Nigeria striker Ayegbeni Yakubu was on target again to help Everton claim a much-needed 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Toffees boss David Moyes has been unhappy with his board’s failure to deliver new signings and his mood wasn’t improved by a last-minute defeat to Blackburn last weekend.
So victory at the Hawthorns, thanks to goals from Leon Osman and Yakubu, was the perfect tonic for Moyes and company.
Although Everton were far from convincing, Osman broke the deadlock in the 65th minute and Yakubu got his second goal in successive games 11 minutes later.
Roman Bednar’s late penalty was little consolation for Albion, who have lost their first two matches since promotion.
Albion started well and South Korean midfielder Do-heon Kim went close with a 25 yard free-kick that skimmed past a post.
Abdoulaye Meite was next to threaten with a volley from the edge of the Everton penalty area but his effort looped off-target.
Everton keeper Tim Howard produced the first save of note after 18 minutes when he went down low to his right to turn a Robert Koren effort around the post.
The visitors were struggling to find their rhythm and Koren drove in a long-range shot that flashed side before Chris Brunt was just over with a rasping strike.
After that the first half degenerated into a scrappy affair, with Albion’s fans expending most of their energy booing Everton defender Joleon Lescott, a former player at locals rivals Wolverhampton.
Howard had to save well from Ishmael Miller’s powerful strike early in the second half. The American keeper was in action again soon after as he denied Miller’s attempted chip.
Against the run of play, Everton took the lead when Mikel Arteta picked out Osman, who drilled a low shot across Scott Carson into the corner of the net.
Albion boss Tony Mowbray responded by bringing on Bednar and Sherjill MacDonald in place of Koren and Kim.
But Everton’s confidence had been lifted by Osman’s goal. They rampaged forward again and Osman almost doubled their lead with a volley from 20 yards.
Mowbray’s side were on the rack and a mix-up between Carson and Meite allowed Yakubu to nip in and head the second goal with 14 minutes remaining.
Albion had a late lifeline when Phil Neville handled and Bednar drove in the penalty but Everton had done enough to secure their first win.
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