Dec 14, 2013 at 3pm UK at ​Goodison Park
Osman (19'), Coleman (73'), Barry (84'), Mirallas (90')
Pienaar (75')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Berbatov (65' pen.)
Dejagah (70'), Senderos (90')

Match Analysis: Everton 4-1 Fulham

Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Everton's 4-1 win over Fulham at Goodison Park this afternoon.

Everton remained on course for an unbeaten 2013 at Goodison Park with a 4-1 victory over struggling Fulham this afternoon.

The hosts took the lead in the first half when Leon Osman slotted home from the edge of the box, but Fulham were level midway through the second period when Dimitar Berbatov coolly converted from the penalty spot.

The Toffees regained their lead in the 73rd minute through Seamus Coleman before Gareth Barry and Kevin Mirallas both scored late on to give their side a win that lifts them into the top four.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at an entertaining afternoon on Merseyside.

Match statistics:

Shots 22
On target 7
Possession 58%
Corners 12
Fouls 10

Shots 16
On target 3
Possession 42%
Corners 2
Fouls 7

Was the result fair?

On the whole balance of play, Everton just about deserved the win but the 4-1 scoreline is harsh on Fulham. The visitors were on top at the start of the first half before Everton took the lead and gained control of the match, while they were also dominant for much of the second half and deserved their equaliser when it came. Despite their spells in the ascendancy, however, Fulham only really troubled Tim Howard at the start of the second period and did not create enough over the 90 minutes to warrant anything from the game. Everton looked more dangerous when they were attacking and Maarten Stekelenburg was a lot busier than his opposite number. The two late goals made things look more comfortable for Everton than they actually were, but they did deserve the three points.

Everton's performance

It was far from their best performance of the season, which arguably came last week against Arsenal, but they still managed to dig out a win and score four goals. The mark of a top side is to win when they are not at their best, and that is exactly what Everton did today. Their passing was unusually astray at times and they did not control possession as they often do at Goodison Park. For a substantial part of the game, particularly at the start of the second half, they were second best to Fulham, although the goals from Osman and Coleman seemed to galvanize Roberto Martinez's men in either half. All in all, they will be more disappointed with today's performance than they were with the one that earned them a point against Arsenal last week, but the most important thing was the victory and moving into the top four.

Fulham's performance

The 4-1 scoreline may look morale-sapping on first glance, but in truth Rene Meulensteen will be quite happy with his side's display today. They matched a top side like Everton for much of the game and played better football than they have done for most of the season. A worry for the manager will be the fact that they played well and still conceded four goals, but one of those was fairly lucky while another should have been saved by the keeper. If Fulham play like that for the rest of the season, then they will beat the majority of the teams around them and should stay up.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Sylvain Distin: This really is a tough choice as no single player stood out among the rest. Aaron Hughes of Fulham had a good game, but he conceded four goals so the award goes to a central defender from the other side. Distin has been in fine form this season and continued that today, comfortably dealing with a resurgent Berbatov. Fulham were on top for a lot of the contest but the fact that Howard only had to make two saves was largely down to Distin's protection of him.

Biggest gaffe

There is no question over this one. It goes to Alexander Kacaniklic for a horror miss at the start of the second half. Fulham were building momentum when Steve Sidwell's shot was parried into the path of the Swede, but he could not convert the rebound under no pressure from just eight yards out. It was an absolute sitter and would have seen Fulham equalise sooner than they eventually managed.

Referee performance

Anthony Taylor had a good game on the whole, although there were a few controversial decisions that could have gone either way. The first was the penalty as Barry clearly got the ball inside the box, but went through the back of Kacaniklic to do so. Taylor thought long and hard about his decision before eventually pointing to the spot. It was a very close call, but one could certainly see why the referee gave it. At the other end, Barry was involved in controversy again as his goal seemed to come from an offside position having also struck the arm of Romelu Lukaku on the way through. Again, it was very tough to spot and none of the Fulham players complained, but it was the wrong call from the referee and his linesman.

What next?

Everton: Next up for Everton is a trip to Wales to take on Swansea City on Sunday.

Fulham: Things don't get any easier for Fulham as they face a home clash against Manchester City next Saturday.

Leon Osman of Everton celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Fulham at Goodison Park on December 14, 2013
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Result: Everton triumph over Fulham
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