Everton stroll past Cottagers
By Andrew Scurr
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Everton climbed into fifth place in the table with a 4-1 victory over Fulham.
Everton climbed into fifth place in the Premiership table with a 4-1 victory over Fulham at Goodison Park.
David Moyes' side responded brilliantly to going behind to Carlos Bocanegra's header by scoring three times to take a comfortable lead into half-time.
Lee Carsley netted the equaliser, Alan Stubbs headed Everton in front and James Vaughan got a third just before the break.
Victor Anichebe added a fourth moments after coming on as a substitute as Everton moved above Bolton on goal difference and into the European places.
Fulham began brightly and Liam Rosenior and Alexei Smertin both fired early shots in anger, but neither effort really troubled Tim Howard, who made a comfortable save from the Russian midfielder.
Everton looked more threatening with their shots from distance, with Mikel Arteta forcing Antti Niemi to make a low stop from the corner of the area and Carsley volleying across the Fulham goal.
Bocanegra brought the game to life midway through the first half when he stole in alone to head home Simon Davies' in-swinging corner from six yards out, but their lead did not last long.
Everton hit straight back and were level within three minutes as Joleon Lescott got in down the left after a great move and sent an inviting ball across which was prodded into the bottom corner by Carsley.
The Toffees were close to taking the lead on the half hour, but Vaughan could only poke wide at the back post after Andy Johnson's initial shot was parried by Niemi.
Everton were in front soon after through Stubbs, who got in front of his marker at the near post to glance Arteta's quality free-kick into the back of the net for his first goal for Everton since rejoining the club in January 2006.
The hosts dominated the final stages of the half and eventually got their third with an excellent finish from Vaughan, but not before going close on more than one occasion.
Arriving late, Arteta headed Johnson's cross wide under pressure from Tomasz Radzinski and Vaughan struck the woodwork at the far post from a super ball in from the left by Lescott.
Vaughan got the goal his first-half display deserved on the stroke of half-time. Johnson and Arteta linked up on the right and the Spaniard's low cross was brilliantly turned in first-time by the Everton youngster from 10 yards.
Chris Coleman was clearly fuming at the break as he sent his players out early for the second half and Brian McBride almost pulled a goal back within 10 minutes of the restart.
Having sent a powerful header over the top minutes earlier, the American - known for his excellent ability in the air - climbed highest to connect with Rosenior's centre, but saw the ball drop just the wrong side of the post.
Arteta blazed a free-kick off target, while at the other end Zat Knight wasted a glorious chance with another header which flew over the top of Everton's goal and Davies headed straight at Howard.
Johnson forced a decent save out of Niemi with 15 minutes remaining, but the England striker probably could have done better when picked out by another great cross from Arteta.
Vaughan's drive produced a good low stop out of the Finn with his final input before being replaced by Anichebe, who made an instant impact as he slotted the fourth past Niemi from Arteta's pullback with 10 minutes remaining.
Howard had to make a stoppage time save from substitute Heidar Helguson and the resulting corner also saw the Icelander head narrowly over the Everton crossbar.
Everton ended the game with ten men after Anichebe picked up an injury, but the home side's work had already been done long before.
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|9||Shots on Target||4|
|6||Shots off Target||8|