Everton began Sam Allardyce's tenure with a second successive home win as goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were enough to see off Huddersfield Town.
Having adapted to the visitors' energetic pressing and found their own rhythm in the second half, the Blues pressed home their superiority with two goals in a match that was otherwise short on goalmouth action.
Having watched Everton dismantle West Ham on Wednesday evening in David Unsworth's last game in charge, Allardyce elected to go with the same starting XI despite the availability of Oumar Niasse and Michael Keane.
That meant Calvert-Lewin deployed up front again, Wayne Rooney occupying the deeper-lying role in which he proved so effective in midweek, and Cuco Martina continuing to deputise for the injured Leighton Baines at left back.
And it was Martina who had the best chance of a physical first half where opportunities were at a premium at both ends. The Curacao international benefited from strong hold-up play by Calvert-Lewin and hammered a right-foot shot that Jonas Lössl had to parry away with both hands.
At the other end, Laurent Depoitre came closest to breaking the Terriers' long goal drought away from home when the ball fell to him at a corner but Jordan Pickford did enough to get a hand to it before it was hacked away to safety.
The second half was only a couple of minutes when Everton took the lead. Aaron Lennon's pass into the penalty area was flicked beautifully into the path of Sigurdsson by Calvert-Lewin and the Iceland international swept confidently home from a central position.
Tom Ince lashed a shot into the side-netting as David Wagner's men tried to respond but it was the Blues who almost doubled their lead just past the hour mark. This time it was Lennon who played Calvert-Lewin in with a deft touch off Rooney's perceptive pass but the goalkeeper was on hand again to beat the shot away.
Lennon was replaced by Ademola Lookman and Tom Davies, on another yellow card, made way for Morgan Schneiderlin with 20 minutes left; shortly afterwards, the home side made it 2-0.
They had increasingly got the measure of Huddersfield and when Idrissa Gueye won the ball in his own half and found Rooney, the veteran forward released Calvert-Lewin behind the visitors' defence with another pin-point pass. The striker bore down on Lössl's goal and profited from a slight deflection off the covering defender's lunging tackle that carried it over the ‘keeper's arms into the net.
Tommy Smith had a deflected late effort saved by Pickford but Huddersfield, who hadn't scored on their travels since the opening day, would not find a way past the Blues' back line which kept its second clean sheet of the week.
The result lifts Everton into 10th place in the Premier League and moves them eight points clear of the bottom three for now.
Sam Allardyce took charge of his first match since agreeing to become Everton manager as Huddersfield Town came to Goodison Park for the first time in the league for 45 years.
And Allardyce named an unchanged side from the one that performed so well on Wednesday night to put four goals past West Ham United. Still no sign of Davy Klaassen or Sandro Ramirez, with Michael Keane back from injury and on the bench.
Oumar Niasse had completed his two-match ban for supposedly deceiving the match officials at Crystal Palace and he was also on the bench.
A polite round of applause greeted the introduction of the new manager to the Goodison faithful before the visitors kicked off and Everton lobbed a few long balls forward for good measure. Davies was upended by Malone but Sigurdsson delivered the arcing free-kick direct to Lössl. Davies went down again in an unequal aerial challenge.
Holgate had trouble early on, missing a clearance, giving away a free-kick and a corner, while his colleagues proceeded to implement the long-ball hoof up field at every opportunity. Davies won another free-kick that Sigurdsson expertly fired in again directly into Lössl's arms.
The game was ugly with Everton formless and scrappy 15 mins in, Huddersfield starting to dominate possession and push the Blues back, with the mindless long-ball clearances playing perfectly into their hands.
A defended ball fell nicely for Rooney whose fierce volley smacked into a defender. Lennon got the chance to run with the ball and Malone hacked him down, earning the first yellow card and another Sigurdsson opportunity... this time played wide to Lennon, ending with a turnover and a poor challenge from Kenny and a yellow card for the youngster.
Davies was next to show needless and mindless aggression that earned him a really stupid booking. Calvert-Lewin inadvertently set up a surprise shot on target for Martina that was batted away – the only attemt on the visitors' goal in the first half. Rooney usurped free-kick duties and fired in a wicked ball for Calvert-Lewin, who had strayed offside.
Everton finally started to look a little better but Lennon kept running the ball into trouble and the visitors took over control again, albeit with no better quality. A hopeful move forward through the middle, with ground balls through Rooney, ended abruptly when the ball spun off Sigurdsson's heel, summing up the frustrating nature of the football on show.
Rooney was dropping all the way back to try and control things but it wasn't really working and a dangerous free-kick in form Moe needed heading behind for a corner that saw Everton survive a goalmouth scramble, with Pickford reacting quickly to save a goal against.
Kenny put in some good crosses but there was insufficient quality on the end of them to forge anything by way of a real goal attempt, which had been ominously lacking for much of a very poor first half, which ended appropriately enough with a shockingly poor forward ball form Sigurdsson.
But less than 2 minutes into the second half and a slick move with some fine passing ended with Sigurdsson firing home instinctively off a brilliant flick from Calvert-Lewin. A moment of quality at last!
The goal instantly changed the impetus of the game and Everton should have scored a second from a corner but Huddersfield scampered forward and Ince lashed a shot just wide, into the side netting. But the effect was short-lived as the quality of Everton's passing and ball-retention reverted to previous levels.
The hour mark approached and Big Sam looked at Little Sam, thinking about a sub as Calvert-Lewin finally got a rare chance to fire at goal but gave the keeper too much of a chance to push it away.
Davies and Calvert-Lewin so nearly combined with some clever flicks that just failed to click, and another better-looking exchange saw Sigurdsson cross too close to Lössl. The chosen sub was Morgan Schneiderlin on for Tom Davies, a very conservative move to retain that one-goal lead with 25 minutes left. Lookman replaced Lennon 5 mins later.
An opportunistic turnover forced by Gueye was pounced on beautifully by Rooney and played forward superbly for Calvert-Lewin who kept his cool and got a nice deflection to take the ball high into the roof of the net for a fine second goal.
No place for Oumar Niasse in the last 10 minutes as Michael Keane replaced Wayne Rooney, to the sound of a good chant from the Goodison fans who had not decided to stay away in protest against Allardyce's appointment. The second half was played out with growing confidence and competence in equal measure for a solid and vital win (and another clean sheet) that would take Everton back into the top-half of the Premier League table.
Scorers: Sigurdsson (47'), Calvert-Lewin (73')
Everton: Pickford, Martina, Williams, Holgate, Kenny [Y:21'], Davies [Y:25'] (65' Schneiderlin), Gueye, Rooney (80' Keane), Sigurdsson, Lennon (71' Lookman); Calvert-Lewin.
Subs not Uesd: Robles, Niasse, Vlasic, Baningime.
Huddersfield Town: Lössl, Malone [Y:20'] (71' Mounie), Smith, Schindler, Zanka, Williams, Quaner (46' Palmer), Kachunga, Mooy, Ince, Depoitre.
Subs not Used: Hogg, Cranie, Lowe, Green, Hadergjonaj.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Sam Allardyce takes charge of his first match since agreeing to become Everton manager as Huddersfield Town come to Goodison Park for the first time in the league for 45 years.
The 63-year-old's appointment as Ronald Koeman's full-time successor was confirmed yesterday and he now begins the task of building on Wednesday's 4-0 win over West Ham, with the focus now on closing the nine-point gap that has opened up between the Blues and the seventh place they occupied at the end of last season.
Allardyce had his first press conference as Everton boss at Finch Farm this morning and he outlined his first jobs as galvanising the current squad and getting some of the nine injured players back on the field before looking ahead to what would be required in the January transfer window.
Though he spoke to the team briefly before Wednesday's game and stressed the need for a clean sheet and scoring the first goal — the Blues achieved both in David Unsworth's last game in charge — tomorrow's match and the training sessions in between will be his first real chance to assess what he has inherited from Ronald Koeman.
“The first and foremost thing is to get back to winning ways, bring some stability to the club and get them playing as well as they did the other night consistently,” Allardyce said.
“Hopefully that will happen tomorrow. It will tell me an awful lot if we can hit that level of performance again which tells me we're moving in the [right] direction.
“If there's a falter in the performance and the result doesn't go our way will tell me an awful lot about and the players we have at this moment in time. But certainly, I was so impressed the other night — to come back from the two previous results and win like they did showed they have an outstanding character.”
In addition to Oumar Niasse who missed the last two games through suspension, Allardyce will have Michael Keane back in contention following his recovery from a head injury. Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines are both ruled out, however.
Given the result against the Hammers, Allardyce might be tempted to keep the starting XI more or less the same and, as he suggested in his presser, regard substitutions as a key component of the match.
Niasse's goalscoring record compared with that of Dominic Calvert-Lewin could sway the new manager to selecting him over the young striker while Keane would be an obvious replacement for Mason Holgate if experience were the only consideration but that would be hard on the former Barnsley man who acquitted himself superbly in his more natural central positiom.
In midfield, Wayne Rooney is set to continue in the deeper-lying role in which he thrived against West Ham, scoring a hat-trick that included that brilliant strike from 58 yards out. Allardyce joked to the media that “it's not rocket science” where the veteran player fits into Everton's formation after that performance in midweek.
Huddersfield, who had initially made a good start to life in the first season in the Premier League under David Wagner, will be looking to bounce back from a 5-0 hammering by Arsenal on Wednesday evening and a 4-0 reverse at Bournemouth in their previous away game before that. Indeed, since beating Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on the opening day, the Terriers have picked up just one point on their travels without scoring a single goal.
So, while Huddersfield have been dropping down the table having occupied third place heading into September, Everton can continue moving in the right direction if they can capitalise on their opponents' poor away form. Depending on results elsewhere, the Blues could jump to as high as ninth this weekend and set themselves up for the Merseyside derby at Anfield eight days later.
Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday, 2 December, 2017
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Last Time: Everton 2 - 2 Huddersfield Town (December 1971)
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Williams, Martina, Gueye, Davies, Rooney, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Niasse