By James Kilpatrick
Everton 1-0 Watford: Bernard first-half strike fires hosts to first win of the season
Report and highlights as Bernard's first goal of the Premier League season helps Everton overcome Watford in a tight contest
Last Updated: 17/08/19 7:00pm
Bernard's first Premier League goal of the season helped Everton edge a 1-0 win over Watford in a tight contest at Goodison Park.
The Brazilian's deflected strike into the bottom corner in the first half (10) proved the difference in the swirling conditions on Merseyside, but the visitors came close when Craig Dawson's header hit the woodwork midway through the first half.
Richarlison squandered two great chances to score for Everton. Despite Watford's sporadic efforts to equalise, including Troy Deeney's strike which forced a brilliant save from Jordan Pickford, the hosts held on for their first win of the season.
The result means Everton move up into fifth in the Premier League table on four points. Watford are rock bottom having lost their opening two matches.
Everton: Pickford (7), Coleman (6), Keane (6), Mina (7), Digne (6), Gbamin (7), Gomes (6), Sigurdsson (7), Richarlison (5), Bernard (7), Calvert-Lewin (6)
Subs: Walcott (6), Kean (6), Holgate (6)
Watford: Foster (6), Femenia (5), Dawson (6), Cathcart (6), Holebas (6), Doucoure (5), Capoue (6), Hughes (5), Pereyra (6), Deulofeu (6), Deeney (6)
Subs: Welbeck (5), Cleverley (N/A), Gray (N/A)
Man of the match: Bernard
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Everton grind it out against physical Watford
Everton began confidently and were given an early boost through Bernard. He picked up Lucas Digne's swerving ball and drilled his shot into the bottom corner, taking a deflection off Dawson.
The hosts continued to cause Watford problems, but it was Dawson who would come close with the next big chance as his far post header from a Jose Holebas corner cracked off the woodwork in the 23rd minute.
Marco Silva's side bounced back and pushed for a second before the break. Richarlison missed a great chance when he met Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick unmarked on the penalty spot, but directed his header over.
Jean-Phillippe Gbamin made his first Premier League start. Morgan Schneiderlin is serving a suspension.
Roberto Pereyra started for Watford, Andre Gray was dropped to the bench.
Ten minutes into the second half, Deeney was set through on goal by Gerard Deulofeu's incisive pass, but his first-time shot was saved by the face of Pickford.
Everton could have made it two on the hour-mark, but Richarlison missed another great chance when his free header at the near post flew over the bar.
With the clock winding down, Moise Kean came agonisingly close to scoring his first Premier League goal in added time, but the 19-year-old Italian dragged his shot inches past the post.
Silva pleased with 'important' win
"It was not our best performance for sure. We played really well in the first 30 minutes but the fans were always behind the team in some periods in the second half.
"The fans were behind us and gave us the extra we needed in that moment. We deserved the three points even if it was a tough game.
"We created more chances to score, they had one with a big save from Jordan to stop Troy Deeney. We kept a clean sheet which is important for us, too."
Gracia: We will try to do better
"There were some moments when we dominated the game. We had possession, had some chances to score.
"We didn't take them and if you don't score its difficult to get points. I'm happy with the performance knowing we have many things to improve.
"This is the way and I'm sure in the next games we will try to do better."
Man of the match: Bernard
The 26-year-old took his goal well but also was a constant problem for Kiko Femenia on the left flank with his pace and close ball control.
He scored just once in the Premier League last season but he looked comfortable all afternoon, winning balls high up the pitch, and is clearly showed why he is still part of Marco Silva's plans despite the arrival of Alex Iwobi.
Gbamin tidy on first Premier League start
Jean-Philippe Gbamin struck up a quick understanding with Andre Gomes in central midfield on his first Premier League start and the duo combined well to combat the imposing midfield duo of Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
He looked composed in possession and, aged just 23, will surely only improve as he gets more game-time in the Premier League.
- Everton have won five consecutive Premier League home games for the first time since a run of eight under Ronald Koeman in April 2017.
- In the top-flight, Watford have collected five points from a possible 75 in 25 away games against the two Merseyside clubs (Everton and Liverpool), winning one, drawing two and losing 22 of those games.
- Everton have kept six consecutive clean sheets at Goodison Park in the Premier League for the first time since a run of seven between March and September 2013.
- Watford boss Javi Gracia has lost six consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time in his career as a manager.
- With a run starting with a 71st minute West Ham strike through Marko Arnautovic in May, Watford have now conceded 12 goals in all competitions without reply.
Everton travel down to Birmingham to face Aston Villa - live on Sky Sports Premier League on Friday night (KO: 8pm. Watford host West Ham on Saturday (KO: 3pm).
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