Everton 6-3 Bournemouth: Romelu Lukaku hits four as Ronald Koeman's side extend unbeaten run
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 04/02/17 10:49pm
Romelu Lukaku scored four as Everton moved to within six points of Liverpool in fourth with a 6-3 victory against Bournemouth.
The 23-year-old scored almost straight from kick-off and was gifted another - after a lucky second for James McCarthy (23) - as Ronald Koeman's side stormed into a 3-0 half-time lead.
Bournemouth hit back after the break thanks to a Josh King double to set up a tenser than expected finish and Everton were hanging on until Lukaku (83, 84) scored two in two minutes to make the points safe.
There was still time for Harry Arter (90) to add a third for Bournemouth before Ross Barkley rounded off the afternoon deep into stoppage time on an eventful afternoon at Goodison Park.
Everton, who are unbeaten in six league matches, are now just two points behind Manchester United, who face Leicester on Super Sunday, in sixth, while they are now just six points behind Liverpool in fourth after Jurgen Klopp's side suffered a shock defeat to Hull.
For Bournemouth, the loss means they are five games without a win in the league and are just six points above the relegation places.
Everton sprung out of the blocks and were ahead after just 31 seconds as Lukaku combined with McCarthy before curling a left-footed shot beyond Artur Boruc and into the far corner.
Koeman handed a first start to Ademola Lookman, and the former Charlton forward was inches from adding to his side's lead, showing quick feet on the edge of the box before dragging his shot wide.
Bournemouth had no answers to Everton going forward, especially Lukaku, who played a key role in doubling his side's lead.
The Belgium international burst past Marc Pugh and Tyrone Mings before pulling the ball back from the byline for McCarthy, who saw his initial shot blocked by Steve Cook, but the ball bounced back off him and into the back of the net.
In the 29th minute it was three as Simon Francis' sloppy cross-field pass gifted Lukaku with possession 12 yards out and he punished the visitors, lifting the ball over the onrushing Boruc.
Lukaku was now on the hunt for a hat-trick and moments later he nearly latched on Seamus Coleman's throughball. However, Boruc was quickly off his line to deny the striker..
Bournemouth rarely threatened but they did get one chance in stoppage time at the end of the first half but Joel Robles, who had hardly had a touch, made a smart save to keep out Cook's low drive.
Eddie Howe's side, who have won just two points from five matches in 2017, finally sprung into life after the break and King scored twice from close range before Harry Arter forced Robles into a full-stretch save.
Everton were hanging on before Lukaku came to the rescue, converting Coleman's cross before in the 83rd minute and then holding off the challenges of two Bournemouth defenders to add his fourth a minute later.
Arter pulled another back for the visitors in the 90th minute, sneaking one in at the near post from close range but it was Barkley, and Everton, who had the final say.
The England midfielder finished things off deep in added time to make it 17 points from Everton's last seven matches, putting United and the top six firmly in their sights.
Everton: Robles (8), Coleman (7), Williams (7), Funes Mori (6), Baines (6), Barry (6), Schneiderlin (7), McCarthy (7), Barkley (8), Lookman (8), Lukaku (9).
Subs used: Mirallas (6), Davies (6), Holgate (6)
Bournemouth: Boruc (6), Francis (4), Cook (5), Mings (6), Surman (6), Gosling (5), Arter (6), Pugh (6), Wilshere (7), Fraser (7), King (8).
Subs used: Smith (6), Ibe (6), Afobe (6).
Man of Match: Romelu Lukaku.