So the run continues. Everton against Fulham is the fixture that has the most prolific sequence of results and the hosts have now recorded 22 consecutive home league wins against the team from Craven Cottage.
By the final whistle, the score was emphatic and the relief that swept around Goodison Park was apparent; Marco Silva had got everything he wanted, from a clean sheet – Everton’s first since April 29 – and three points, to a goal from a striker who needed an injection of confidence.
Yet there were moments when it appeared Fulham might take points at this venue for the first time since September 1959, and it was only when Gylfi Sigurdsson struck in the 57th minute that Slavisa Jokanovic’s side began to slither away.
Gylfi Sigurdsson atoned for an earlier penalty miss with a second-half double to secure much-needed victory
Theo Walcott whipped in a cross from the left and substitute Cenk Tosun was on hand to nod home the second goal
The relief was obvious from the jubilant celebration as £27m striker Tosun finally got on the score sheet this season
Sigurdsson sealed a relatively convincing win in the 89th minute with a low drive from from Bernard’s cross
MATCH FACTS, LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Kenny, Keane, Zouma, Digne; Gana Gueye, Davies; Walcott, Sigurdsson (Schneiderlin 90), Richarlison (Bernard 87); Calvert-Lewin 5.5 (Tosun 55)
Subs not used: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Baines, Lookman
Goals: Sigurdsson 56, 89, Tosun 66
Manager: Marco Silva
FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Bettinelli; Fosu-Mensah (Christie 7), Odoi, Ream, Bryan; Zambo-Anguissa, Serri (Ayite 83); Vietto (Cairney 63), Schurrle, Sessegnon; Mitrovic
Subs not used: Rico, McDonald, Johansen, Le Marchand
Booked: Christie, Odoi, Mitrovic.
Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic
Referee – Roger East
Attendance – 38,788
Season at a glance
- Premier League
- Premier League
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Serie A
- La Liga
Both managers will know, though, that this could have turned out very differently. Fulham had glorious opportunities to end their hoodoo at this stadium.
The first 45 minutes were, to be blunt, soporific. Everton had plenty of the ball but, Richarlison apart, they lacked the imagination to make things difficult for Fulham; the longer it went on, the more anxious they became.
Everton were the better side but they still gifted Fulham the best two opportunities before the interval and, if anything, they were fortunate not to go in trailing when Ryan Sessegnon cracked a drive against the bar from inside the area. He really should have scored.
Conceding at that point would have fractured Everton’s brittle confidence. There was murmuring from the stands as the team left the pitch and the atmosphere had the potential to become uncomfortable. Winning was as much about soothing anxieties as it was collecting points.
Denis Odoi made contact with Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the box and the linesman awarded the spot-kick
Gylfi Sigurdsson stepped up to take the penalty but he blasted his spot kick against the crossbar in the 52nd minute
Fortunately for Silva, Everton’s performance in the second period significantly improved. The crowd got behind the team and it was the catalyst for a 20-minute spell that took the contest out of Fulham’s reach. Everton were dynamic and got their reward.
True, it looked briefly as that might not be the case. When Sigurdsson struck the crossbar from the penalty spot – assistant referee Andy Garratt spotted Denis Odoi’s push on Dominic Calvert-Lewin and awarded the kick – it appeared that Everton would flounder.
Silva didn’t watch the penalty and when he heard the exasperated growl that greeted the miss, he was visibly bursting with frustration as he stuffed his hands into his trouser pockets; he didn’t want to see another opportunity squandered.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder after a horror collision with Dominic Calvert-Lewin
The defender, on loan from Manchester United, was carried off on a stretcher in the seventh minute following the collision
Both teams struggled in the final third to create chances and there was only one shot on target in the first-half
He need not have worried; Sigurdsson atoned for his miss five minutes later when sweeping in a left-footed drive from 20 yards, the ball landing at his feet after Odoi failed to clear a cross from Theo Walcott properly.
Fulham, briefly, threatened to make a game of things but a key moment arrived in the 61st minute when Jordan Pickford won a battle of wits with Luciano Vietto and raced from his goal to make a crucial clearance. The England No 1, who punched the air, knew the significance.
What could have been 1-1 soon became 2-0. Everton started to get plenty of joy down Fulham’s left and when Walcott scuttled to the byline, his cross to the back post demand someone provide a finish. Tosun, only just on as a substitute, obliged with an emphatic header.
From that point, there was no way back for Fulham and the gloss was put on an excellent 45 minutes when Sigurdsson bent in another drive, this time with his right foot. Silva did not celebrate but you can be sure, privately, he was elated.
Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon burst into the box in the first-half but his left-footed shot came back off the crossbar
Everton manager Marco Silva and Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic share a similar expression on the touchline