Everton 3-0 Bournemouth

Two goals before the break from James Garner and sweet finish from Jack Harrison put the Blues on the way to a well deserved and long overdue home win. Abdoulaye Doucoure added a third on the hour to cement the points.

With a terrible home record so far this season, the pressure to get a result against Bournemouth was certainly piling up on the shoulders of Sean Dyche. And he dropped a hint in his pre-game press gathering that he might go 4-4-2 against the Cherries and when the team news came it showed a starting eleven in a 4-4-1-1 formation thus: Jordan Pickford, Ashley Young, James Tarkowski (c), Jarrad Branthwaite, Vitalii Mykolenko, James Garner, Jack Harrison, Amadou Onana, James Garner, Dwight McNeil, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Bournemouth arrived at Goodison a point and three places behind the Blues and therefore equally in need of three points to ease the pressure on them and their Spanish coach, Andoni Iraola, who named his starting line-up: Neto (c), Tavernier, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kerkez, Christie, Cook, Smith, Billing, Ouattara and Solanke.

On a warm, sunny October afternoon reminiscent of mid summer, our referee was David Coote.

With Goodison bathed in opening day of the season sunshine and many fans in shirt sleeves, toting sunglasses and Amber Solaire, Everton took to the field for (another) must-win game… 132 days after the must-win victory over Bournemouth that ensued this fixture took place once again in the top flight.

A rather nondescript opening five minutes saw both sides playing errant passes and losing possession far too easily to each other, before McNeil saw a shot blocked and cleared.

Everton have been wasteful of scoring chances this season but on 8 minutes , Zabarnyi slipped and gave the ball to James Garner and he strode forward and placed a low shot beyond Neto and into the bottom corner… one chance, one goal… a most pleasant feeling.

The first effort from Bournemouth came in the 13th minute as Solanke volleyed into the side netting. Everton defended a free kick against Branthwaite for handball and nearly forced another opening as Doucoure pressured Senesi who then fouled Harrison. Onana fed Doucoure who relayed the ball onto McNeil, his low shot fizzing just wide of the far post.

McNeil flighted a free kick that fell to Harrison, his shot hit DCL and came back to Doucoure and his effort deflected nicely for Neto to save easily. This was much better from Everton through twenty minutes, good energy and application on show from the players. McNeil won the games first corner which Garner swung to the near post where Solanke hurriedly put it behind for a second corner, this time from the right that McNeil took and Senesi put behind for a third… that was headed behind for a fourth in quick succession, that saw a Harrison shot cleared.

An attack by Bournemouth momentarily had the Blues defence in a quandary till Tarkowski settled things down with the clearance to tough on halfway… if in doubt, belt it out tactics. Bournemouth won their first corner as Mykolenko took no chances with a cross played in from the left and Branthwaite did likewise when a cross from the right came in… Goodison voicing its concern at the first signs of indecision giving Bournemouth a glimmer of a chance.

Kerkez on a charge won a third corner as his shot deflected behind off Tarkowski. Referee Coote antagonised the home crowd by awarding another corner to the visitors that was unceremoniously hoofed to safety as we passed the half hour mark. Everton needed to get back on the ball and settle things down and spell of possession led to another shot by Garner being partially blocked and falling easily for Neto to gather safely.

A free kick for a foul by Branthwaite saw a cross knocked down and then fired high into the Gwladys Street terracing. Excellent play by DCL found by Young put the visitors under pressure eventually leading to another corner from the right which Found Mykolenko and his shot was deflected behind for a corner from the left. That was partially cleared, a cross came in that Neto punched clear, another cross came in that Neto again punched only as far as Jack Harrison who put a delightful shot over a mass of players and under the crossbar for his first goal in the Royal Blue.

The relief around Goodison at doubling the lead was palpable as Spirit of the Blues rang around the Old Lady.

Into the final five minutes of a half that had seen both sides have good spells and another good move ended with McNeil winning another corner on the left that saw Young have two shots, the first blocked the second screwed wide of the far post. Two added minutes were announced and a cross from the right from Young was met by DCL and denied by the crossbar before Mykolenko found Onana and his shot grazed the outside of the far post… and at the break, the crowd rose to applaud the players off to their slice of orange and cup of tea.

Half Time: 2-0

One change by Bournemouth for the start of the second half saw Rothwell replace Christie in midfield, DCL pressured Zabarnyi into losing the ball and Doucoure really should have done much better with the glorious opportunity that fell to him from it.

Rothwell from a corner crossed straight into the waiting hands of Jordan Pickford as Bournemouth tried in vain to make an impression on the early stages of the second half. Two fouls earned the Blues a free kick that was wasted. Neto off his line quickly put the ball almost to the back of the Main Stand to prevent DCL getting to it and on 56 minutes, Sinisterra replaced the anonymous Ouattara for the visitors.

Solanke was booked for blatantly pulling back on Onana, a decision warmly welcomed by the home fans before Young pulled up and a long ball from Pickford was taken well by DCL, his volley going over the target.

Everton kept the pressing on and when Neto denied Harrison on a cross by McNeil, Abdoulaye Doucoure was perfectly placed to smash home the third just before the hour mark.

Everton were threatening to run riot as another run down the left by McNeil saw him cross for DCL to again volley just wide.

McNeil again played DCL to chip the ball over the onrushing Neto but just wide, but lovely to see the Blues playing so confidently and DCL with a big smile on his face after the miss. More changes on 66 minutes by Bournemouth saw Brooks and Moore replace Kerkez and Cook respectively.

Into the final twenty minutes and Young on a charge down the right was brought down, McNeil flighting the free kick into the area where Bournemouth eventually got the ball away to counter and Solanke tamely heading a cross from Smith straight at Pickford. Everton countered and this prime it was Onana shooting high and wide as the Blues looked to add to their tally.

DCL won a corner from the right and Onana was twice denied at the back post and Garner saw a shot from distance saved by Neto. Bournemouth won a corner as Everton prepared a change, McNeil with a goal line clearance before racing down the other end to take a pass from Doucoure to test Neto again.

Jack Harrison got a standing ovation as he made way for Nathan Patterson on 77 minutes with Young moving into midfield on the right flank.

Ten minutes to play and the Blues looked to make another change as Beto stripped off but not before Pickford denied Moore from a point blank header on a Solanke cross. Goodison rose again on 82 minutes to give DCL a standing ovation for his unrewarded efforts as he was replaced by Beto.

A final change by Bournemouth saw Aarons replace Smith and entering the final minute, Pickford went full length low to his left to turn a shot from Tavernier behind for a corner that was cleared, the second cross sailing straight into the arms of Pickford.

Five added minutes were announced and Youssef Chermiti came on for an added-on time cameo replacing Abdoulaye Doucoure. A nice ball from Garner sent Patterson into space but his cross was too strong. Everton were now content to knock the ball around safe in the knowledge that the victory and three points were theirs and at the final whistle, Goodison again rose as one to applaud the players from the field.

Full Time: 3-0

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