Wednesday 21 February 2018

Cleverley finally ends Elliot's resistance

Premier League round-up

Tom Cleverley celebrates with team-mate Muhamed Besic after scoring Everton's late winner Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Tom Cleverley celebrates with team-mate Muhamed Besic after scoring Everton's late winner Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
West Brom manager Tony Pulis felt his side should have been awarded a penalty Photo: Reuters / Rebecca Naden
James Collins helped rescue a point for West Ham Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Bournemouth's Glenn Murray (centre) gets between Crystal Palace's Damien Delaney (left) and Joe Ledley Photo: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire Newsdesk Newsdesk

Tom Cleverley snatched victory at Newcastle with the last touch of the game as Everton finally made the pressure count. The midfielder looped home a 93rd-minute header to finally beat Magpies keeper Rob Elliot, who had made six fine saves, including two from man of the moment Romelu Lukaku as he looked to score in an eighth successive league game.

The 1-0 win was just a second in the Premier League in seven attempts for the Toffees, and while it was deserved, Newcastle will curse their luck having got so close to riding out the storm and dragging themselves back out of the relegation zone.

Everton manager was full of praise for the often maligned former Manchester United man, saying: "Tom has been given unfair treatment over the last three years but the way he has been performing for us. . . that's him back to his best.

"He's an English talent that goes further than just being someone who can do everything. He's outstanding at what he does."

Martinez added: "This result is an accumulation of lessons we have learnt and that's very pleasing as a manager looking at your players wanting to take responsibility and get better."

Meanwhile, West Brom manager Tony Pulis hit out at referee Roger East for denying Albion two penalties at Swansea. Pulis felt the official should have pointed to the spot for Angel Rangel's first-half challenge on Chris Brunt and then again when substitute Callum McManaman tumbled in the closing stages of their 1-0 defeat at Swansea.

"The big disappointment is I've just watched the video there and it's two penalties," Pulis protested. "The first foul is a stonewall banker penalty. Their lad goes for the ball but Chris just touches it away and catches him. He (East) is five yards away from it, but there we are. We have to get on with it, you can't get in your mind that these decisions are going against you."

Albion have now gone five games without a win, their worst run since Pulis took charge almost a year ago, and are now only three points above the relegation zone. They dominated for long periods at the Liberty Stadium but struggled to create clear-cut chances, with Rickie Lambert sending their best opportunity straight at Lukasz Fabianski in the Swansea goal.

Elsewhere, Slaven Bilic hailed James Collins after the defender celebrated a new deal to help earn West Ham a point at Aston Villa. The centre-back signed a new two-and-a-half year contract on Thursday and was his side's outstanding player in yesterday's 1-1 draw.

Collins cleared Alan Hutton's header off the line in the second half as the Hammers hung on for a point - their fifth straight Premier League draw. Aaron Cresswell had fired them ahead only for Jordan Ayew's penalty to level, but Bilic believes Collins, who re-joined West Ham from Villa in 2012, showed why he deserved a new deal.

"He was again outstanding. He is in good form. It's not just today, it's ever since I came here. At the beginning he didn't play a lot, but every time he's played he is not only reliable, he has been magnificent. It's great to have him."

Bilic was unhappy at Mike Dean's decision to give Villa a penalty after Rudy Gestede went down under Angelo Ogbonna's 62nd-minute challenge. Bilic also felt the Hammers should have had two spot-kicks of their own for handballs against Leandro Bacuna and Ashley Westwood.

"I'm West Ham manager and I'm not objective, but I'm trying to be," said Bilic. "When it happened I saw Ogbonna in front of Gestede and Gestede came in front not because he was quicker, but because he pulled his shirt. It was long enough for the referee to notice.

"After that we had a couple of situations with handballs which, considering that penalty, these ones should have been given to us."

Villa remain rock bottom, nine points adrift of safety.

Bournemouth and Crystal Palace shared the points in a goalless draw at the Vitality Stadium. The Cherries, seeking their fourth successive win for the first time since 1989, were frustrated by the high-flying Eagles.

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