An early goal from Dwight McNeil earned Everton a precious 1-0 win over Brentford at Goodison Park that dragged Sean Dyche’s struggling side out of the Premier League relegation zone on Saturday.
McNeil put Everton in front with a superb left-footed finish in the opening minute after an assist by Abdoulaye Doucoure.
The home side spurned several chances to extend its lead in the first half, with Michael Keane, Amadou Onana and Demarai Gray all guilty of poor finishing, while Brentford keeper David Raya saved well from Alex Iwobi following a corner.
Gray, who shot straight at Raya when put clean through by Idrissa Gueye just after the half-hour mark, bundled home minutes before halftime but the video assistant referee ruled the goal out for handball.
Everton keeper Jordan Pickford denied Rico Henry with an excellent save minutes into the second half in a match in which Everton’s back line did brilliantly to deny Brentford’s prolific target man Ivan Toney the time and space to operate.
Brentford pushed hard for an equaliser and dominated possession after the break, coming agonisingly close in injury time when Raya went up for a corner in the dying minutes but headed narrowly wide.
Victory moved Everton up four places to 15th in the table on 25 points, while Brentford stayed ninth.
Harrison makes up for own goal in Leeds draw with Brighton
Jack Harrison scored the equaliser in Leeds United’s 2-2 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday, making up for the own goal he conceded earlier in the game.
Leeds had arrived at Elland Road with plenty of pressure on them after Bournemouth’s 1-0 upset of Liverpool earlier in the day dropped it into the relegation zone.
It breathed a sigh of relief when Harrison scored in the 78th minute after a short corner from Wilfried Gnonto, giving Leeds a valuable point although it remains in 19th place.
The equaliser came after Harrison, under pressure from Solly March, had put the ball into his own net in the 61st minute.
Alexis Mac Allister had opened the scoring for Brighton in the 33rd minute heading in his ninth goal of the season.
Patrick Bamford then scored his 49th goal overall for Leeds in the 40th minute, when his strike from the edge of the box was deflected and went in off the underside of the crossbar.
Brighton, which arrived with a club-record 11 Premier League wins already this season, is seventh in the table on 39 points.