Barry winner caps impressive Everton turnaround

20 August  0 Comments  [Jump to last]
West Bromwich Albion 1 - 2 Everton

Gareth Barry's winner completed an impressive fightback by Everton

Everton came from behind to win at The Hawthorns for the second season running as a decisive change in formation by Ronald Koeman paid dividends.

The Toffees were trailing by Gareth McAuley's ninth-minute header off a West Brom corner and struggling without a physical presence up front until Romelu Lukaku was introduced seven minutes before half time and Koeman switched from a three-man central defence to a more orthodox back four.

Everton were level by first-half stoppage time thanks to a brilliant passing move and then turned the game on its head just before the hour mark when Gareth Barry nodded in at the far post.

With the Baggies unable to penetrate the Blues' back line as easily as they had in the first period, the chief threat Tony Pulis's side could muster was from set-pieces but the visitors successfully repelled a late barrage to hang on for three vital points.

With just a couple of training sessions behind him following a gashed foot, Lukaku was only named among the substitutes, alongside new signings Ashley Williams and Yannick Bolasie. It was clear early on, however, that the formation Koeman had employed with Gerard Deulofeu in a central role and Kevin Mirallas playing off him was ineffective against West Brom's well-organised back line.

It was the home side who carried the early danger and though Maarten Stekelenburg made a terrific save to deny Salomon Rondon with seven minutes gone, he got tangled up with Saido Berahino's legs at the resulting corner and was powerless to stop McAuley from heading home at the back post.

Barry's tame side-foot shot was the only save Ben Foster had to make before Lukaku came on at James McCarthy's expense and the shape of the game visibly changed.

And the Belgian was involved in the equaliser, scored by his compatriot, Mirallas, who finished off a lovely move involving Idrissa Gueye, Barry, Phil Jagielka and Ross Barkley, by drilling a low shot past the goalkeeper on the stroke of half time.

Stekelenburg was called into action to deny Darren Fletcher early in the second half as the Blues' defence momentarily opened up before Deulofeu appeared to hit the post off a corner at the other end as Everton threatened.

Koeman's men did take the lead five minutes later, however, off another set piece after Ramiro Funes Mori's towering header had been pushed away one-handed by Foster. Mason Holgate, an impressive performer on the day, volleyed a corner from the right back across goal and the ball sat up perfectly for Barry to head inside the post.

2-1 nearly became three or four later after the introduction of Yannick Bolasie shortly after the goal. The debutant hared down the wing and crossed perfectly for Barkley but the midfielder planted his header half a yard the wrong side of the post.

Bolasie himself then blazed over with Lukaku better placed alongside him but he later slipped the Belgian in for what looked like a certain goal but Foster had came off his line well and blocked his effort.

West Brom searched in vain for an equaliser of their own but excellent defending by Jagielka after Williams had come on for his first appearance shut down James McClean, Rondon sliced over in front of goal and Foster, up for the last free kick of the game, half-volleyed the last chance wide.

So it was three well-earned points for Everton who showed resilience and adaptability to beat a dogged opponent despite still not operating on all four cyclinders.

Full details: ToffeeWeb match page

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