Evening all. Got to admit, it's a shame there isn't more Premier League matches during the week. Gives you something to look forward to, doesn't it? Here we have a match between two sides that have been impressive thus far - Everton and West Bromwich Albion
at Goodison Park.
Before we get into all the pre-match musings, the team news has just been released...
EVERTON X1: Howard; Baines, Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin; Neville, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini; Mirallas, Anichebe
So, the big news from an Everton point of view is that David Moyes
has decided to drop Nikica Jelavic from the starting lineup. The Croatian has been painfully out of form in front of goal for the majority of the season, having scored just seven times. Instead, Victor Anichebe and Kevin Mirallas will lead the Everton attack.
WEST BROM X1: Foster; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov; Thorne, Brunt, Dorrans, Morrison, Thomas; Lukaku
has opted to play just one up front at Goodison this evening. That role has gone to Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku, with Shane Long
only handed a place among the substitutes. Youngster George Thorne has also been included in the midfielder alongside Chris Brunt and Graham Dorrans.
One player that is not on Merseyside tonight is Leroy Fer. The FC Twente midfielder looked all set to join Everton for £8.5m and was due to be paraded before tonight's match. However, the club's medical staff raised concerns about a knee problem and the deal has now fallen through
. That's a shame for Everton - his arrival could have lifted them tonight.
The visiting Baggies also have an absentee in the form of Peter Odemwingie - or Mr Twitter as he is otherwise known! The Nigerian, who has made it clear that he wants to join Queens Park Rangers before tomorrow's deadline passes, has been given the night off to look after his wife and newborn son, who has been taken ill.
Staying with West Brom, they seem to have lost their way a little in recent weeks. Before Christmas they were among the top four and picking up a host of positive results, but as it stands, they are without a win from their last six outings in all competitions - losing four and drawing two.
In contrast, during their last five encounters, hosting Everton have not tasted defeat. Three of those matches have ended with victories - which has included progression in this season's FA Cup. It will be interesting to see how they juggle that competition and a push for the Champions League over the coming months.
Moyes's team are also built on solid foundations. Only Manchester City and Chelsea have conceded less goals in the Premier League than the Toffees. With the number of goals that have been flying in this season, a total of 26 is rather commendable.
It's also a big night for Victor Anichebe. He has spent the majority of his career on the sidelines through injury or on the bench. However, with Jelavic clearly out of form, the Nigerian has a real chance to send a message to Moyes tonight. He's certainly a presence, but could do with adding a few more goals to his game.
Up the other end will be Lukaku, who has impressed many people this season when he has played. Despite being just 19, he has shown a real maturity and has found the net on nine occasions. With the form that Fernando Torres has shown of late, it's a bit of a surprise that Chelsea decided not to recall him from his loan spell at the Hawthorns.
Right then, the players are just beginning to slowly filter into the tunnel area, which isn't exactly spacious at Goodison. While the likes of Arsenal vs. Liverpool may be more tempting for the neutral tonight, these two sides are both capable of playing some good football. It should be a good one.
It's by no means full inside Goodison at the moment. There's still five minutes to go until we are underway, but it would be unusual if it is not near capacity.
Here come the players then to the famous 'Z Cars' tune. Got to say the pitch is not looking at it's best tonight. They've obviously had a lot of rain on Merseyside and it has left some puddles on the pitch. There could be a mistake or two tonight, that's for sure.
Right then, West Brom, kicking from left to right, get this encounter started...
It's been all Everton so far, who despite forcing a couple of corners, are yet to create a chance. They are keeping the ball well though. We're yet to see anything of West Brom as an attacking force.
Not good news for Everton fans. Luis Suarez has given Liverpool an early lead at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal. You can follow that match with Sports Mole here
Meanwhile back at Goodison, it is still all Everton at Goodison. Leighton Baines
and Steven Pienaar are seeing plenty of the ball out on the left, but they have been unable to create anything of note. Slow start all round.
CHANCE! At last we've had a shot, although it was nothing to write home about. Everton's Mirallas was the man who had the effort, but his 25-yard strike was always skidding wide of the target. At least it is a sign of intent from the Belgian.
CHANCE! The first thing we've seen from Anichebe tonight as he sends a shot from the edge of the area just over the crossbar. It's amazing that he got any effort away to be honest because he was slipping as he struck the ball.
OFF THE BAR! So close for the home side. Distin knocks the ball down for Marouane Fellaini, who takes one touch before lashing a shot goalwards from a narrow angle. Thankfully for the away side, the ball cannons to safety of the crossbar, which is probably still shaking!
GOAL ELSEWHERE! My, my - could we have a shock on the cards at Old Trafford? Jay Rodriguez has put Southampton in front against Manchester United with just three minutes on the clock.
GOAL ELSEWHERE! That didn't last long, did it? Wayne Rooney has levelled things up for Manchester United. Any chance of a goal at Goodison please?!
It's all nearly football here at the moment. Both teams are getting the ball in and around the penalty area, but the move then breaks down. It just seems to be a lack of imagination. With the likes of Pienaar and James Morrison on the pitch, that's a surprise.
GOAL! Everton 1-0 West Brom (Baines)
If there is a better left-back in the Premier League, than I'm yet to see him. The Everton number three exchanged passes with Pienaar, before moving towards the West Brom goal. He took aim 20 yards out and sent a rising shot into the roof of the net with Ben Foster well beaten. What a strike from the England international.
Baines and Pienaar really are a joy to watch down the Everton left. Their understanding is telepathic. The South African midfielder has just sent Baines raiding down the line, only for his cross to be cleared with a last-ditch slide by Jonas Olsson. It's all Everton.
Here's a bit from former Everton winger Kevin Kilbane, who has been talking to BBC Sport
"That's typical of Leighton Baines this season - a wonderful strike. He set himself nicely and got a little bend on it, with such power. I recommended him to Everton when I was at Wigan. He was in the process of going to Sunderland at the time, so I'll take a little credit there. He's a top player."
It looks like we could have a serious injury here. West Brom's George Thorne is down with what seems to be a knee injury. Replays show that his body shifted one way, while his foot remained still. Thorne immediately signalled for help from the bench and now the stretcher has been called for. Not looking good for the youngster.
SUBSTITUTION: That's Thorne's evening over and I have to say, he could missing for some time unfortunately. His place has been taken by Claudio Yacob, who has only just overcome shoulder and hamstring injuries.
PENALTY TO EVERTON!
GOAL! Everton 2-0 West Brom (Baines, pen)
What a shocking start for Yacob. He has been on the pitch barely two minutes and he has just tripped up Anichebe inside the area. That's a blatant penalty, which Baines took and when he strikes penalties, there is usually only one outcome! He sends the ball right, while Foster gambles left. The full-back is on a hat-trick!
HALF-TIME: Everton 2-0 West Brom
is bound to be one happy manager at the break. His side have dominated from the first whistle and have two goals from Leighton Baines to show for their efforts. When was the last time a left-back scored a hat-trick in the Premier League. Has it ever happened?!
While there is one happy Scotsman, another one, Steve Clarke
, will no doubt be disappointed with what he has seen during the opening 45 minutes. It's hard to recall a shot that his side have mustered and to rub salt in the wound, Thorne has been forced off with a nasty looking knee injury. A first half to forget.
A quick flick through the statistics tells you all you need to know. Everton have had a staggering 69% of the possession. I can't imagine that West Brom have seen less of the ball in any other match this season. They've also had just one shot on target, which I'm struggling to remember in all honesty!
Right, Everton get the second half started. Surely they won't blow this, will they?
CHANCE! An early sign of intent from the Baggies as Jerome Thomas slips in Lukaku, but the Belgium international sends his shot high over the crossbar. Regardless of the outcome, it's a positive start for West Brom. They need to be much more aggressive.
One area that Moyes may look to strengthen before tomorrow's deadline is at right-back. Seamus Coleman is injured and as a result Phil Jagielka has been asked to fill the void. While there is no doubting his defensive ability, he is primarily a centre-back. On a few occasions moves have broken down because of his mis-placed passes.
West Brom have seen plenty of the ball so far, which they needed to do in this second half. However, they don't really look like scoring at the moment. Everton are a team that seem content to let the opposition have the ball, safe in the knowledge that they have a solid defence.
CHANCE! Foster keeps West Brom in this match by diving low down to his right to deny Mirallas's grass-cutting strike at the near post. The former Manchester United keeper even got up quickly enough to prevent a corner.
BOOKING! Quite frankly, Yacob has had a nightmare since he came on. Having given away the penalty earlier, he has now been handed a yellow card for ploughing through the back of Pienaar. He tried to argue the decision, although I'm not sure why!
SUBSTITUTION: It's an attacking switch from West Brom manager Clarke as Shane Long comes on in place of Morrison. Long scored when these two sides met at The Hawthorns earlier this season. His side need a similar impact tonight.
GOAL! Everton 2-1 West Brom (Long)
What an earth has Jonny Heitinga done?! Lukaku rounded Tim Howard, but scuffed his shot to allow Heitinga to get back on the line. His touch was poor though and the ball lobbed up into the air, for an alert Long to head into an empty net. What an error from the Dutchman, but also, what a switch from Clarke. Immediate impact from Long. Game on!
OFF THE BAR! So unlucky West Brom. Graham Dorrans tries his luck with a free kick from 25 yards out, which smacks against the crossbar before being cleared to safety. Howard was well beaten there. What has happened to Everton? They look a different side since the break.
Fair play to Everton because ever since Dorrans struck the crossbar, they've gained some initiative that had been lacking since the restart. Anichebe has looked lively and may have had a case for a penalty, but to be fair to the referee, there was a lot of bodies in the area obstructing his view.
CHANCE! The ball drops to Fellaini on the edge of the West Brom area, but the Everton midfielder is uncharacteristically wasteful as his shot flies well wide of the target.
SUBSTITUTION: Last roll of the dice from Steve Clarke as striker Markus Rosenberg takes the place of winger Thomas. They have 12 minutes to salvage something from this game.
OFF THE POST! Twice! Steven Piennar collects the ball from Fellaini, but strikes the post twice in a matter of seconds. The rebound then drops to Leon Osman, who somehow misses the target from six yards out. If West Brom equalise here, Moyes will be fuming.
Everton are now in control of this encounter as the clock ticks down. West Brom look a frustrated side who cannot get the ball. Time is running out for Clarke's men. Will their winless run stretch to seven matches? It's looking that way.
We will have three minutes of stoppage time...
FULL TIME: Everton 2-1 West Brom
It was by no means pretty in the second half, but Everton have held on for all three points! Credit to West Brom, they made a decent fist of it in the second half, but I'm afraid it was a case of too little, too late.
That's all we have time for from Goodison Park. Thanks for joining us this evening and be sure to check out our analysis of the action, which will be with shortly.