Everton weather the storm to see off Bournemouth
Zouma sets home side on their way as clouds gather on and off the pitch
The impassioned reaction of Marco Silva to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s cool finish said it all. Everton had been under serious pressure from Bournemouth, as had their manager after Farhad Moshiri’s comments at the club’s general meeting in midweek, when the substitute confirmed a first home league win in five matches in stoppage time. Relief and joy poured from Silva on the sidelines.
Everton overcame a quiet start to claim a hard-earned victory courtesy of Kurt Zouma’s first goal for the club and the substitute’s measured finish from Ademola Lookman’s inviting cross. The combination of two youngsters for the winning goal could not have been better timed for Silva in a week when he spoke of laying foundations for the future but the club’s majority shareholder voiced displeasure over the league table.
Their current position of 10th will not be cause for celebration given Moshiri’s level of investment, but there was no overstating the importance of this victory. Eddie Howe’s visitors started and finished strongly but departed only with regret.
Everton took 31 minutes to create a chance of note against a Bournemouth side that had lost 10 of its last 13 games. For the first half an hour they posed no threat whatsoever to Asmir Begovic’s goal and appeared to have no clear idea of how to do so. The visitors controlled the early exchanges. Erratic distribution from Jordan Pickford and his defenders offered Bournemouth further encouragement of the chance at first away win since October.
Howe’s team could have been two goals ahead before Everton finally stirred with a third of the game gone. Josh King failed to connect cleanly with Ryan Fraser’s cross and David Brooks’ shot struck the inside of the post. Bournemouth continued to test the hosts’ fragile rearguard, one that had not kept a clean sheet in nine matches, and Junior Stanislas forced Pickford into another save with a low free-kick from 20 yards.
Everton, their fans growing increasingly restless and their manager increasingly angry, began to match their opponents for aggression and accuracy in possession as the interval approached. The performance was transformed as a result. Bernard headed their first chance wide from an inviting cross by Séamus Coleman and Michael Keane headed against the top of the crossbar from another inviting cross from Lucas Digne.
The second half opened in a similar vein with the growing influence of Bernard, Gylfi Sigurdsson and André Gomes ending Richarlison’s isolation up front. .
Digne was responsible for creating the breakthrough with another perfect left-wing cross. The left-back controlled beauti- fully to take himself away from King and floated an inviting delivery to the near post where Zouma powered a header inside Begovic’s top right-hand corner.
Everton endured a nervous finale as Bournemouth pressed for an equaliser. It almost came when King flicked on Fraser’s corner, but Pickford held on. Seconds later their hopes were extinguished thanks to the perseverance of Lookman.
The young winger regained possession from Adam Smith while grounded and was then sent clear down the left by Idrissa Gueye. Lookman sized up his options and pulled the ball back for Calvert-Lewin who side-footed into the bottom corner . Relief consumed Goodison – the technical area in particular.
■ Marco Silva: manager relieved after a first win in five home league matches