Naismith inspires Toffees

Everton's Steven Naismith celebrates after his shot is deflected in by Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale for the game's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Craven Cottage, London.
Everton's Steven Naismith celebrates after his shot is deflected in by Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale for the game's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Craven Cottage, London.
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Goalscorer Steven Naismith was delighted with Champions-League chasing Everton’s 3-1 victory over Barclays Premier League basement boys Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Half-time substitute Naismith played a big part in the Toffees taking the lead as he swung the ball forward for goalkeeper David Stockdale to deflect into his own net five minutes after the break.

Fulham netted an equaliser when Ashkan Dejagah picked out the top-left corner with his thunderbolt beating a diving Tim Howard.

Everton reclaimed the lead through Kevin Mirallas with just over 10 minutes remaining and Naismith added the gloss late on as he toe-poked the ball home after picking up Leighton Baines’ cross in the box.

Man-of-the-match Naismith told Sky Sports 1: “It was a big win especially at this stage of the season. You’d probably take results over performances, but today we were probably a bit lethargic in the first half but it shows the quality we’ve got amongst us.

“We stuck in an by the end of it we were controlling the game.

“(The manager Roberto Martinez) wanted us to be a bit lively going forward and there was a lot of space to make things happen and that’s what I was trying to do.

“Looking at the first goal, the ball came to me on the edge of the box and I was just trying to get it on target and the last one for me was trying to seal the win and take some pressure off ay the end of the game.”

As the opening goal goes down as an own goal after taking a deflection off Stockdale, Naismith made it clear the important thing was the points today.

Asked if the third goal made up for not being awarded the opening one, he added: “It does, if I hadn’t scored the third everyone would be complaining about that. But overall, the main thing is the result.”

Everton made it five Barclays Premier League wins on the bounce with the victory and put four points between themselves and sixth-placed Tottenham, who take on Liverpool later on Sunday as they aim to achieve their dream of European qualification this season.

The Toffees are within touching distance of the top four again after falling off the pace in February and are looking to snatch the last Champions League place from Arsenal.

Naismith said: “This time of the season you’re pushing for Europe and the wins are vital so you need to get them.”