but his heavy cross is cut out superbly by Stockdale. The Cottagers' goalkeeper then kickstarts a great counterattack, but the visitors hold firm and break down the danger before darting back into Fulham's half once again, but Osman's long-range shot is saved with ease.
Fulham are looking the brightest of the two sides as we enter the final ten minutes of the half. Kasami half-volleys a cross towards Richardson on the edge of the penalty area, who decides to leave it for Riise, but the Norwegian's rocket of a shot flies over the crossbar.
Yellow Card Seamus Coleman
Fulham win a free kick halfway in Everton's half of the pitch after Coleman tugs on the back of Richardson's shirt, for which he earns himself a yellow card. They play it short to Holtby who unleashes a very ambitious long-range effort, which, unsurprisingly, clears the crossbar by some distance.
Sidwell exhibits some silky smooth skills on the right wing, darting in and out of a plethora of blue shirts before sending a great ball forward, but it's slightly too long and Howard is able to cut out the danger before it can lead to a chance on goal.
Chance for Fulham! Riise sends a deep cross towards the far post and finds Holtby, whose header forces Howard into a world class one-handed save.
It's all hotting up now! After some patient and thought-out play, both sides are pushing forward and carving out some really good chances.
Osman tries to muscle his way through the Fulham defence, but he's unable to do so and the ball rolls into the hands of Stockdale. Lukaku made a wonderful run through the middle, but Osman decided to go it alone, which, in hindsight, was the wrong decision.
Yellow Card Sascha Riether
Another chance for Fulham! This time it's Dembele who sets up Richardson with a selfless through-ball, but the latter's shot is saved by the feet of Howard. Almost immediately, Everton break away on a counterattack of their own and Deulofeu unleashes an almost identical shot at the other end, which Stockdale saves in similar fashion.
Chance for Fulham! Richardson dinks a lovely lofted ball over the top of the Everton defence for Dembele, but the youngster is flagged for offside, despite the replay indicating otherwise.
Good play again by Fulham and, in particular, Kasami. The Swiss midfielder picks up the ball on the right wing and sends in yet another fantastic cross, but it's slightly too long and it clears Sidwell's head by mere inches.
Everton break away down the right flank, with Baines and Lukaku utilising a wonderful one-two to penetrate the Fulham penalty area. The attack is cut out and breaks down momentarily, but Fulham quickly lose possession and the ball ends up with Deulofeu, who darts back into the box before attempting one too many step-overs and sees the ball trickle away from his feet and out for a goalkick.
Chance for Fulham! Hangeland rises high and nods on the corner towards Kasami at the back post, but the angle is too tight and his headed attempt marginally misses the upright.
Another good attacking movement by Fulham. Riise darts down the left flank before sending a dangerous ball into the box, but Barry sticks out a leg to clear the ball for a corner. They retain possession from the resulting set-piece and the ball once again ends up in the heart of the Everton penalty area, where a desperate scramble breaks out before the ball is once again whipped away for a corner.
Baines tries to unleash Osman down the right with a long ball, but Riether is there to shepherd the ball out for a goalkick.
Another quick break forward by Fulham. Kvist beats McCarthy before setting up Richardson on the left flank, but the Englishman's cross is poor and ends up safely in the hands of Howard.
The visitors take too much time on the ball, allowing Fulham to regain possession and push forward. Kasami picks up the ball on the right wing and sends a wonderful cross-cum-shot into the heart of the Everton box, which beats everyone, including Howard, and bounces just wide of the American's outstretched hand.
Free kick for Everton inside their own half after Kasami challenges Barry. They decide to play it back to Howard, giving them a chance to regroup.
Patient build-up play by Everton, who seem quite happy to take their time picking apart a Fulham defence that have been leaking goals this season.
Chance for Fulham! A deep cross somehow finds Holtby unmarked at the far right end of the Everton penalty area, allowing the German to fire towards goal, but his effort doesn't trouble Howard.
Early chance for Everton after Fulham lost the ball in midfield: Osman picks up possession just inside the Cottagers' half before setting up Lukaku with a deft through-ball, but Heitinga is able to throw his body in front of the Belgian to deflect his attempt wide of the target.
Heitinga launches the ball forward for Kasami on the right wing, but the Swiss midfielder is marginally offside.
And we're off! Fulham get us underway, attacking from left-to-right.
The two teams are making their way onto the pitch ahead of kick-off. Both sets of fans are in fine voice, knowing full well the importance of a victory for either side today.
A win for Fulham will move them into 18th place for the time being, and could kickstart a much-needed late push for survival. With just one win in their last 11 league games, the Cottagers need points on the board, and desperately.
As for the visitors, Roberto Martinez has opted to field the same starting 11, as well as the same substitutes' bench, that beat Newcastle United so convincingly on Tuesday evening. His side have won their last four Premier League games, their best run since March 2008, and they'll be looking to extend their run, and move to within four points of fourth-place Arsenal, with a fifth consecutive win here today.
Fulham boss Felix Magath has made three changes to the side that were thrashed 5-0 by Manchester City last Saturday. Lewis Holtby comes in for Alexander Kacaniklic, who drops to the bench, whilst Sascha Riether drops back into defence to replace the suspended Fernando Amorebieta, making way for the inclusion of Patjim Kasami in midfield. Meanwhile, the much talked about 17-year-old Frenchman Moussa Dembele has been handed his first Premier League start, replacing fellow youngster Cauley Woodrow up front.
Everton substitutes: Robles, Alcaraz, Browning, Garbutt, Naismith, Mirallas, McGeady
Everton starting line-up: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Deulofeu, Barkley, Osman; Lukaku
Fulham substitutes: Stekelenburg, Diarra, Kacaniklic, Dejagah, Roberts, Bent, Woodrow
Fulham starting line-up: Stockdale; Riether, Heitinga, Hangeland, Riise; Holtby, Kvist, Sidwell, Richardson; Kasami, Dembele
First, let's have have a look at how the two teams will line up, starting with the hosts...
Good afternoon and welcome to the live text commentary of today's Premier League game between Fulham and Everton. My name is Ben Cullimore and I will be keeping you up-to-date with all of the action from Craven Cottage.
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