Everton moved up to fifth in the table after thumping Fulham at Goodison Park this afternoon. Chris Coleman’s side folded alarmingly after taking the lead through Carlos Bocanegra and are now looking over their shoulder towards the relegation zone after a damaging defeat.
Fulham’s lead hadn’t lasted long on Merseyside. A bandaged-up Lee Carsley levelled quickly and Alan Stubbs punished some slack marking to put the hosts in front ten minutes before half-time. James Vaughan added a third just before the break before young forward Victor Anichebe rounded off the scoring with eleven minutes left.
Coleman’s side started adventurously as they sought to end their thirteen match run without a league win away from Craven Cottage. Alexei Smertin signalled their intentions by testing Tim Howard from 25 yards and the visitors went in front when Bocanegra climbed highest to head former Everton winger Simon Davies’ superb corner home from six yards out. But Fulham were then blown away by three Everton goals in the space of twenty minutes.
It took just two minutes for Carsley, who had recovered from an accidental clash with Brian McBride, to poke home a Joleon Lescott cross to level matters. Vaughan somehow shot wide after Niemi had denied Andy Johnson, but that proved only a fleeting reprieve for Fulham. Stubbs stole ahead of Bocanegra to head home his first goal of the season from a Mikel Arteta free-kick and Vaughan added a third bang on half time at the near post after tenacious running from Johnson.
Fulham tried to launch a comeback after the interval with McBride heading a Liam Rosenior cross fractionally wide against his old club and Knight should have done better than head over from a Routledge free-kick. Collins John limped off injured and Fulham’s challenge rather petered out. Young striker Anichebe rounded off the scoring after being found by a precise Arteta pass and finished the all the composure of a veteran.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Howard; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Lescott; Osman, Carsley, Neville, Arteta (Naysmith 82); Vaughan (Anichebe 78), Johnson (Beattie 82). Subs (not used): Ruddy, McFadden.
GOALS: Carsley (25), Stubbs (34), Vaughan (45), Anichebe (80).
FULHAM (4-5-1): Niemi, Volz, Rosenior, Knight, Bocanegra; Brown, Smertin, Routledge, Davies, Brown, Smertin, Radzinski (John 60; Helguson 71); McBride. Subs (not used): Lastuvka, Christanval, Dempsey.
GOAL: Bocanegra (22).
REFEREE: Dermot Gallagher (Oxfordshire).