Sam Allardyce saw his new team achieve their first back to back league wins of the season courtesy of a first home strike for record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson and a fine second from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Boosted by the midweek victory over West Ham, Everton welcomed promoted Huddersfield Town to Goodison for the first game under Sam Allardyce and the Yorkshire side provided a resolute test that the Blues passed.
For his first game in charge, Sam Allardyce selected for the same starting eleven that disposed of the Hammers: Pickford, Martina, Williams, Holgate, Kenny, Davies, Gana Gueye, Rooney (c), Lennon, Sigurdsson and Calvert-Lewin.
Huddersfield’s German manager David Wagner picked his starting line-up: Lossl, Smith, Jorgensen, Schindler, Malone, Mooy, Williams, Quaner, Ince, Kachunga and Depoitre.
Referee for the day was Chris Kavanagh.
Goodison gave Sam Allardyce a warm reception when introduced shortly before the kick-off before he donned his intercom earpiece to communicate with Craig Shakespeare sitting in the directors box with his notepad.
An early clash of head with Danny Williams saw Tom Davies require treatment and look a little disorientated as he waited the referee’s signal to return to the field. The visitors won a right wing free kick that saw Pickford easily gather the looping header from Schindler.
The opening twenty minutes were pretty quiet with neither side seemingly able to get any rhythm into their game and slightly too much long ball being played.
A spate of three bookings in as many minutes saw Malone yellow carded for a foul on Lennon before Kenny saw yellow for a meaty challenge on Kachunga and Tom Davies get a lecture and a yellow for a blatant pull back as Huddersfield tried to break through their midfield.
Everton’s best effort of the first half saw Lossl turn away a curling shot from Martina after he collected a nice lay back from DCL.
A Huddersfield corner caused some concern in the Everton area before the ball was hacked to safety by Martina before the best move of a disappointing first half saw Kenny and Lennon combine with Kenny sending in a terrific cross that was just too strong for DCL to get on the end of.
Half Time: 0-0
The visitors replaced Quaner with Palmer for the second half and with some fans stll returning to their seats, Everton opened the scoring. Aaron Lennon worked hard down the right to send a ball into the box where DCL played a lovely back heel right into the path of the arriving Sigurdsson who made no mistake with a confident finish in front of the Gwladys Street.
Huddersfield tried to respond with a good left wing charge that ended with Ince firing into the side netting.
Martina and Sigurdsson were working well together down the Everton left and an excellent one-two saw the Dutch fullback race away but suffer a slight charley-horse when tackled on the edge of the box. Another good interchange between the two saw Martina first a first time, diagonal ball into the box, but DCL was caught flat footed not expecting the early ball.
Everton were now getting into their stride and midfield determination from Rooney saw him evade a strong tackle to find Lennon and he played DCL in for the shot that Lossl made a good save from.
Morgan Schneiderlin replaced Tom Davies on 65 minutes, the manager obviously deciding Schneiderlin needed game time ahead of next Sunday’s derby that Davies will miss having picked up his fifth booking. Ademola Lookman replaced Aaron Lennon five minutes later and the visitors sent Mounie on for Malone.
Everton doubled their lead on 73 minutes as Rooney released a peach of a pass for DCL who held off the defenders challenge to fire a slightly deflected but sweet shot over the advancing ‘keeper for two-nil. The goal was a just reward for an industrious showing from the young centre forward who had worked hard throughout.
Jordan Pickford has largely been a spectator but he was glad to make an easy gather when a fierce shot from Smith took a deflection took the sting out of the effort.
Michael Keane came on for Wayne Rooney on 79 minutes as Sam Allardyce switched to a back three to make certain of the second clean sheet in two games and back to back victories.
Full Time: 2-0
Not a vintage performance by any stretch of the imagination, but right now, let’s take the victories and work on the manner in which they’re achieved in due course.
For sheer entertainment value, keep an eye on Sammy Lee. If anybody has any worries about his commitment to the Everton cause, forget it. Lee was worth the entrance fee alone as he was constantly up and down like a brides nightie, berating, cajoling and bellowing instructions and his hugs to every player were great to see. The fourth official and linesmen could have been forgiven for suffering perforated eardrums such was the earache the diminutive Lee gave them. And his jack-in-a-box enthusiasm seemed to rub off on Duncan Ferguson too as he spent more time in the coaching area than he has done all season.
It’s early days for the Allardyce era of Everton and there will be a lot tougher tests that Huddersfield to come, but his personal instructing of the back four throughout the game suggests was also very noticeable.