Match Report: West Ham United 2 - 3 Everton

Ian Walton

Everton twice came from behind at the Boleyn Ground to secure a memorable away victory against ten-man West Ham.

What had initially threatened to be a disappointing day for Everton was transformed in a frenetic second half, as the Toffees overcame West Ham United to attain their first away win of the season.

Two superb free-kicks from Leighton Baines, and a late header from debutant Romelu Lukaku, secured three points for the Blues, after Ravel Morrison and Mark Noble had twice put the home side ahead. Noble was dismissed shortly after scoring from the penalty spot, and Everton pressed home their numerical advantage in the latter stages to record well-deserved victory.

For much of the game however, a win seemed unlikely. Everton began with the same line-up that had started against Chelsea last week, but they struggled to find fluency in their passing, and were pressed hard by an effervescent Hammers side.

A frustratingly bitty first half was marked only by a curling drive from Kevin Mirallas, after the Belgian had shifted past Joey O'Brien, and Morrison's opening strike. The impressive Matt Jarvis swept in from the left and laid on the youngster, whose shot looked to be heading safely into the gloves of Tim Howard until it took a wicked deflection off Phil Jagielka. An unlucky goal to concede, but not an undeserved one, all things considered.

There were few further openings before the break, as neither side was able to fully impose themselves. Everton, as is becoming the norm under Roberto Martinez, had significantly more possession (61% at the break), but they failed to make inroads in the opposition third, and Gareth Barry and Leon Osman - both excellent against Chelsea - struggled to cope with the harrying and hassling of Kevin Nolan, Noble and Mohamed Diame.

Changes were needed, and refreshingly, Everton's manager was proactive with his substitutions. Martinez replaced the ineffective pair of Nikica Jelavic and Steven Naismith with James McCarthy and Lukaku, and momentum quickly shifted in the Toffees' favour.

Lukaku's impact was immediate, turning James Collins and threading a ball through for his compatriot Mirallas. The winger prodded the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen, but the touch took him wide and his attempted cut back was cleared by the Hammers defence.

Soon after, Everton were forced into a third change; Osman went off clutching his groin after a fairly innocuous challenge, and the midfielder was replaced by Bryan Oviedo, the Costa Rican making his first Premier League appearance of the season. This lent slightly more balance to the Blues' formation, with Oviedo and Mirallas occupying the wings and McCarthy dropping deeper in midfield alongside Barry.

The game's tempo quickened, the Blues' passing sharper, and they soon had an equalizer. Barkley spun away from his marker and was brought down 25 yards from goal, winning a free kick. Baines stepped up and typically fired a pearl of a shot past Jaaskelainen into the top-left corner.

Everton continued to pressure their opponents, and Baines again went close when his cross was deflected, but they remained vulnerable on the counter, a fact that was demonstrated in the 75th minute. A long West Ham ball wasn't dealt with by Jagielka, and substitute Mladen Petric took advantage of the skipper's complacency to nip in and steal the ball on the touchline. The forward played it into the path of the onrushing Kevin Nolan, and the Hammers captain showed some excellent close control to beat first Barry and then McCarthy. The latter caught Nolan with a trailing leg, and West Ham were awarded a clear penalty.

Subsequently, things became even more frantic. First Noble stroked home the spot kick to restore West Ham's lead, but he was then sent off for a second booking after bringing down Barkley just outside the home side's area. The resemblance to the first free-kick was uncanny, with Barkley fouled in almost exactly the same position, and it produced the same result as Baines curled in his second of the match - the ball pinging in off the opposite post this time as goalie Jaaskelainen edged towards the right where the first freekick had gone in.

A man up and scenting a winner, Everton threw everything forward in the final minutes, and they got their just reward when the excellent Lukaku nodded home the winner with five minutes remaining. The Chelsea loanee picked out Mirallas in the box, and the winger writhed and twisted, managing to produce a superb cross with his left foot, which was met emphatically by Lukaku. The striker clashed heads with O'Brien in the process, and appeared to lose consciousness on the pitch, but he soon returned to the fray and might have had a second in injury time but for a superb sliding challenge from Winston Reid as he dallied on the ball.

A second successive victory for Everton then, and one from which Roberto Martinez will no doubt learn much. A poor first half aside, the Blues were once again deserved winners, and with Darron Gibson and Steven Pienaar still to return, things could yet get better for the Premier League's only unbeaten side.

Howard 7, Coleman 6, Jagielka 5, Distin 7, Baines 10, Barry 7, Osman 7 (Oviedo - 52' 6), Mirallas 8, Barkley 8, Naismith 4 (McCarthy - 45' 6), Jelavic 3 (Lukaku - 45' 9).

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