Everton 2-1 Bournemouth

Oumar Niasse, the almost forgotten man of Everton, came off the bench again to not only score, but win the game with his brace of markers.

Changes for Everton again today as Michael Keane missed his first game since signing from Burnley with an injury, meaning a move to centre back for Mason Holgate alongside Ashley Williams.

Ronald Koeman named his starting 4-3-3 line-up: Pickford, Baines (c), Williams, Holgate, Martina, Gana Gueye, Schneiderlin, Klaassen, Sigurdsson, Rooney and Calvert-Lewin.

Everton fan Eddie Howe in charge of Bournemouth also looked to start 4-3-3 in selecting: Begovic, Smith, Francis, Ake, Daniels, Ibe, Gosling, Surman, Stanislas, King and Defoe.

Our match referee was Martin Atkinson.

Wayne Rooney, making his 400th Premier League appearance, will have been keen to score as he’s never lost at Goodison when scoring, either for the Blues or Man United.

A steady opening from both sides saw Everton begin to dominate with the first telling move worked well down the left flank for Baines to cross with DCL heading just wide under pressure from Francis. Another decent move this time down the right saw Martina find space for the cross that was easily cleared.

Schneiderlin was booked on the quarter hour mark for a clumsy challenge on Surman.

Everton were moving the ball around well and a move involving Rooney, Klaassen and DCL ended with Sigurdsson going down in the box, but referee Atkinson unsurprisingly waved away penalty appeals.

The major talking point of the half came on 35 minutes when another right wing cross from Martina saw Rooney go down under a challenge from Francis. England’s’ record goalscorer picked himself up to berate the referee about being elbowed with the cut and blood on his face and shirt clear evidence of the contact, deliberate or otherwise.

Following treatment and a change of shirt and shorts, Rooney returned to take a pass from Sigurdsson only to lose his footing in the act of shooting.

Bournemouths’ only real moment of note came when Holgate forced Defoe wide and his cross to the back post was cleared, under pressure, by Martina for a corner.

Half Time: 0-0

Having had the better of the first half, but not made the most of their possession, Everton duly paid the price falling behind inside four minutes of the restart as King picked the ball up and was allowed to run and run before beating Pickford low to his right with the aid of the post.

And it could and indeed should have been two when another shocking midfield giveaway allowed the visitors to play Defoe into space, Pickford denying him with his legs.

Goodison was outraged, none moreso than at referee Atkinson for a string of somewhat debateable decisions, but welcomed a double substitution on 55 minutes, Davies replacing the ineffectual Klaassen and Niasse coming on for Rooney.

Atkinson duly alienated everyone again by booking Davies for his first tackle as the visitors looked to press home their advantage with Everton struggling.

A long ball from Williams found Niasse and he laid it off for Baines to cross, but the header from Sigurdsson went wide of the target.

The next raid saw DCL go down in the box under a challenge by Ake, but again the referee blanked the appeals for a penalty.

A Sigurdsson corner saw DCL head back across goal for Holgate to have his header cleared off the line.

Afobe for Defoe on 74 minutes preceded Kenny replacing Martina and the injection of youth and pace produced as Davies played a great one-two with a ball into the box for Oumar Niasse to control, turn and lash home an emphatic equaliser.

Goodison erupted as much in relief as joy at the Senegalese strikers smile.

Niasse was then unlucky to be booked by the increasingly tedious Atkinson but responded in perfect fashion getting on the end of a move started by Kenny, relayed through DCL and a deflected Davies shot falling nicely for him to head home and follow up to hammer the ball home to tumultuous acclaim.

With four extra minutes signalled, nails were still being bitten, but thankfully the Blues held on and Oumar Niasse left the field, hailed as the hero of the hour.

Full Time: 2-1

Managers immediate post match reaction…

“Calm after the game, yes. There were a lot of emotions. It was a difficult game, we did not create many chances and we took the right decision after 1-0 down to try something different – play two strikers and go more direct.

“More credit to the players – Niasse and Davies. They did a good job after a difficult time. The boys showed great character.

“He [Oumar Niasse] is bringing more aggression. We needed in the second half to have another striker close to Dominic to press a bit better than we did before. All the credit to Oumar Niasse, that is all about life. If you get your chance you need to take it. He took it on Wednesday and again today.

“It is a totally different world after winning. You have key moments during the season and this was a big win that will give everyone a boost.”

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