Everton beats Fulham 4-1 to go 4th
Defender Seamus Coleman and midfielder Gareth Barry were the unlikely goalscorers as Everton scored three late goals to beat Fulham 4-1 Saturday at Goodison Park and provisionally move fourth in the Premier League.
For a long spell in the second half, it seemed the hosts had squandered the lead given to them in the 18th minute by Leon Osman on his 300th Premier League appearance when Dimitar Berbatov equalized from the penalty spot in the 67th.
However, Coleman struck with 17 minutes remaining and Barry nodded home from close range in the 84th before Kevin Mirallas added a fourth in injury time.
That brought Fulham's second-half revival to a shuddering halt and extended its losing run at this ground to 21 games.
Everton lost on-loan Barcelona prodigy Gerard Deulofeu to a hamstring injury which could see him miss the festive programme.
A nondescript opening was eventually brought to life by a goal of some quality both in its creation and execution. Centreback Sylvain Distin picked up the ball on the halfway line and played it short to Bryan Oviedo, who slipped it inside for Steven Pienaar.
The South African instantly shuffled the ball across to Osman, who having controlled it with his right foot transferred it to his left before curling a composed effort inside Maarten Stekelenburg's post from just inside the penalty area.
It should have promoted a rush of goals as Everton was well on top at that point but could not press it home.
Deulofeu provided Everton's greatest attacking threat down the right but he lacked an end product.
On-loan striker Romelu Lukaku unusually struggled to impose himself in the Fulham area, with his best effort an instinctive chest down from Pienaar's corner which Stekelenburg brilliantly tipped around the post.
Osman looked most likely to add to Everton's lead and his dipping volley after Ross Barkley's shot had ballooned back off a defender dropped just wide.
Everton narrowly went into the break ahead as Berbatov fired over with the last kick of the half.
Fulham looked a different side after the interval and twice early on forced Tim Howard into saves, firstly from Scott Parker and then Steve Sidwell.
Everton's chances became more infrequent and although Oveido had a goalbound shot virtually headed off the line by Sascha Riether, Fulham deservedly equalized when Barry was adjudged to have brought down Alex Kacaniklic and Berbatov stroked home.
The Toffees' chance seemed to have gone but they are unbeaten at Goodison in 2013 and rallied with Pienaar, who looked to be offside, cutting back for Coleman to score.
Barry atoned for his error in his own penalty area by heading in from close range after a scramble at a corner and in added time Mirallas ensured the scoreline flattered Everton.