Fulham 1 Everton 3: Player ratings as Steven Naismith inspires Toffees win

Fulham 1 Everton 3: Player ratings as Steven Naismith inspires the Toffees to victory from the bench

Harry Reardon
By Harry Reardon
Fulham
1
Everton
3

Fulham

David Stockdale Dealt comfortably with the little thrown at him in the first half. Everton’s opener after the break will go down as an own goal against him, but it would be difficult to apportion much blame after the ball had pinballed around the box. Good saves from Lukaku in the 65th minute and Naismith in the 84th kept his team in the game. 7/10

Sascha Riether Dragged too far forward and out of position early on, but tightened up thereafter. Booked somewhat harshly when tackling back midway through the first half. 6

Johnny Heitinga The Dutch destroyer doesn’t really need the face mask to emphasise his menace, and he kept Lukaku quiet in the first half. Looked a little bit frenetic in the second half, though, as Everton upped their attacking tempo. Should probably have scored after being left entirely alone at the back post from a Holtby free kick at 1-1. 5

Brede Hangeland (Captain) Not the dominant presence he has been in years gone by. Where he was once commanding, today he was calm to the point of lethargy. 5

John Arne Riise The years have not dampened the Norwegian’s enthusiasm for a gallop down the left flank or, for that matter, a misdirected pile-driver. One effort from distance in the 34th minute is probably still bouncing down the road outside the stadium. 6

Lewis Holtby Probably Fulham’s classiest player, he was energetic and inventive. One particularly clever ball on the stroke of half time found Dembélé in space, but the youngster headed straight at Howard. 7

William Kvist A couple of good driving runs which didn’t lead to much. His passing was inexact, and he was caught out of position a couple of times before his substitution shortly after the hour mark. 5

Steve Sidwell A typically all-action performance. He is renowned for his combative nature rather than his passing – with justification on today’s evidence – and his efforts on goal would best be filed under ‘speculative’. 6

Kieran Richardson Showed flashes of inspiration going forward, with one well-judged through pass to Dembélé after 20 minutes, and had a dangerous low shot saved. However, Dejagah’s purposeful cameo emphasised the former England man’s relative ineffectiveness. 6

Moussa Dembélé Stronger than his age and size would suggest, and got very much involved in play, including showing a level of nous beyond his years to cleverly nudge Distin off the ball late in the first half. Maybe could have done better when the ball came to him before the break, but headed straight at Howard. 7

Pajtim Kasami Some good strong hold up play, as well as a couple of good crosses after pulling out wide, but couldn’t quite make the difference. Looked to cut inside a bit more after Everton’s opening goal, but after an initial burst, his influence waned. 6

Substitutes

Ashkan Dejagah Replaced Richardson midway through the second half, and brought a fresh injection of positivity and energy to the Cottagers. His running was direct and focused, and he kept up his recent run of scoring with a powerful and precise finish with twenty minutes to go. 7

Cauley Woodrow A promising cameo. Dropped back well a few times to link up play, and will improve. 6

Patrick Roberts n/a

Everton

Tim Howard Important saves to keep out Richardson and Holtby in the first half, and was alert to balls breaking beyond his defence. Will be disappointed to have conceded at his near post, but the shot was powerfully and accurately struck. 6

Seamus Coleman Booked for pulling back Richardson in the first half. Otherwise, he was alert to snuff out Dembélé in particular when called on, and took advantage of the momentum shift to push forward a lot more in the second period. 7

John Stones The England U-21 international, while left a little isolated at times, was not put under too much pressure in first half as Fulham’s moves either broke down in front of him or were halted by the offside flag. Looked far more positive in the second half as his team took up the mantle. 7

Sylvain Distin Not the best at running the ball out of his defence, but got away with it on one particularly dicey occasion in the first fifteen minutes. He was also lucky not to concede a penalty after nearly catching the ball in his own area. 6

Leighton Baines Not as adventurous as usual in the first half as Fulham came on strong. Came into the game in the second as Everton won a couple of early corners, his dangerous cross from one of which led ultimately to Naismith’s goal. 6

James McCarthy A good performance from the Irishman, with one particularly important challenge as the ball ran loose in the box after 13 minutes preventing an almost certain goal. 7

Gareth Barry Efficient without being effervescent in the second half, having upped his game following an anonymous first period. 6

Gerard Deulofeu He was the only man in the first half who made anything of an impression for his team, and showed wonderful footwork on a few occasions without quite finding the final product. It was a surprise to see him substituted. 7

Leon Osman (Captain) Playing in a slightly deeper role than usual, he was useful without being incisive. Has featured in every league game this season, which may be starting to show. 6

Ross Barkley Found room for a snap shot from 20 yards after 35 minutes which was easily saved by Stockdale. Otherwise, he was ineffective – possibly hampered by a calf problem – and was replaced at half-time. 5

Romelu Lukaku Barely touched the ball in the first half, but relished being given the support of Naismith after the break and looked more like his usual powerful self after that. 7

Substitutes

Steven Naismith (Man of the Match) Replaced Barkley at half time, and had an immediate impact as his shot from a half-cleared corner rattled through the box and off Stockdale into the net. Lovely pass for Baines could have set up a second on the hour, and he gobbled up the goal his performance deserved in the last few minutes. 8

Kevin Mirallas On for Deulofeu midway through the second half, and showed a cool head to finish well past Stockdale with ten minutes to go. 7

Aiden McGeady Spotted an excellent pass shortly after his introduction for his fellow substitute Mirallas to slide in the Toffees’ second goal. 7

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