The game looked dead set to end in a draw after Bryan Ruiz’s first strike for the Cottagers since signing on deadline day cancelled out Royston Drenthe’s second minute opener in a game that fell flat after an enterprising opening. But Saha and Rodwell had other ideas pouncing at the death to relieve the pressure built up on David Moyes after their recent winless run. He rewarded Greek striker Apostolos Velios for his goal against Chelsea last week with his first Premier League start as they looked to win for the first time in October. For Martin Jol’s it was another disappointing afternoon on their own patch as they failed to kick on once again despite looking to have turned the corner after the 6-0 thrashing against QPR last month. The Dutchman will be left rueing Bobby Zamora’s late miss which would have put Fulham ahead in the final minutes. Their Europa League campaign seems to be catching up with them as they looked jaded in the second half in what was their 22nd fixture of the season.
Whether they were still awake at kick-off is debatable as Everton pressed from the first whistle and took the lead after just two minutes through Drenthe. The loan signing from Real Madrid has slowly grown into the English game and produced a moment of real quality curling a superb effort past Mark Schwarzer following Rodwell’s lay-off. The Toffee’s played like a team brimming with confidence and should have doubled their lead but Marouane Fellaini and Rodwell were both unable to covert two delicious crosses from Leighton Baines. Drenthe was also looking lively and tried his luck again from distance but found Schwarzer equal to his effort this time. Fulham finally woke from their slumber and were unlucky not to equalise after Danny Murphy lashed an effort off the post with the ball hitting goalkeeper Tim Howard on the head and flew across goal and out for a corner. The American had to be at his best to minutes later to keep out a Brede Hangeland header as Jol’s side continued to grow into the game.
They took their supremacy into the second period and they finally equalised through £10 million man Ruiz who met a Clint Dempsey through ball before dinking the deftest of chips over Howard to open his account for the Cottagers. As the game started to fade out Zamora was presented with a glorious opportunity to give his side the lead with a minute to go. The England striker showed great poise to bring the ball under control and take it round Howard only smash the ball over bar with the net ready to bulge as his composure deserted him at the vital moment it what is the miss of the season so far. He was made to pay dearly for his failure in front of goal as Everton went on a smash and grab to secure their only their second win on the Thames in 10 years. Saha was the man to break the West Londoner’s hearts as he superbly controlled the ball on his chest before expertly guiding it past Schwarzer. The icing on the cake was then applied by Rodwell who steered a wonderful volley into the net.