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March 1, 2014
• Goodison Park, Liverpool
Referee: J. Moss
• Attendance: 38286
R. Lukaku 81'
West Ham United
I hope you all enjoyed today's action from Goodison Park. I'm Alex Moretto, and I'd like to thank you all for joining me here today. Good bye!
FULL-TIME: EVERTON 1-0 WEST HAM. Romelu Lukaku's late winner saves the Toffees, as the substitute picks up where he left off before his injury. It was far from convincing, and perhaps a bit cruel on West Ham, but Everton pick up a fourth consecutive win over the London club, and keep their quest for the top four alive!
90' + 3'
Great work from Everton who refuse to surrender possession in the final minutes! West Ham doing everything they can to win it back, but it's just not happening for them, as Pienaar wins a corner kick thanks to some hard work and nifty dribbling, and that brings the action to an end!
90' + 1'
Lukaku is forward now and he has options to his right and left, but he opts for a shot with his weaker right foot, and it was never going to trouble Adrian as it flies well over the bar.
Yellow Card Leighton Baines
Free kick in a dangerous area now for West Ham as the assistant referee signals three minutes of added time. Downing delivers the ball in, but it's far too close to Howard who collects easily and starts Everton back the other way.
Great work from Barkley! The young midfielder is such a joy to watch on the ball, and he certainly doesn't lack in confidence. He dances by a defender, and cuts to the left before shooting just wide. Everton have been brought back to life with that Lukaku goal, and appear to have new found energy to just help them close this one out.
The final substitution of the match is made now, as Steven Naismith gives way to Ross Barkley. The crowd gives the Scotsman a thunderous applause.
Again Lukaku! He chests down a pass from Barry, turns and volleys it towards goal, but it sails over the bar. The Goodison faithful are in full force now, with the Belgian breathing the life back into the home fans.
Assist Leighton Baines
Goal Romelu Lukaku
GOAAAAAAAAAAAL!! Who else? Romelu Lukaku marks his return with a massive goal for the Toffees! Baines takes a pass from Pienaar and charges into the box. He picks out Lukaku with a brilliant pass, and the Belgian finishes emphatically with his left foot. It couldn't have come at a better time for Everton!
Andy Carroll wins a free kick at the half-way line, but West Ham waste yet another opportunity as they send a long ball into the box that Everton can deal with far too easily.
STAT ATTACK: Three of the past five meetings between the two teams at Goodison Park have ended in a draw.
Everton growing in frustration here. They can't keep the ball like they did for much of the first half, and this time another turnover results in a foul on James McCarthy, and a chance for West Ham to cross in from a free kick from about 35 yards out.
CARROLL! This time it's Nolan who is on the receiving end of a long ball, and lays it off for Carroll, but his half volley swerves just wide and high of the far post. Despite not having the bulk of possession, West Ham are creating the better of the chances as we approach the final 15 minutes.
Everton have to be careful not to concede here, either. Carroll brings the ball down well inside the box, but a good challenge takes him out of possession. Taylor charges in towards the loose ball, but drives his shot a few yards over the bar.
DISTIN! The delivery from Baines is superb, and it's Distin who has an open look at goal from five yards out, but like a true defender, he lunges forward and clears the ball! He was at full stretch, but it only needed the slightest of touches, but he gets too much of it and sends the ball away from goal!
Everton seem to be lacking urgency on attack. Much of that can be attributed to how difficult West Ham can be to break down. The Toffees win a free kick along the left, and have a chance to cross it in from here.
STAT ATTACK: The Hammers haven't kept a clean sheet against Everton in 12 matches, the last one coming in April 2007, a 1-0 West Ham victory at Upton Park.
Lukaku sees the first of the ball since coming on, and it's an encouraging start as he takes on Tomkins and wins a corner. It's taken short, and worked up top to Deulofeu who cuts to his right and narrowly misses the far corner with his attempted placement shot.
West Ham really seem to be growing with confidence, but their attack is far too one dimensional. With Andy Carroll up top, the Hammers are constantly crossing the ball in, as opposed to running at defenders, where they have had success so far today.
Romelu Lukaku sighting! It appears as though Martinez has seen enough, as the Belgian is shown with his track suit off, ready for action. It's Leon Osman who makes way. Loud applause erupts around Goodison as the striker makes his way out onto the pitch for the first time in four weeks.
NOLAN! Another great opportunity for the Hammers to take the lead! The captain does well to beat John Stones just inside the box before cutting to his right and trying to pick out a corner. The shot takes a slight deflection and narrowly misses the far post, with Howard beaten.
CARROLL! John Stones can't deal with a bouncing ball, and a heavy touch plays it into the path of Andy Carroll who unloads a laser from 20 yards out that Howard is able to palm up and over for a corner kick.
West Ham are just starting to slow the game down here after a lively start to the half that has favoured the home side. The Hammers can hardly afford to get into a back and forth with the Mighty Blues.
The pace has really picked up here to start the second half! First Barry picks out Pienaar in the box, who goes to ground after a challenge from Downing, but there was nothing in it and John Moss waves away appeals for a penalty. The Toffees win it right back and Baines again picks out the South African who sees his shot sail over the bar.
Right back the other way go West Ham, and a cross in for Andy Carroll is headed but blocked before it can reach the goal. It falls to the feet of the striker, but he can't locate the ball and Everton can clear.
PIENAAR! West Ham opened up there. Baines picks out the South African who charges into the box and shoots for the far corner, but strikes the post! The rebound comes out for Deulofeu, but it almost surprises him, as he puts his shot straight into the arms of Adrian. Encouraging start for Everton.
West Ham kick-off and charge forward. Matty Taylor crosses but Howard collects, less than 20 seconds from the restart.
The players are back on the pitch and the second half is set to get underway. No changes to tell you about at half-time.
STAT ATTACK: Everton have failed to score in three of their last four league games.
The Toffees could also use the services of Kevin Mirallas, who has scored three of the last four goals for Everton. It should hardly take long for both Belgians to make an impact in the second half.
HALF-TIME: EVERTON 0-0 WEST HAM. It was hardly the most eventful of first halves at Goodison Park. Neither team posed much of a threat on the attack, with West Ham defending admirably, as they have done so for the past month. It will be up to Everton to take control of this match, and you just wonder how long it will be before Roberto Martinez decides enough is enough and brings on Romelu Lukaku.
45' + 1'
The ball is crossed in from the free kick, and it eludes Carroll but falls for Demel. The Ivorian brings it down well and wins a corner. Everton deal with the threat and the first half comes to a close.
Only one minute of added time...
Free kick awarded to West Ham after Stones goes in for a tackle along the far touch-line. Hammers players are hardly pleased to see Stones let off without a booking, as it was a similar challenge to the one that saw Tomkins booked earlier in the half.
Much better this, from Everton. Baines dances by Demel and crosses in for Naismith. The striker can't connect with it, but it falls to Osman at the top of the box. His just gets over top of the ball with his volley, however, and it's blocked by Collins and cleared. Good contact and that may have been the opener for Everton.
Andy Carroll goes down after a collision in midfield, but Moss allows play to go on. Osman picks up the ball in an attacking position, and has Naismith with him before play is blown dead rather late, to check on Andy Carroll. Plenty of boos from the home fans who were hardly pleased with the timing of that call.
DEULOFEU! The young Spaniard certainly doesn't lack in confidence! The forward charges at Collins and beats him easily before stepping around McCartney, cutting to his left foot and nearly picking out the bottom corner from the top of the box. Great run from Deulofeu, producing the best chance of the half so far for Everton.
STAT ATTACK: The Hammers have kept 13 clean sheets this season, the most in the Premier League, and have conceded just once in their last five matches.
Nearly through for Baines! West Ham turn it over in midfield and Pienaar starts up an attack in numbers. He tries to send in Baines on the left but doesn't put enough weight on his pass and Everton settle for a corner. Baines delivers in for Barry who has an open header but can't make clean contact as it flies well wide of the far post.
Everton are growing frustrated on attack. West Ham are keeping their shape so well, there's just no way through right now for the Toffees. Deulofeu tries his best Cristiano Ronaldo impression, using step-over after step-over to try and beat McCartney and cross it in, but Collins is there to clear, quite easily.
Yellow Card James Tomkins
Nolan nearly finds an opener for West Ham! Matty Taylor delivers a low cross in towards the near post that is attacked well by the captain, but he can hardly get a touch on it before Howard is there to collect. Much more encouraging from West Ham, however.
Well, well well. Less than thirty minutes played here at Goodison Park and we have an Andy Carroll sighting! Carlton Cole looks very surprised as he makes his way off the pitch, and he can't be too happy about this one. Nonetheless, Sam Allardyce has seen enough and sends on his talisman.
West Ham again use a goal kick to drive the ball forward. Nolan wins possession and tries to dance his way by Stones just inside the box, but is forced to the outside, delivering a cross that Howard is able to collect.
Everton give the ball away in an area where West Ham can break. Cole gets in possession, but there isn't a teammate anywhere near him, making it far too easy for the Toffees to win it back. While it is unlike West Ham to commit men forward, they can hardly afford to spend such long periods of the half backed up in their own end.
Everton finally produce their first shot on target as Naismith is sent in on goal, but his diagonal run forces him to a bad angle and all he can do is smack it at Adrian who sends it behind for a corner kick.
Adrian lofts a goal kick deep into the Everton half that Cole flicks on for Nolan. The Hammers captain looks to have a clear path in on goal but he's dragged down from behind. No foul given by Jonathan Moss, and Nolan is livid as he gets up, with good reason.
Despite the Toffees dominance on the ball thus far, Adrian has been well protected in goal. The Hammers are keeping their shape very well, giving Everton very few openings and forcing everything to the outside.
STAT ATTACK: Everton have 85% possession through the opening 15 minutes.
There's a slight delay now as James McCarthy is attended to after a coming together with Matthew Taylor. As play resumes Everton push forward, passing it well in the attacking third, and Pienaar finds a bit of space but scuffs his shot and West Ham can relieve the pressure.
Great movement from West Ham on the counter. Everton's corner is cleared and the Hammers break the other way through Jarvis, who picks out Downing on the left. The winger tries to send Taylor in on goal, but Deulofeu shows great hustle getting back and sliding to break up the pass, sending it out for a corner.
STAT ATTACK: Everton have lost three of their last four Premier League matches, the first time they have done so since October 2011.
The first West Ham chance comes at the seven minute mark. A long ball is headed clear by Stones, but falls for Cole who rather ambitiously tests the attention level of Tim Howard, having a shot from 30 yards out that rolls well wide of the far post.
Another chance for Osman just moments later, this connecting with Barry's cross, but sending his header wide of the near post. Good start for the Toffees who aren't relinquishing possession very easily in the opening stages.
Everton enjoy a good spell of possession early on, and it nearly results in the opener for Naismith. Baines delivers in the cross, it's flicked on at the near post by Osman, but Naismith just can't get enough on it to find the back of the net.
We're underway here at Goodison Park as Everton kick-off, moving from right to left on your screen, wearing their royal blue uniforms. West Ham are sporting their white tops and light blue shorts.
Captains Leon Osman and Kevin Nolan exchange a few laughs as referee Jonathan Moss leads the players out of the tunnel to a rather subdued applaulse from the Goodison Park faithful.
STAT ATTACK: Everton are on an eleven match unbeaten run against West Ham (7W, 4D).
It's a case of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' for Sam Allardyce, who sends out the same starting XI for a fourth straight week. Andy Carroll returns to the team after serving a three game suspension, but he will start the game on the bench.
WEST HAM SUBS: Armero, Carroll, Cole, Diame, Jaaskelainen, Nocerino, Reid.
WEST HAM XI (4-2-3-1): Adrian; Demel, Tomkins, Collins, McCartney; Taylor, Noble; Jarvis, Nolan, Downing; Cole.
Striker Romelu Lukaku is welcomed back into the team with open arms, after missing the Toffees last four competitive matches. He will start the match on the bench, however, with Martinez taking a more cautious approach towards the Belgian's return from injury. Captain Phil Jagielka has been ruled out for a fortnight with a hamstring injury, paving the way for John Stones to take his place in defence. Striker Lacina Traore is also out with a hamstring injury.
EVERTON SUBS: Barkley, Browning, Hibbert, Lukaku, McGeady, Mirallas, Robles.
EVERTON XI (4-2-3-1): Howard; Coleman, Distin, Stones, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Deulofeu, Osman, Pienaar; Naismith.
The teams have been announced, so let's have ourselves a look at today's starting line-ups:
West Ham on the other hand will be reluctant to see February come to an end, a month in which they won all four of their league matches. It's incredible what a difference a month can make. At the end of January, the Hammers were sitting in the bottom three and fans were calling for Sam Allardyce to get the boot, as the team stumbled through the previous two months with just one win. Fast forward four weeks and four victories later, and West Ham have jumped into the top half of the table, with seven points and eight teams separating them from the relegation zone.
Roberto Martinez will be thrilled to have Romelu Lukaku back in the team today, as his team have managed to score just two league goals since injury forced the Belgian out during the first half of the Merseyside Derby four weeks ago. The injury couldn't have come at a worse time for Everton, as 1-0 losses to Tottenham and Chelsea have dropped them 11 points back in the race for fourth place. Needless to say, the Toffees will need as many points as possible from their final 12 matches if they are to have any hope of playing Champions League football next season.
Good afternoon Premier League fans around the world, and welcome to today's match between a slumping Everton and a resurgent West Ham at Goodison Park. I'm Alex Moretto and I'll be your in-game host, guiding you through the match LIVE as it happens!
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