Sunday, June 25, 2017

Everton 3 Burnley 1: Barkley, Lukaku to the fore as Toffees extend winning run

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Apr 2017

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Ross Barkley ended a difficult week in positive fashion as he helped Everton make it eight Premier League home victories in a row by overcoming Burnley 3-1 at Goodison Park.

Playmaker Barkley, who was assaulted in a Liverpool bar in the wake of Everton’s win over Leicester City last time out, celebrated in the crowd after his deflected strike beat Tom Heaton in the 71st minute.

After a tepid first-half display, Ronald Koeman’s side clicked into gear three minutes after the interval – Phil Jagielka’s third goal in as many games putting Everton ahead.

Burnley failed to make the most of some good chances prior to half-time, though Sam Vokes made no mistake from the penalty spot following Joel Robles’ calamitous error to restore parity.

But, on the 28th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, it was the Toffees who came out on top when Barkley’s effort struck Michael Keane and then Ben Mee to put them back ahead, before Romelu Lukaku equalled Dixie Dean’s record of scoring in nine consecutive home games.

The victory lifts Everton – temporarily at least – into fifth place above Manchester United and Arsenal, while Burnley’s wretched away form goes on.

Burnley started brightly, and could well have snatched a goal when Jagielka’s sloppy pass put Robles under pressure after Lukaku had tested Heaton at the other end.

Everton’s goalkeeper was caught out of position for Burnley’s next chance, but his blushes were spared by Barkley, who got back to clear Keane’s header off the line.

Robles had to be on form to keep the scores level just after the half-hour mark, coming out swiftly to keep out Vokes’ strike.

Vokes was gifted a golden opportunity moments later, but the Wales striker failed to apply the finish after capitalising on another Jagielka error.

That chance seemed to spark Everton into life – Mason Holgate drawing a superb stop out of Heaton before Kevin Mirallas went close with a free-kick that deflected just wide.

Enner Valencia replaced Idrissa Gueye at the start of the second half, and the Ecuadorian forced Heaton into action with a venomous drive from the edge of the area.

But Everton did have their lead soon afterwards.

Jagielka found himself unmarked from six yards out and – despite Heaton’s best efforts – the Everton captain bundled the ball over the line.

Everton’s lead was short-lived though, Vokes calmly converting from the spot after he had been brought down by Robles in the hosts’ area.

Mirallas should have restored Everton’s lead on the hour mark, but the Belgian could only rattle the left-hand upright from close range.

However, Everton finally restored their advantage with just under 20 minutes remaining, Barkley’s strike finding the bottom corner courtesy of two deflections.

Everton were not finished there, though, and continued their superb scoring run when Lukaku rolled Keane and thumped home to add gloss to the victory.

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