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Everton 2-0 West Ham: Instant Reaction | Relief

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Blues win in solid home effort

Everton FC v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Goals from Bernard and Gylfi Sigurdsson at either end of the match gave Everton a much-needed victory over West Ham to ease the pressure on Marco Silva.

Bernard put the Toffees in front in the first half before the home side proceeded to squander a host of chances. As the game ticked into stoppage-time, substitute Sigurdsson unleashed a rocket of a shot into the top corner to secure Everton’s first league win since September 1.

Silva responded to that defeat at Burnley last time out by making five changes, bringing in Bernard, Andre Gomes, Theo Walcott, Djibril Sidibe and Tom Davies. No formation change, but Iwobi slotted in at No.10 in place of Sigurdsson while Richarlison was pushed into a central striking role.

The Blues began on the front foot and immediately looked more energised than they have in recent weeks.

Davies came close to an early opener when he ghosted in at the far post from a corner, but his effort was blocked at point-blank range by Hammers goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez.

Fortunately the Toffees didn’t have to wait much longer to go in front, Bernard collected Walcott’s pass, twisted away from Issa Diop before squeezing the ball beyond Jimenez from a tight angle.

The relief was palpable around Goodison, not least on the bench.

Everton FC v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

West Ham responded at the break by bringing on Andriy Yarmolenko - heavily linked with Everton a few years ago - to try and jolt the side into a response.

Instead it was Everton who once again began on the front foot. Richarlison met Lucas Digne’s cross with a fine left-footed volley that hit the back of the net, but was rightly disallowed for offside.

Yerry Mina then went close with two headers before the much improved Walcott struck the bar with a long-range strike.

Everton, despite their dominance, just could not find a second goal.

Iwobi had a glorious opportunity when he was put clean through by Sidibe, but he could only poke the ball straight at Jiminez. From the corner, Mina powered a header into the net but it was disallowed for an infringement - with replays showing no Everton player had done anything wrong.

Walcott’s low cross was then deflected goal-bound by Diop, but it smacked goalkeeper Jimenez on the top of the head and went over. It was one of those days.

Referee Paul Tierney, who had an inconsistent afternoon, awarded a West Ham corner even though an Everton player had not taken the final touch.

Goodison held it’s breath.

From the corner kick, a knockdown allowed Diop to squeeze a deflected shot in on goal that was superbly blocked by Jordan Pickford.

Silva brought on Sigurdsson and Moise Kean to bring a bit more energy in the closing stages. Sigurdsson had already seen a low drive from the edge of the box pushed away by Jimenez before he sealed the points in stoppage time.

Collecting the ball on the edge of the area the Iceland midfielder cut inside a Hammers defender before curling a howitzer of an effort beyond the outstretched hand of Jimenez and into the top corner.

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-WEST HAM Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

The only downer on an otherwise flawless afternoon was the sight of Mina hobbling off in the closing stages - let’s hope it isn’t too serious.

The final whistle was greeted with roars of relief from the Goodison crowd. We demanded a response and they delivered.

It wasn’t perfect, but they have set the standard. If they can maintain that level throughout the season then Everton will certainly win more games than they lose.