Match ends, Crystal Palace 0, Everton 1.
- Everton's second win in 14 games
- Alan Pardew's first defeat as Palace boss
- Marouane Chamakh carried off after head injury
- Romelu Lukaku with ninth goal of the season
Romelu Lukaku's second-minute goal gave Everton their first victory in nine matches as Alan Pardew suffered his first defeat as Crystal Palace manager.
Lukaku bundled in after Palace keeper Julian Speroni deflected Steven Naismith's cross on to the striker.
Palace almost equalised straight away when Dwight Gayle's flick was cleared off the line by Phil Jagielka.
Marouane Chamakh also went close but the Toffees kept only their second away clean sheet of the season.
The result eases the pressure on Everton manager Roberto Martinez after a run of one win in 13 games in all competitions and two points from 18 in the league.
Palace had won all four of Pardew's matches in charge, coming from behind in three of them, but could not do so again despite creating the majority of the chances.
Belgium winger Kevin Mirallas started after recovering from the hamstring strain that forced him off following his controversial penalty miss in Everton's last match against West Brom, but had a quiet afternoon.
The Toffees, with Aiden McGeady returning from suspension to replace Ross Barkley, have lacked confidence lately but got off to the perfect start.
Palace had barely touched the ball before Martinez's men were ahead, Naismith taking advantage of Damien Delaney's misjudgement to deliver a cross that deflected off Speroni's hand towards Lukaku.
|Before the 1-0 win at Palace, Everton had kept only four clean sheets in the league - the joint-lowest in the top flight|
The home team responded immediately as Gayle's flick past Everton keeper Joel Robles was cleared by Toffees skipper Jagielka with most but, crucially, not all of the ball over the line.
Scott Dann and Chamakh had goal-bound shots blocked by 20-year-old centre-half John Stones as Palace pressed.
Shortly after, a clash of heads with Seamus Coleman left Chamakh with a bloody nose. He was carried off on a stretcher and new signing Jordon Mutch came on to make his Palace debut.
They continued to dominate possession in the second period but did not offer as much threat, with Jagielka, Coleman and Stones excellent at the back.
Eagles striker Gayle, who had scored four in his previous three appearances, almost had an opening but Coleman was quickly over to clear.
With Palace pushing forward in the latter stages, gaps appeared and Everton looked the more likely to score as McGeady forced Speroni into a flying save.
Shortly after, the Republic of Ireland winger's cross just evaded Lukaku, before the Belgian striker shot into the side-netting.
With Liverpool and Chelsea to come in their next two league games, it was an important win for 12th-placed Everton and ensured they would not go winless in January for the first time since 1979.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez:
"We created the best chances of the game. I thought we defended extremely well, it wasn't a fortunate win. We were a strong unit. It's not easy to keep a clean sheet in this place. We anticipated really well when the ball was coming in.
"Now it's for everyone at Everton to enjoy this victory and three points. We were very focused on performing well. Now I think we can kick on."
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew:
"We had enough possession and enough chances but couldn't find that bit of quality. Going behind so early gave them something to sit on and they defended well. You can't keep going behind because it's going to catch up with you and it did so today.
"I couldn't have asked for more effort in the second half. It's disappointing for our fans but they know and we know that there is a long way to go. We need to react well in the next game."
- 34KellySubstituted forZahaat 65'minutes
- 29ChamakhSubstituted forMutchat 25'minutes
- 9SanogoSubstituted forMurrayat 71'minutes
- 1RoblesBooked at 90mins
- 3BainesBooked at 90mins
- 11MirallasSubstituted forOviedoat 68'minutesBooked at 80mins
- 10LukakuSubstituted forKonéat 90+2'minutes
- Roger East
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 0, Everton 1.
Foul by Scott Dann (Crystal Palace).
Steven Naismith (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Aiden McGeady (Everton).
Attempt blocked. Arouna Koné (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Steven Naismith.
Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).
Bryan Oviedo (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace).
Gareth Barry (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Aiden McGeady (Everton) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Muhamed Besic.
Foul by James McArthur (Crystal Palace).
Steven Naismith (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Everton. Arouna Koné replaces Romelu Lukaku.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton) is shown the yellow card.
Joel Robles (Everton) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt missed. Bryan Oviedo (Everton) left footed shot from long range on the left misses to the left. Assisted by Romelu Lukaku with a headed pass.
Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Gareth Barry (Everton).