Baines on the spot for Everton
England boys on target for Toffees
Last Updated: 19/11/11 9:01pm
Leighton Baines struck a late penalty to give Everton a hard-earned 2-1 victory against battling Wolves at Goodison Park.
Baines sent Wayne Hennessey the wrong way with seven minutes left after Louis Saha had been pushed in the box by Stephen Ward.
Earlier Wolves went ahead through a penalty of their own, Stephen Hunt converting after Marouane Fellaini had tripped David Edwards in the area after 36 minutes.
Everton wasted no time in drawing level though, just eight minutes later Baines whipped in a free-kick from the left and fellow England international Phil Jagielka rose highest to head the ball into the top corner.
The game looked to be drifting towards a draw before Baines' late intervention, which gives David Moyes' men only their second home win of the season.
The win will have lifted the mood among the players and supporters alike as discontent about performances on and off the field has been growing in recent weeks.
Prior to kick off there had been another march by supporters' group Blue Union to protest about stagnation at the club in relation to finding a new buyer and outside investment which, according to Merseyside Police, numbered about 250.
It was not long before fans inside the ground were complaining about further lack of movement, this time in the opposition penalty area, as a number of crosses from both flanks were sent over with no identifiable target.
However, when one did eventually reach its intended destination in the 16th minute, after Seamus Coleman picked out Tim Cahill, goalkeeper Hennessey had to be at full-stretch to tip over Saha's shot into the turf from the Australian's knock-down.
Everton continued to struggle with their final ball until late in the first half and they were hit with a classic sucker punch in the 36th minute.
David Edwards' diagonal run across the corner of the penalty area did not appear to pose too much threat but Marouane Fellaini, returning after suspension, caught him with the slightest of touches and it was enough to send the midfielder to the ground.
Hunt smashed home from the spot and it looked like Wolves would hold on to their lead until a minute before the break when Jagielka nodded home Baines' free-kick with a twisting header.
It was only his sixth goal in nearly four-and-a-half years at Everton but, after scoring against Wigan in their last home victory on September 17, this is already his best return in the league for the Toffees.
In added time Everton could have gone in front but Fellaini's shot was half-saved by Hennessey and Cahill appeared to be pulled back by Karl Henry as he raced to reach the loose ball but referee Jon Moss awarded only a corner.
The home side began the second half positively and Fellaini was first to fire over from range before Cahill's aerial collision with Richard Stearman left the Wolves defender writhing on the Goodison turf and he gingerly left the pitch with what looked like a painful arm or shoulder injury.
Everton were in the ascendancy but were still wasteful in possession, typified by one crossfield pass from John Heitinga which rolled off the end of the pitch - much to the derision of home fans.
But even when they picked out men in position the Toffees lacked the killer instinct.
Cahill, who has not scored since December 20, looked certain to break his drought when Saha's flick-on from Coleman's cross found him six yards out but he did not connect cleanly and Ward and Hennessey combined to save.
The pressure was building on the visitors and when Saha chested down and shot his effort was deflected behind.
But from the resulting corner Ward needlessly fouled the Frenchman to give Baines the chance to coolly side-foot home the penalty.The goal did little to ease the tension in the final seven minutes though and the final whistle came as a welcome relief for the majority inside Goodison.
|Everton||Team Statistics||Wolverhampton Wanderers|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||1|
|4||Shots off Target||3|
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||16||28|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||16||17|
|18||Queens Park Rangers||16||14|