Salomon Rondon nets winning goal as West Brom leave Everton frustrated
Published 13/02/2016 | 17:21
West Brom's first league win since January 2 moved them eight points clear of the relegation zone as Everton's brief revival came to a shuddering halt.
Salomon Rondon scored the decider in the 1-0 victory, nicking the goal off Jonas Olsson with the final touch right on the line, for his third in the last seven matches as the Baggies clinched three points with their only shot on target.
By contrast the home side threw everything at their opponents but there was far too little precision in what they did as of their incredible 34 attempts, only six were on target.
An indication of Everton's dominance - and at times desperation - was that over the course of 90 minutes every outfield Everton player, apart from their final, late substitute Leon Osman, attempted a shot.
The Baggies, lining up with four central defenders across the back, remained unmoved and unbowed, however, as they produced the sort of typically resolute performance for which their manager Tony Pulis is renowned.
On the back of three successive 3-0 victories (one in the FA Cup) Everton boss Roberto Martinez again named an unchanged side, meaning fit-again goalkeeper Tim Howard had to settle for a place on the bench.
However, for all the support for Joel Robles to be the new permanent first-choice, there were questions being asked of the Spaniard for West Brom's 15th-minute goal.
Stephane Sessegnon's inswinging corner was helped on by Olsson but Robles appeared to be convinced the looping ball was heading wide - it was not - and Rondon at the far post bundled it in on the goalline.
Everton have now conceded more goals at home (23) than any other side in Europe's top five leagues this season and is the main reason they have managed just four wins at Goodison this term.
What followed was effectively an advanced form of attack versus defence as Everton laid siege to the Gwladys Street goal with Ross Barkley and Tom Cleverley both hitting the woodwork within the space of three minutes.
The first half ended with the hosts having enjoyed 74 percent possession and had 17 shots, of which only two were on target, as Seamus Coleman (twice), Barkley, Romelu Lukaku, Ramiro Funes Mori and Aaron Lennon, among others, all had a go.
Lennon gave James Chester, out of his depth at left-back, a torrid time so it was no surprise the decision to replace him with Gerard Deulofeu 16 minutes from time was booed by a frustrated Goodison Park.
West Brom managed one attempt after the break when substitute Chris Brunt flashed a shot just wide of the far post but otherwise it was one-way traffic.
But with a lack of guile in the final third, coupled with West Brom's determination to throw everything in the way of every attack, Everton came up well short.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"How frustrating again! Don't understand the subs? Made it easy for them to defend! Did we win any headers from a corner/cross? Lukaku?" - former Everton defender Michael Ball (@bally03) felt the Toffees made it far too easy for the West Brom defence.
Joel Robles: 6
Seamus Coleman: 7
Phil Jagielka: 6
Ramiro Funes Mori: 6
Bryan Oviedo: 7
Gareth Barry: 6
James McCarthy: 6
Tom Cleverley: 6
Aaron Lennon: 7
Ross Barkley: 7
Romelu Lukaku: 6
Arouna Kone (on for Cleverley) 59: 4
Gerard Deulofeu (on for Lennon, 74): 6
Leon Osman (on for McCarthy, 81): 4
Ben Foster: 7
Craig Dawson: 6
Jonas Olsson: 7
Jonny Evans: 6
James Chester: 4
Stephan Sessegnon: 6
Claudio Yacob: 6
Darren Fletcher: 6
James McClean: 5
Saido Berahino: 4
Salomon Rondon: 6
Victor Anichebe (on for Rondon, 72): 5
Chris Brunt (on for McClean, 57): 6
Sandro (on for Berahino, 90): 4
Aaron Lennon. Despite being on the losing side the winger continued his recent run of good form by terrorising makeshift left-back James Chester and it was a surprising decision to see him taken off with the hosts chasing the game.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Jonas Olsson's looping header which more by luck than judgement dropped just inside the far post for Salomon Rondon to bundle home.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Roberto Martinez cut a lonely figure on the touchline as he watched wave upon wave of his side's attacks founder on resolute West Brom defending and some of his substitutions were greeted with derision by Goodison Park. Opposite number Tony Pulis was animated and aggressive as he contested every ball and decision, leading from the front for his team.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Everton have the worst home defensive record of any club in Europe's top five leagues. As a result they have won just four of 14 matches at Goodison Park.
WHO'S UP NEXT?
Bournemouth v Everton (FA Cup, Saturday February 20)
Reading v West Brom (FA Cup, Saturday February 20)