Oumar Niasse continued his Everton revival as a dramatic late double salvaged a much-needed 2-1 Premier League victory for Ronald Koeman's side against Bournemouth.
Having been cast aside by Koeman last term, Niasse made his mark in Everton's EFL cup victory over Sunderland in midweek with a stunning goal and the Senegal striker rescued the Toffees with a superb cameo on Saturday.
The pressure looked set to mount on Koeman as the game approached the closing stages - Josh King's 49th-minute effort having put Eddie Howe's side ahead at Goodison Park.
Facing a fourth straight league defeat, Koeman threw on Niasse in place of Wayne Rooney - who could have been awarded a penalty in a first half bereft of chances - and the Dutchman's change soon paid dividends.
With 13 minutes remaining, fellow substitute Tom Davies threaded a neat throughball into Niasse, who made no mistake with a thumping finish.
Niasse - Roberto Martinez's last signing as Everton boss - was not finished there, however, bundling the ball over from close range five minutes later to relieve the pressure on Koeman's under-performing side.
Everton took the lead within 30 seconds in the corresponding fixture last term, but they had to wait until the seventh minute for their first opportunity this time around - Dominic Calvert-Lewin heading wide from Leighton Baines' cross.
Rooney was left fuming with referee Atkinson just after the half hour, and with good reason.
The former England captain was left with blood pouring from a gash above his eye after being caught by Simon Francis' elbow inside the Bournemouth box, with Everton's subsequent penalty appeals turned down.
Rooney was soon back on, however, and could have given the Toffees the lead had he not slipped as he latched onto Idrissa Gueye's clever reverse pass, with Everton made to pay for that miss after the restart.
A sluggish Everton attack broke down and Bournemouth countered at pace - King bursting through the middle before slotting calmly across Jordan Pickford.
Everton's goalkeeper came to their rescue moments later, rushing out to deny former Sunderland team-mate Jermain Defoe from close range.
Koeman did not hesitate in changing things, throwing on Davies and Niasse, and after Andrew Surman had cleared Mason Holgate's header off the line, Everton finally had their equaliser.
Niasse made a smart run to meet Davies' pass, taking a brilliant first touch before slamming his finish high into the net.
And Niasse inspired Everton's comeback soon after, as he turned home at the second attempt after another frantic round of pinball inside the penalty area.
Calvert-Lewin should have put the result beyond all doubt late on, but his miss ultimately mattered little as Everton held firm to claim a vital win and move out of the relegation zone, where Bounemouth remain second from bottom.
Key Opta facts:
- Everton ended a run of 401 minutes without a goal in the Premier League.
- Bournemouth have lost 28 points from winning positions in the Premier League since the start of last season; more than any other side in that period.
- Only Crystal Palace (0) have scored fewer first-half goals than Bournemouth in the Premier League this season.
- Josh King scored his first goal in six Premier League appearances, after netting 10 in the 12 before that.
21. März 2018
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