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Everton 1-0 Fulham: Pienaar strikes to cut gap on fifth-placed Tottenham

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Everton 1-0 Fulham: Pienaar strikes to cut gap on fifth-placed Tottenham
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Everton 1-0 Fulham: Pienaar strikes to cut gap on fifth-placed Tottenham
Everton kept dreams of a Europa League place alive with a 1-0 win over Fulham, with Steven Pienaargetting the only goal of the game.

The Toffees were dominant from the off and they were rewarded for their efforts when Seamus Coleman set up Pienaar in the Fulham box to put the hosts one goal to the good. The hosts went on to have numerous efforts around the Cottager’s area, but weren’t good enough to double their lead before the break.

Fulham looked to have got out of second gear after the break, but the hosts soon deflated their spirits again with some dominant football that meant the Cottagers had little chance of points. A flurry of chances and great saves from Mark Schwarzer meant that the score remained 1-0, but the home side could have won it by three or maybe four goals in the end.

The deadlock was broken 16 minutes in when a beautiful exchange of passing between Leon Osman and Coleman initiated the move that saw the latter set up Pienaar to comfortably place the ball into the net from the penalty spot.

Fulham’s position in the game wasn’t helped on the half-hour mark, as Dimitar Berbatov was forced off with an injury and limped to the bench to be replaced by Mladen Petric.

The visitors looked a little more up for the game after the break; Urby Emanuelson blasted the ball over the bar after Everton's defense had left him all the space he required on the hosts’ penalty spot.

However, Everton soon started to turn the screw once more and had numerous occasions to double the lead. The hosts were also domineering in the middle of the park, with the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Osman easily displacing Giorgos Karagounis and Eyong Enoh.

Kevin Mirallas should have put Everton two goals to the good 15 minutes from time after some delightful skill that included tipping the ball over a Fulham defender to set himself up on the angle, but the attacker’s powerful shot was met by the palms of Schwarzer who pushed the ball away.

Schwarzer was called into action yet again, this time in the closing moments of the game, as substitute Ross Barkley went one-on-one with the ‘keeper, but the youngster’s shot was match by the Australian and the score remained just 1-0 as the whistle rang out.

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