Dwight McNeil’s early goal gave Everton a crucial 1-0 victory over Brentford at Goodison Stadium on Saturday, lifting Sean Dyche’s struggling team out of the Premier League relegation zone.
Abdoulaye Doucoure assisted McNeil in the opening minute as he scored with a beautiful left-footed finish to snap Brentford’s 12-game league winning streak.
In the opening period, the home team missed numerous opportunities to widen its advantage.
When Brentford goalkeeper David Raya parried Alex Iwobi’s cross into his path, Michael Keane missed with a header from an Everton free kick in the fifteenth minute, then Amadou Onana missed with a volley with the goal at his mercy five minutes later.
From an Everton corner, Raya sank well to block Iwobi’s close-range snap effort.
Just after the half-hour mark, Idrissa Gueye set Demarai Gray up for a clear shot at Raya. Gray then bundled the ball in minutes later, but the goal was disallowed for handball by the video assistance referee.
That truly was a game of two halves, according to Dyche. “In the first half, we played well and had two or three fantastic opportunities. Then, in the second half, they attacked us.
“But the side is becoming more resilient, and the mindset of the side is becoming stronger; sometimes you have to fight. These days, the Premier League is free of mugs, and we gave a performance that might win us three points.
After a superb save just minutes in, Everton’s Jordan Pickford prevented Rico Henry from scoring.
A few minutes into the second half of a game in which Everton’s back line played superbly to deny Brentford’s prolific target man Ivan Toney the time and space to operate, Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford denied Rico Henry with a superb stop.
After the break, Brentford actively pursued an equaliser and controlled possession. In stoppage time, Raya stepped up for a corner but nearly missed with his header.
With a win, Everton climbed out of the bottom three and into 15th place with 25 points, while Brentford remained in ninth.