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Aston Villa 1-3 Everton - Funes Mori stars as Everton ease to victory

Toffees move back into the top half of the table with win at Villa Park

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Goals from Ramiro Funes Mori, Aaron Lennon and Romelu Lukaku eased Everton to victory against a poor Aston Villa side at Villa Park.

Rudy Gestede pulled one back late as Everton became a little sloppy in the closing stages, but the result was never really in doubt against a side destined for the Championship next season.

Everton made just one change to their side, with Kevin Mirallas coming in for the ill Tom Cleverley. Arouna Kone and John Stones were fit to return but only as substitutes.

Everton made a dream start when Mirallas’ corner was met by the unmarked Funes Mori, who buried his header beyond Brad Guzan for his fourth goal of the season.

With the natives restless that early goal should have been the signal for Everton to take control. But, like we have seen so many times this season, Everton let the initiative slip and Villa slowly grew into the game.

First Joel Robles had to parry the ball away when Funes Mori’s clearance cannoned goalwards off Gabriel Agbonlhaor.

Moments later Joel was called into action again, diving down to his left to push away Ashley Westwood’s stinging drive.

Leandro Bacuna then had another effort well held by the Spaniard as Villa grew in confidence.

But, Villa are bottom for a reason and that reason is a chronic inability to defend, though credit also has to go to Everton for a wonderful counter-attacking move that doubled their lead.

Ross Barkley strolled into Villa’s half before playing an early ball down the left for Mirallas whose first-time cross into the box was slotted home by Lennon from eight yards.

It was the impressive Lennon’s fifth goal in his last nine games, adding further credence to talk of a possible international recall.

More woeful Villa defending gifted Everton’s third after an hour. Just moments after Guzan had done superbly well to push away Lukaku’s diving header, Villa failed to clear a corner allowing Funes Mori time and space to cross low for Lukaku to steer home from close range.

In doing so the Belgian became to the first Everton player to reach 17th Premier League goals in one season, eclipsing the 16 scored by Tony Cottee in 1994 and Andrei Kanchelskis in 1996.

With the game effectively over as a contest Villa then actually began to play, while the crowd made their feelings known to the club’s board.

Joel Robles was called into action again to save from Westwood, who also had an effort well blocked by Phil Jagielka before firing over from close range.

On 74 minutes a planned protest by the Villa supporters saw a mass walkout, though plenty did grimly stick around for the remainder.

They saw a goal too, Gestede rising above both Jagielka and John Stones to bury a header in off the bar.

Everton by this stage had gotten sloppy and threatened to let Villa back into the game.

Oumar Niasse finally made his Toffees debut replacing Mirallas with five minutes left while Leighton Baines replacedOviedo who had earlier taken a knock to his ankle.

Funes Mori could have grabbed his second in stoppage-time but his close range shot was well blocked at point-blank range by Brad Guzan.

The win moves Everton back into the top half and above rivals Liverpool – for 24 hours at least.

It wasn’t a vintage display by any means but they did enough to get the victory, capping a memorable week off the pitch with an effective performance on it.