Premier League
EvertonEverton2Aston VillaAston Villa1

Everton 2-1 Aston Villa

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport
Kevin Mirallas

Everton recovered from their Merseyside derby thrashing by Liverpool to beat Aston Villa thanks to Kevin Mirallas's superb 25-yard free-kick.

It looked like the hosts would suffer consecutive defeats after Villa defended Leandro Bacuna's first-half goal, their only shot on target.

But substitute Steven Naismith broke Villa's resistance with a 16-yard shot.

And Mirallas's curling strike five minutes from time moved Everton up to fifth in the Premier League table.

Prior to this result, Villa had only lost three times away all season and their 3-5-2 formation, along with some brave defending, made it look like they would pinch victory.

But Roberto Martinez's decision to push up Leon Osman in support of lone striker Mirallas and introduce Naismith in the second half proved the difference.

With Tottenham drawing at Hull, Everton leapfrogged the north London side, whom they face a week on Sunday, and moved a point behind their Merseyside rivals as they continue their chase for a place in next season's Champions League.

And the manner in which Martinez continued to push for victory, despite lacking top scorer Romelu Lukaku, suggests they will press their challengers for the rest of the season.

Villa were happy to yield possession for long periods and, once they scored against the run of play, looked intent on simply defending their lead.

However, once Naismith had scored after 74 minutes, Villa boss Paul Lambert did try to go for a winner.

His side missed a chance to pull further away from the relegation zone but they stay 10th in the Premier League and are five points above the drop zone.

The visitors were close to going behind early on when Aiden McGeady, making his first Premier League start since signing from Spartak Moscow, cut in from the right and hit the far post with a curling shot.

Mirallas a star player - Martinez

But for the rest of the first half, Everton failed to test Brad Guzan in the Villa goal, and Lambert's side easily absorbed the pressure before scoring from their first decent break.

Fabian Delph, who was impressive throughout, timed his tackle on Ross Barkley to perfection with Christian Benteke picking up the loose ball and feeding Bacuna, who nutmegged Tim Howard.

Everton, who lost 4-0 at Liverpool on Tuesday, improved after the break as Osman was shifted infield to support Mirallas. England international Osman had two good opportunities but did not trouble Guzan, while substitute Steven Pienaar shot straight at the American goalkeeper.

Villa excellent despite defeat - Lambert

By the hour mark, Villa barely ventured out of their own half although Benteke almost headed into his own net. It was arguably as close as Everton had come to scoring.

Martinez then opted to replace defender John Stones with Naismith, and the game changed as the Scot picked up Pienaar's clever pass and found the bottom corner from 16 yards.

It looked like the game would remain level, until Mirallas ensured Everton fans ended the week in a better mood.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez: "I think it's without the doubt the most satisfying win of the season. You come in on the back of a disappointing result and you want to get it right straight away. But in the first half we were too responsible, the players were thinking too much, and we were too concerned with the outcome rather than enjoying it.

"We hit the post and we concede a goal, so it becomes a real moment of adversity, but the way we reacted was an incredible example. After that test we are ready to finish the season as strong as we can."

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert: "We were excellent up until that first Everton goal, then for the second it's a world class free kick. You cannot do anything about that but I'm not so sure we deserved to lose the game.

"I'm not happy to lose but we had a really gruelling match on Wednesday night [against West Brom] and we had only two days to recover from it but if we keep that level of performance we will be all right."

Line-ups

Everton

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 24Howard
  • 26StonesSubstituted forNaismithat 70'minutes
  • 3BainesBooked at 86mins
  • 18Barry
  • 6Jagielka
  • 15Distin
  • 7McGeadySubstituted forHibbertat 87'minutes
  • 16McCarthy
  • 11Mirallas
  • 20BarkleySubstituted forPienaarat 45'minutes
  • 21Osman

Substitutes

  • 1Robles
  • 2Hibbert
  • 14Naismith
  • 22Pienaar
  • 23Coleman
  • 27Vellios
  • 29Garbutt

Aston Villa

Formation 5-3-2

  • 1Guzan
  • 7Bacuna
  • 23Bertrand
  • 6Clark
  • 2Baker
  • 4VlaarSubstituted forAlbrightonat 80'minutes
  • 10WeimannSubstituted forTonevat 87'minutes
  • 15Westwood
  • 20Benteke
  • 29HoltSubstituted forEl Ahmadiat 61'minutes
  • 16Delph

Substitutes

  • 8El Ahmadi
  • 9Helenius
  • 12Albrighton
  • 13Steer
  • 18Sylla
  • 24Tonev
  • 34Lowton
Referee:
Robert Madley
Attendance:
39,469

Match Stats

Home TeamEvertonAway TeamAston Villa
Possession
Home71%
Away29%
Shots
Home13
Away4
Shots on Target
Home6
Away1
Corners
Home13
Away1
Fouls
Home4
Away18

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Everton 2, Aston Villa 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Everton 2, Aston Villa 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Leon Osman.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Bertrand.

  5. Post update

    Leon Osman (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Dangerous play by Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa).

  7. Post update

    Phil Jagielka (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa).

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Steven Naismith (Everton) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Steven Pienaar with a cross.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Everton. Conceded by Ciaran Clark.

  11. Post update

    Gareth Barry (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa).

  13. Post update

    Steven Naismith (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Nathan Baker (Aston Villa).

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Aston Villa. Aleksandar Tonev replaces Andreas Weimann.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Everton. Tony Hibbert replaces Aiden McGeady.

  17. Booking

    Leighton Baines (Everton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Leighton Baines (Everton).

  19. Post update

    Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Goal!

    Goal! Everton 2, Aston Villa 1. Kevin Mirallas (Everton) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City23172468264253
2Arsenal23164345212452
3Chelsea23155343202350
4Liverpool23144557282946
5Everton24129337251245
6Tottenham2413563132-144
7Man Utd24124839291040
8Newcastle2411493231137
9Southampton249873427735
10Aston Villa2476112734-727
11Stoke2467112438-1425
12Swansea2466122935-624
13Hull2466122330-724
14Sunderland2466122536-1124
15Norwich2466121937-1824
16Crystal Palace2372141531-1623
17West Brom2341092733-622
18West Ham2457122433-922
19Cardiff2456131941-2221
20Fulham2461172253-3119
View full Premier League table

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