Everton beat battling West Brom 2-0
LONDON (SE) - Everton taught bottom club West Bromwich Albion the importance of taking your chances after walking away with a comfortable 2-0 win at Goodison Park on Saturday despite being dominated for most of the game.
A first-half strike from Tim Cahill and a goal late on for the returning Louis Saha saw off a battling Tony Mowbray's side who simply couldn't hit the target.
Everton boss David Moyes said: "The result was an important one and I am very pleased.
"West Brom played very well and created a lot of chances but they have been doing that to teams all season.
"The defence were in good form today and (Tim) Howard in goal looked sharp and that always gives you the platform to go on and score a goal and that's what we did.
"Tim (Cahill) does what he does and scored again and Louis came on and showed what he does everyday in training.
"We can play much better than that but we have to give them credit.
"I learned a lot from today and the players did also. We have no Mikel (Arteta) in the middle of the pitch and we have don't have another artist like him to bring on so we had to do things different.
"I did rest a couple of players with the FA Cup in mind but we still got three points which is the most important thing."
A bright start from the visitors saw James Morrison taking early control of the ball and running at the Everton back line, feeding front men Jay Simpson and Marc-Antoine Fortune but efforts from both in the first five minutes lacked power and rolled kindly to Tim Howard in goal.
The Blues struggled to keep hold of the ball being quickly pressured by swarms of yellow jerseys but a quick break from Steven Pienaar created space for Leighton Baines to float a high cross to Cahill at the back post but his header flew way over the bar.
West Brom still looked threatening and a dangerous corner was only half cleared off the penalty spot by Cahill's head and an onrushing Robert Koren smashed his shot a year wide of the post.
The game was continuing at a frantic pace with both sides having chances at either end but Everton came the closest so far after Cahill put the ball in the net but referee Steve Bennett adjudged the Aussie of climbing over Baggies captain Paul Robinson.
West Brom were not playing like a team rooted to the bottom of the league and a defence splitting ball from Borja Valero on the half hour mark left Fortune with only Howard to beat but the keeper showed why he has only conceded three times in 10 games and quickly got off his line to block the shot from close range.
Everton started throwing men into the box looking for the opener and despite being dominated for most of the half, a well floated free kick from Baines found an unmarked Cahill to break the deadlock on 36 minutes.
Without the injured Mikel Arteta taking precedence over spot kicks it was Baines who whipped in the high cross and a piece of terrible marking from Gianni Zuiverloon left Cahill free to set himself and power home his eighth of the season.
Unlucky to be a goal down West Brom came out from the break desperate to find an early equaliser and a long range drive from Valero flew just wide of a scrambling Tim Howard in goal.
The visitors should have equalised just before the hour mark after a deep corner from Chris Brunt gave substitute Luke Moore his first touch of the ball with a towering header at the back post.
Moore's looping effort flew over Howard and a mass of players and was heading for the bottom corner before Everton's player of the season Phil Jagielka showed exactly why he is in the England squad with a superb block on the line.
With Marouane Fellaini still not match fit and picking up his 12th booking of the season, Blues boss Moyes replaced his 15 million pound man with striker Saha having just returned to the first team himself.
The move proved to be a stroke of genius for Moyes after the Frenchman latched onto a Pienaar interception and after taking a touch to turn inside his man he unleashed a vicious curling shot from outside the box which gave Scott Carson no chance and put the game well out of reach of the Baggies.
West Brom almost scored a consolation in the final minutes after a 25 yard thunderbolt from Moore clattered against the bar.
Baggies boss Mowbray said: "I am proud of the way the lads played today.
"We created a lot of chances and on another afternoon a few of them might have gone in.
"Cahill has scored but he has done that against plenty of sides a lot better than us so I cannot fault any individuals.
"We will always try to play good passing football and if we go down because of playing the game this way then we will take it on the chin and come right back but we are good enough to stay up this year.
"The lads have shown already this season we can put two or three wins together and that's what we need.
"Despite the result we acquitted ourselves very well today and showed we are only one or two players from being at the same level as Everton."