London ball

Everton bolster survival hopes with win over Manchester United

Anthony Gordon boosted Everton’s hopes of surviving in the Premier League immensely as his first-half goal proved the difference in a rambling affair against Manchester United.

Gordon’s deflected effort before the half-hour eased the pressure on Frank Lampard after a 3-2 midweek loss to relegation rivals Burnley had left Everton just a solitary point above the drop zone.

It was far from a vintage display on either side, but a 1-0 win for the Toffees sheds light between them and the bottom three as United’s top four ambitions suffered another breach premature.

Ralf Rangnick made half a dozen changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Leicester last week – Lampard himself made four – as Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford were reinstated in the starting XI.

Lively Rashford was thwarted twice early on by Jordan Pickford but Ronaldo was largely subdued as United remain adrift of the Champions League places after being brought down by Gordon’s shot, which hit the captain Harry Maguire and left goalkeeper David De Gea blocked.

Everton, until then, lacked inspiration, but their stature grew noticeably after advancing when the mood around Goodison Park changed dramatically, despite receiving relatively few scares from a side of United who have won only one of their last five games. high-flying fixtures.

Given that both teams lack confidence, it was perhaps unsurprising that it was a cautious opener of a few minutes, with stray passes and the sides losing possession, although Everton had been particularly hesitant, with United getting the upper hand and having two early sights on goal by Rashford.

The hitherto out of form striker was sharp on the left and was parried with an instant shot by the tense Pickford, who moments later fell excellently to deny a header from the England striker as Gordon snuffed out any danger on the rebound.

Everton appeared listless and lethargic, with their fans growing increasingly agitated, but the atmosphere and momentum changed as they took a 27th-minute lead after some slowness at the back for United.

Richarlison’s cut attempt to Alex Iwobi broke just outside the area for Gordon, who prioritized placement over power and was grateful for a poor deflection from Maguire, on De Gea’s foot , as the ball sailed into the net.

The goal galvanized Everton, with Michael Keane heading in shortly after while another deflected effort, this time from Richarlison, had to be knocked down by De Gea.

United were forced into a switch before the break, with Fred reportedly nursing an injury and pulled out for Paul Pogba, whose first significant contribution saw him knock Gordon down midway to enter the referee’s book after the interval .

Marcus Rashford couldn’t find the net (Martin Rickett/PA)

Moments earlier Rashford had slipped behind the Everton defense and although he was unable to make contact with Bruno Fernandes’ pass, the ball just passed with Pickford out of position.

It was to be Rashford’s last involvement as he and Nemanja Matic hung for Anthony Elanga and Juan Mata, with Ralf Rangnick using his three substitutes on 64 minutes.

United gradually began to press on in the closing stages, with Everton throwing bodies into the way when the ball was worked into the box, although Pogba forced a clever save from Pickford late on.

Pickford was again called in extra time to deny Ronaldo on the half-volley after being trapped by Maguire before the full-time referee’s whistle was greeted with a rash of noise.

Lampard raised his fist on the touchline and no doubt breathed a sigh of relief after a momentous victory – only the third in his league tenure in 10 attempts.