Premier League: Lukaku heads Everton past West Ham
LONDON: Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku headed home in stoppage time to earn Everton a 2-1 come-from-behind win at West Ham on Saturday.
Stewart Downing put the Hammers in front after the hour, only for Leon Osman to produce a quickfire equaliser with Lukaku stealing the points late on for Roberto Martinez’s visitors.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce welcomed back Alex Song, the midfielder fully recovered from a back problem.
Strikers Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho had already been ruled out for the rest of the season, while captain Kevin Nolan did not make the trip to Upton Park due to a family bereavement.
For Everton, 19-year-old Brendan Galloway of Zimbabwe made his PremierLeague debut but his red letter day was marred by yellow as he picked up a late booking.
Toffees defender Leighton Baines was absent after an operation on his injured ankle.
In a closely fought first period West Ham had a penalty appeal turned down when Aaron Cresswell’s cross appeared to tough Seamus Coleman’s arm.
For Everton, Lukaku watched an effort go wide.
Downing, who had the best chance for West Ham before the break, put the hosts into a 62nd lead, curling the ball into the bottom corner with Song providing the assist.
Seconds later, Everton were back level, when Lukaku sent in a cross from the right, Osman turning sharply to fire the ball past West Ham keeper Adrian from 10 metres out.
Lukaku then nicked the three points for the visitors in the second minute of stoppage time, heading in Aiden McGeady’s cross for his 20th goal of the season.
The win lifted Everton into tenth, above West Ham on goal difference.
Strangely bookings were arguably more significant than goals with both sides battling it out for a Europa League wild card via the Fair Play table.
On that count Allardyce’s side emerged the outright winners, with one booking compared to the four dished out to Everton. (AFP)