02 Dec Allardyce off to winning start as Everton down Huddersfield
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored second-half goals as Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge of Everton ended in a 2-0 home win against Huddersfield.
Allardyce, appointed as Everton’s permanent new manager on Thursday, will not have been impressed by their dire first-half display, but Sigurdsson struck soon after the interval before Calvert-Lewin fired home a crucial second.
Everton secured back-to-back league wins for the first time this season to further lift morale in time for next week’s Merseyside derby at Anfield.
Huddersfield, goalless on their travels since the opening day, made life difficult for Allardyce’s side, particularly in the first period, but created few chances and slumped to a fourth straight league defeat for the first time in 17 years.
Everton secured their first clean sheet in 14 games in all competitions in their 4-0 midweek win against West Ham and followed up with another, but the opening 45 minutes was hardly the start Allardyce had been hoping for.
The Toffees failed to pick up where they had left off on Wednesday night and looked instead like the side which had struggled under Ronald Koeman earlier this season.
Goodison, eerily quiet, at last stirred in the 22nd minute when Huddersfield skipper Tommy Smith tripped Aaron Lennon in full flight to earn a yellow card.
Everton right-back Jonjoe Kenny was booked soon after for his foul on Danny Williams before Cuco Martina’s curling effort, comfortably saved by Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, briefly lifted the home side.
Tom Ince’s fumbled corner at the other end prompted a goalmouth scramble, but that was the closest Huddersfield got to testing Jordan Pickford in a poor first half.
But the home fans forgave their side for their part in it less than two minutes after the restart.
Lennon cut inside to feed Calvert-Lewin and the striker’s clever flick fell invitingly to Sigurdsson, who side-footed a curling low finish into Lossl’s right-hand corner.
Town fans thought their side had equalised soon after when Ince tore down the left and crashed a shot into the side-netting.
The visitors, for whom Kasey Palmer returned to action as a half-time substitute after three months out with a hamstring injury, also threatened when Elias Kachunga’s deflected cross eluded Laurent Depoitre.
Everton were intent on extending their lead though. Calvert-Lewin’s effort after Lennon’s neat backheel on the edge of the area was well saved by Lossl before the Danish goalkeeper was beaten again in the 73rd minute.
Wayne Rooney, who had an excellent second half, threaded a killer pass through for Calvert-Lewin and he ran on to fire a left-footed shot that was deflected into the top corner following Mathias Jorgensen’s despairing tackle.
Smith’s low shot was easily gathered by Everton goalkeeper Pickford as Huddersfield failed to create further chances and a seventh defeat in nine Premier League matches sees them slip further down the table.