Everton claim first home win of season

Everton left it late to claim their first home win of the season running out convincing 3-1 winners against Wigan at Goodison Park.

Franco Di Santo opened the scoring thanks to his third goal of the season, against the run of play. His fierce shot took a deflection off Tony Hibbert and flew past Tim Howard into the top corner.

But just 97 seconds later, Leon Osman’s corner kick was met by the towering Tim Cahill and his header struck the crossbar but defender Phil Jagielka did the rest from six yards.

The game looked to be heading towards a draw but substitute Apostolos Vellios struck with a superb header six minutes from time from Tony Hibbert’s pinpoint cross.

And seven minutes into stoppage time, Denis Stracqualursi’s flick allowed Royston Drenthe to run clear and calmly slot home his first goal for the Toffees.

It made the absence of Louis Saha, who has played just 41 minutes in two substitute appearances this season, immaterial – although Moyes may have something to say about his pre-match comments.

Saha was left out of the squad again and reacted by venting his frustration on Twitter.

“I am not good enough. Absolutely destroyed,” tweeted the Frenchman, who is understood to have left Goodison Park soon after discovering he was not in the squad.

Everton had dominated from the off but Seamus Coleman’s stooping header early on was turned around the post by Ali Al Habsi. Di Santo’s lack of vision squandered Wigan’s chance to take an early lead.

Marouane Fellaini’s stumble on the halfway line gave the Argentinian a free run at Jagielka but with the unmarked Victor Moses in acres of space to his right the striker blazed a hopelessly optimistic 30-yard shot well wide.

It was a rare chance in a half which the hosts dominated with Tim Cahill being crowded out by Gary Caldwell after Leon Osman’s neat reverse pass had sent Leighton Baines racing into the area.

Caldwell was the busiest centre-half as he also kept out Fellaini’s close-range effort as Coleman began to enjoy some freedom on the right.

But Moses posed even more of a threat and looked destined to score when he nipped in front of Sylvain Distin only for Tony Hibbert to slide in and knock the ball behind in the 31st minute.

Moyes will have been furious with the way Di Santo was allowed to collect Ben Watson’s near-post corner, casually wander back towards the flag before turning inside Osman and firing in a shot which deflected off Hibbert and past Tim Howard for his third goal of the season.

Having previously struggled for goals the Argentinian has now scored more this season than in his previous three-and-a-half years in England.

However, the lead lasted just over a minute and a half as Osman’s lovely corner was met by a powerful Cahill header which crashed against the crossbar, rebounding to Jagielka four yards out who nodded home.

Baines, with a free-kick, and Cahill, with a header, both went close as Everton finished the half strongly.

Everton continued to pressure without threatening after the break.

Their lack of a predatory instinct up front was highlighted in the 76th minute when Osman rolled an inviting cross into the six-yard area only to look up and see none of his team-mates had made a run to connect.

Drenthe and fellow loan signing Denis Stracqualursi, making his debut, came on as substitutes and without very little input the game swung in Everton’s favour.

When Hibbert whipped over a cross from the right the 19-year-old Vellios rose highest to head into the far corner of the net.

Even then Everton could not relax with Wigan substitute Dave Jones hitting the crossbar from long range.

However, when Drenthe raced through to poke past Al Habsi in the eighth minute of injury time the fans were finally able to celebrate three points at home for the first time since May.


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