Sean Dyche recorded a third Everton home win out of four with a crucial 1-0 win over Brentford to lift the club out of the relegation zone.
It was the perfect start for the Toffees as a sweeping move saw Dwight McNeil fire a dart into the top corner inside a minute, after good work from Demarai Gray, Alex Iwobi and Abdoulaye Doucouré, and the home side remained on top until the break, only going in one goal to the good after Gray’s second was ruled out for handball.
The second half was more level and required some vital defensive performances from Amadou Onana and Seamus Coleman to close out a massive three points.
Here, Goodison News rates the Everton players out of 10 for their performances against the Bees.
Jordan Pickford – 5
Shakier than he has been for some time. Looked a bit nervous in the first half, spilling the first shot right at him and then punching another that looked like he could claim. Did make a vital back-post to stop to deny Rico Henry after the break, with his reaction suggesting he had put his groin on the line. But completely missed a cross as Brentford put pressure on and had to be bailed out by McNeil on the line.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
Seamus Coleman – 8
So important. Continues to roll back the years with his performances of late, bombing down the right-hand side, but more than once he was there when it mattered as the last line of defence. Roared to the crowd after heading a last-ditch intervention robbed Vitaly Janelt of a tap-in, in one of a number of key contributions. Led from the front.
Michael Keane – 6
Game of two halves. Very flimsy defending somehow saw Everton get away without conceding an equaliser when Ivan Toney bumped him to the ground and then glanced a header wide. Could have scored one at the other end when he got ahead of the keeper with a header, but directed it well off target. Much-improved after the break.
James Tarkowski – 7
Everywhere in the opening exchanges, throwing himself into challenges and won a strong header in the Brentford box for the Gray goal that was ruled out. Very good overall.
Ben Godfrey – 5
Took a boot to the face from Bryan Mbeumo early. Energetic performance but doesn’t inspire a huge amount of confidence when out wide and he is seen chasing back down the flank having been beaten for pace. Doesn’t look comfortable out there and surely will see Vitalii Mykolenko take his spot back before long.
Idrissa Gana Gueye – 7
After some shaky performances of late this was a welcome return to form for the Everton veteran. Sharp on and off the ball in opening exchanges and looked like the reassuring presence he was always hoped to be.
Amadou Onana (off for Davies ’80) – 9 Man of the Match
Very good. Produced numerous interceptions and tackles in the middle, with his only real error a failure to take advantage of David Raya’s weak parry when he fired high and wide of an open goal when off balance. Produced an all-action performance in the second half as Everton battled to maintain their lead, and showed his maturity as it was the youngster along with captain Coleman calming Doucouré down after a flashpoint in the second half. A blow to the face ended his day as he was pictured holding an ice pack against a rapidly swelling eye on the bench.
Abdoulaye Doucouré – 7
Battling performance in the middle. Up with the early attack to find McNeil for the opener. Perhaps overshadowed by his two central midfield teammates but a solid display. Nearly lost his cool in a clash with Aaron Hickey.
Alex Iwobi (off for Mykolenko ’92) – 7
Excellent start with industrious play down the right and it was his pass which opened up the McNeil opener when he swept it in-field to Doucoure. So close to doubling the lead from close range before the half but kept out by Raya. Looked more like the early-season version of Iwobi than the quieter one seen more often in recent weeks.
Dwight McNeil – 7
Made the crucial contribution early but his overall performance left room for improvement. Perfect start saw him arrow a stunning opener into the far top corner from the edge of the area. Perhaps could have produced more invention down the left as Everton looked to capitalise on that start. Faded from prominence in attack as the game went on but made a crucial goal-line clearance to save Pickford’s blushes.
Demarai Gray – 8
Great first-half from the stand-in striker. Started up top as every bit the nuisance that Dwight McNeil is supposed to be, closing down every defender, and won possession for the opener that way. Also provided a spark on the ball that arguably only he can in this team and was so close to doubling the lead but saw his goal just before the break ruled out by VAR for a marginal handball. More isolated after the break as Everton retreated, but looks like he might be the answer when Dominic Calvert-Lewin is out.
Tom Davies (on for Onana ’80) – N/A
Neal Maupay (on for Gray ’86) – N/A
Vitalii Mykolenko (on for Iwobi ’92) – N/A