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Match Report ~ Fulham win at Everton ~ Prem MD23 20/21

last updated Sunday 14th February 2021, 10:43 PM

Match Report

Everton (0) 0-2 (0) Fulham

Premier League Match Day 23 2021 at Goodison Park

Sunday 14th February 2021    KO: 19:00

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Live on BT Sports

Fulham striker Josh Maja
Fulham striker
Josh Maja
Josh Maja
His Wiki page
Fulham coach Scott Parker got through the formalities of the handshakes with the opposition bench without a glimmer of emotion before he allowed his mask to slip.

For a split-second, he was alone on the Goodison Park pitch and he began to discreetly jab his fists in celebration by his side. Nobody could begrudge him this moment. It had 76 days since he had last felt this rush of happiness and how much it was needed.

Fulham, according to those who watch them regularly, have played better this season but the timing of this success – and the venue at which it arrived – could not have been more significant. A first Premier League win since November 30 was also Fulham's first-ever league win at Goodison Park.

This stadium has been the ultimate bogey ground; 14 previous league visits had brought 14 league defeats, but it may yet be the catalyst for transforming their campaign. Finally, after weeks of producing pretty football, they had a killer instinct to go with it.

Josh Maja was the man to provide it. Signed during the winter window, the Nigeria striker scored both goals in the second half and inflicted maximum damage to an Everton team that was hoping to make a statement in terms of getting involved in the race for the top four.

Match Stats Everton Fulham
Goals (0) 0 2 (0)
Scorers - Maja 48
- Maja 65
Goal attempts 7 12
On target 2 3
Shooting Accuracy 29% 25%
Possession 50% 50%
Passes Success 83% 86%
Corners 5 4
Tackles Success 65% 63%
Saves 1 2
Fouls 7 16
Offsides 3 2
Yellows 1 1
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
The way Fulham started the contest was at odds with the impression they gave in the minutes before kick-off. The starting line-up hung around by their dressing rooms, while Everton's team waited for them on the pitch.

When they eventually decided to walk over, with the coaching entourage in tow, it appeared as if they were late and unprofessional. The fact Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Maja then forgot to take the knee and started playing immediately suggested Fulham were not thinking straight.

Nothing, though, could have been further from the truth. Fulham were the better side in the opening 45 minutes and the aggression they showed on the pitch was mirrored by Parker's constant chirping on the touchline, badgering his team and/or the fourth official Tony Harrington for more.

If anything, it was Everton who were ragged and this would have left Ancelotti aghast. He had sounded a note of caution in his programme notes about Fulham, saying: 'If our attitude is not at the top, they will hurt us, for sure.'

His words were prophetic. Fulham were inches away from taking a 10th minute lead when a corner lead to De Cordova-Reid flicking a ball towards goal that evaded everyone but thudded against the post; it bounced out as far as Ola Aina but he was denied by Abdoulaye Doucoure's timely challenge.

This was not what Ancelotti expected from Everton and his exasperation surfaced when he turned to his coaches and threw his hands in the air; the hosts were slovenly and it was left to goalkeeper Robin Olsen to bellow 'movement!' in the hope of breaking the lethargy.

None of that made a difference, as Fulham continued to threaten. Harrison Reed saw a shot arrow just wide after the impressive De Cordova-Reid teed him up, while Ademola Lookman – once of Everton – skipped into the area after exchanging passes with De Cordova-Reid but screwed his effort wide.

Belatedly, Everton awoke and they finished the opening period positively with Andre Gomes having their first meaningful effort, following super work by James Rodriguez, then captain Seamus Coleman hit the post with a left foot drive after driving 40 yards in field unchallenged.

The positivity, however, was not sustained. The break allowed Fulham to regroup and they started the second half by really taking hold of the contest and opening the scoring with a quite beautiful goal. It was the kind which every coach craves to see, fluency from back to front.

It all began with Tosin Adarabioyo moving a ball forward to Reed; he nudged it forward to De Cordova-Reid, out it went to Aina, who exchanged passes with Lookman and scooted around Coleman to whip his cross into the six-yard box. Maja, gleefully, did the easy bit and tapped into an empty net.

Parker hollered his delight and with good reason. It was no more than his side deserved and the confidence it provided was tangible; suddenly they were moving a yard quicker and had the belief they could play themselves out of tight positions.

Everton, by contrast, began to shrink. This fixture was supposed to provide the impetus ahead of two huge fixtures against Manchester City and Liverpool but play against them as they did here and they will be in for a miserable time.

It was the kind of lifeless performance that would have had a full Goodison growling its displeasure and it went from bad to worse in the 65th minute when Maja doubled his tally, tapping in a rebound from six yards after Olsen touched Reed's shot onto the post.

From that point, it was all plain sailing and the only moment Parker had reason to worry was when substitute Josh Onomah got involved in a shoving match with Michael Keane. Like his team, though, he was no pushover. The fight for survival can continue.

Man of the match - Josh Maja
What Fulham have lacked is someone to put the ball in the back of the net. Maybe they've now found him.

The distance of his two strikes combined barely reached the penalty spot but it's not wonder goals Fulham have been searching for, it's a striker's instinct.

The first was a smart back-post run off Ben Godfrey, which left him a simple finish. For the second, he was alert to Reed's rebound, something Michael Keane and Godfrey were certainly not.

Fulham had scored three goals in the six games before this, Maja almost matched that in barely an hour. It is very early days, but this is a promising start.

Everton: Olsen, Coleman (Keane 56), Godfrey, Holgate, Digne, Gomes, Doucoure, Davies (King 56), James (Bernard 68), Richarlison, Sigurdsson

Unused substitutes: Virginia, Mina, Nkounkou, Onyango, Allan, Iwobi.

Booked: Keane (96,f),

Fulham: Areola, Tete, Andersen, Tosin, Aina, Loftus-Cheek, Reed, Lemina (Onomah 90+1), De Cordova-Reid, Maja (Cavaleiro 72), Lookman (Anguissa 82)

Unused substitutes: Rodak, Hector, Odoi, Ream, Kongolo, Robinson.

Maja 48 (Aina and Lookman combine down the left, overloading Coleman. A one-two gets Aina into the box where he squares for Maja, who slides in the opener from close-range. Simple finish, but a striker's awareness to get there.)
Maja 65 (Lookman skins Holgate down the left and pulls it back for Reed. His lovely shot hits the post and falls for Maja, who's the only one alive to it and gives him time to sidefoot in.)

Booked: Onomah (96,d),

Referee: Andrew Madley (West Yorkshire)

Attendance: 0

Source Dominic King for Mailonline/SkySports
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