Everton have produced a professional performance at Goodison Park to defeat West Bromwich Albion 2-0, ending an eventful March on a high.
A deflected Leon Osman shot in the first half opened the scoring, officially credited as a Gareth MacAuley own goal, before substitute Victor Anichebe sealed the points in the second half.
Coming off the back of a fantastic away performance against Sunderland in the FA Cup, there was always the danger that this game represented a banana skin, with a squad on a high crashing down to earth with a potential loss.
And at times, that looked a possibility. Everton were not at their best for large periods of the game, with disjointed play and overly ambitious cross field passing, but professionalism kicked in – helped by the early goal after 18 minutes.
Leon Osman will be disappointed at not being credited with the goal, and it may go to the dubious goals panel, but his left footed effort looked to be heading wide before taking a nasty deflection off MacAuley and sending the ball the opposite direction beyond the stranded Foster.
Any hopes of going on to run rampant and bagging five or six were quickly squashed as the game degenerated into a scrappy, dull affair.
As the second half progressed, West Brom found greater joy, with Ridgewell getting some space on the left.
But Everton did enough to deserve a win, and it was secured as Everton substitute Victor Anichebe picked the ball up just outside the area on 70 minutes and slashed a low effort across Foster and in off the post to secure the points.
Champagne football it was not, but banana skin avoided – and we move above Liverpool in the Premier League for the time being.
Everton 2 WBA 0.