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Everton 1-0 Fulham Prem35 Mirror

last updated Monday 29th April 2013, 11:31 PM
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Soriebah Kajue at The Mirror

Everton (1) 1 Fulham (0) 0

David Moyes must have known it would be a double celebration this weekend when Fulham arrived at Goodison Park.

The affable Scot celebrated his 50th birthday last ­Thursday but was keeping the champagne on ice until Saturday evening.

An Everton win against Fulham is, well, inevitable. The Toffees have now ­recorded 20 consecutive straight wins against their west London rivals.

It's the best record that one top-flight club boasts over another, and from the opening whistle you could sense that Moyes and Everton ­expected nothing less than the victory.

Steven Pienaar's strike ­secured a win that kept ­Everton's march towards qualification for European football firmly on track.

"It was a terrific goal," Moyes said. "We played some good football at times and didn't always finish the moves off, but on this occasion we did and it was all nice ­intricate play and a nice ­finish."

Of Pienaar he added: "Since his injury he's been a little bit below but I thought he knitted us together and scored a good goal. That will do him the world of good."

Everton made a bright start and duly got the goal their ­efforts deserved. Their pass master Leon Osman was at the centre of the move.

He combined with Kevin Mirallas before feeding the ball out to the ever industrious Seamus Coleman who was ploughing down the right.

The young full-back showed his composure to pick out ­Pienaar, who notched his ­seventh goal this season.

Everton had taken just one point from their last two games, which had blunted the possibility of them securing a top four finish.

Yet, with Champions League football seemingly out of their grasp, the pride instilled by Moyes in this pugnacious side compelled them to produce a professional display.

Everton's margin of victory should have been greater. By the interval they could and should have been three goals ahead, by the final whistle it could have been five. Willing, incisive, dominant and ­brimming with endeavour, they were everything Martin Jol's side were not.

And when Dimitar Berbatov limped off after 29 minutes - presumably with some type of muscle injury - to be replaced by Mladen Petric, it seemed symbolic of the white flag his side have long hoisted up at Goodison. Fulham have 40 points and are safe but Jol will not want his players cruising to the end of the campaign in this manner.

Maybe their record against Everton was playing on their minds but it looked like ­mentally they were scanning the travel agents for their post-season jaunts.

Harsh? Not exactly. Brede Hangeland's early header and Kieran Richardson's overhit cross for Petric was the sum of the Cottagers' attacking threat in the first half.

Marouane Fellaini had ­earlier fired wide after another incisive Everton move, while Victor Anichebe and Nikica Jelavic carried a menacing threat in attack.

Glum Jol was forced to admit his side's margin of defeat could have been greater.

"From the start you could see that they were eager," he said. "They played with two up front and were causing us problems, and they scored a good goal.

"But it was only 1-0 and in the second half we played a bit better in possession. With a little bit of luck we could have scored. But they could have scored two or three as well."

Urby Emanuelson's flashed shot past the post was their best effort of the second half while Mirallas and ­Fellaini could both have scored for Everton.

But it's Liverpool next up for Moyes' men and, after this ­display, who would bet against them finishing as the top team on Merseyside?

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