Late strikes seal Toffees victory

The first came from youngster James Vaughan, who scored within

seconds of coming on as a substitute. Vaughan has suffered terrible

injury problems over the last three years, and this was his first

goal for two years. The second came from Steven Pienaar, Everton’s

best player, as the gloom finally lifted on the blue half of

Merseyside. Burnley had defender Stephen Jordan sent off with half

an hour left, and that decision swung the game Everton’s way and

left the visitors still without an away league win this season and

deep in relegation trouble. Everton made one change for from the

side that drew at Sunderland on Boxing Day, with striker Ayegbeni

Yakubu taking over up front from Louis Saha. Burnley, who arrived

without a victory in eight games, were unchanged from the side who

drew with Bolton at the weekend. Everton started brightly, Leon

Osman wasting an early chance following Yakubu’s pull back from the

line. Then the big Nigerian saw a fierce shot cannon away off

Michael Duff’s arm, with referee Howard Webb refusing loud penalty

appeals. Burnley’s best chance early on was when David Nugent fired

into the side netting after a poor header from Lucas Neill dropped

at his feet. Then Tim Howard had to beat away a powerful drive from

the edge of the box by Steven Fletcher before the Everton keeper

had to equally athletic to turn away a drive from Wade Elliott.

Brian Jensen saved well when Diniyar Bilyaletdinov created space

neatly for himself following a fine Pienaar pass. But the best

chance of the half came when Yakubu clipped a post following a

Leighton Baines cross. The second period started with Kevin

McDonald firing wide of the far post following a Chris Eagles run,

before Andre Bikey was booked following minimal contact with

Yakubu. Johnny Heitinga fired the free-kick through the wall, only

for Jensen to field safely. After 57 minutes Nugent caught Everton

cold, the home side believing he was offside, to crack a shot on

the turn against the far post. Everton’s problems increased when

Tim Cahill limped off after 58 minutes, allowing Phil Neville to

return to the side for the first time since September following a

cruciate knee ligament injury. Two minutes later Burnley were down

to 10 men when Jordan picked up a second yellow card for pulling

back Pienaar. That caused boss Owen Coyle to sacrifice a striker,

Nugent, to allow Christian Kalvenes to come on as substitute to

fill the left-back slot. Graham Alexander had a decent shout for a

penalty turned down when his driven cross crashed into Neill’s arm

as he threw his body in the way. Duff was booked after 69 minutes

for bringing down Bilyaletdinov in full flow. With nine minutes

left Burnley sent on Steven Thompson to replace Fletcher up front,

while Everton put on Vaughan in place of Bilyaletdinov. And the

change paid off inside a minute when Vaughan fired in from close

range after a left-wing cross had eluded Yakubu. The

Birmingham-born striker was making only his third substitute

appearance of another injury-plagued season. Burnley then sent on

Robbie Blake for Elliott, and had Tyrone Mears booked in the final

minutes for a foul on Pienaar. But there was still time for Pienaar

to take a pass from Yakubu in the final minute to blast home the

second.